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Border Paws Nears Goal to Improve Animal Shelter
Dogs at the Calexico animal shelter wait to be taken home by their owners or adopted to a new home. | Corissa Ibarra photo

Calexico Border Paws Nears Goal to Improve Shelter for Animals

CALEXICO — Lead volunteer with the Calexico animal shelter, Diana Daniels, said the fundraiser she and her loose band of volunteers have organized to equip the shelter with tents and tarps to keep the animals warm is nearing the final stretch.

“We’re about $1,000 to $1,500 away from our goal, more or less,” Daniels said Jan. 15.

Calexico Border Paws, which Daniels started about nine or 10 years ago to advocate, raise money and provide volunteer work hours for the city’s animal shelter, started a drive in late November/early December to raise $7,500. That is  the estimated cost to cover the 15 open-air kennels at the shelter to help keep the dogs warm during the cold winter months.

Calexico’s animal shelter, near West Second Street/Anza Road at 298 E. Animal Shelter Drive, is an open-air facility and is run by the city.

She said she hopes to wrap up the fundraiser soon because the tents/tarps need to be custom-fitted to the openings of the kennels.

Calexico Border Paws, which has its own Facebook page along with an online fundraising campaign for the tents/tarps, meets at the shelter every Saturday to clean, provide work hours and take care of the animals. Daniels said she got the idea to raise the money for the tents/tarps after speaking with an animal control officer about ways to keep the animals warm during the cold weather.

She said the city never has the funding to pay for such things “so we knew the only way we could get this done was to take it into our own hands,” Daniels said.

Calexico City Manager David Dale said he appreciates the work the volunteers do, and they help when the city falls short financially. The city has been working hard over the last several years to recover from a $4 million general-fund deficit at one point.

“Because the animal-control facility is open-air, the heaters are not very effective. A recommendation was made by one of the Animal Control officers to install a tent around the facility to keep the warmth in. The volunteers immediately went to work to find the funds to install the fire-retardant tent,” Dale said during an interview Jan. 10.

“A good amount of effort is going into this project by the volunteers. The city has also been looking for corporate sponsors for this project. In my view, the city’s motto, ‘To improve the quality of life for all,’ even includes animals,” Dale said. “As has been emphasized many times in the past, the city has very limited resources with respect to staff time and money.”

Dale acknowledged the city and the volunteers have been instrumental in working together to make many improvements at the facility in the past two years. This includes installing grass running areas, a new electrical system and heaters, building new kennels and giving the animals a better chance at adoption by utilizing multiple rescue agencies.

“Some volunteers have even started a trap-neuter-release program for cats in the city, which we agree with but also costs money,” he explained.

“I would venture to say that the facility is in much better shape than two years ago. We still have a ways to go on repairing a few of the existing kennels, but we have the materials and are in the process of scheduling the kennels to be repaired; either through volunteers or city staff time,” Dale added.

“We appreciate the assistance we have been getting from volunteers from the community at the animal control facility. It can be frustrating at times how long it takes to complete tasks in municipal government, especially at a city that has seen its share of financial difficulties. Because of liability and other issues, we need to go through the process to protect the city, staff, volunteers and the animals,” Dale said.

Daniels, who no longer lives in Calexico (she moved to El Centro a few years ago), said she remains dedicated to the border city’s homeless pet population.

“It’s important. We as a community need to come together and help these homeless pets, because homeless pets aren’t going to go away,” she said.

Daniels advocates for spaying and neutering one’s animals, which she said is the only way to ensure that pet homelessness does not spread.

“Also, don’t shop. Come to rescues and shelters and give a dog a home,” she added.

Calexico Border Paws can be reached through its Facebook page for those who would like to volunteer their time or funds to the tent/tarp drive.

This story is featured in the Jan 16, 2020 e-Edition.

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