UNION COUNTY, NJ - A local animal rescuer was awarded at a luncheon this week with two Certificates of Appreciation from the Union County Prosecutors Office.
Darcy Del Castillo received two Certificate’s of Appreciation from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, one for her work as Elizabeth Animal Shelter Rescue Coordinator and Animal Evaluator, and also for her non-profit Traveling 4 Paws.
Two other organizations, Brendan's Meadows Rescue and Best Friend Rescue of Cranford, along with Del Castillo were also awarded the Certificate of Appreciation for their work related to the care of canines at risk from a seized home located in Plainfield during March of 2018.
Del Castillo, a Cranford resident, has a lengthy and noteworthy history of animal rescue in the Union County area, most notably for the City of Elizabeth.
In 2014 the Supervisor and Board of Health of Elizabeth allowed Del Castillo to assist at the Elizabeth shelter. The plan was to help find rescues and homes for the many animals surrendered or placed into the shelter as a result of being lost or stray. Del Castillo worked an average of 5 hrs a week using social media and rescue connections to increase the release rate from 55 to 65% percent to 85%. The Elizabeth shelter was able to enact a spay neuter contract for adopted animals and other upgrades with help of the Elizabeth Board of Health and City Council.
In 2015 Del Castillo decided to launched Shelter Helpers to get the animals of the Elizabeth shelter attention and into rescue or homes.
“I soon expanded Shelter Helpers to help people with lost and found pets, matching up people with other rescues and shelters,” said Del Castillo. “In 2018 I worked to not just get the word out about the new cruelty laws, but I also made myself available to anyone with questions about cruelty or assist in helping solve situations. This has been my most rewarding activity. I am always willing to help with questions, explaining new parts of the laws, and making people feel heard.”
In January of 2018, Del Castillo began working with the Assistant Prosecutor of Union County regarding animal knowledge and needs. Her expertise helped to prepare that office for the new upcoming cruelty laws. She has also assisted in several recent hoarding cases in Union County, removing dozens of dogs and finding them safe placement.
Most recently, on January 31, the Linden Police and the Humane Law Enforcement Officer called on Del Castillo to come to a tow yard to help with two dogs in the trunk of a car. One was deceased and the other, a female now named Lola, was half frozen and dehydrated.
“They didn't want to stress her out and wanted my help. I was able to pick her up out of the trunk and start warming her and getting fluids in her. She was then placed in my rescue with a foster family. She has recovered from the trauma and is now available through my rescue firstname.lastname@example.org," stated Del Castillo.
“As president of Traveling 4 Paws, we have been able to save hundreds of dogs. We have been able to take in several cruelty case animals from a multitude of cruelty situations, owner surrenders and shelters,” says Del Castillo. “It has been such an honor to be able to help so many animals and complete so many families by adding a fur-baby. My rescue is honored to be a part of the solution for animal cruelty in Union County by assisting the Union County Prosecutor Office. I am honored by their Certificate of Appreciation and I look forward to continuing my work in Animal Rescue.”