Paw Works animal shelter struggles to find new home for rescue efforts
A Camarillo animal shelter will no longer accept dogs and cats as it scrambles to find a new facility.
Chad Atkins, co-founder of Paw Works, said the nonprofit has about two months to vacate its building on Pleasant Valley Road. If the shelter does not find a new facility, dogs and cats may need to go to Ventura County Animal Services, foster homes, or their old shelters.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that,” Brittany Vizcarra, chief operating officer of Paw Works, said Monday. “We push for adoptions.”
The sanctuary typically houses between 75 and 125 animals a day and rescues around 2,500 a year. Paw Works rescues dogs and cats from high-mortality facilities across California, Vizcarra said.
Paw Works received a severance notice in June, Atkins said. In an Instagram post on Thursday, he estimated the organization had about 60 days to go.
Eric Michaelson, the owner of the building, said he had asked Paw Works and another company in the place to move. Another longtime tenant needs space to expand his business, which contracts with the Department of Defense, Michaelson said.
Paw Works rents the roughly 3,400 to 3,600 square foot building on a monthly basis, but Michaelson said he understands Paw Works’ situation.
“We will work with them as much as possible,” he said.
Paw Works is looking for a new facility, but finding the right location can be tricky. The building must be properly zoned and reasonably priced, Atkins said.
Paw Works found two potential locations. However, one building lacked utilities and the deal for the second location fell through, Atkins said.
“We’re kind of at an impasse, and we need everyone’s support to help us watch,” Atkins said.
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Michaelson agreed that it’s hard for an animal shelter to find space. He said he was the only landlord in the area willing to rent to Paw Works when they were looking for a facility five years ago.
If the shelter closes before a new location is found, Atkins said the organization would be impacted financially because they would have no animals to adopt.
Dogs and cats are kept at the Camarillo facility, but Paw Works has an adoption center in The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks. Atkins said the adoption center will focus on its retail.
He also owns a veterinary hospital in Thousand Oaks that primarily treats animals from the shelter. The hospital would not see a big impact since it would treat more animals from the community.
The move is the latest challenge for the nonprofit shelter. In June, a 3-year-old dog named Pretty Girl was stolen from Paw Works after hours. The shelter offered a $17,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest of a person who broke into the facility and took the animal.
The dog was later found injured on the side of the 101 freeway and died at Paw Works Animal Hospital. There have been no changes to the case and no arrests have been made, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at [email protected] or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.