|History of Cabarrus CARES
Cabarrus CARES is truly what it stands for a Coalition of Animal Rescue Efforts and Services. The organization has become well known all over the region for its willingness to cooperate and assist when other animal rescue organizations need help.
It is also recognized in Cabarrus County, NC as a true advocate for animals. Members serve on various councils, advisory panels and other boards to promote well-being of pets. From its early drive to purchase pet oxygen masks for first response fire vehicles at 25 county fire departments, to on-going spay-neuter programs in schools and clubs, Cabarrus CARES volunteers really do make a difference.
Cabarrus CARES formed in 2003 when founding members split from other rescue organizations. Those members wanted to network with many agencies and become more community-service oriented. Humane adoptions, while always a highlight, were less of a priority than taking good care of existing pets.
An opportunity to help rose immediately when textile giant Pillowtex Corp. declared bankruptcy in Kannapolis, NC in August 2003. Suddenly over 10,000 area residents lost jobs and income. Thousands of pet owners lacked money to buy food and take care of their animals. Cabarrus CARES launched its first project, the Pet Food Pantry, in a house in Kannapolis that was owned by Atlantic American Properties. Through donations and liaisons with regional organizations, CARES volunteers started distributing free food and supplies just two weeks after the mills closed. They maintained the Pantry for three years. On weekdays, volunteers sorted and organized tons of supplies in four rooms of the house, and on Saturdays unemployed workers from many different income levels and jobs throughout the region lined up for assistance.
Local veterinarians spent many Saturdays there giving free rabies vaccinations. Others started low-cost spay-neuter programs through CARES to help prevent more unwanted puppies and kittens. CARES volunteers devoted many hours at fundraisers to pay for these spays and also to fund an Indigent Care Account that could help with emergency situations.
Even in those early days, local law enforcement officials, veterinarians and others asked for help with unclaimed pets they found. CARES members learned to bottle feed orphaned kittens and pups and without a shelter, they developed a small adoption program through foster homes.
Cabarrus CARES earned a reputation statewide for its willingness to help whenever needed. In 2004, one of the state's largest puppy mill busts in Sanford, NC required financial and physical help from other groups. CARES assisted with procurement of supplies, fundraising for kennel materials, production of posters and public relations materials and countless other ways.
Since that time, CARES has often been contacted when large-scale rescue or disaster relief efforts are in planning stage