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Grass Valley, Calif. Jan. 8, 2020 – To kickstart the new year, Hospitality House launched a brand-new pet program on New Year’s Day.

The pet program is designed to help homeless pet owners receive shelter and services at Hospitality House with their pet at their side. Previously, if she/he owned an animal, they would have to choose whether to leave their loved one behind in order to move forward with shelter and expanded support or stay with their pet on the streets.

To keep people and their pets together, Hospitality House turned to the community for help this past September. The shelter began fundraising for the pet program and was met by overwhelming support from local animal welfare agencies and the general public, even receiving a generous lead gift to ensure the program’s success for the first year.

With funding in place, the program went before the Grass Valley Planning Commission at Grass Valley City Hall on Dec. 17 where an amendment to the shelter’s existing conditional use permit was unanimously passed by the commission to allow animals indoors. The pet program officially launched on New Year’s Day.

Shelter Advocate Johanna Green sits with one of the first pet program participants at Utah’s Place. Photo by Christina Apkarian of Hospitality House

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“Our community understands that keeping people with their pets is critical for their livelihood and rate of success in returning to stability and housing,” said Nancy Baglietto, Executive Director of Hospitality House. “This program follows best practice standards for shelter—it had to happen and because of our community, it’s now open and operational. More people will now have a chance at a home.”

For the first time at Hospitality House, people with pets are being welcomed indoors and receiving help together. In addition to shelter, pets are receiving food, licensing, veterinary care, vaccinations, spay and neuter, wellness checks, flea and tick treatment and medications and medical care as needed. With people and pets together at the shelter, they can now benefit from the shelter’s programming to help transition back into housing, which is the ultimate goal.

To commemorate the program, the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce will host an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 12 p.m. at the shelter, Utah’s Place, located at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945. The entire community is invited to see the pet program first-hand, ask questions, and enjoy coffee and cookies made by homeless students in the Hospitality House Serves culinary cooking program.