Paradise Animal Shelter Helpers (PASH) conducted a survey of Paradise residents in September and October of 2017. The purpose of the survey was to find out what the residents of Paradise knew about the animal shelter and about PASH, how they wanted their donations spent, whether or not they supported specific recommendations for improvements at the shelter, and how they wanted those improvements to be funded.
The survey was conducted online with the help of Cedar Creek Communications. The link to the online survey was sent out through a variety of channels which included the Paradise Chamber of Commerce, the Paradise Business and Community Facebook page, and the PASH Facebook page. In addition, paper surveys were collected at Johnny Appleseed Days and in front of a local store. A total of 241 surveys were collected during the 5-week period. (According to Mark Dale at Cedar Creek Communications, 200 surveys would be enough to be statistically representative of the Town as a whole.)
Of the 241 completed surveys, 88% were Paradise residents, and 11% lived in Magalia. The majority of respondents were female (86%) and the majority were aged 51 and older (65%).
The great majority of respondents (95%) were aware that the Town of Paradise had an animal shelter, and 75% of them had been to the shelter. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of respondents were current pet owners. When asked where or how they obtained their pets, a variety of responses were given, but shelter and friends were mentioned most frequently. Over half said they were considering a pet in the future, and 70% said they would consider adopting from the shelter.
When asked how aware they were of PASH, 35% of respondents said they were “very aware” and 41% said they were “somewhat aware”. Less than a quarter said they were “not aware at all”. When asked if PASH should continue using donations to assist the animals at the shelter, help people who cannot afford it with veterinary care, spay/neuter assistance, and help older people adopt older animals from the shelter, 93% of respondents said yes. Of the 4% who disagreed, there were a couple of comments about using the money at the shelter only, and not letting people adopt pets if they can’t afford to take care of them.
The survey gave a one-sentence description of the stressful effect that being housed next to the dogs has on the cats at the shelter. Respondents were then asked if they supported housing the cats in an area separate from the dogs. A large majority (84%) said they supported housing the cats in a separate area. The same majority (84%) said they supported using a portion of Measure C funds (a temporary sales tax increase of one-half percent, passed in 2014 for the purpose of funding police, fire, roads and animal control) along with funds from other sources (such as PASH or community donations) to build a separate structure to house the cats.
Respondents were also asked if they would support another Measure N-type tax (a $1 per month tax to be used for the sole purpose of funding the operation and maintenance of the Town’s animal control services and shelter) where the funds collected could only be used to sustain/improve the care of homeless animals at the Paradise Animal Shelter. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they would support another Measure N tax.
Friday, October 27th the volunteer organization Love Paradise came together with Pash volunteers for a clean up day at the shelter. Among the duties of the day Included spreading 1 ½ yards of bark, pruning and raking of the leaves and bushes. Also included was organizing in both the cat room and main storage area. Among The worker bees were Jason Eyer, Anthony Meza, Colin Ludwig, Karlen Yip, Dan Martella and Don (Last name unknown-sorry)
On October 11th, PASH joined with Black Bear Diner for a “Donate-When-You-Dine event”. This was a first for both PASH and Black Bear, and we were delighted with the outcome. The restaurant was pretty much packed from 4-8 PM. A portion of the evening’s receipts was donated to PASH. As you can see, Manager Ken Jones and 2 of our volunteers enjoyed the evening.
Thank you for listening to PASH and the public support of Councilmember Rawlings proposal to build separate housing for homeless cats in Paradise. We understand that the town is still recuperating from hard financial times, and that other public needs may be seen as higher priority at this time. We will continue to follow Measure C and Town Council activities related to the shelter, and will be sending you periodic updates about this issue.
We were pleased to read the recent report from the 2015-2016 Butte County Grand Jury regarding animal shelters in Butte County. As you probably know, the Grand Jury noted that all of the Butte County shelters have capable, dedicated staff, and most shelters were adequate in relation to need. However, they did find several things lacking in the Paradise Shelter. Specifically, they found that: 1) the Paradise facility is small and in need of renovation and expansion, 2) there needs to be greater separation between cats and dogs, 3) sick animals need to be quarantined more effectively, and 4) the hours the shelter is open to the public are inadequate compared to other facilities.
The Grand Jury went on to recommend that the Town of Paradise provide adequate funding for the updating, enlarging, and renovating of the animal shelter, and address the other concerns as well, by providing greater physical separation between cats and dogs, greater physical separation between sick animals and healthy animals, and increasing the hours the shelter is open to the public. The Grand Jury cited the “Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters (2010)” published by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, which are guidelines adopted by the state of California. The guidelines recommend adequate separation of species, i.e., cats from dogs, ”where cats are effectively removed from sight and sound exposure to dogs”. They also recommend that sick animals be adequately quarantined from healthy animals, within species.
These are long-standing issues at the Paradise Animal Shelter that are not going to go away. Councilmember Rawlings and PASH brought these issues to your attention, and the Grand Jury report underlines the need. We recognize that there are many competing priorities for funding, but Measure C provides an opportunity to address some of the more critical needs of the animal shelter. PASH will continue to work with you to find ways to make that happen.Sincerely,