Foundation Helps Loving Animals — and Their Owners

Linda Venegas and her dog Ottie getting pampered by groomer Deborah Stevens. Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader

In the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Gary Michelson, a renowned spine surgeon and prolific medical inventor, founded a nonprofit organization he called Found Animals. 

Beginning with the establishment of the first free pet microchip registry, today the Michelson Found Animals Foundation has gone on to create the Better Neighbor Project, which delivers pet food and wellness services to pet owners in need.

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Animal Shelter Still Going Strong, Despite the Pandemic

Photo courtesy Burbank Animal Shelter
Stacie Wood-Levin, the senior animal control officer at the Burbank Animal Shelter, is pictured with Pancake the dog, who was later adopted.

When the Chihuahua arrived at the Burbank Animal Shelter about 10 years ago, he bled, had mange and suffered from skin infections that left him furless and nervous, all a result of neglect from his previous owner.
Marissa O’Brien immediately fell in love with him.
“He’s my buddy,” said O’Brien, a shelter employee who adopted the dog, now named Scooby. “He’s had a lot of medical issues, but he’s worth every penny.”
O’Brien, who has worked at the city-run animal shelter for more than 14 years as a kennel attendant and now as a clerk, wants people to know that the facility is still open. The shelter isn’t offering walk-in service, but adoptions are still available via appointment, as are licensing and euthanasia services. The shelter also picks up animals when someone with a pet is arrested.
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Girl Scout Troop Donates to Animal Shelter

Photo courtesy Vanessa Tevault
Burbank Animal Control officer Edwina Broussard is pictured with Emma Paik and Ava Tevault, members of a local Girl Scout troop that recently donated $300 to the Burbank Animal Shelter.

A group of local Girl Scouts recently donated $300 to the Burbank Animal Shelter’s nonprofit arm, a gift that was matched — so the shelter received a total of $600.
The 2nd- and 3rd-graders of Burbank-based Girl Scout Troop 00006 gave part of the revenue from their pre-pandemic cookie sales and fall fundraisers to the shelter for Giving Tuesday. The Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, the nonprofit auxiliary to the facility, matched the donation as part of its end-of-year fundraising campaign.
The money is not designated for a specific program, according to Lissette Rojo, the shelter’s outreach coordinator, but the VBAS usually helps the shelter cover expenses that its budget doesn’t, such as special surgeries or supplies for the kitten foster program.
Normally, Rojo added, the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops the shelter works with are invited tour the building, with many of the youngsters volunteering to paint murals or perform other projects. The girls of Troop 00006 had planned on donating $100 to the shelter earlier this year, but both parties decided to wait since the pandemic made in-person tours risky.

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