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East Bay Pet Rescue Shelters & Organizations

(credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Dogs and cats are often vulnerable to the stresses and economic realities that people face everyday. As the going gets rough, pets can become abandoned or abused animals with no one to care for them and no place safe to go. Shelters and agencies can be safety nets for a growing population of homeless animals. Read on for five best animal rescue havens in the East Bay.

ARF: Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation
2890 Mitchell Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
(925) 256-1273

ARF truly saves animals. This organization rescues dogs and cats that have run out of time at public shelters, and brings them together with people to enrich each others lives. ARF has a mission as it "strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care." Created in 1991 by Tony and Elaine La Russa, ARF set out to tackle the needs of companion animals. The La Russas' shared vision is of an organization that not only aids abandoned and homeless dogs and cats, but also promotes the view that people's lives can be strengthened and enriched by the bonds between humans and animals. These righteous goals are the guiding principles that have proven the ARF commitment, and also why it is known as a local and national leader in animal welfare. ARF continues to grow to meet demands of the 21st century with a private animal adoption and education center. Visit the website to learn more about the people and animal programs, volunteer opportunities, pet loss support groups and other valuable services that ARF provides.

Oakland Animal Services
1101 29th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 535-5602

A division of the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Animal Services is dedicated to improving the relationship between Oakland citizens and animals living within the city. OAS responds to animal-related calls to ensure public safety as well as animal welfare, and the organization rescues hundreds of animals each year from abuse, neglect and abandonment. The OAS staff and volunteers work to bring these injured animals back to health and find them wonderful adoption homes. When animals are too sick or injured to be released, OAS can provide medical and behavioral care in animal shelters. A program for animal foster families to help rehabilitate animals in addition to the OAS working with partner organizations such as the East Bay SPCA, Pets Without Partners, and Hopalong & Second Chance Animal Rescue, is also in place.

City of Berkeley Animal Shelter
1 Bolivar Drive
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 981-6600

The City of Berkeley's Animal Care Services (BACS) provides a full range of services to Berkeley residents and their pets. The services reach beyond pet friendly needs, and include enforcing city regulations pertaining to all animals such as removing injured or killed wildlife, impounding stray pets, investigating animal neglect, cruelty, nuisance and bite cases. BACS houses domestic animals from Berkeley and nearby cities Albany, Emeryville and Piedmont, as it provides a safe haven for homeless animals. In addition, BACS offers animal adoption services, advice on animal-related topics, lost and found pets reports, plus free or low-cost spray/neuter vouchers for Berkeley residents' cats and dogs. If you love animals and would like to volunteer some time walking and playing with dogs or petting and playing with cats, then contact BACS. Animal-loving volunteers are always needed at the shelter, and BACS provides training to get you started on a rewarding experience. Visit the website for further details on services offered and volunteer opportunities.

Berkeley Humane Society
2700 9th St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 845-3633

The Berkeley Humane Society aims to be an innovative leader in animal welfare and provides essential resources and best animal care practices to significantly decrease the homeless animal population in the community. With a focused mission to provide complete care for homeless animals, from rescue through placement with loving and dedicated adopters, the Berkeley Humane Society has been committed to ensuring animal wellbeing from its humble beginnings in 1927 through today. In the aftermath of the devastating May 2010 fire that destroyed the Adoption Center, BHS is now working with architects and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program on a new state-of-the art shelter where animals will receive the highest standards of care possible. Until the completion of that mindful undertaking, BHS continues on its path to serve the animals and people of Berkeley and the East Bay with crucial animal care services. Visit the website to learn more about the program, services and resources available.

Contra Costa Humane Society
171 Mayhew Way, Suite 101
Pleasant Hill, CA 9452
(925) 279-2247

The Contra Costa Humane Society is committed to improving the quality of life for animals and decreasing their euthanasia rates throughout the community. Through programs and services, the CCHS connects with individuals and private organizations to adopt pets and decrease the unwanted animal population, plus educate the community to foster compassion and respect toward animals. The CCHS has a vision of "a society where all animals are cared for and respected in their forever homes and by all members in our society." To this end, the CCHS offers numerous programs and events to unite compassionate animal friendly folks with dogs and cats that need good, loving homes through foster care or adoption. Visit the website to learn more about programs, services, and events at CCHS.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at

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