Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s New Facility Named for Local Cat Advocate

front of building

Helen Sanders was a Seal Beach resident who spent nearly every minute of her life (and much of her income) caring for the feral cat colony living on the jetty in her hometown. Sanders would pedal to and from the colony on her big three-wheeler with supplies for the cats and humane traps to use for trap/spay-neuter/release, which keeps feral populations down. She also worked in tandem with the Seal Beach Animal Care Center (SBACC) providing advice and counsel.

Sanders passed away from cancer nearly 10 years ago, but her dedication to the cats of her town lives on through SBACC’s new Helen Sanders Cat Facility, which opened this past Sunday, July 8.

The SBACC staff–which is nearly all volunteer–has been planning this separate facility for years as a place to house their resident cats, all of whom were living in makeshift buildings that were clean and comfy but crowded. From the beginning, there had been no question of whom to name the new building for, but it took several years of fundraising (augmented in part through city funds and mostly private donations) to finally realize the goal.

Volunteer Rachel Simon gave me a grand tour of the new building, which appears to have taken everything that the fussy little creatures need into consideration. The inside is open, bright and airy, with seamless resin flooring that’s easy to keep clean and sanitary. A number of rooms for specific purposes include a sunroom for mature cats, a meet-and-greet area for humans to acquaint themselves with a potential feline family member, a room for “teenage kittens,” an isolation ward to prevent diseases of sick cats from spreading to healthy ones, another for cats with special physical and medical needs and one more for impounds—strays, abandoned cats or pets brought in to the shelter by their owners. There are also dorms for adult cats and an outdoor enclosed play yard is in the planning. SBACC is no-kill only in the sense that none of the healthy cats or dogs living there are euthanized, but rescues all have their limits, and there was a need to extend them.

“This will give the cats the ability to get sun and clean, fresh air,” Simon said.

Work by local artists adorns the walls; the example below is a collaborative work that is actually nothing but the painters’ signatures (only water-based paints were used for this “masterpuss,” and the paws were thoroughly cleaned off afterward).

Cats water-based art

Simon said that there currently are about 140 cats ready to go into their new and hopefully temporary home at the Helen Sanders Cat Facility. It would be nice to say “Hurry up—supplies are limited,” but until everyone is as quick to act and as resourceful as Helen Sanders, there will always be two more to replace each lucky cat. You can help by donating to SBACC or, even better, taking one of these kitties home. Or both!

Click here for a synopsis of Helen Sanders’s good life.

Virtually Pets

The cats below comprise only a lapful of the great pets available at SBACC. Come down and meet them all.

Delta Dawn is in corner

Delta Dawn, Tinkerbell and Indigo

Owen age 10

Owen, a gentle age 10

Stanley front Patch rear in Adult Sun Room

Stanley (front) and Patch in Adult Sunroom

Charley at Animal Care Services

Charley June 20  Pet of the Week

Charley, one beautiful, cuddly great big lump of orange sugar, and everyone at ACS has taken to him. Charley’s owner passed away and left this darling senior (12 years old) with no one to care for him. Charley loves nothing more than a lap and a good book or TV show to listen to. He has a couple of medical issues and he’ll need to lay off the junk food, but he still has some good years left and needs someone loving to spend them with. Meet Charley on the shelter side of Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A453274. 

Lost Dog

lost dog2

One of the worst things about the 4th of July is the number of pets, dogs in particular, who become freaked out by the fireworks and run off either from their humans or their yards. This little guy was found on July 4 heading north in the alley between Pacific and Cedar avenues and 23rd and Hill streets. His hair was clipped around his face and he had a microchip, but the owners hadn’t registered it! Moreover, he had no ID on him. He has a sweet disposition. If you are the owner or know the owner, contact [email protected] Then, for Pete’s sake, register that chip.

Pet Projects

17th Annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, Saturday, July 14, Los Alamitos Race Course, 4961 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos, (714) 820-2690, parking free

This form of “dog racing”—and if you go, you’ll understand the quotation marks around dog racing—will be anathema to nearly no animal advocate. This nonwagering event features inches of beloved dachshunds striving for the championship race. Admission is $3; free for under 17. All funds raised benefit the Seal Beach Animal Care Center, and no doxies are in any way harmed at this event. Click here for more information!

