Shelter intervention program

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Giving up a family pet because of tough financial times can be one of the toughest things anyone has to do. It happens most days at shelters in many low-income neighborhoods.

From LA’s Downtown Dog Rescue, one woman is helping to keep thousands of those animals in their homes. Find out how Lori Weise and her shelter intervention program make a difference to families one at a time:

Telma Villatoro has had 13-year-old Conde since he was a puppy. Last month, a flea infestation made him scratch so much he’d bleed and lose fur.

“I kept treating him myself with ointments that I could provide for, but for at least a month, I was thinking about possibly giving him up,” shared Telma

Telma appealed to Downtown Dog Rescue. Staffer Noemi Campos gave Conde medicated baths every week.

“The fact that he’s pain free, running around, and now he’s actually digging up my plants again, so that makes me very happy,” Telma continued.

Lori Weise launched the shelter intervention program also known as “SIP” that saved Conde in 2013. SIP makes a plan with families who don’t want to give up their pets.

“Somebody could lose one of two or three jobs and that means they’re basically choosing, am I going to be homeless, do I get to keep my kids or do I have to surrender my pet?” said Lori Weise, Downtown Dog Rescue, Founder.

SIP will pay for solutions, but owners are asked to invest as well.

“These are people that typically need medical care, maybe they need a fence or a gate built or a doghouse or maybe they’re having problems just providing enough dog or cat food,” explained Weise.

So far, SIP has kept nearly 21,000 animals out of shelters.

“To be able to say to somebody, hey, we’ve got a solution for you. It’s just awesome,” smiled Weise.

Lori says she talks with shelters across the country that want to launch similar programs. SIP costs Downtown Dog Rescue about 200,000 dollars a year. Funding comes primarily from grants from animal protection agencies and donations.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Rusty Reed, Videographer.

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