Lori Testa - San Diego, CA
Stephanie Johnson - San Diego, CA
Leslie & John McDonald - Prescott, AZ
Frank Smith - El Segundo, CA
Joan Bailey & William Wallace - Burbank, CA
Lendy & James Lear - Valencia, CA
Pete & Sharon Carrillo - Wildomar, CA
Candace Huskey & Larry Brown - Frazier Park, CA
Horst & Connie Baldin - Pine Mountain Club, CA
Susan E. Moynahan - Kernville, CA
John & Barbara Sioussat - Chino Valley, AZ
Lori Testa - San Diego, CA
Originally incorporated February 22, 1993 as "Mountain Aire Animal Orphanage, Adoption Center and Shelter" by Diane Cosko, Stella Smith, and Vicky Wallace, the name was amended 6 years later to "Shelter on the Hill" by Dr. Cosko, Mark Haller-Wade, and Lee Bizzini.
The start of Y2K saw the organization re-incorporated as "Shelter on the Hill: A Humane Society" a move to better define the organizational goal of providing a safe haven and humane care for lost and abandoned companion animals in the mountain communities.
Monthly meetings were full of plans - members searched for places to establish such a haven fundraising ideas and ways to get a shelter up and running in minimal time and for minimal money. Locations were explored from Lockwood Valley to Lebec and even a central location in Frazier Park. Construction suggestions ranged from dog houses made of hay bales to refurbishing mobile homes which had been flood damaged. But none met the groups real goal - to build a shelter that will stand the tests of a safe, sanitary, and secure haven for lost and abandoned companion animals. Supporters realized a real shelter - one attractive enough to inspire confidence in the integrity of the organization's commitment to thoughtful and compassionate animal care needed such things as hot and cold running water, central heat in the winter, indoor/outdoor dog runs, clean and comfortable cat housing, vaccine storage, treatment and even quarantine areas, if the animals in their care were to treated humanely.
But how was SOTH going to to raise the considerable number of dollars necessary to build a real shelter? SOTH limped along with the bake sales, donation jars, car washes and yard sales until October of 2001 when a fabulous grant was received from Tejon Ranch Company. It promised to match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000 in donations if done within two years. Community response was enormous and the matching funds were donated in under 18 months. By the end of 2002 SOTH was the proud owner of a 2½ acre parcel in Lebec.
Realizing that it was unlikely that donations could continue at that rate, in 2003 volunteer Sally Erikson and then president Knute Johnson opened a little (500 sq feet)Thrift Store next to the pharmacy in Frazier Park . The first deposit from sales of donated items was made on March 2nd and totaled $79.00. Since then volunteers, dedicated to the concept of building and operating a local animal shelter, have staffed the Thrift Store and produced and amazing revenue stream. The dollars earned by their hours of sorting, stocking, cleaning, organizing, and sales efforts were put into savings to be used later to purchase concrete, drywall, windows, insulation, electrical wire, plumbing supplies, paint, cases, cabinets and countertops, sinks and a water heater, fencing, grading, and more to come - more than $200,000 of construction - a truly awesome achievement.
In 2007 SOTH made a down payment on a fully insulated steel building with interior kennels. With steel prices escalating, the building was purchased in 2008 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 22. However, Kern County Planning had some additional issues to be resolved and so a building permit was not issued until the end of the year. By January of 2009 SOTH had just enough cash on hand to erect the building but contractors submitted bids on the entire job - all in the $500,000 range. Enter R. M. Stowell Construction which viewed SOTH's plan to construct in phases as money became available as a way to keep busy in between bigger jobs. A match practically made in heaven, Stowell Construction started in August of 2009 with grading, utility infrastructure, concrete slab, erected the building and had the interior kennels installed by the end of November. In the spring of 2010 the interior walls were completed with drywall and insulation and SOTH volunteers doubled as painters, putting both base and finish coats on the interior. In May a special donation for kitties enabled SOTH to purchase a bank of state-of-he-art "cat condos" just in time for a special open house for those wonderful donors who were helping to "Raise the Woof."
Construction continued as funds came in. By November of 2010 SOTH was able to fund all the concrete for the exterior dog runs.
2011 started with continuing finish work on the interior. The concrete floors were stained and sealed, cases, cabinets, and countertops were constructed and installed. Automatic dog waterers, sinks, water heater, and finish plumbing fixtures were also installed and finally the cat condos were elevated on specially constructed storage drawers.
Another major step forward came in June of 2012 when SOTH was notified that a grant request which had been submitted to USDA Rural Development seven months earlier had been approved for $30,000. The grant specified that funds only be used for the purchase of equipment - no installation or labor. But it enabled SOTH to purchase such high-ticket items as heating and air conditioning units, a grooming tub, windowed interior doors, and interior communication devices. Money from donors and Thrift Store operations was used to install the equipment.
It's been a long road and now it's the beginning of 2013 and finishing the project seems soooo close. But a few more things need to be done. The interior still needs telephone, computer and internet connections while the outside needs trenching for underground utilities and landscape irrigation prior to asphalt and striping. After that the shelter faces inspections by SoCal Edison, The Gas Company, county building inspector, health department, the fire department, planning department review of the CUP, and approval from animal control. And a certificate of occupancy and a business license. And then the mountain communities will have a safe haven where the lost can be reclaimed and the abandoned can find the new home they deserve.
P.O. Box 275
Frazier Park, CA 93225