Pet Post USA’s First Annual Pet Adoption Event, Sunday, July 15, Good Neighbor Park, 2800 Studebaker Rd., Long Beach, 10 a.m.–3 p.m., free, parking available

There’s no shortage of pets who need forever homes, and there should be one for you. A dozen pet rescue groups, including Long Beach Animal Care Services, have been invited to participate in an adoption event to find loving new homes for nearly 100 abandoned dogs and cats. Cosponsors of the event include Alpha Pet Care, LaunderPet, the Law Offices of Sharma Kliche, and actress Megan Blake. Sharing MC duties will be special guests (the hysterically funny) Lynda Montgomery, comedienne and Animal Match Rescue Team volunteer and Nicole Guillaume, president of Amazing Mutts. There will be prize drawings throughout the day and spontaneous dances to the Super Smiley Flash Mob 4 Pet Adoption created by Blake and Super Smiley, her famous rescue dog.” This is a nonprofit event designed to support only local pet rescue organizations. Some groups may require an adoption fee to help defray the costs of having rescued rehab, spay/neuter, vaccinations and microchipping, all of which give their protégés a much better chance of being placed in forever homes.

Pet Post USA is an online pet media publication connecting pet owners with pet products and services. It has no connection with the Long Beach Pet Post except for the animal-welfare thing.

Second Annual SoCal Pignic, Sunday, July 15, Irvine Animal Care Center, 6443 Oak Canyon, Irvine, 92618, noon–4

Orange County Cavy Haven, a non-profit 501(c)(3) guinea pig rescue, is sponsoring a fun time for all the cavy ravers (cavy is the actual term for these little guys, derived from the species name Cavia porcellus). Cavy Haven has been rescuing and rehoming guinea pigs since 2003 and educating people about the need for rescuing abandoned guinea pigs and ongoing care through community outreach and events. The So Cal Pignic is Cavy Haven’s major annual fun-for-the-family fund-raiser, which includes food from sponsors such as zPizza, Phoney Baloney’s and Snopel’s Bakery; health talks, including a talk from exotic-animal vet Dr. Sari Kanfer; raffles and a silent auction; and contests that include a costume contest and a veggie-eating contest for all cavies who attend with their human families! For information, click here.

Friends of Long Beach Animals Open Meeting, Thursday, July 26, 6–8 p.m., Signal Hill Community Center, 1780 E Hill St., Signal Hill

FOLBA’s short business meeting will be followed by a guest speaker from Shoestring City Ranch, Long Beach – the recipients of a recent $50,000 largess from their appearance on Secret Millionaire! If we can’t entice you with our excellent cookies, other snacks and wet bar (coffee only!), surely our floppy-earned guests from Shoestring will pique your interest! This meeting is open to the public.

9 Lives for $9!

Boy, do we have a deal for you! During the summer months, for a limited time only, you can adopt an adult cat for $9. This program, sponsored by, offers the low fee of $9 to adopt one of the many adult cats in shelters in Long Beach, the city of Los Angeles, and L.A.County. All of the cats have been altered, vaccinated and microchipped and may be seen on the program’s website Ted Stevens, Long Beach Animal Care Services acting manager, said that this program will help the adoption rates of adult cats at the shelters and further lower the euthanasia rates. Kittens get homes faster than cats do because of the cuteness factor; with an adult cat, however, you know what you’re getting and won’t have as much of a chance of dealing with the difficult stage. Click the link above and chose your new BFF! (The full adoption process will be adhered to with this program.)

LaunderPet’s Pet Model Contest! Through July 14

Does your pet have what it takes to be LaunderPet’s next pet model? LaunderPet is searching for a star-power pooch or a feature-worthy feline to be the star of a new ad campaign. The winner will receive a $350 prize package that includes a $300 photo shoot by Russ Hoover and a $50 LaunderPet gift certificate! The new star will be announced on July 16 and will have his or her furry little face featured in local newspapers, social media, websites and a poster at LaunderPet’s local stores.


To enter, “Like” LaunderPet’s Facebook page, upload a photo of your dog or cat to LaunderPet’s Facebook wall, use the Caption space to say why you love LaunderPet, and Share with your friends and family so they can vote for your pet by liking/commenting on your pet’s photo. The winner will be determined by the number of likes and/or comments on each photo.

Donations Needed for Animal Care Services, Pitchford Animal Companion Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, (562) 570-PETS

ACS thanks everyone who provided donations for their wish list! The list has been further winnowed down; if you feel generous or just have any of the following items around your house, bring them to the shelter (and take home a pet, if you are so inclined!).

  • Two canopies for the play      yards (10′ x 10′)
  • wet cat and kitten food
  • wet dog and puppy food
  • Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls. See examples here.
  • Hand sanitizers to carry in apron pockets (about 20)
  • Two trash cans for our play yards that open with a foot press. See an example here.

Read Sasha’s Story

Thanks go to the P-T’s Philip Zonkel for writing this up for his paper. Sasha’s a more-or-less local kitten who made it through hell. Read her story in the P-T here.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”