By Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett

After a long day at work, juggling meetings with constituents, policy briefings with staff, traveling throughout South County for events, and so much more, there really is not much that compares to coming home to the joyful company of a pet. Pets have such a positive, loving, and lasting influence on our lives, such as improving health and protecting our families. As a rescue pet owner myself, I have always advocated for rescuing and adopting animals, which is why I am so excited to share some of the many successes of our new and improved Orange County Animal Care center in Tustin.

OC Animal Care’s new facility that opened last March recently announced its year-in-review statistics, with impressive gains in save rates and adoptions. We now have the highest dog and cat save rate ever for our OC Animal Care. In 2018, the save rate rose 9.7 percent from 2017 to 81.77 percent overall. In total, 1,486 dogs and cats were transferred to other shelters or care, 2,369 were reunited with their owners, and 5,621 were adopted. The center is currently serving 14 cities across the county, and the job spans greater than providing care at the facility. Unfortunately, there are times when our animals are not being cared for correctly, sparking concern in the communities they live in for the safety of these pets. OC Animal Care is dedicated to investigating cruelty cases and taking action where need be to relocate those in danger to safe, happy environments at the shelter or even in foster care.

All of this success is attributed to new leadership and additional resources that have been made available because of the support from the Board of Supervisors and the new shelter’s advancements. For example, OC Animal Care was awarded $115,000 in grants focused on efforts to save underage kittens. With the announcement of the many successes in 2018, I am sure there will be many more opportunities for growth and support.

As I have done the past three years, I will once again be hosting the South County Pet Expo on March 9. This is always one of my favorite days of the year, as pet lovers from all over the county participate in exciting presentations on safe and healthy products for our “fur-ever” friends. Joining us again this year will be author W. Bruce Cameron for a book-signing of his recent novel-turned-major motion picture, A Dog’s Way Home. Guests will also get the great opportunity to meet the star of the movie, Bella. The expo is projected to have more than 100 vendors, and attendance in the past has been as high as 6,000, so there will be something exciting around every corner. This year’s Pet Expo will be held at the Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center at 28000 Rancho Parkway, Lake Forest, and is free to all attendees. Overflow parking will be at Saddleback Church on Portola Parkway, and a free shuttle from the overflow parking will be available to bring attendees to and from the expo.

The Pet Expo is going to be a great event for the entire family, and I look forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions about the event, please contact Kevin Fernandez at kfernandez@lakeforestca.gov. If you are interested in becoming one of our vendors, please contact April Josephson at sponsor@adoptocpets.org.

Lisa Bartlett is the chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, serving as the representative of the 5th District since 2014.

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