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Meet Markelle Pineda of SAFE Rescue Team in Sunset Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Markelle Pineda.

Markelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
If you asked my parents, they would tell you I have been rescuing animals from the time I could walk/talk. For the last half a dozen years, I was actively involved in the rescue community. From trapping lose dogs, working animal cruelty cases, advocating for animals in a public forum, fostering and volunteering.

I quickly realized there was more need to be involved so I founded SAFE Rescue Team in early 2019. SAFE stands for Saving Animals From Euthanasia. We have a horrible problem at our shelter system in So Cal and in today’s society and I want to do as much as I can and bring light to the severity of this situation and inspire more people to be involved. Whether it’s donating, volunteering, fostering, showing up to city council meetings, it takes a village!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
NO! Rescue is a moving entity. You have to roll with the tide, make spit decisions, and be a master juggler at all times.

I personally struggle over not being able to help more animals and save more lives when we don’t have enough support due to not enough volunteers/fosters, donations.

SAFE Rescue Team – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are an Animal Rescue! We rescue animals that are in high kill animal shelters, abandoned, unwanted, or in need of severe medical help. We are known for helping medical animals that other rescues might shy away from due to cost involved. I’m proud of the work we do, the lives we have saved, the village that we have aligned with! What sets us apart is that we are worriers for these animals! We don’t discriminate by breed, age, or species for that matter. Among the hundreds of dogs we have helped, we have rescued pigeons, cats, guinea pigs, rats, possums, birds, ducklings, you name it! If we can make it happen, we will!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Hudson! A deformed, bully breed we rescued from the deadliest shelter in So Cal minutes before he was to be euthanized. This boy had lived a horrific life of neglect! He has the purest sweetest heart and his soul and eyes are pure love! He reminds me of why we do what we do everyday.

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