The Yolo County Animal Shelter strives to break free from the preconceived notions that some people harbor about animal shelters — as places with non-adoptable pets that are either sick or dangerous.
Margot Wilcox, a volunteer coordinator for the local shelter who spoke on her observations of that difficult prejudice, said having a “not-so-inviting looking cinder-block building” placed next to the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department does not help their cause.
Luckily for them, the Yolo County Animal Shelter was the beneficiary of $10,000 worth of labor and painting services from Brooks Painting on Saturday. As part of an annual charity favor from the painting company, the entire exterior of the animal service building in Woodland, 2640 East Gibson Road, is now gleaming with a fresh new look.
This was one of six revitalization projects done in Yolo County through the Brooks Painting Charity Paint Giveaway. Hillel House was remodeled in 2011; the Summer House of Davis, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center, a family in Vacaville and the Davis Little League stadium came before that.
For the past three years, beneficiaries have been decided with an online vote. Having the community choose recipients allows the organizations the public believes are working for a good cause to be rewarded, said business manager for Brooks Painting Christina Juneau.
Yolo County Animal Shelter volunteer Mona DeMasi took it upon herself to write a letter to get a nomination for the pet adoption agency in this year’s giveaway. After the shelter was selected as one of three finalists, she was heartened by the support that poured in — manifesting into more than 1,000 votes from the community.
“The number of votes that enabled this to be the winning project was simply overwhelming,” DeMasi said. “I would like to thank all of those who voted. It will make a huge difference.”
The shelter is operated by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department, and it has been in a cooperative relationship with the Yolo County SPCA for more than a decade. There are a few full-time employees paid by the SPCA, but a majority of the center’s workers are volunteers.
The county’s stray, feral and relinquished pets are housed in a building that has been long in need of restoration, Wilcox said. All of the shelter’s volunteers are hoping the now inviting building will allow more of the abandoned and sometimes abused animals to reach a much deserved happy ending.
“It’s something we’re not in a position to do ourselves at this time … Our budgets are too tight for that,” Wilcox said. “It’s going to look better, and definitely more appealing to the public. The more people that come here to consider adopting an animal means more animals get out alive — that’s what we’re all about here.”
A plethora of local businesses pitched in with donations to ensure a thorough remodel of the shelter; including materials for painting by Sherwin Williams Paints, lunch for the workers from the Davis Graduate, gutter replacements by Blake’s Heating and Air Conditioning, shirts from Ink Monkey Graphics and a banner courtesy of Fast Signs.
“We’re all very, very grateful that Brooks Painting has helped make this happen,” Wilcox said. “It feels really good to have a community come together to support the least of these. We think of homeless people as being the least of these, but really, animals suffer just as much in a down economy as humans who were owning them.”
With the completion of the renovations at the Yolo County Animal Shelter, the Brooks Painting team is already looking toward next year’s charitable project.
“We intend to keep doing this every year,” Juneau said. “If people have in mind any nonprofits or individuals who they think are deserving of the giveaway next year, make sure to nominate them in spring when the nominations are open for 2013.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ReporterBrett