KCAS Introduces LION Program for Petco Innovation Showdown

Have you voted for Kern County Animal Services to be the third and final organization in the 2018 Innovation Showdown? If not, head over to petcofoundation.org to vote for the shelter. You have until April 9 to cast your vote.

KCAS is up against eight other organizations who are all pitching innovative ideas on ways to save animals’ lives.

The winner will receive $350,000 to execute their idea.

KCAS hopes to win the money to use it for their L.I.O.N. program, which would allow inmates to care for kittens. The shelter is working with the Sheriff’s Office to make this program happen.

Nick Cullen, the director at KCAS, says in video submission that about 1,250 kittens get put down every year at the shelter because there aren’t enough foster families and foster homes.

Cullen says this program benefit both the shelter and the inmates in a number of ways. Not only are kittens being saved, but inmates can also learn to care for animals and learn to bond with them. The program will also teach them a skill that can land the inmates a job in the animal field when they leave prison, Cullen says.

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Saving Kittens with Artificial Intelligence

Saving Kittens with Artificial Intelligence

Our Research and Development team has been working on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence systems to help save orphaned kittens – They launched their beta script in March 2018.

The program dubbed “CATbot” is an AI system that is designed to assist individuals who have no experience with caring for neonatal kittens or even what to do when they find an orphaned kitten.

CATbot is built with a Machine Learning algorithm that learns with each new interaction – both positive and negative. The algorithm uses dialogue flows to direct the users in the right direction: i.e. “I found a Kitten. What do I do?” which, in turn will execute a particular set of commands to properly “walk” the user through the steps necessary on what to do with the given situation.

Users can ask it a variety of questions using natural speech as well as use prompts given by CATbot incase it doesn’t understand that you’re asking it to do. If you ask it something and it doesn’t answer correctly, it’ll try and learn it and get add it to it’s database. It’ll also prompt the developers to teach it more information centered around what users have asked and it failed to answer.

CATbot is still in beta testing but is available to the public. A few things it can assist you with range from How to Bottle Feed a Kitten, how to Make Emergency Formula, and has an array of “signs & symptoms” on kitten illness and diseases. Though it’s still in beta, I highly recommend everyone to go and try it out. Ask it questions, and play around. The more interaction it gets the better it gets. And the more it learns, the better service it can provide to assist in saving abandoned kittens.

I’m really excited and proud to have been a part of this the development of this project, and look forward to the impact it has on saving the lives of abandoned kittens. CATbot’s framework is currently built for Orphaned Kittens, but is in development to include adult cats protocols, feral, TNR, and  general feline information.

If you’d like to help CATbot learn new information and save more orphaned kittens, visit the link below and start a conversation within CATbot’s Facebook Messenger.

➡ Chat with CATbot Meow ⬅

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Cat Hair Traces Back to Mailing Explosive to Obama

In a surprising turn of events, cat hair led to the arrest of a Texas woman who was accused of mailing homemade bombs to then-President Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016.

Evidence that helped authorities connect Julia Poff to the explosive devices included “cat hair found under an address label,” which was on a package sent to Obama, the Associated Press reported. (Other key items in tracking Poff were an “obliterated shipping label” with her address and a cigarette box she had purchased to make the device.)

According to court filings from a Nov. 17 detention hearing, an FBI crime lab found the cat hair on the package to be “microscopically consistent” with the hair of one of Poff’s cats, the AP reported.

Animal hairs, including cat hair, “can link a suspect or location to a crime of violence,” according to material on the FBI’s website. (Take, for instance, the 1994 murder of Shirley Duguay, a crime that was solved thanks to cat hairs found in the killer’s jacket lining.)

“When an animal hair is found, it is identified to a particular type of animal and microscopically compared with a known hair sample from either an animal hair reference collection or a specific animal,” the FBI site notes. “If the questioned hair exhibits the same microscopic characteristics as the known hairs, it is concluded that the hair is consistent with originating from that animal.”

Poff—who has been indicted by a grand jury on six counts, including mailing injurious articles and transporting explosives with the intent to kill and injure—reportedly “didn’t like” Obama.

At the hearing, a federal agent testified that Poff was angry with Abbott because she did not receive support from her ex-husband when Abbott served as Texas Attorney General, the AP reported. Of the three packages Poff sent (the third was sent to the Social Security Administration near Baltimore), only Abbott opened his, the article stated. Luckily it did not detonate because “he did not open it as designed,” court records stated.

Poff is currently being held at a Houston federal detention center, and a pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for early 2018.

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Harvey Victim Loses Life Trying To Care For Cat

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A young man was sadly killed earlier this week when he was electrocuted while treading through the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey so he could care for his sister’s cat and provide fresh food.

Andrew Pasek was just traversing through the flood waters with a supply of food in Bear Creek Village last Tuesday August 29th 2017, when he “got too close to an electrical wire that was still running hot,” his sister Alyssa explained to KPRC Houston.

“It was just a terrible mistake, accident that shouldn’t have happened,” Alyssa Pasek stated. “They were going to wade in the water, they were only in about knee-deep water and walking through the neighbors’ yards because the water was more shallow.”

Andrew, who was simply going to check on his sister’s flooded home and leave food for her cat, warned his friend to stay away just as he was electrocuted.

