Shelter on the Hill: A Humane Society


Submitted by Robin Thompson and John Burnham

Koko, Sadie and Tue

It was an unseasonably hot Saturday morning in September when the contractor for SOTH's Animal Care Center stopped by to check on a construction issue. The interior of the shelter was complete but there were still a number of outside issue that were waiting for county approval before an official opening. But at the front door our contractor found a dilapidated cardboard box, stained and stinky with feces, containing nine 5-week old puppies - and the call went out for help! Robin was there that afternoon and has been volunteering (along with husband John) one or more shifts every week since that fateful day. Here's Robin's recollection:

It all started around Sept/Oct. 2013 when John received a phone call from Candace wanting to know if I wanted to volunteer at SOTH. They just had nine puppies dropped off at the doorstep. John told Candace that I could volunteer, but that I couldn't bring any puppies home. At that time of year it was getting dark early, so I asked John to accompany me. John couldn't just sit there, so he started helping me. We have been volunteering ever since. Of course, I fell in love with the puppies and wanted one. John new he couldn't win this one, so we picked out #7, because of her floppy ears. Over Thanksgiving we brought her home for a trial to make sure she would get along with a cat that I already owned. We named her Koko. However, I wanted a lap dog. When we took her to the vet for her first checkup, we were told that she would be around 50 to 60l bs. I said "well, so much for a lap dog."

Robin and little dog on JetSki

Then comes Tue. Now I work in the cattery at SOTH and this kitten came in that looked just like my cat at home that was a rescue, also. SOTH still wasn't open yet. I told John that Trudy needs a companion, because we are always going away. Needless to say, I talked John into having another cat. Since we brought her home on Tuesday, we decided on Tue.

After all this, I still wanted a lap dog. Sadie was at the shelter for 5 weeks before I could talk John into letting me bring her home. Every time we were at the shelter I would hold her and play with her. One day we were getting ready to leave and John said "you can bring her home for a trial only." Well, the rest is history.

Koko and Sadie are greatly involved in our lives. We take them everywhere from riding ATV and Side by sides to riding wave runners (jet skis). It seems that every where we take them, people are always stopping us to take pictures of them.

The rewards we have received from adopting our animals from the shelter are great, but we are also blessed with the volunteers we work with.

That being said, our family now consists of 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 chickens and 2 tortoises.

Robin & John

No Kill Initiative

Kern Animal Services

For the past several years, Kern County has embarked on an endeavor to become a "No Kill" county at our animal shelter. This is the humane and responsible way to handle our pet overpopulation problem, and one that we have had success with due to the dedication of the public, local humane societies and organizations, free and reduced charge spay and neuter clinics, and, of course, our County Animal Services staff. I am pleased to report we have made much progress, as the table below indicates.

Just shy of 1,500 fewer animals have been euthanized from November 2017 to November 2018, the Kern County Animal Services Department (KCAS) reports. KCAS is finding live outcomes (adoptions or other humane transfers of animals) for just over 75% of all animals coming in to County shelters. This is a remarkable turn around in animal lives saved - in 2010 for instance, the county had to unfortunately euthanize 75% of all animals received at our shelters.

Zack Scrivner
Supervisor 2nd District



October Winnespago

On a slightly wet day, Friday October 12th, it was a busy day at Shelter on the Hill. We thank Simi Valley Non Profit Spay and Neuter Clinic, Dr Kerry and staff with their Winnespago RV. They spayed/neutered 29 dogs and cats! Also 19 microchips were inserted at a nominal fee of $5, as SOTH paid for the microchip itself. We feel it's so important that cats and dogs can find their way home with microchip ID.

We thank the County of Kern and the Family Resource Center for making vouchers available.

Thank you Pamela McGee and Becky Trask for organizing the event. Shelter volunteers Candace, Teresa, April, Melissa, Connie, and Alice who also volunteered to help make this a success.

Pictured last is our volunteer Melissa and she is getting a microchip for her chihuahua Mikayla.

Bear Aware

Bears in the yard Many residents of the hill have experience bears in their yards, on their streets and even entering their homes in August. We asked Los Padres Bear Aware if we could use their checklist. We recommend looking at their Facebook page as well. If you are having trouble with bears please contact them. Thank you to Charlotte Deese for the photo of the mom bear and two cubs in her Pinon Pines yard.

Bear Aware Poster

Jade's Facebook Fundraiser

Jade and kitten

Jade Miranda's fabulous fundraiser via Facebook has sent SOTH two checks totaling $700! Thank you to the many people that donated.

Thank you again for doing this Shelter on rhe Hill fundraiser in support of the cats and dogs at the shelter. Jade and her mother also volunteer at the shelter. She is pictured here with the kittens.