BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – Dumping equals death.
This is how Bakersfield animal welfare organization Bakersfield Strays describes the growing problem of dog dumping in Kern County. It’s a slogan you can see now on some billboards when driving around town, along with other eye-catching phrases and graphics.
Bakersfield Strays, a coalition of animal rescues including Southern California Pomeranian Rescue, Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team and Rescuing Abandoned Dogs, organized the billboards.
“We’re trying to raise awareness of what’s going on in the county, the ongoing animal dumping,” said Bakersfield Strays member Yesenia Giles.
In addition to “Dumping equals Death”, billboards reading “Euthanized for Space”, “No One Cares”, and “Kern County – Hell for dogs” began running on a few Bakersfield billboards beginning in end of October. The billboards will be in place for 12 weeks until January 22, 2023.
With these slogans, some drivers might think the billboards are too annoying or too aggressive. Bakersfield Strays member Sheryl Doeckel says that’s the point.
“We wanted him to be aggressive. We have to be aggressive because the crisis is at breaking point right now,” Doeckel said.
Doeckel is a member of Rescuing Abandoned Dogs and has traveled to where dogs are regularly dumped to trap and rescue them. Gina Rolow, the founder of Rescuing Abandoned Dogs, says it’s something the group is seeing more and more often.
“It’s drop and go. We see it all the time,” Rolow said. “Thrown out the window, babies, puppies, pregnant moms.”
Bakersfield Strays member Melissa Hutton hopes the notice boards will elicit the same kind of emotional reaction she has when she finds dogs that have been abandoned.
“The billboards, we really tried to appeal on an emotional level because we see it every day when we go out to feed the dogs,” Hutton said. “Abandoned dogs, we see abused dogs, we see dogs that have been thrown out of windows, put in bags…dead dogs in bags of pet food.”
The billboards, which operate in English and Spanish, can be found at several locations around Bakersfield, including Interstates 58 and 99, as well as at the intersection of California Avenue and Oak Street.
The billboards had to go through an approval process with Sun Outdoor Advertising to ensure they were appropriate, but they were still effective.
“We kind of want them to be aggressive,” Giles said. “Because we were a bit fed up. Not “sort of”. We are fed up. »
“People say you can’t save every dog,” Rolow said. “Well, I think we can. If we have spaying and neutering programs, that’s why we’re doing it, to educate everyone, why can’t we save all the dogs?”
According to the City of Bakersfield website, vouchers worth $40 are available to Bakersfield residents to cover the cost of a spay or spay procedure at Critters Without Litters.
If you would like to help dog rescues, donate animal food, or see dogs available for adoption, visit the Bakersfield Strays website.