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Feb 10 2017

February 10 marked the birthday of our original founder, Betty Martines, who had no idea that she would become a rescue pioneer back in 1957 when she started YAPS as an idea. At first, just wanting to help homeless animals, she started taking in abandoned pets and housing them in her shed on California Street in Yucaipa. Being a rural area, many pets found themselves dumped in vacant fields with no prospects to join a family. Betty was determined to change that. Today, 60 years later, YAPS has grown to help animals across the entire Inland Empire and we successfully rescued and adopted out more than 600 pets in the last year alone. We like to believe Betty Martines has as much to do with those 600 adoptions as she did with the handful of animals she started out with.

Sadly there is not much in the way of records or written history about the intervening time between then and the opening of the first YAPS facility in 1983. We have only a brief interview she gave to the Yucaipa News Mirror shortly before the shelter began construction, and a rough draft of a project she appeared to be working on with the Yucaipa Historical Society. The project details the story of the first dog ever taken in by YAPS, a German Shepard, known only as Girl, who was found living in the hills overlooking Yucaipa High School, where the YAPS facility was built and resides to this day. What can be gleamed from this project, as well as her interview, was her love for animals in need and her determination to build a proper shelter where they could safely reside while waiting for adoption. Indeed, over the 30 years that passed between housing animals on her property and the opening of the shelter, her passion for helping animals only seemed to increase.

Even though we may not have many firsthand knowledge of Betty Martines herself, her presence has nonetheless continued to loom large over everything we do at YAPS. We exist solely because of her vision and dedication, and her love and compassion for animals in need drives us all to continue carrying out the mission she began so many years ago.

If Betty Martines were to visit YAPS today it is unlikely that she would even recognize the shelter that she first built so many years ago. We have many new buildings than when she left it, and our grounds have been reorganized several times, but what she would recognize is the spirit of the organization that she created. YAPS is proud to have remained a no-kill shelter that provides a safe sanctuary to dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes, and ages. We may not be lucky enough to know the entire story of every animal that comes to us, but we try to know them as they are now, and we show them all the kindness and dignity we know they deserve, and do everything we can to make sure they find the right forever homes. We hope Betty would be happy to see that has never changed. As she told the News Mirror so many years ago, “You can’t tell all the stories because there is a story with every animal. We do the best possible thing for every animal.”  We think Betty would be proud of what her legacy has become, just as we are honored to continue carrying it out.

Mar 17 2017

Of the ten or so adult cats currently residing at YAPS, Oscar has been with us the longest. He was actually born here in July of 2015. In fact, a picture of him as a kitten can be seen on our website under the “View our cats” adoption page, so in a way you could say he’s become something of a mascot for us. If you’re lucky enough to see him in the common room, he’s pretty distinct among the other adult cats, striped gray and black fur on his top half and a cream-colored white on the bottom, and a coloration pattern around his nose that makes him look like he has the cat equivalent to a five o’clock shadow. He’s friendly with the other cats, occasionally nudging some of them as he makes his way from the outdoor area and up to the top of one of the furniture pieces in the common room where he can safely observe.

When I entered the cattery to meet him for the first time, several of the adult cats were eager for the introduction, some of them encircling my legs, some of them meowing their greetings. One of the other cats, Princess, even leapt up to the windowsill to be eye level with me and affectionately butted my outstretched hand repeatedly with her head. Somewhere in the midst of this flurry of activity is where Oscar had silently entered and climbed to his observation spot. Not wanting to make him nervous, I continued to pay attention to the other cats while slowly making my way over to him. Princess had decided that we were friendly enough that she had leapt to my shoulder and was vehemently rubbing her head against my neck and shoulder, not so subtly coaxing me with her adoption pitch. Eventually I was standing close enough to Oscar that I was able to reach out and pet him. He accepted the gesture, regarding my hand with mild annoyance, as though he was resigned to the fact that this was simply part of the shelter life. A few moments later, though, he had decided he’d already had enough, and jumped back down to the floor. He started to head outside, but changed his mind at the door and stayed there, looking back at me. He had already decided not to adopt me, but he remained curious nonetheless.

For people who are used to animal shelters, this experience may sound a bit different than a typical shelter environment. That’s because the cattery at YAPS is unique. In most shelters, cats and kittens are kept in cages, which are often cramped, with little room to move about and interact with each other or with people. In these types of environments, it can be difficult to discern the personalities of the animals or know if they would be a good match for you or your home. At YAPS, the cats are never kept in cages and are allowed to roam free in a dedicated indoor space, and they even have access to fresh air and sunshine through an enclosed outdoor patio. The cats are able to be themselves, and their personalities are allowed to shine through. They don’t have to appeal to your attention through the bars of a cage. YAPS is also a dedicated safe haven for them while they wait to be adopted, free to live without the fear of euthanasia, even if they are with us for as long as Oscar has been.  For most shelters, that safety period is only five days. While many shelters actively seek to avoid euthanasia, it is still an unfortunate regular occurrence as a result of overcrowding. YAPS seeks to intervene and lighten this overflow burden when we can by rescuing animals from shelters, but our current capacity is constantly at the limit. We are, however, working on a solution.

For the past several months, YAPS has been planning the construction of a new cattery facility on our existing property. At about 800 square feet, this new facility will be about three times the size of the current cattery, and will increase our capacity limit by an equal margin. Much like the current cattery, the new facility will not have any cages and will have an even larger enclosed outdoor patio for the cats to wander and lay about in. There will also be several windows to allow for natural light exposure, and the facility will be fully heated and air conditioned. There will also be more room for visitors and potential adopters to be able to sit and observe or interact with the cats in an environment that is comfortable for both. A larger capacity will also hopefully mean being able to find loving forever homes for that many more animals on a yearly basis. Over the past twelve months, YAPS has facilitated the adoption of 245 cats. With a larger cattery and more animals, that number will doubtlessly rise as well.

Recently, we have been applying for grants to help us break ground on this project. So far, we have received donations from private donors and contributors, and we will continue seeking additional grant funding from various grantmakers in the region, as well as accepting contributions from private donors such as yourself. If you or someone you know would be interested in donating to this project as well, we would love to hear from you. Please feel to contact us at YAPS at (909) 790-1440. Every contribution makes a lasting impact. It is our hope that together with our generous supporters, this new facility will be a step toward our long term goal of making the Inland Empire a kill-free safe haven for all shelter animals. 

Pets Placed in 2016


Animals Placed this Year




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