“He told Sean [his friend], ‘I’m dying. Go away. Don’t help me…’” his mother, Jodell Pasek, stated to KPRC Houston.

The grieving mother, who had lost a son in 1993, noted that she wants others to be aware of the dangers lurking in floodwaters.

“He cannot die in vain. I mean we really want to get this out to the public to be aware, to know about the dangers of the water and electricity,” Jodell stated.

“I’m pulling my strength from the fact I’ve been through it once and I can get through it,” she went on to say.

Andrew Pasek tragically lost his life at the age of 25 while showing compassion and care for one of our felines friends during a time of need.

Source: nypost.com

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600 Cats Saved From Euthanasia

600 Cats Saved From Euthanasia, Within One Year

I didn’t know Kitty  was going to be our 600th Rescue in Under a Year  when I went to pull from the the Kern County Animal Shelter – and, I didn’t find out until one of our data managers brought it up during processing.

For us, this news was something worth taking a few seconds to reflect on. Our staff has been rescuing at-risk felines almost nonstop throughout the year from local shelters.

If you haven’t already noticed, our strategies as an organization have shifted a bit from when we first opened our doors in Bakersfield, CA back in September 2016. We initially set up shop to be a Cat Cafe. We were planning on serving coffee, and snacks while visitors could enjoy the company of a furry friend. That plan changed when we truly experienced what was going on with the feline population in Kern County, CA.

We restructured the tiny building on Stockdale Hwy – ditched the couches, added more desks and working spaces. Revamped our Medical Unit and invested nearly all our resources in Neonate Kitten Care. Addressing the need of the community was one thing, but having the means to do so was another.

Over the past year, we spent time researching other agencies, talking with managers from shelters, and successful animal welfare organizations. We designed new plans for transportation, satellite center expansion, and new intake methods. We adopted a lot of our new tactics from the Million Cat Challenge:  Alternatives to Intake, Managed Admissions, Removing Adoption Barriers, and Trap Neuter Return Education.

It was this shift in our strategies that got us where we are today. We went from having Three (3) adoptions a month to Ten (10), then Twenty-Five (25), to currently averaging Sixty-Five (65) adoptions a month.

We just reached Five Hundred (500) adoptions the other day – we’ll reveal who the kitty and loving family are shortly.

It’s these new mission driven strategies and tactics that led us to being able to rescue Kitty, the Seven year old Diluted Torbie who was abandoned and left waiting for a foreverhome at the Kern County Shelter.

We immediately fell in love with Kitty  during our intake assessment, and knew we had to rescue her when I picked her up and she nuzzled her head into my neck.

Kitty  was rescued from one of the highest kill count counties in the country and was transported to our Santa Maria, CA Satellite Adoption Center. We couldn’t have made it this far it if it wasn’t for supporters such as yourself, our dedicated volunteers & staff, and collation partners like Kern County Animal Services – all working together to make our county and state “No-Kill.”

Here’s to the next 600 rescues. Save the Kitties.

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If you’d like to support our mission and help save more abandoned cats & kittens, please click the button above to make a donation. Thank you!


Flying Out of Bakersfield: Saving Kitties via Air

Thursday May 25th marks one of the largest milestones within SOXrescue – it’s the day that we took our transports to the air.

We had our first successful flight out of Bakersfield Municipal Airport to our Santa Maria Satellite with pilot Al Dilger.

“I’m just happy to be able to help save more kitties from being euthanized and find a home,” said Dilger.

After weeks of planning and coordinating, we were able to get all the pieces in order: Transfer from County; Intake processing; Receiving at Satellite’s Airport; and the Flight Plan.

Taking our transports to the skies has opened up many more opportunities for SOXrescue, some being the expansion of our reach throughout California: Fresno, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valley are currently in development for new satellite centers and more are in planning.

This satellite expansion will be able to nearly double our current adoption rates (currently: 9 adoptions for every 5 days).

Doubling the adoption rates also means doubling our impact in lowering the euthanasia rate in Kern County. To put this into perspective, 70-75% of our intake is from municipal shelters; 15% is surrendered; and 10% is abandoned at our center.


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Kitten Shower Recap

The 2017 Kitten Shower was a hit! Around One hundred members from the community visited our kitten nursery as well made supply donations to help us make it through the season.

Our nursery was able to raise over $1,250 in funds and an estimated $2,000 of in-kind donations.

In addition to all the wonderful support that was given by the community, we were also able to find homes for Five little furr balls. FYI – even though the shower is over, we still have a few kittens available through our foster-to-adopt program. *Adoptions still come with a “Kitty Swag Bag” from Purina full of toys, litter, food, and more.

The event wouldn’t have been complete without our nursery staff taking in a few kittens that some people thought would be okay to leave behind (without permission). Fortunately our neonate staff was ready and trained for this and were able to rush a litter to the emergency veterinarian, run intake for a few who immediately went into foster care, and take a few critical care ones into the nursery.

All of the behind the scenes work went on while our amazing Development and Event staff keep the party rolling – they’re also the masterminds behind all the amazing events we have.

For those of you that came down that day and those who wanted to and still supported our kitties some way some how, Thank You! You’re all amazing and beautiful people, not just for supporting our organization, but for standing along side us as we work late nights, long hours, and infinite amount of days so that we can Save the Kitties.