2017-07-13 / Front Page

Pet project

Shelter manager’s life mission is animal care and control
By Sylvie Belmond

BONDING—Agoura Animal Care Center manager Denise Rosen cuddles a fluffy feline friend at the shelter on Agoura Road. Rosen has been with the county’s Animal Care and Control Department for 25 years. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers BONDING—Agoura Animal Care Center manager Denise Rosen cuddles a fluffy feline friend at the shelter on Agoura Road. Rosen has been with the county’s Animal Care and Control Department for 25 years. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers During her 25-year career with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, Denise Rosen has helped find new homes for countless neglected and abandoned pets.

Rosen started her career as a kennel attendant, was promoted to animal control officer and worked her way up to sergeant before she became the manager of the Agoura Animal Care Center in 2006.

“I like to work with people and help the animals,” said Rosen, an Agoura Hills resident who leads the operations at the local shelter, which remains open for business while renovation work is underway throughout the facility.

The upgrades include new roofs on the main office and kennel buildings, new heating and air conditioning system and ceilings in the main office, and a fresh coat of paint with epoxy finish on the walls and floors of the dog kennels.


LOOK AT ME—A dog patiently awaits adoption at the Agoura Animal Care Center, commonly known as the Agoura animal shelter. 
BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers LOOK AT ME—A dog patiently awaits adoption at the Agoura Animal Care Center, commonly known as the Agoura animal shelter. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers Built in 1976, the Agoura Animal Care Center, which sits between the 101 Freeway and Agoura Road just west of Kanan Road, serves residents in the Conejo and Las Virgenes valleys.

The property has two permanent buildings that accommodate dogs, cats and other small pets such as rabbits.

The shelter also has a small barn and two dozen horse stalls, where three horses, two potbellied pigs and a rooster await adoption.

In addition to taking in stray and neglected animals and pets that are surrendered by their owners, the shelter accepts transfers from high-intake facilities in the county animal care network, which comprises seven shelters that serve unincorporated areas and 47 cities with a combined population of over 3 million residents. The transfers help to save more animal lives, Rosen said.

WEIGHTY PROBLEM—The shelter often finds itself in possession of exotic pets, like Boots the potbellied pig. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers WEIGHTY PROBLEM—The shelter often finds itself in possession of exotic pets, like Boots the potbellied pig. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers Some animals are harder to find homes for than others. For instance, Lady, a former polo and therapy horse, and her corral mate, Gracie, arrived together in April. Neither horse can be ridden, which limits their appeal to potential adopters. They need someone who is willing to care for them as companion animals, Rosen said.

Many of the dogs that come to the shelter are mixed breeds, usually part pitbull or Chihuahua.

Recently two pitbulls, a brother and sister, were brought in because the owner’s landlord would not allow the pets in the home. Shelter workers hoped to have the dogs adopted together, but the effort failed. The sister, Emily, found a home, while 5-year-old Frankie is still waiting.

The staff and volunteers at the care center strive to give each animal one-on-one attention, Rosen said.

“We have a lot of volunteers who spoil them,” she said.

The human contact allows shelter employees to learn the disposition of each animal so they can match them with families or individuals.

“We try to do a good job of pairing them up with a good home. If people have another dog at home, we ask them to bring them in to make sure they are compatible,” Rosen said.

Besides the more than 100 volunteers who pitch in to care for the animals, the Agoura center partners with several nonprofit animal rescue groups that assist with adoptions.

Healthcare for Homeless Animals, a nonprofit that was founded by a shelter volunteer, provides medical care for many of the animals at the Agoura facility.

The Agoura animal shelter at 29525 Agoura Road is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The facility is closed on most holidays.

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