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15 years in, Marley's Mutts looks ahead to the future of animal welfare in Kern County

Since the beginning, Marley's Mutts co-founder Zach Skow says the Kern County community supported them and helped their mission spread across the county and beyond.
Marley's Mutts Wild Wag Fest 2024
Posted at 5:14 AM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 13:14:41-04

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KERO) — "With all of our different programs, we've been able to provide so much more than saving dogs." Zach Skow, co-founder of Marley's Mutts, says that for the past 15 years, they've connected dogs and people in unique ways.

  • 2024 is Marley's Mutts' 15th year rescuing dogs in Kern County and beyond.
  • When it first started, co-founder Zach Skow said he had no idea it would become such a large nonprofit. By uplifting the human and animal bond, Skow says they've reached people all over the world.
  • To celebrate 15 years, Marley's Mutts is hosting an event at Buck Owens Crystal Palace on May 18.


From Tehachapi to Bakersfield to across the world, Marley's Mutts has spent over a decade uplifting dogs and never giving up on them. 2024 marks their 15th year uplifting dogs across Kern County and the world.

"We have saved thousands and thousands of dogs," Zach Skow says.

Skow, co-founder of Marley's Mutts, said that when it began, he had no idea it would become such a large nonprofit organization, especially because he was at a pivotal moment in his life.

"I was diagnosed with liver failure. My diagnosis was originally terminal," Skow said. "So the whole goal of starting Marley's Mutts was to give me something to do to fill my life with purpose."

Now, 15 years later, Skow says he's grateful to see just how far they've come.

Since the beginning, Skow says he's grateful for the community support. As they've grown, they've been able to reach lots of people.

"What Kern County enabled me to do is not only pursue saving the dogs that saved me, but help try to really create a positive streak throughout our entire community and the human-animal bond that has so much potential," Skow said.

Skow says they've saved and changed thousands of dogs' lives. Through programs like Miracle Mutts therapy dogs, to the Pawsitive Change dogs in prisons, dogs and the unique bond they can create with humans have become a form of medicine, said Skow. Through rescuing dogs from shelters, they've also created bonds with foster and adoptive families.

And, their mission has spread worldwide.

"We've done spay and neuter in Romania, Bulgaria, Thailand, Korea, China," said Skow. "We've done a lot of work all over the world to help give a voice and give opportunity to dogs without parents."

But, there's more to be done, Skow says, including partnering with Kern County Animal Services and the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center to lower euthanasia rates locally.

"Get our community revived around the cause of animal welfare," said Skow. "Throughout the 15 years of Marley's Mutts, we've had peaks and valleys. We've been able to achieve relatively low euthanasia, and we've skyrocketed to high euthanasia. This is a particularly difficult year."

According to a report released by Kern County Animal Services, between January 1 and March 31, 2024, 673 dogs were euthanized. 273 of those were in March.

"There's a certain ethical and moral responsibility we have to dogs because we have created them," said Skow. "We have mass manufactured them, and if we abandon them in their time of need, that says a lot about who we are collectively."

To mark their 15th anniversary, Marley's Mutts is hosting an event at Buck Owens Crystal Palace on May 18.

"If you believe in animals, if you believe in the human animal bond and all of the medicine and magic that that bond can create, please support Marley's Mutts in our event," said Skow.

Tickets are available for the Wild Wag Fest 15 Year Celebration event here.

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