New Life for the No Kill Shelter

The Morongo Basin Humane Society, operating the only no-kill animal shelter in the region, will soon receive $200,000 in funding from San Bernardino County to assist with upgrading and replacing outdated adoption and shelter facilities in Joshua Tree.

The good news was delivered following Third District County Supervisor Dawn Rowe’s announcement that the Board of Supervisors had unanimously approved her funding request on June 14. Supervisor Rowe noted, “These much-needed resources will help the Humane Society continue to operate the Morongo Basin’s no-kill shelter. Keeping this shelter operational will alleviate overcrowding at other shelters, including county-owned shelters. The funds will also enable the Humane Society to expand their foster program and grow their volunteer and educational programs.”

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“We’re thrilled to receive this generous donation, which will be a huge boost to our fundraising efforts to build a new no-kill animal shelter and adoption complex,” said Mimi Mitz, MBHS President. “These funds will also go toward supporting programs that advance animal welfare throughout our communities,” she said. Donna Davies, a member of the shelter’s Capital Campaign Committee, said, “The County funding is a big step towards reaching our goal of $1 million for Phase 1. Thanks to the County’s funding and community donors, we are halfway there!” she said. “Our plans for the new shelter and adoption complex will consist of several buildings that include housing for cats and kittens, dog kennels, plus several shaded dog parks for doggie free play.”

The Joshua Tree No-kill Animal Shelter, a 501(c)(3) organization known as the Morongo Basin Humane Society, began in 1972 during a homeless and/or abandoned pet crisis in the growing, but somewhat isolated, Morongo Basin. When Kay Baker, the operator of the Hi-Dez Kennels in Yucca Valley, donated a 3.5-acre property in Joshua Tree to the newly formed Morongo Basin Humane Society, concerned community members were able to build the shelter over the next eight years, raising $53,000 to pay for it. The new shelter opened in 1981 with a board of animal activists, who, at one point, had to pay staff out of their own paychecks. The shelter struggled through the years, but armed with a growing show of community support, established a presence of care and nurturing of abandoned animals that included upfront medical care in advance of adoption and long-term sheltering. The shelter officially became no-kill in 2005. Today, programs and services in place to save the lives of homeless pets include veterinary care, animal sheltering, animal rescue, pet fostering, and pet adoptions plus the Pet Responsibility Classroom Education program, run by Board members Doris Lawless and Jean Bixby, who are retired teachers.

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