A visit next door: Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s pets would love to meet you!

Virtually pets

Long Beach has a clowder of rescues and one city shelter. Many of them have been featured in The Scratching Post at one time. Just next door over the border between Long and Seal beaches is another animal shelter, unique in a number of ways. Since they’re just about next-door neighbors, time has come to feature their pets. They need homes, too!

The Seal Beach Animal Care Center—SBACC, as it’s usually called, is a nonprofit shelter established in 1986 through private donations. About 30 years later, they’re still funded through donations as well as a teeny-tiny 1% from the city of Seal Beach. The shelter is run by volunteers, from management down to the daily dog walkers and the litter-box scoopers, although they do have paid employees for feeding, deep-cleaning and medicating. Four- (and sometimes three-) legged residents must come from inside Seal Beach limits—Seal Beach is one of five contract cities that Long Beach Animal Care Services provides for, so any stray animals picked up by the Long Beach Shelter’s animal control officers can go right to SBACC if there’s room. SBACC also provides dog licenses on behalf of Long Beach Animal Care Services for Seal Beach.

four photos of people with dogs in outdoor settings.

Dedicated volunteers contribute over 20,000 hours per year to ensure the animals are socialized to other humans, loved, walked and comfortable until adopted. Seal Beach Animal Care Center has suspended the volunteer orientation sessions due to COVID, but seasoned volunteers continue to make their charges happy and social! Photo courtesy of SBACC


SBACC identifies as no-kill, which means that unless a pet is incurably ill and in pain or other discomfort, the shelter will accommodate their little selves and their needs until their perfect person comes to adopt them.

“SBACC has always been no-kill—it’s a condition of our agreement with the city,” longtime volunteer Dee Carey said. “Less than 1% of our animals are euthanized, and only when the animal no longer has an acceptable quality of life.”

Carey added that the shelter isn’t required to take in every animal that comes in and also doesn’t routinely accept owner-relinquished pets. This prevents overcrowding and having more animals than they can effectively care for.

You can take a virtual tour of SBACC on the shelter’s website. You’ll see the cat rooms, most of which have secure outdoor access, and the play yards where dogs romp and relax. There’s even a designated dog office and dog kitchen, which conjure up some cartoonish images.

large black-and-tan hound mix relaxes on a cot in a sandy area.

Dogs love to have fun in the play yard, but Maxi sees it as a lovely place to rest in a doggy hammock. Photo courtesy of SBACC


about eight cats of various colors and patterns stare into the outdoors

“Down in front!” The main room for cats offers endless entertainment when another cat, a human, a dish of food or something we can’t see shows up. Photo courtesy of SBACC


Here are four of SBACC’s adorable adoptables. They’re all spayed or neutered, vaccinated, have had veterinary care where it was needed, and of course, equipped with microchips, which shelter volunteers will register for the adoptive families.

As with most shelters and rescues in times of the pandemic, adoptions are handled by appointment only. View the whole lineup and fill out an application here.

brown tabby with white bib sits in bowling-pin position and looks intently into camera.

Gretzky, who’s 8 years old, has been with SBACC since he was 3 months old. He came in from the streets very scared and wild. He has calmed down quite a bit over the years and now allows pets from people he knows and loves the mouse on a wire toy! Gretzky gets along OK with other cats, but the volunteers think he would do best on his own as long as he gets plenty of playtime and attention!


cat with black ears, top of head, black saddle and white face and body lies on carpeted surface and looks into camera. He has a black spot on the right of his pink nose.

Slim, age 6, came in dirty, scared, and full of fleas. He gets along great with his many roommates and would do great in a home with another cat buddy! Slim is FIV+, a feline-only syndrome that results in a compromised immune system but has no particular disease associated with it. It can be passed through a deep bite, but since he gets along so well with other cats, this wouldn’t be a problem. Furthermore, FIV+ cats who are indoors usually live long healthy lives, and Slim has lots of lives left!


fuzzy tan dog with black mask and pink collar stands in the dirt and looks longingly into camera.

Olivia, age 8, is a great girl who loves her belly rubs, booty scratches, and most importantly—car rides! Lots and lots of car rides! There’s just nothing like sticking your head out the window and enjoying all the smells this world has to offer! That said, Miss Olivia does need some time to warm up and get to know new people, so no kids, please! If you move too fast, she will let you know to stick to your boundaries! Please don’t let that scare you away though—with a little patience and a big heart, Olivia will be your one and only in no time! Will you please consider opening your home (and car) to Miss Olivia?


four small whitish dogs stare into the cameral. They stand on a green surface.

