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AAARF getting word out about furry friends

Shelter manager says foundation fighting for cause
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation is ready to tackle anything the future brings. In 2010 the mostly volunteer organization, normally known as AAARF, placed 51 dogs and 358 cats and kittens in new homes. AAARF has seen some changes with the departure of one of its founders, Georgiana Lohman, and the addition of two new board members: Desiree Johnson, acting vice president in charge of marketing, and Melody Njoes, secretary and veterinary technician. The foundation is continuing its Seriously Ill/Injured Cats and Kittens, or SICK, fund. The fund also supports dogs, and aims to help animals recover and be placed in new homes. “We get an unfortunate number of kitties with broken legs,” said Cassie Reeves, co-founder and treasurer for AAARF. “I have a horrible suspicion most of them are human caused. There are not many rescue groups that will take the (animals) with huge vet bills. We are trying to kind of catch those the shelter would have to euthenize.” Lena Korn, shelter manager for AAARF’s facility on Masters Court in Auburn, said the foundation is moving full speed ahead into the 21st century, with more attention placed on using Facebook, the AAARF website and Craigslist to attract potential adoptive families and volunteers. The organization has also re-written its bylaws and re-evaluated its operating procedures. “We have just been moving forward to take it further,” Korn said. “We have established manuals, taken a look at a lot of our policies. We have established a bigger board to make decisions easier.” The shelter is also now open every day for adoptions and as a resource to the community, Korn said. AAARF has about 21-28 volunteers who work at the shelter, and about 40 foster families. With 85 cats and kittens at its high season, there are a.m. and p.m. volunteer crews that come to clean up after the cats and give them food and water, Korn said. With Lohman and AAARF going their separate ways, several of the organization’s dog foster families have also gone, but the foundation is hoping to build that network back up, Reeves said. “The social media is becoming the way to do this,” she said. “Dogs are hard, because it’s a commitment. They don’t use a litter box. You have to have the ability to separate them from your pets, because if you take them from animal control it’s likely they will have some kind of disease. As far as dogs go, we are right now working on a dog foster manual.” Korn said she would like to start from the ground up on dog fostering and adoptions, and wants to bring all foster dogs in on one day to show them and offer trainings in the future. Korn said although dogs can’t be housed in the shelter, information about them is always available. “When people come in looking for dogs I pull up the website and show them every animal,” she said. Reeves said although AAARF takes animals in from the Placer County Animal Shelter in Auburn, it doesn’t receive funding from the county unless it comes in the form of grants. “As far as Placer County goes we get not much from them,” Reeves said. “We get animals from them. They are not really doing owner surrenders that much because of space constrictions, which would be resolved if they built that new shelter they promised to do 10 years ago.” However, Korn said the county’s shelter workers definitely care about their work. “They try their damndest and the people who work there really care about animals,” she said. Mike Winters, manager of Placer County Animal Services, said the organization enjoys working with AAARF. “I think they do a terrific job,” Winters said. “Frankly, we rely on them quite a bit to take cats, mostly, from us.” Winters said there are still plans in the works for a new Auburn shelter. “We had initially planned to build a facility here in Auburn and then it kind of went to two facilities – one in South Placer, which is still going forward,” he said. “After that is completed, there is one planned to be here in Auburn.” Winters said the shelter in South Auburn, possibly located near the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville, might take a couple years to build. Desiree Johnson said she is using social media and other marketing tools to bring more awareness about AAARF to the community. “I’m feeling great about it,” Johnson said. “I really feel like there is going to be good changes for AAARF. And not to say it was bad before, it was just stagnant.” Korn said AAARF is going to fight any hurdles it comes across. “I feel like when I got here we were already in transition,” she said. “But I feel like with the New Year and new board, we are ready to go.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation Where: 11940 Masters Court, Auburn Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday-Sunday Information: Call (530) 887-5577 or e-mail aaarf.rescue@gmail.com Website: aaarf.petfinder.org Did you know? The organization placed 51 dogs and 358 cats in homes last year. AAARF also places other animals on an as-needed basis including goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, cockatiels, chickens, goldfish and more.