Westminster dog foster mom is building a ranch to help big pups find suitable homes amid rising euthanasia

Karla Boss soothes the dogs she fosters out of her home at the border of Westminster and Huntington Beach on Thursday.
(Eric Licas)

Sam’s tail wags like a stubby windshield wiper whenever he meets new people. The chonky, 80-pound mixed-breed pup with snow white fur, black ears and spotted belly can’t help himself from plodding up to visitors of Karla Boss, his foster-mom, and then leaping onto his hind legs to give them a hug.

He’s a fast-moving boulder of energy who’s “perfectly adoptable,” Boss said during an interview at the home in Westminster she shares with her family and rescued canines. Or at least Sam would be, if he wasn’t living in Southern California.

Karla Boss opens the side gate to her home in Westminster after walking  dogs she fosters Thursday, June 8.
Karla Boss opens the side gate to her home in Westminster after taking several of the dogs she fosters out for a walk Thursday, June 8.
(Eric Licas)

Big dogs typically require space, and that’s something that comes at a premium in Orange and Los Angeles counties, Beverly Hills-based Deity Animal Rescue and Foundation co-founder Ellen Ballon said Wednesday. There aren’t as many families in the area with both the willingness and capacity to take them in.

Meanwhile, local shelters are brimming with stray or abandoned pets. Kennels are running out of room for them, placing many healthy, lovable lumps like Sam at risk of being put down. Ballon described the situation as “dire.”

“Our shelters are so overrun, and a lot of it could have been from COVID babies, dogs that weren’t spayed and neutered,” Ballon said. “Adoption rates are down, foster rates are down and the euthanasia rate is sky high.”


That’s why Deity and other groups involved in the pet rescue field are raising funds to help Boss fulfill a longtime dream. They want to create a ranch somewhere outside of Southern California to help big dogs from the area find more suitable homes elsewhere.

“If you go outside of L.A. and lots of other cities in California, you get to the areas of the United States where there’s more space, more room to run,” Ballon said. “They don’t have the same pet overpopulation numbers that we have here. Also, they are willing to take the big dogs that are harder to get out of the shelter and the first to get euthanized because they have the space out there.”

Boss said the idea came to her early on in her time working with rescue dogs. That’s mostly because the challenges of adopting larger breeds in Orange and Los Angeles counties quickly became apparent.

They found the perfect location for their mission on a 35-acre property in Colorado recently put up for sale by a former neighbor. It comes with a heated garage and shed that can easily be converted into an indoor space for dogs in the winter, as well as all the room they could possibly need to roam and socialize.

The asking price for the property was a round $1.2 million, Boss said. She and Deity are hoping to raise $800,000.

Regardless of how much money they can put together, she and her family plan on selling their current home and setting up the foster ranch. If they can’t afford the site in Colorado, they’ll find a place somewhere that fits their budget.

“We will buy something smaller if we have to that still has space to rescue more,” Boss said. “But we’re still doing this even if we don’t get that one.”

Karla Boss cuddles with pups at her home in Westminster where she fosters hard-to-adopt dogs on Thursday.
Karla Boss cuddles with Ossa and Houston at her home in Westminster where she fosters hard-to-adopt dogs on Thursday.
(Eric Licas)