1973 — Grass roots organization, Golden Empire Humane Society, is founded to help abandoned cats and dogs and to promote spay and neuter and humane treatment of all animals.

1998 — AnimalSave is created as a special project of the Golden Empire Humane Society to end the needless killing of companion animals in Nevada County.

1999 — Foster/Adoption Program is established. “Last chance” dogs and cats from local shelters are placed in foster homes, spayed/neutered, and adopted into permanent homes. Many of these animals had behavior or health issues that prevented them from being adopted from the shelter or, because of over-crowding, they were scheduled to be euthanized. We rescue approximately 250 dogs and cats each year.

UPDATE!  Due to efforts by AnimalSave and other local animal welfare groups over the years, the euthanasia rate at the local shelter has dropped from 70 percent to 2 percent. Our Foster/Adoption Program shifted from taking “last chance” animals from the shelter to taking them directly from the community BEFORE they reached the shelter. We realized we could provide a better service by taking litters of puppies and kittens and placing them in foster homes where they could be properly socialized and trained to be good family animals. We provide early vaccinations, worming, testing and medical attention, and the animals are spayed or neutered before they are adopted out. We have a strenuous adoption interview process so we can be sure the animals we've invested so much in are adopted into forever homes and the rate of return is quite low.

1999 —  Low-Income Spay/Neuter Program begins. While the ongoing Foster/Adoption Program is effective in reducing the number of homeless animals in shelters, we realize that the problems with overpopulation and abandonment will not be solved through adoption efforts alone. So we take on the huge task of providing spay/neuter education and assistance through the Low-Income Spay/Neuter Program, which grows quickly in response to overwhelming demand. AnimalSave provides vouchers to low-income owners to have their pets spayed at local veterinarians, or our volunteers transport animals to a spay/neuter clinic in Auburn.

1999 — AnimalSave Thrift and Treasures benefit store opens to raise money to support AnimalSave's growing programs. Proceeds from the thrift store provide for about 20 percent of our program costs.

2003 — The Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) Program begins in response to another growing community need: the proliferation of feral cats. We provide traps and instruct individuals on how to trap feral cats in order to get them altered. As a result of these efforts, the feral cat population has been reduced. We do significant work with feral cats, especially as the economy has worsened and more people are abandoning their cats to the wilds. We frequently take young kittens from feral mothers, put them in foster homes where they are hand-tamed and eventually adopted as domestic cats.

2003 — AnimalSave launches a formal capital campaign to build the Adoption and Education Center on land donated to AnimalSave. After several years of fund raising, challenging land use restrictions, escalating building costs and a change in community need, we reevaluate our plan to build the Adoption/Education Center. AnimalSave conducts a comprehensive organizational evaluation and strategic planning process to determine how it can leverage its resources to best serve Nevada County's animals and the community.

As a result of that process, we determine that the programs we have in place already provide a continuum of care that is actually keeping animals from entering the shelter system. We determine that we should look at ways to more effectively and efficiently deliver our services. Our very active Board of Directors makes the difficult and, for some, unpopular decision to redirect our efforts from building the Adoption Center to more pressing needs. The most significant need identified is to provide more efficient, effective, and affordable spay/neuter services in Nevada County by opening a local low-cost spay/neuter clinic.

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2006 — Cat Adoption Room opens. When a sister organization, FONCA (Friends of Nevada County Animals) closes, AnimalSave is the only organization equipped to fill the gap and take on the cats and kittens that FONCA had been sheltering. The AnimalSave Cat Adoption Room houses up to 25 cats and kittens while they await adoption and finds forever homes for over 250 dogs and cats each year.

2008 — AnimalSave's Low-Cost Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic arrives. After several years of planning and fundraising, AnimalSave takes delivery of a 33-foot state-of-the-art surgical vehicle manufactured by Deloitte in Ohio. The cost to purchase and equip the vehicle is about $170,000. An anonymous donor contributes $80,000 toward its purchase.

The AnimalSave Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic begins operating in March 2008. The Clinic operates with contract veterinarians who have experience in high volume spay/neuter, an RVT (Registered Vet Tech), a Spay/Neuter Clinic Manager, a Vet Assistant, and other volunteers. We alter about 2,000 dogs & cats each year, greatly reducing the number of homeless animals in our community.

2008 — Supplemental Low-Income Pet Food Assistance Program begins. When another sister organization, Pet Adoption League, closes we take on the challenge of filling the gap by funding and operating a program to help people keep their pets by providing about 5,000 lbs of supplemental pet food each year.

Through our four main programs; Low-Cost Spay/Neuter, Low-Income Pet Food Assistance, Foster/Adoption, Feral Cat Trap/Neuter/Return and our Humane Education and Re-Homing Assistance programs, we believe we are delivering an important public service that prevents dogs and cats from becoming homeless and entering the very costly shelter system.

2013 — AnimalSave Center opens. After many years of renting small, inadequate space for our program and thrift store operations, AnimalSave purchases the entire property at 520 East Main Street (previously a car dealership) and begins renovating space to move the Cat Adoption Room and Administration to separate units and expand the thrift store. We also open a separate book store—the Book Nook—in another unit. A large warehouse provides greater security and protection for the Spay/Neuter Clinic and space for a comfortable reception room for clients and their pets. We are finally able to create space for a Humane Education conference room that provides a location for meetings, animal-related training classes, and an area we can make available to other local non-profit organizations for meetings.  

The significant increase in space (from 3,500 square feet to 14,000 square feet) enables AnimalSave to better serve the animals and the community and provides a venue for fundraising events like A Furry, Furry Night. 

We look forward to developing the Over The Rainbow Bridge Memorial Garden at the AnimalSave Center.  This lovely and serene garden will be a beautiful place for pet guardians to memorialize their beloved pets.

Programs and Numbers

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic Program
As of 2015:  over 15,000 cats and dogs spayed/neutered 

Foster/Adoption Program
As of 2015:  over 4,370 cats and dogs fostered adopted

Low-Income Supplemental Pet Food Assistance Program
As of 2015: over 178,915 pounds of dog and cat food distributed

Humane Education Program
Staff speaks at clubs and, schools, and other organizations to enhance the culture around animal welfare and responsible pet guardianship.

Re-Homing Assistance Program
Provided guidance, assistance and a venue to help pet owners re-home their animals in a responsible way.

AnimalSave receives no government funding and operates solely on private donations. That's why donations—small and large—are critical to the many services we provide. We are grateful for the foundation grants, legacy gifts, individual donations, and proceeds from our fundraising events, as we continue our work. Every donation is important and appreciated. From proceeds from donated vehicles, thrift store and book nook sales, to pennies dropped in dog and cat donation jars at local businesses—every bit moves us closer to a time when all animals are valued and all animals are treated with kindness and compassion.

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