Pet Center Opens At River Park

December 12, 2008 11:48:20 PM PST
The Central California S.P.C.A and animal rescue organizations are hoping to lure in holiday shoppers at a new adoption center in River Park. They say home foreclosures and the tough economy in general have left them with an influx of animals in need of new homes. The pet center is located near Borders Books and Music and is modeled after a Macy's storefront in San Francisco. It opened its doors for the first time Friday night and as hoped, the dogs inside turned heads and stopped some shoppers in their tracks.

Jayden, a three year old purebred Labrador Retriever, is looking for a new home this Christmas. Friday night, he and his friends showed shoppers at River Park just how cute they could be. "What we're doing here is trying to get all of our dogs that are in fosters out so the public can see them because we don't have a facility, they're all in fosters, said Katherine Cushing with the Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue.

The new pet center opened at River Park Friday and through the next three weekends, the Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue, the Central California S.P.C.A., and the Animal Rescue Foundation will rotate to show off animals up for adoption. They're hoping shoppers won't be able to resist looking into the eyes of a homeless pet. "We're excited for this outreach. A lot of times people don't want to come all the way to the shelter. And the shelter is overwhelming for some adopters. So this gives us a chance to have it a little less overwhelming," said Beth Caffrey with the Central California S.P.C.A.

Caffrey says animal euthanization rates are up as the shelter deals with an increased number strays and pets surrendered by their owners because of the economic downturn. Those with the Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue are facing a similar situation but they say one family's loss of a pet can be good for those looking to adopt. "Most of these dogs, they're from good homes, they're already housebroken and have good house manners and they're good with kids and that sort of thing," said Cushing.

Just hours after opening, there were signs of a promising future for the pet center at River Park. It seems Jayden and his friends did have an ability to draw people in. "It got us here. We're just driving by, didn't plan on stopping. So it got us here, a great way to get everybody out," said Diana Haskins. Haskins walked into the Pet Center after driving by and seeing the dogs through the store's windows.

Dogs, cats, and even gift certificates will be available for the next three weekends at the adoption center. In addition to donating the storefront, River Park has also agreed to pay a portion of the adoption fees for the first 50 adoptions.

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