Photo from the HOPE Animal Shelter Facebook Page. HOPE Animal Shelter is located in Tucson, Arizona. The photo shows Pumpkin with her new owner after being adopted.

Press Release Santa Cruz County, Arizona – The Santa Cruz County Animal Care and Control Services (SCCACCS) recently received a generous and unexpected donation from the estate of a community member.

Animal Care and Control Officer, Lt. Jose L. Peña Jr. received a letter from the Louis Windel McCauley Revocable Trust in January. “I am happy to send this letter with an enclosed check for $30,000 to the Santa Cruz Animal Care and Control on behalf of Louis Windel McCauley. Your organization took care of his beloved dog, Pumpkin,” began the letter.

In 2021, while in the hospital, Mr. McCauley contacted the SCCACCS office and requested they check on his dogs. Officers went to the home and found Pumpkin, a female Shepherd mix breed. SCCACCS took Pumpkin into custody and cared for her until Mr. McCauley was released from the hospital.

Shortly after the owner returned home, he made the decision to surrender Pumpkin due to his declining health. He contacted the SCCACCS again and requested their assistance in finding Pumpkin a home.

Animal Care and Control relied on their partnerships with rescue shelters to help with Mr. McCauley’s request. “We knew that if we went straight to a rescue for placement we would have the highest percentage to find Pumpkin a home. So, we went straight to the rescue for placement and opted not to hold her here for adoption,” said Peña.

The letter that accompanied the donation expressed the owner’s gratitude for all the help and care Lt. Peña and his team had provided during McCauley’s illness. “He had high hopes that Pumpkin would be adopted by a loving family. It brought him great comfort to learn that did occur. The care your organization provided his dog is the reason why he named the Santa Cruz Animal Care and Control as a beneficiary of his trust.” SCCACCS has opened an account for donations. They will begin fundraising money for a larger shelter that will accommodate more animals.

The current facility only accommodates 20 dogs and 10 cats. With more kennel space, that number could be tripled. The shelter currently saves approximately 70% of dogs that are picked up, that number up from 50% only 15-20 years ago. “We want to save 10 out of 10,” said Peña. “That is our ultimate goal, to find these animals a home, either through reunification, adoption, or rescue services. We will be in a better position to save more animals if we have a bigger facility.”

Lt. Peña said they are currently reviewing two shelter options. The first option would be to move to the old juvenile detention building located next to the old Sheriff’s Department on Hohokam Drive. The second possibility includes reconstructing and expanding their current property. The expansion would include land on either side of the existing facility which is owned by the City of Nogales.

Lt. Peña and his entire staff were grateful for the donation received by the late Mr. McCauley. “His generous donation is a great way to begin our fundraising efforts for a new space. We will find a way to honor his generosity at our new facility.”