Taylor Elliott left Ventura at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, to get to San Bernardino by 1:30 a.m.
Early Thursday, the 23-year-old was among the first dozen people in front of the city animal shelter hoping to adopt a new pet.
By 11 a.m., she had her pup, Aubrey, an affectionate 18-month-old pitbull mix.
Spurred this week by social media posts that falsely claimed the Police Department would euthanize all animals at the San Bernardino facility Friday, Elliott slept in her car to attend Thursday’s free pet adoption event at the Chandler Place shelter.
And she wasn’t alone.
Several hundreds turned out Thursday hoping to adopt from the shelter. Police officials expected every adoptable animal to have a new home by the end of the day. As of 1 p.m., the shelter had only five dogs left for adoption, according to a post on Twitter.
WE HAVE NO MORE CATS AVAILABLE & ONLY 5 MORE DOGS
Once we finish with those adoptions, we will close the facility for the day. It has been a very busy day and we want to let the animals rest. We will open tomorrow @ 10 & will resume normal operation for the foreseeable future. https://t.co/gm1NyP697A
— San Bernardino PD (@SanBernardinoPD) May 9, 2019
“I lost my pet four years ago, and I saw (Aubrey) and was so full of love for her,” said Elliott, who plans to return Friday to pick up her newest family member. “She’s such a loving dog. Rescue dogs are the best. I took her into the play area and she ran up and tackled me and wouldn’t stop kissing me.
“That’s when I knew that was my girl.”
About six weeks after San Bernardino city leaders directed the city manager to negotiate and sign an agreement with Riverside County for animal control services, county supervisors did not vote on the plan, saying Tuesday they wanted to give San Bernardino rescue groups time to develop proposals to take over operations there.
Had Riverside County leaders approved the $2.1 million contract, animals from San Bernardino kennels would have been transported to the Western Riverside facility on Van Buren Boulevard gradually, not euthanized as suggested online.
In the wake of Riverside County’s decision, the San Bernardino shelter, at 333 Chandler Place, will remain open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
As one of hundreds ready to adopt Thursday, Elliott called the turnout incredible.
“These people have a heart for these animals.”