New Leash on Life, a nonprofit animal rescue organization, experiencing financial hardships

Christine Chen

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Like many organizations in the current economy, New Leash on Life, a nonprofit animal rescue, is facing financial hardship — making it difficult to stay afloat. Last December, the organization had to lay off two-thirds of its staff because of cutbacks, lack of funding and donations.

“We’re facing the hardest situation right now because of the economy and donations are very low right now,” NLL operations manager George Cox said. “Corporations do not give as much money and grants (as they did) before. We have taken a very hard hit and we are in danger of not being able to continue to operate.”

The rescue relies solely on donations from private corporations, private individuals, members, donations from the Web site and events such as Nuts for Mutts.

Nuts for Mutts is an annual dog show for mutts only. It is not as formal as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which judges dogs by their walk, breed, temperament, fur, etc. But there is almost as much fanfare, with celebrity judges like Kim Basinger coming to the event to show their support for and love of dogs. Less-pretentious awards like “Fastest Eater” and “Most Irresistible Ears” are given out.

The rescue also relies heavily on volunteer efforts to help run the facility. Volunteers can help walk dogs, clean dog kennels, answer phones, send e-mails, socialize with dogs, or participate in the Mobile Pet Adoption and Lend a Paw programs.

The Lend a Paw program was created to enhance the lives of individuals who are experiencing physical, mental, emotional or life challenges by providing therapy dogs to offer unconditional love and a healing environment.

Lend a Paw volunteers and their dogs visit schools, nursing homes and other care facilities to provide healing for the patients and students.

“We need volunteers that can help us pick up the slack. We also need a public relations person who can help spread the word out about our organization and get our name out there,” Cox said.

New Leash on Life has saved and placed over 3,000 dogs and pets. It also implements free educational seminars at local shelters. And it helps create shelter rescue priorities on “difficult to place” animals that require medical or special care. New Leash on Life has also founded the Pet Educational Trainers program and co-founded Partners for Life — a program that saved hundreds of pets at the East Valley Animal Shelter.

New Leash on Life is a “no kill shelter.” Other kennels and shelters will at times use euthanasia or lethal injection to deal with overcrowding and lack of funds. New Leash on Life tries to save as many dogs as possible from these shelters and tries to place the dogs in the correct and most fitting home.

All of the dogs at the animal rescue are given full medical treatment, medication, shots and vaccination and are housed in air conditioned and heated pens. There is even a swimming pool for the dogs to get exercise, play and socialize with other dogs.

“We really go the extra mile to put the dogs in (a) ‘forever home,’” Cox said. By “forever home,” he means the ideal home for a dog. In order for a potential pet owner to be able to adopt a dog from NLL, he or she has to endure a lengthy and thorough screening process.

“We don’t want the dog to come back to the shelter or be in the system again. We want it to be in a stable, loving and long-lasting home,” Cox said.

Donations are vital and necessary to help New Leash on Life continue its effort to save the lives of many animals.

People who are looking to adopt a dog, volunteer, make a donation or find additional information can contact the rescue by calling (661) 255-0097 or (818) 710-9898. New Leash on Life is located at 16742 Placerita Canyon Rd. Newhall, CA. 91321. More information is available at the Web site www.newleash.org.