Alamitos Bay animal rescue support hindered by fraudulent organizations

Hearts for Hounds (HFH) has been a fixture at the Alamitos Bay Farmer’s Market for 10 years. On any given Sunday morning, attendees will see many Long Beach residents playing with the dogs at the market on their way to buy their veggies for the week. Since 1997, the local rescue group has placed more than 12,000 dogs into loving permanent homes. The goal for this year is to save 1,000 more lives in celebration of being at the Alamitos Bay Farmer’s Market for 10 years as of this month.
HFH was founded in 1997 by merchandise expert Bonnie Sheehan. After years of volunteering at local shelters, Sheehan saw a need for the dogs to receive a second chance in life. There were too many animals in shelters that just needed “one more day” to find the right home before their time was up. Sheehan decided to give up her high-paying career in the fashion industry and dedicate her life to animal welfare.
Over the years, HFH has grown from a one-person show to a pack of humans trying to make a difference in the dog world. With limited funding, they rescue as many dogs as possible from local shelters, as many that they can afford to bail out at that time. The dogs have generally stayed their term at the shelter and are due to be euthanized. The local shelters simply don’t have the resources and space to house these animals long term. HFH will spay or neuter the dogs, microchip them, and provide the necessary medical needs, including vaccines, for the newcomers. The dogs then receive TLC from the foster homes and Sheehan. Once they have had time to relax and recover, HFH looks for a family the dogs can call their own.
HFH needs volunteers who can help at the adoption event on Sundays, as well as financial support to cover the ongoing expenses such as food, shelter, transportation and medical expenses. Many corporate sponsors have suspended their donation programs pending investigation because some organizations have disguised themselves as animal rescues in order to generate donations to sell on the streets. This leaves companies scratching their heads and reputable rescues like HFH scrambling to locate the much needed donations to support their cause.
HFH has also decided to make some pretty big changes in 2008. The board of directors unanimously agreed that it would be in the best interest of the dogs to locate a full-time facility to house them. Their goal is to be open seven days a week and allow the dogs a chance to find adoptive, loving families. When the facility opens, HFH hopes to be able to place as many as 50 dogs per week. That would be 2,400 lives saved a year.
To find out how to provide help, visit www.heartsforhounds.com or call Sheehan at (760) 244-4808.

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