The VBAS: 30 Years of Saving Lives!

June marks an important milestone for the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter (VBAS) as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. As the non-profit volunteer arm of the shelter, the VBAS has been working exclusively with the Burbank Shelter for 30 years to provide supplies, manage foster programs, fund special surgeries, and provide many other life-saving resources for the animals at the shelter. The VBAS currently consists of more than 100 volunteers and 200 foster parents.

Founded in 1994, the VBAS started with a few volunteers who recognized a need at the Burbank Shelter. The shelter had very limited resources, and was unable to fully care for all of its animals. Back then, the shelter didn’t even have a medical department. There were no programs for animals who had special needs like newborn kittens or animals requiring major medical care and surgeries. The volunteers stepped in to help, and over time developed the life-saving programs that are the cornerstone of the organization today.

The VBAS Kitten Foster Program (KFP) is a 100% volunteer driven program that fosters over 300 kittens each year.  The shelter has limited space, so KFP places tiny kittens into loving foster homes until they are ready for adoption. Without the KFP, these kittens would not survive. In 2023, the Kitten Foster Program fostered 385 kittens. The program provides all food, litter, supplies and emergency medical care. With the help of our very committed foster families we are on pace to foster over 400 kittens this year.

The VBAS Adult Dog Foster (ADF) program places dogs in foster homes. In addition to giving dogs a break from the chaotic shelter environment, ADF also places dogs recovering from major surgeries into homes to give them a quiet place to recover. As animal intakes are increasing at the shelter, the Adult Dog Foster Program is *essential*. By getting dogs out of the shelter and into foster homes, ADF saves lives. Without the Adult Dog Foster program making space when the shelter is full (and we are very full this year) dogs would be euthanized.

Not all cats are suited for indoor homes, so the VBAS created a Barn Cat Program to place feral cats into working homes all throughout LA County and beyond. Unadoptable feral cats simply would not make it out of the shelter alive without this program. Perhaps you’ve seen some of our felines hard at work at Home Depot in Burbank. Since 2020, the program has placed over 100 cats into working homes. Barn Cat Team Members survey potential Barn Cat locations to make sure they’re safe and suitable, and then provide all the supplies and instructions needed to get them started in their new working homes.

No one likes to stay inside a kennel all day, that’s why VBAS started our Happy Tails Hikes program, where Volunteers take shelter dogs on a 2+ mile hike in the Burbank mountains. For 15 years, these hikes have given dogs exercise and a chance to meet equally active people on the trails. Sometimes the people they meet on the hikes turn into adopters!

In addition to these great programs, the VBAS works with the shelter’s medical team to fund all life-saving medical procedures done by outside specialists. Pinning and repairing broken bones, difficult dental extractions, eye surgeries, and countless other special surgeries that are beyond the capabilities of the shelter are funded by the Volunteers. Without the VBAS, these animals would be euthanized. The VBAS also pays for special medications, prescription diets, labwork, the shelter’s X-ray machine and blood analysis machines, and many other medical supplies that the city cannot provide.

The Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter is a 501(c)3 charity and we receive no funding from the city or shelter. We rely entirely on donations to fund all of our programs. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Burbank Animal Shelter now has programs and resources that save the lives of hundreds of animals every year.

We are proud of our 30-year legacy of working with the Burbank Animal Shelter to save the lives of our furry friends.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, a foster, or to support the organization’s many life-saving programs to go www.thevbas.org.