C.A.R.E.4Paws—short for Community Awareness, Responsibility & Education—works to reduce pet overpopulation, keep animals out of shelters and improve quality of life for pets and pet owners in need. The organization was founded in 2009 with the goal to promote animal welfare and alleviate the burden of Santa Barbara County shelters by intervening before animals become homeless. Its critical services include free spays/neuters and assistance with veterinary care in C.A.R.E.4Paws’ own mobile veterinary clinic; distribution of pet food and supplies; support for victims of domestic violence and their pets; Paws Up For Pets youth education; bilingual community outreach that inspire compassion and accountability for animals; and Pet Emergency Training (P.E.T.) for First Responders.
Funding from The Grey Muzzle Organization supports C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Mobile Community Medicine program, which provides affordable and critical veterinary care in the organization’s own mobile clinic – the only of its kind on California’s Central Coast. The program saves animals' lives, reduces suffering, and lowers the number of companion pets relinquished to shelters due to their owners’ inability to pay for medical care. C.A.R.E.4Paws assists pet owners in need with health exams, vaccines and basic pet care; treats wounds; skin, ear and eye infections; and performs many types of surgeries. The mobile clinic works directly in Santa Barbara County’s most under-resourced areas, ensuring pet owners have easy access to services. Because of the great need created by the pandemic, C.A.R.E.4Paws has increased the number of services provided in its mobile clinic annually from 10,000 to 15,000. The organization has also distributed more than 400,000 pounds of pet food throughout the pandemic. This includes several tons distributed weekly during mobile clinic events. Since 2020, C.A.R.E.4Paws has tripled the number of pet owners helped in a year to more than 20,000.