Serving the community since 1922

From strays to families at Wasco Animal Shelter

The Wasco Animal Shelter plays a crucial role in the community by providing a safe haven for stray and abandoned animals, working to find them loving homes.

The shelter houses typically anywhere from 15 to 25 dogs at a time. The most common breeds found are pit bulls, huskies and chihuahuas. On average, a dog will stay at the shelter for two months before being adopted or rescued.

Animals will often come in as strays, and others surrendered by their owners.

Marco Silva has been an animal control officer with the shelter for the past seven years. What he enjoys most is pairing up dogs with families, providing service and educating the public with any animal-related questions about the shelter.

"I love what I do. We do what we can to match the animals with the perfect forever home."

He said the adoption process is fairly easy.

"It costs $95, including the animal's spay/neuter and rabies vaccine, and if they are a Wasco resident, a one-year registration for the dog."

"The animals are taken to the vet upon adoption to get fixed, and owners pick up the animal from the vet at the end of the day."

When animals don't get adopted, they get placed on a PTS (put to sleep) list.

"This is where we inform the public and the rescues (503(c) nonprofit organizations that can pull from the shelters) that dogs have 72 hours before getting out of the shelter for either adoption or rescue. This means 72 hours is the deadline, but we usually give an extension, especially when dogs have a strong interest in them."

Their adoption rate, on average, is one animal per week.

Silva said that strays are a problem in Wasco from time to time. "To address that, we have a SNIP bus that comes twice a month, and they provide a spay/neuter service at no cost to Wasco residents."

A new shelter is in the planning stages, with the design phase scheduled for this year. Luis Villa, public works director, hopes construction will start next year. "The location would be the southeast corner of Filburn Street and Central Avenue. A $1.5 million budget has been allocated, and the shelter would accommodate approximately 40 to 50 animals."

Villa added that the new shelter will increase capacity, provide better animal climate control and allow for adequate workspace for the staff. The city plans to hire one additional officer.

In the meantime, Silva said the current shelter welcomes anyone wanting to volunteer.

"They can sign up by contacting human resources at city hall. They will mainly handle our social media, taking pictures of the dogs and posting them online, and can also help clean up after the dogs, feeding and walking them."

He said this can be rewarding for the volunteers. "At the end of the day, they are helping out the mental health of the dog, and by getting photos of dogs on social media, they will help them get adopted by being posted."

The shelter is located at 5409 7th Street and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 661 - 758-7240, and to view available animals, visit Animals looking for homes are also highlighted in the Pet of the Week feature in the Wasco Tribune.


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