Girl Scouts Troop 2864 helps beautify Feral Cat Sanctuary, Valley Animal Center plans to expand in 2023

Girl Scouts Troop 2864

On May 21st, close to forty people came to Valley Animal Center to help beautify our Feral Cat Sanctuary. Many were members of Girl Scouts Troop 2864. They were accompanied by their parents, siblings, and friends. It was a warm Sunday afternoon, and they were all determined to offer their services to improve the lives of more than 70 feline residents.

All individuals approved to have their photos shared online, according to the troop leader, Gayle Vaughn.

The troop, located in northwest Fresno, is unique because there are over sixty girls in the troop, a very large number by Girl Scouts standards. They range from kindergarten to twelfth grade, and the troop is very much a girl-led program. 

Not all troop members were able to attend.

Gayle Vaughn has been the troop leader for 11 years. When asked how the girls selected Valley Animal Center to be the recipient of their assistance, she said the girls are encouraged to give back to their community, and the majority of them like to complete projects involving animals. Some of the members, already familiar with Valley Animal Center, suggested our organization and started planning ways to help.

With the proceeds from Girl Scouts cookie sales, the troop was divided into groups by age, and each group was given a budget. They took along our wish list from our newsletter, and each group bought many of the items listed. They also made blankets and rope toys for our shelter dogs and cats with material they purchased. Altogether, they spent about $3,000 on toys, bedding, food, and other much-needed items. To top it off, they brought several boxes of Girl Scouts cookies for our dedicated, animal-loving staff!

Our dog park associate, Bruce Whitsitt, led the group on a short tour of our facility, and by the time they finished unloading their donations, only an hour was left to work in the Feral Cat Sanctuary. In that time, Girl Scouts Troop 2864 accomplished a number of tasks!

Bruce is a dog park associate at Valley Animal Center and can often be found walking the premises with his best bud, Bane.

They pulled weeds, pruned trees and shrubs, built nearly a dozen cat houses, replaced bedding, and swept out the shed where many of our feral cats sleep. It was an amazing display of hard work, a marvelous coordination of duties, and it was all done with cheerful hearts.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to each girl, parent, and leader who participated in this wonderful enterprise. It’s great to know there are groups like this instilling in kids the virtues of hard work, selfless service, and kindness to animals.

Feral Cat Sanctuary Expansion

Our Feral Cat Sanctuary was founded by Art O’Brien, a local animal advocate who has cared for hundreds of homeless cats in his lifetime. The sanctuary provides a vast outdoor area for our local feral cat community, and with more than 70 residents, we have made the decision to move forward with expanding, a project we estimate will cost more than $60,000.

The area currently dedicated to our feline friends consists of an indoor shelter with a high-end cooling system for hot summers, a food area to nourish the cats, and a number of large litter boxes. The expansion will take place on the opposite side of our sanctuary next to our employee dog run. While we plan on adding many of the same features to this area, we also hope to improve both areas and continue to implement routine wellness exams.

Sponsor the Feral Cat Sanctuary

Currently, we are working to add more cat houses to the sanctuary and paint them in bright colors, add décor, and include ways to provide the cats with fresh water. If you are interested in learning how you can sponsor a cat house, or would love to learn how you can sponsor the expansion, please contact us at We would be happy to share our plans with you! You may also donate to support our Feral Cat Sanctuary Beautification & Expansion Project by clicking the button below. More information about this project will be provided in our upcoming print newsletter, social media platforms, and weekly email notifications. Stay tuned!