Discarded animals at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve may be all but forgotten by their former owners, but for Good Samaritan Donald Bloom, saving the lives of the former pets was a daily mission.
"When I started volunteering at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, I noticed abandoned cats going into the trash for food," Bloom says. "You could see their bones. It broke my heart."
Bloom could not just stand by and let the animals die, so he started a rescue effort and eventually the nonprofit organization, Save The Cats Arizona.
Many of the abandoned Preserve cats are as much the victims of the economy as their onetime human masters. Foreclosures and job losses have lead to an increasing number of abandoned pets.
"I've been working to undo the injustice to these animals," says Bloom. "I'm trying to give them a second change at life because domesticated animals belong with humans."
Then late in 2010, tragedy struck when an agressive campaign was launched by Riparian staff to remove the cats. After caring for these animals for many years and knowing each one by name, volunteers noticed that overnight many of their favorite cats disappeared. The fate of these cats is not known, except for two who were found within an hour of being euthanized at the Humane Society.
Early in January 2011, Save The Cats' volunteers rallied around Founder Donald Bloom and formed a more structured organization. Negotions with the Town of Gilbert were successful in allowing Save The Cats Arizona to lead the trapping of cats going forward.
After receiving a rescued cat from the Riparian Preserve, we attend to any medical issues including spay and neuter, testing, and vaccinations. We then place our kitties in foster homes or in our private cat community, Kitty Corral, for cats that are too feral to be adopted. In either case, it is our number one priority to ensure that the cats in our care live a happy and safe life.
Save The Cats Arizona concluded work in the Gilbert Riparian Preserve in the winter of 2012. Focus is now on caring for these cats in our custom sanctuary for the remainder of their lives.
Kitty Corral was built in August 2011, and expanded in the spring of 2012. The cavas covered enclosure is 550 square feet with misters for the summer heat, and canvas side panels which can be lowered for the winter. The residents enjoy the outdoor feel and fresh air without the worry for their safety.
Board of Directors
Donald Bloom – Founder, President
Kathy Skinner – Board Chair
Patricia Van Scoy – Board Vice Chair, Finance Officer
Katrina Caviedes – Board Member, Adoption/Foster Coordinator
Terry Solano – Board Member, Sanctuary Volunteer Coordinator