LAKESIDE FRIENDS OF THE ANIMALS
—Speaking for Those Who Can’t Speak for Themselves
By Elyn McEvoy
A popular statue found in many area gardens is that of St Francis of Assisi. The patron saint of animals, he is remembered for his compassion to all creatures. Certainly that kind of tender mercy is a much needed commodity at lakeside. To the same extent that many people consider this area to be an idyllic retreat, it is often a less than hospitable environment for many animals.
Overpopulation, human mistreatment, malnutrition, and untreated illness and disease often result in short, sad and sometimes savage lives. And yet tender mercy does exist, as is evident in the works of several local animal welfare organizations. Though their individual programs and philosophies may differ, each strives to improve the lives of animals and with the support of the lakeside community their collective efforts do make a difference.
One lesser known organization is Lakeside Friends of the Animals A.C. Since 2006, LFA has been assisting Mexican nationals with limited means by offering free spaying and neutering for their pets as well as underwriting the cost of emergency veterinarian care. Those of us who have pets know well that our animals offer us invaluable emotional gifts yet responsible pet ownership can often be costly. Lakeside Friends of the Animals, through its programs for Mexican nationals with limited means, seeks to support the relationship of pet and owner while alleviating some of the expense. Providing free spaying and neutering, not only addresses overpopulation in general but also encourages pet ownership without the worry of unwanted litters.
In cooperation with the Animal Hospital of Riberas Del Pilar, 30 pets belonging to Mexicans with limited means are sterilized each month. In addition, on a monthly basis an average of five pets receive emergency care. Treatment can include surgery, medication and whenever necessary, humane euthanasia for untreatable conditions. Owners are asked to pay only what they can and LFA contributes to the balance.
Though not a shelter, Lakeside Friends of the Animals A.C. fully appreciates the enormous responsibilities entailed in caring for large numbers of animals. Shelter animals have to be fed, sterilized, vaccinated and receive medical attention. To assist local shelters in their important work, Lakeside Friends of the Animals awards grants that contribute to the purchase of food or sterilizations. Recipients of grants have included well known shelters such as Anita`s Animals and The Ranch/Lakeside Spay and Neuter Center and lesser known shelters operated by Nick Lampris and Nina Perez. Lakeside Friends of the Animals also purchases Feline Leukemia Testing kits so that cats and kittens at the Animal Shelter can be tested for this deadly disease.
Presently, the organization is working on developing educational materials in Spanish to teach pet care and responsible pet ownership. Also currently in development is a post life plan in which individuals can enter into an agreement with Lakeside Friends of the Animals in which the organization would assume responsibility for a pet upon the owner`s death. Bequests would be accepted as part of the plan.