Amanda Casarez was born and raised in the streets of South Central Los Angeles in the Watts Community. Her love and passion for animals stems from early childhood.
At the age of 5 years old, she began feeding and rescuing homeless animals in her neighborhood. In 2001, she decided to become a devoted volunteer and rescuer through local shelters and many well known organizations.
Currently, Amanda holds the role as the Intervention Program Manager at the South Los Angeles City Shelter and founder of Watts Project Street Rescue. She has dedicated her life rescuing, educating, & helping the community with their pets’ vet expenses. From her experience as the Intervention Program Manager, she has witnessed that most pets who end up at shelters does not mean their family didn’t once love them. The main reason is because their family could not financially provide the proper care.
In 2014, she funded Watts Project Street Rescue. An organization composed by a group of animal lovers, advocates, and volunteers who live within the community which mission is to “RESCUE, FOSTER, NETWORK and FEED the homeless, neglected and injured animals in Watts and South LA.”
Watts is an underserved community best known for its high crime rates, low income, and over population of stray animals. Watts Project Street Rescue is the only animal rescue organization located in the heart of Watts. According to Jeff Fleiss, Co-Founder of Watts Street Rescue, “what sets us apart from many groups who will go into Watts and South Los Angeles to rescue for mainly fundraising purposes is that we have many members who live within the community and we plan to engage others who are willing to participate to help eradicate the stray animal problem in their neighborhoods. We hope to accomplish this through spay/ neuter programs, trap neuter and return programs, rescue and adoptions, and educational programs.”
A great example is Dolly, a 3 year old shihtzu who was rescued from a local swap-meet/ flea market in South Central Los Angeles on August 2, 2015. Her teenage parents were giving her away because of unknown reasons. A good samaritan decided to take her in to prevent Dolly from ending in the wrong hands. After temporarily fostering her, she realized Dolly was not eating nor drinking water.
After physically examining Dolly, she discovered a very large lump under her chin, rotten teeth and severe bad breath. Her temporary foster and rescuer did not have the funds to provide Dolly with the proper veterinary care. Watts Project Street Rescue stepped in to help. Her results showed an extremely severe dental and jaw infection which may have the caused a fractured jaw. She needed urgent care and surgery. Her old rotten teeth told the story of a 10-12 year old dog, but she is much younger than expected. She received reconstruction jaw surgery on August 20, 2015. As she recuperates, with the heart, soul, and temperament of a puppy, she will soon be available for adoption.
Watts Project Street Rescue is one of the only organizations to participate in local community events such as Down Town Los Angeles Artwalk, CycLAvia, Watts Jazz Festival, and many more. So keep a look out during your next community event, because you may come across this amazing group of animal lovers who are changing the lives of pets in South LA and Watts Community.
Kat The Dog Trainer
After extensive years of experience researching and studying Animal Behavior/Canine Psychology, KaT the DogTrainer’s philosophy of dog training/ behavioral modification is all about proper communication, mutual respect, love and most importantly, patience between both human & canine. As human pet parents we are to accept, respect and love our canine family members, and shape only good behaviors through positive reinforcement and reward based training. Visit 141dogtraining.com
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