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Newport Beach

Volume 5, Issue 95  |  November 27, 2020


Take Five: Meet Jonathan Langford, president of FONBAS

By AMY SENK

In this crazy, upside-down world we live in, our pets are often literally saving our sanity. And in Newport Beach, the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter’s nonprofit helps make sure that vulnerable animals are cared for so they can be adopted into loving homes. The organization also helps fund special equipment, provides scholarships for education of people in the veterinarian tech field and is working to acquire a permanent home facility for the shelter. I caught up with Jonathan Langford, president of the Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS), to learn more. 

Take Five Jon and Peppermint

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Photos courtesy of Jonathan Langford, FONBAS

Jonathan Langford and his family’s furry friend, Peppermint

Q: Can you tell me about the nonprofit’s history and mission?

A: It makes sense that Newport Beach residents are so in love with their pets – you can bring them almost anywhere. Newport Beach’s beaches, parks, restaurants and shops are so friendly and accommodating to our furry family. When the city decided to run its own animal shelter five years ago, our group of local residents knew that community collaboration was key to making this a permanent solution. A new, beautiful animal shelter built by attentive Newport Beach residents would guarantee our animals would be taken care of forever. We also wanted to make sure our animals get amazing medical treatment –treatment they wouldn’t get from the city alone. We’ve come alongside to supplement costly surgeries and care.

Q: What are your biggest obstacles, and what are you most proud of?

A: The world is complicated and noisy. It can be hard for our message to break through, but once someone hears about the Newport Beach Animal Shelter and what we’re doing, they’re hooked. The passionate response of Newport Beach residents makes me most proud. They understand the need and they’ve exceeded the challenge. It’s something we can all be proud of.

Q: What do you think would surprise most people in our community when it comes to the city’s animal shelter?

A: We haven’t always had an animal shelter in Newport Beach. It’s relatively new. We formerly outsourced our animals to private facilities outside our community. A few years ago, our City Council prioritized this vital service, and FONBAS is working hard to guarantee our animals are cared for locally forever.

Take Five puppies

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Puppies born at the Newport Beach Animal Shelter

Q: You clearly are an animal lover. Would you tell me about your current pet? 

A: Our current pet, Peppermint, was rescued from China. She was destined for human consumption, but an Orange County nonprofit rescued her family and other dogs from their grim fate. They flew them to LAX, picked them up in a big van and drove them to a large property in La Habra Heights to get cleaned up and cared for. Pepper now lives the Newport Beach lifestyle with runs through Crystal Cove State Park and golf cart rides in CdM. You could never tell now that she was abused and doomed. She brings so much joy to me, my wife, Lara, and our young children, Lily and Jack.

Q: How can people get involved and help? 

A: Become a member, make a donation, purchase items for the animals directly off their Amazon Wish List, or follow us on social media. We just launched our final campaign, “Raise the Roof,” to assemble the final funding for the construction of the shelter. Generous donors have already delivered millions of dollars during previous campaigns to purchase the site and get plans drawn. Funding this final campaign will hopefully get construction completed before the end of 2021– an inspiring achievement for us all. Eva Le Bon, on our board of directors, sold me on her vision of the “Fur Ball” – an elegant evening soiree for animal lovers. It’s a super fun idea and I’d love to see it happen someday. Please visit www.FONBAS.org to find out more about us.

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Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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