Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter Breaks New Ground

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NB Indy columnist Robyn Grant

Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS) will mark a significant milestone when the organization breaks ground on a permanent animal shelter in the city of Newport Beach. The groundbreaking is planned for late September, with construction expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Much like the hugely successful undertaking by a group of Newport Beach residents to create OASIS Senior Center, FONBAS is the effort of local pet lovers to provide a meaningful space, an “oasis,” for the care of lost and stray animals in the City.

Newport Beach does not yet have a permanent public animal shelter. For a time, services were contracted to third-party providers. About five years ago, the City decided to retake responsibility for its displaced animals and began operations as the Newport Beach Animal Shelter in temporary, leased space. Animal Control Supervisor Valerie Schomburg is at the helm.

“We care for dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, snakes, birds—any animal needing our attention” said Schomburg.

Led by a dedicated group of former mayors and community leaders, FONBAS was formed in 2017 as a non-profit organization to raise funds and awareness for the City-run Shelter. Since that time, the group’s efforts have supplemented the funding of special medical procedures, equipment and services for animals under City care.

Kandy and Karl were ready to adopt last year at the Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

“Our priority is providing for the needs of displaced animals,” says Jon Langford, FONBAS President. “Community participation is essential. We encourage animal lovers to demonstrate their support by becoming FONBAS Members.”

Two major donors, Doug and Eva Le Bon and the Audrey Steele Burnand family, along with hundreds of committed animal lovers, participated in a four-year campaign resulting in the purchase of a property zoned for kennels on Riverside Drive in the Santa Ana Heights region of Newport Beach.

Fundraising for the capital campaign continues as $500,000 is still needed to complete the shelter, which will then be donated to the City.

Valerie Schomburg, NBPD Animal Control Supervisor, Officer Bubbles (the dog), Jonathan Langford, President of the Board of Directors, Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

Once built, the state-of-the-art facility will include a single-story, 1,600-square-foot shelter, including a 750-square-foot kennel to house displaced dogs, cats and other animals, plus parking, a front-yard greeting area and a secure rear-yard exercise area. Animal services will go well beyond pet adoption to include temporary housing for lost dogs and cats until they are reunited with their owners, dog licensing, coyote and wildlife management, quarantine in case of bites, and other services.

Evelyn Hart, FONBAS Board member and former Newport Beach Mayor, said it best: “Like the Friends of OASIS and Friends of the Library, our mission is to build on the ‘pawsitively’ wonderful work the City already does.”

To participate or become a FONBAS member, go to

Animal lovers can choose between various giving amounts from Puppy/Kitty at $25 to the Big Dog category for $1,000, with many levels in between and above.

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