Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation donates to Berkeley animal shelter

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The Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation donated $5,000 to the Berkeley Animal Care Services, or BACS, shelter.

Berkeley City Council will vote to accept the donation at its next regular meeting. According to the agenda item, the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation has donated to BACS since 2008.

BACS shelter manager Amelia Funghi said the funds would be used for veterinary care including X-rays, CAT scans and ultrasounds for animals in the shelter.

“A lot of the animals that come in are in need of some level of veterinary care — some minor and some in need of major care and sometimes urgent care,” Funghi said. “Being able to provide that means that we can make animals adoptable that otherwise wouldn’t be.”

Funghi added that donations are important because they pay for a significant part of the shelter’s veterinary services, something that is a “critical asset.”

BACS takes in stray and surrendered animals and confiscates abused or neglected animals. It also holds protective custody of animals for hospitalized or incarcerated individuals that have no one else to care for their pets.

In addition to the large yearly donation from the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation, Funghi said the shelter also receives smaller donations as well as in-kind donations such as food, bedding and collars. From these in-kind donations, the shelter uses what it needs while making the rest available to low-income and homeless pet owners.

In light of current COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, shelter-at-home orders, BACS has closed its shelter to the public but is still providing essential services.

“We’re taking in stray animals and surrendered animals from people who cannot keep their pet for a major reason and we are still providing essential animal services in the field,” Funghi said.

Contact Mela Seyoum at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @melaseyoum.