By Ginny Weissman
I recently took a tour of Dedication & Everlasting Love to Animals, known as D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the largest “No Kill, Care-for-Life Sanctuary” of its kind in the world. It is an awe-inspiring place that shows what can be accomplished in animal rescue because one man followed his heart and asked the right question, which in this case was, “What’s right for the animals?”
Leo Grillo, founder and president of D.E.L.T.A., kept asking that question as he designed and built his massive state-of-the-art animal sanctuary located in the high desert area of Los Angeles
Grillo is an actor and a passionate conservationist and animal advocate who is considered an expert in the field of animal rescue. In 1977, Grillo moved to Los Angeles to launch his film career. Then in March of 1979, Leo began to have strange dreams about a dog that was about to change his life. While driving through the Angeles National Forest, he spotted a black Doberman, just like the one in his dreams, wandering slowing down the road. Leo picked up the very tired, thin dog and wondered how someone could have abandoned this sensitive, loving dog in the forest far away from food or water. Leo named the dog “Delta,” which means, “change” in Greek. The rescue of Delta truly changed Leo’s life and, “was just the beginning of many more wilderness rescues to come,” explains Grillo.
In 1979, with the financial help of some of his friends in the acting community and other generous donors, Grillo was able to begin building D.E.L.T.A. Rescue. It has continued to expand and grow over the past three decades as it attempts to keep up with the increasing abandoned animal population in the wilderness.
Today, The D.E.L.T.A. Rescue SuperSanctuary is home to more than 1500 animals that live on a beautifully landscaped and maintained 115-acre mountain top ranch surrounded by rolling hills. It is truly a haven for the animals lucky enough to have crossed paths with its founder.
Over the years, Leo personally rescued thousands of abandoned, sick and slowly starving dogs and cats that were days away from certain death. At the SuperSanctuary, the rescued animals are introduced to a happy new life. Their days are filled with good food, playtime and the knowledge that they are not only safe but also greatly loved, and have a home for the rest of their lives.
More than 800 dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes live in huge yards that feature straw bale houses that are insulated to keep the dogs cozy warm in the winter and cool when it is hot with the addition of a wading pool in the summer months.
Specially trained attendants feed them the finest quality dog foods and provide them with fresh water, treats, toys and affection. Since the dogs are spayed and neutered when they are rescued, males and females are “married,” sharing their happy new lives in their own house and yard enjoying frolic and play without fear of hunger, thirst or abandonment. The cats at D.E.L.T.A. Rescue live in actual houses with indoor/outdoor play areas.
There are two hospitals and a full-time veterinary staff on the premises providing the finest care for the animal residents and developing cutting-edge technology that has changed animal medicine.
“Animals are people to me,” says Grillo, “we will not condone the disposing of pets any more than the disposing of children.” D.E.L.T.A. Rescue absolutely refuses to accept animals given up by the public. They also do not adopt out animals because Leo feels, “that will steal homes away from pets in the pound – wonderful animals who will be killed only because they can’t find new homes.”
D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is a 501c3 that receives no help from the government and relies solely on donor contributions. If you would like to become a donor, please visit their website at www.deltarescue.org or call 661-269-4010.