Everyone is called to action to help rescue animals - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Everyone is called to action to help rescue animals

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Allison Hurtado is the news reporter at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Contact her at (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 8:53 am | Updated: 4:58 pm, Thu Nov 15, 2012.

There is a whole world of animal rescues on Facebook I had no idea existed.

Linda Carel's wall is covered with photos of dogs that have been shared with her through friends. Turns out those are friends, or friends of friends, in California, going to shelters and taking photos of dogs in danger of being put to death.

The photos are shared and shared and comments on the photos allow people to offer to save the dogs or donate money to groups that can. These photos and the people taking them are Carel's inspiration. They are what caused her to sell her business and focus solely on animal rescue.

Carel says she was a "health guru" for the stars in Los Angeles. She worked with agents, entertainment companies and celebrities to help them relax in a holistic way. Business was going good throughout the 90s but something told Carel she needed a change.

"I was online and someone had emailed me something like ‘Here is a dog that's going to die if no one picks it up by five o'clock,'" Carel said. "I'm a dog lover and I realized before too long that there's this whole network of people on Facebook from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America saving animals."

Following these animals and the comments on the photos Carel realized the problem was bigger than she had thought. She found the change she had been looking for.

"I started thinking about it and I think there is no shortage of animal lovers and there is no shortage of people who would go out of their way to help an animal," Carel said. "At the time I was living in LA and after meeting all these people in the entertainment industry I thought I should put these pieces together and create a kinder and more humane animal system that can accommodate the amount of animals that need re-homing. There's not an over population of animals. There are just too many for our municipal facilities to help. If we care, we have to start getting active."

Carel decided to start the LA 4 Animals Foundation to become an advocacy group for animals. Through her contact in the entertainment industry she has reached out to celebrities to lend their name and support to the cause. So far Sharon Osbourne, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Bill Maher, Ryan O'Neal, Alyssa Milano, Lauren Shuler Donner and Riachard Donner, Wayne Pacelle and Jay Levin are all listed as supporters on the LA 4 Animals website.

When Carel's cousin in Ahwatukee Foothills injured his feet and needed help taking care of the kids, Carel moved to Phoenix. He offered a home in Glendale and Carel moved in, finally in a home where she could do more than donate money to animals she wanted to rescue. Now she was able to have the animals pulled from the shelter and she brought them to Phoenix to find homes. Eventually she met other animal activists in the Phoenix area. Now she's working on spreading LA 4 Animals to Phoenix 4 Animals.

"We started LA 4 Animals but Phoenix is the number two city highest in kills," Carel said. "We decided to just do the Southwest but focusing on LA because my idea is to do the worst first. We'll knock that out of the box while we work on Phoenix and with Phoenix to share resources and strategies."

The LA 4 Animals ideology is that if everyone helps where they can, animals can get better care and the killing can stop. Celebrities can lend their name and their support, others can lend time volunteering, can run social media, do marketing or even take photos of animals in need.

"We want the community to plug in and be part of the solution," Carel said. "There are so many things that can be orchestrated to really make the changes that are needed to stop the killing."

To become part of the solution visit www.la4animals.com or email la4animals@gmail.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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