Residents of the San Bernardino community gathered to celebrate their pets for Christmas and raised money for animal cruelty investigation.
The Humane Society of the San Bernardino Valley hosted “Santa Paws Pet Photos and Holiday Boutique” on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 from 8:30am to 1:30pm where pets and loved ones got professional photos taken for this upcoming holiday season.
The Santa Paws fundraiser has really grown over the past couple of years according to Jill Henderson, the Director of Development and Community Outreach for the Humane Society of the San Bernardino Valley.
“It started out with just photos of Santa with the pets, but we changed that into getting the 5 by 7 photo printed right now or get that changed into an actual Christmas greeting card with envelopes personalized with your families name,” said Henderson.
The Humane Society also heard from the community that a tamale sale in addition to their bake sale would greatly benefit the Santa Paws fundraiser to which the Humane Society was more than happy to accommodate.
“Every year the raffle prizes and vendors just get bigger and better,” said Henderson.
The Santa Paws fundraiser was sponsored by Earhart Photography where the owner Mari Sarabia offered her services at no cost at all.
“I thought it would be good since the community has supported us all these years that it would be nice to give something back,” said Sarabia when asked what made her want to sponsor the event at no charge.
Mari Sarabia has partnered with the Human Society in the past for many different events shooting the photographs herself while having some assistants help with printing and packaging of photos.
Although, Sarabia wasn’t much of an animal lover at first because she couldn’t have pets when growing up she later became an animal lover because of her husband where she was introduced to the Humane Society and ultimately what has influenced her in wanting to give back to the community.
“I felt like I wanted to give back and help in some way,” said Sarabia.
The Santa Paws Pet Photos and Holiday Boutique is a fundraiser for the Humane Society to fund their animal cruelty investigation and their humane education programs.
“Unfortunately, there are pets in our community right now who are involved in dog fighting, who are being sold on craigslist, who have Parvo and are not getting treatment,” said Henderson.
The humane education and cruelty investigation work hand in hand according to Henderson. If someone in the community suspects foul play to an animal they can call the Humane Society cruelty investigation department and someone will go to the location provided and may take the animal into protective custody.
“A lot of people don’t know that it is punishable by law. You can be prosecuted and sentenced to jail time for abusing an animal,” said Henderson.
The Humane Education program is set in place to give an early start for adolescents in the San Bernardino community to learn not just the proper treatment for animals, but for each other and the environment.
Jeff Pope from the Jeff Pope radio morning show at HOT 103.9 in San Bernardino Valley and 101.3 in Temecula hosted the Santa Paws event.
Pope also happens to be a fellow CSUSB alumni graduating class of 1992.
The Humane Society sent Pope a press release about a puppy that had been thrown off the 215 freeway that sustained many injuries and inquired if Pope would want to adopt the puppy and ever since then Pope had fallen in love with his forever puppy named Jax.
“He’s turning eleven years old and ever since that moment I decided I’m going to help out. I am going to be a proud supporter of the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley. Ever since then I have been involved in Santa Paws,” said Pope.
The Santa Paws Pet Photos and Holiday Boutique isn’t just for dogs, but can be for cats as well.
During this event there are vendors who are there and they’re selling dog stuff and cat stuff and all the proceeds go to benefit the Humane Society according to Pope.
“In addition to vendors there are big raffle prizes like Sea World tickets, Knotts Berry Farm tickets, and shall I say the crème de la crème Disneyland tickets. It all goes to a very good cause like low cost spay, low cost neutering, low cost veterinary stuff for your cat or dog. I have been apart of it for the last eleven years and I love the work the Humane Society does and they’re really beneficial to the city of San Bernardino,” said Pope.
The Humane Society reached out to Pope eleven years ago after he adopted a rescue from them and inquired on whether he would be interested in hosting the very first Santa Paws event for them to which of course Pope agreed and has been helping out as much as he could ever since.
“The event has gotten bigger and bigger as word has spread about how cool these Christmas cards are. There is Santa, your family, your dog, and your cats because nowadays dogs and cats are apart of our family. Pets are our family. How do you not include them in your Christmas photos?” questioned Pope.
Pope quickly followed with a joke in saying the families who don’t include their pets in their Christmas photos are off his Christmas list.
“All the money goes to charity and that’s why I’m hosting this event for free because its giving back to the community,” said Pope.
The Santa Paws Pet Photos and Holiday Boutique took place on November 17th, 2018 at the Humane Society and featured a wide variety of gifts for people and pets.