Heddy, Rock, Ginger and Harpo are part of SBACC’s August rescue of 35 dogs! Yes, you read that right—35! They’re terrier/Chihuahua mixes and are all related somehow—they range from 3 months to 5 years old. Despite their previous quality of life, they’re each sweet and endearing and crave all the love they can get! They have never known a “normal” home, and it will be an adjustment period for each of them. They need to learn to walk on a leash, potty training, and do all the things that house dogs usually do. With time and patience, they will flourish! Over half of them have come around already and have been adopted!


Just fur fun

Wag-o-Ween: Saturday, Oct. 10, 3–5 p.m., Sparky and the Gang’s backyard, 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, $20 donation.

What a great time to scary up your face mask and scare up a costume for your doggy! Or pick one up at Sparky and the Gang’s fundraising event! The $20 donation gets you a Halloween costume for your pooch, a toy, and a vegan hot dog or hamburger while you listen to the tunes of Pulp Vixen! A pet psychic will let you know what your dog actually wants out of you, and an ordained minister will be there to bless your pets—not that they need it. The event also will feature a silent auction, raffles, a play area for your dog and the dulcet sounds of Pulp Vixen. Organizers will enforce social distancing, and humans must wear masks that cover their noses and mouths.

Best Friends Strut Your Mutt Day: Saturday, Oct. 24, register or donate here.

The annual Strut Your Mutt dog walk, which has raised thousands of dollars for lifesaving projects, is going virtual like everything else. Best Friends has teamed up with local rescue groups, shelters, animal-welfare organizations and pet-community members for a virtual community walk and fundraiser to benefit homeless dogs and cats across the country. During this period of relative isolation, raising funds is more important than ever, so join up and participate in engaging opportunities to help throughout the season and build a virtual no-kill community. All funds raised go directly to lifesaving programs such as spay neuter services and adoption—and it’s all off leash!

Help wanted, help given

DIY Kitten Care Kits available free at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Kitten season is just about up, but kittens still enter shelters. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter can telephone the general number at 562-570-7387 to request a voucher.

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) is back in business for free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. The San Pedro clinic, located at 957 N. Gaffey St., will give shots every third Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Call 310-574-5555 to see if you qualify for services.

Calendars—save the date, and save some pets!

Seal Beach Animal Care Center cat and dog 2021 calendar contests: through Sunday, Oct. 18, register here.

You still have time to inscribe your dog or cat in the annals of an annual calendar and support a local rescue/shelter at the same time. Seal Beach Animal Care Center, a nonprofit all-volunteer animal shelter that keeps its pets safe until a forever home is found, is sponsoring two calendars, one for doggies and the other for kitties. Rules for the calendars can be accessed on the above link. Enter and vote for your best buddies ($1 per vote, $5 minimum)!

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag:

Helen Sanders CatPAWS offers, through specific private donors, e-gift cards for people struggling during the crisis to buy food for their pets. The CatPAWS Spay/Neuter Fund, also privately funded, has vouchers available for anyone not able to go to the shelter for them. They also accept donations.

Pets of the Homeless’ home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following Long Beach businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St., Long Beach.

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave., Long Beach.

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St., Long Beach.

Food and supplies are available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Long Beach, Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

Helen Sanders CatPAWS adoption center: Daily, store hours, PetSmart, 2341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, adoption fees apply.

Window-shopping’s a neat pastime and likely has become more common during the pandemic. Helen Sanders CatPAWS has applied window-shopping to cat adoption; you can peer at several of the fine felines through the windows of the PetSmart adoption center in Seal Beach. Sadly, no ear scratching or chin rubs at this time, but volunteers can answer questions and provide you with adoption information! Be sure to wear a mask. You can find adoption applications and all the kitties here.

Long Beach Animal Care Services monthly adoptions: Every second Saturday of each month, store hours, Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

 Long Beach Animal Care Services shows up with its fabulous Adoption Waggin’ equipped with air conditioning, running water and comfy kennels with cats, dogs and bunnies waiting to go home. Masks and social distancing required for visitors.

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions, but as of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.

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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.”