The San Bernardino Animal Shelter in the city of San Bernardino, California, has been described as a “bare bones” shelter by volunteers. This city shelter gets in huge numbers of abandoned, stray and surrendered dogs from the community, and the shelter struggles to get them all out of the shelter safely.
The shelter works with the police department, but they’ve never had a rescue coordinator to build relationships with the community and volunteers. They don’t really get enough money from the city to do much, so according to volunteers, the shelter relies on the rescue community to pay for things and provide much-needed supplies.
One volunteer in particular, Rene Hersey, saw that there were several very committed volunteers working with the dogs at the shelter, so she decided to concentrate on the cats. Beginning over four years ago, she went into the shelter several times a week to photograph the cats and network them on social media.
After doing this for six months, she was approached by a gentleman looking to adopt a cat. She spent a lot of time in with the cats and knew many of them. He knew she was a regular, and after adopting two cats, he returned to visit and talk to her. They’d meet in the cat room every few weeks, talk about how many cats were getting adopted and rescued and which cats they were most concerned about. They developed a friendship.
Rene told Shelter Me:
“One day he came in when I was in line to pull some cats. I walked in and the shelter staff said that there was a gentleman who wanted to talk to me. I hadn’t seem him in a few weeks. He told me he enjoyed talking to me, and that he worked with Amazon. He said he was an executive there, and they wanted to help the shelter with food and supplies that become available from the distribution center.”
Renee explained that this gentleman has retired from Amazon, but he initiated the relationship. The shelter has no other resources. They don’t get donations of vaccinations, and often volunteers pay for vaccinations when the shelter money runs out.
Although Oscar Perez, the Animal Control manager, did not respond to a request for comment, Carey Nickels from Amazon’s Corporate Communications department, did contact Shelter Me about the partnership between Amazon and the shelter. He said:
“For that specific event, Amazon donated over $22,000 worth of pet items (including food, toys, and cleaning supplies) and was part of a larger, on-going partnership that we have with the city and the shelter. Amazon associates in San Bernardino really spearheaded this partnership – they choose the organization and also collected the pet supplies from Amazon inventory. And because of their leadership on this program, Amazon has donated more than $50,000 of pet food, supplies and toys to this organization over the past year and will continue to support the shelter with future donations.”
It would be a wonderful thing if large corporations partnered with their local shelters to help them with supplies, food, and toys.