FILE PHOTO: Audrey McConnell, 13, snuggles up to shelter dog Bear during the KLAWS Bark for Books event at the Castaic Animal Shelter on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

LA County celebrates National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Approximately 3,500 shelters across the United States serve the estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Some return to their owners, while others are adopted, but all of these animals spend some time with employees and volunteers at animal shelters and rescue groups.

To honor the efforts of these workers and animal care centers, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control is celebrating National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week this week.

“We are hoping that residents just become more aware of shelter animals and where their local care centers are.  In Los Angeles County we refer to our facilities as animal care centers,” said Don Barre, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.  “For us, we would like people to locate where their nearest animal care center is and adopt.”

Started by the Human Society in 1996, National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week works to promote the roles shelters play in communities by encouraging the public to become acquainted with their local shelters and learn how they can assist their lifesaving work.

It is also a time to honor employees and volunteers who work to provide safe and humane care for animals that are lost or are no longer wanted by their owners.

“We really want to highlight our staff who work so hard every day,” Barre said.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, residents have access to the Castaic Animal Care Center which is open seven days a week.

To participate in National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, Santa Clarita Valley residents can share photos of adoptable pets on social media, say thank you to shelter workers and volunteers, make toys for shelter animals, donate supplies,  volunteer and donate money to their local shelter.

In addition, residents can get to know their local shelters and help reach their overall goal of placing animals into new, forever homes.

“We have livestock, horses, dogs, cats, bunnies.  We have so many different kinds of animals,” Barre said.  “And if you are unable to adopt, you can volunteer and donate.”

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