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Funds in Will to Help Build Pet Clinic

The Humane Society of Ventura County will build a separate building for its spay and neuter clinic with more than $170,000 recently donated by a local animal lover.

President Joyce George said the society’s board of directors decided this week to use funds left in the will of Alice Wittenberg to construct the building on its Ojai grounds. The society currently spays and neuters about 6,000 dogs and cats in its Ojai headquarters.

With the new clinic, “hopefully we’ll be able to spay and neuter more animals for Ventura County pet owners,” George said.

“Unfortunately, there are about 20,000 dogs and cats each year in Ventura County that have to be destroyed because there are no homes for them,” she said. “If we can spay and neuter more animals, there will be fewer homeless animals born.”

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George said the society will increase publicity to reach pet owners in conjunction with the opening of the new building. But she said it is too early to know when the building will be constructed and that additional funds must be raised for the project.

The society charges up to $75 to spay or neuter dogs and up to $25 for cats.

Jolene Hoffman, director of the society’s animal shelter, said the donation from Wittenberg of Moorpark--who died in October at age 93--includes $165,818 plus about $10,000 worth of jewelry. It was left to the society, in part, Hoffman said, because Wittenberg no longer had any living relatives.

Molly deFremery, executrix of Wittenberg’s will, said Wittenberg inherited money from her parents. She said Wittenberg owned several horses, loved dogs and cats, and often photographed people’s pets.

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“She was very particular about her own animals,” deFremery said. “She wouldn’t let anybody handle them. They had the best food and everything else.”


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