The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN students use pet shelters as an affordable alternative for a furry companion

Over 150 dogs and cats, such as Koda pictured above, are housed at the Best Friends animal shelter in Mission Hills and waiting for adaption. Photo credit by Victoria Becerril.

Jessica Cervantes, 20, a junior majoring in child and adolescent development, did not expect her life to change when she walked into her local animal shelter one morning.

Little did Cervantes know she was about to meet her new best friend, her Tabby cat Mia.

“I love Mia. I always look forward to coming home from school to play with her,” Cervantes said. “Adopting her was one the best and easiest decisions I’ve had to make. It made me feel great knowing I saved her life by giving her a new home.”

Everyday more than 9,000 healthy, treatable dogs and cats are killed in shelters mainly due to a lack of homes for the animals, according to the Best Friends Animal Society. The Best Friends Animal Society encourages people to adopt, volunteer and donate in order to help make a change.

As budgeting college students, many are not able to afford the high prices for animals at pet stores. Buying an animal from a store can cost thousands of dollars because of the specific breeder, according to the American Humane Association (AHA).  Their website suggests that one must ensure that their animals are bred right in a humane way and sold at an affordable price. The AHA suggests that instead of struggling with that process to try and look into local animal shelters.

“I started looking for a dog last year and went to this pet store at a mall and all the dogs were $1000 dollars and up,” said Joe Salazar, 25, senior, liberal studies major. “I went to this shelter near my house a few months ago and found the bulldog I wanted and only paid a little over $100 dollars for him.

Viviana Cano, 21, a senior majoring in psychology, volunteers when she can for her local shelter.

“Adopting is an easy and selfless thing to do,” Cano said. “I’ve met so many great animals I wish I could adopt them all. I encourage everyone to really think about it because you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for a pet from a store these animals are in need of more than just a home. They need love and that is priceless.”

The next time you are considering investing in a furry companion, check out these local pet shelters before emptying out your pockets at a pet store. Man’s best friend is priceless, but he shouldn’t be expensive.

Best Friends Animal Society

Location: 15321 Brand Blvd, Mission Hills, CA

Phone number: (818) 643-3989

Hours: Open 7 days a week 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Requirements: Must be 18 and older and provide identification.

Adoption: Fill out an adoption survey and bring it to the shelter to get a head start on the adoption process. Must call or visit for fees.

According to the Best Friends Animal Society- Los Angeles, they have more than 150 dogs and cats of many breeds and sizes available for adoption. They offer adopters a free bag of food, ID tag and a month of free pet insurance. Their main goal is to end the euthanization in America’s pet shelters. In 2012, Best Friends Animal Society made a major pledge to Los Angeles declaring to make it the largest no-kill city in the nation.

Pet Orphans of Southern California

Location: 7720 Gloria Ave., Van Nuys, CA

Phone number: (818) 901-0190

Hours: Closed Mondays

Tuesday-Friday 12 p.m. to  4 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Adoption: It is one of the oldest and largest private humane organizations that has its own shelter. Their main goal is to rescue dogs and cats from city and county shelters to help reduce euthanasia and effectively find them new homes. They have been helping animals find homes for 40 years and have provided the community with public education to help promote responsible pet ownership. They also offer other services, including medical and financial assistance, spaying, neutering and training.

Junko O’Connell, a volunteer for Best Friends animal shelter in Mission Hills, stops by the shelter three times a week to walk dogs around the facility, including Bond, a pitbull open for adoption. Photo credit by Victoria Becerril.

West Valley Animal Shelter

Location: 20655 Plummer St., Chatsworth, CA

Phone number: (888) 452-7381

Hours: Monday & Holidays: Closed

Tuesday through Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Requirements: Fill out adoption form at the shelter and provide a valid form of identification.

Adoption: After the form is filled out you must pay the fee depending on the animal.

Dogs: $122.00 (with License for city residents)

Cats: $76.00

Rabbits: $56.00

According to, their mission is to encourage and protect the safety, health and welfare of the animals. They have six main shelters in the Los Angeles area. Their statistics show from July 2013 to January 2014 the shelters have helped adopt 14,242 pets in the Los Angeles area.

Pet Adoption Fund

Location: 7507 Deering Ave., Canoga Park, CA

Phone number: (818) 340-1687

Hours: Mondays: Closed

Tuesday through Sunday: 1 p.m. to  5 p.m.

Requirements: 21 and over with valid identification and must fill out adoption application. Must allow at least one hour of time at the facility.

Adoption: Fees vary by breed, age and size.

According to it is the biggest non-profit no-kill animal rescue organization in Southern California. Founded in 1983, it is run mostly by volunteers and exist mainly through donations. The website states how they have helped thousands of animals find new homes and have helped them rehabilitate in the shelter. They care for an average of 250 homeless animals dogs and cats. The organization’s three main goals are to rescue homeless animals, find them homes and educate the community on the importance of spaying and neutering in order to reduce overpopulation of animals.