Actor gives home to abandoned pets in S. Calif.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nearly 35 years ago, Leo Grillo thought he could get people to stop dumping dogs and cats in the forests and deserts of Southern California.

He discovered quickly that wasn't going to happen. There seems to be no end to the number of animals he finds discarded on the side of the road.

"It sucks the life out of me. It's very, very painful," he said.

Grillo promised every unwanted animal that crossed his path that he would keep it safe and do all he could to keep it happy and healthy for life. He set up DELTA (Dedication & Everlasting Love to Animals) Rescue to keep that promise, and today, with 1,500 dogs, cats and horses, it is the largest no-kill, care-for-life sanctuary in the nation for abandoned pets.

The sanctuary sits on 115 hilltop acres in western Los Angeles County and has an annual budget of $8 million and about 50 employees. On the grounds are a state-of-the-art hospital, a full-time veterinarian and its own fire department.

The sanctuary, which was founded in 1979, was and still is one of the few care-for-life sanctuaries for domestic animals in the United States.

Grillo, an actor, was driving through the Angeles National Forest in 1979 when he found the first dog he would save — an abandoned, malnourished Doberman-Labrador he named Delta. The two were on a hike in the forest later that year when they found 35 abandoned dogs. Thousands would follow.

Dr. Gaylord Brown met Grillo in 1985 when the actor brought in a dog that had been hit by a car. Brown said he told Grillo how much it would cost to treat the dog.

"I was shocked by his readiness to say 'Go ahead, go ahead.' I remember telling my staff at the time, 'I don't know how much longer this guy will be around because he is spending all his rescue money on one animal,'" Brown said.

But Grillo told him to worry about the animals and he would worry about the money. Fundraising was never a problem, Grillo said. He became an expert at direct mail donations, not dreaming that mail could become so nearly extinct decades later.

"Look at the hole I've dug. We are in the last generation of direct mail respondents," he said.

Grillo is learning all he can about electronic fundraising. As a start, he has been named a top-ranked charity by the American Institute of Philanthropy CharityWatch.

DELTA Rescue was one of the first no-kill sanctuaries in the country, but some animals must be put to sleep.

"If they have intractable pain, don't interact with their caregivers or stop eating, we will help them to the other side in a gentle manner. But we don't put animals to sleep just because they are diagnosed with cancer or have difficulty rising," Brown said.

DELTA doesn't take animals from or place animals with the public. It is for discarded animals only and only those found by Grillo.

Anything the sanctuary needs, Grillo buys it or builds it.

The dogs needed housing, so Grillo came up with straw-baled dog houses. With 25 bales of rice straw (a product used in making particle board) and three sheets of plywood, DELTA Rescue can build a house for the life of the dog, he said. The houses have wood on the inside and stucco on the outside to make them last longer. A pool completes each dog's quarters.

As the population of animals at the sanctuary got older, Grillo needed a full-time vet. He talked Brown into giving up his private practice to work at a DELTA hospital that he could help build. Twenty-five years later, the hospital is equipped for surgeries, X-rays and anesthesia, with an in-house laboratory. A camera that pans and zooms is being installed in the hospital now, Grillo said, to make it easier to consult with specialists in other parts of the country.

The majority of work at the hospital is with older patients who have cancer, heart ailments, kidney and liver problems and arthritis.

Because of its remote location, the sanctuary has its own fire protection.

"The sanctuary is my line in the sand. With the animals, it is fire," Grillo said.

He bought three fire engines and has ordered a tanker that will spray fire retardant. "With one fill, one piece of equipment can spray the entire property down, including 50 pine trees, and nothing will burn," he said.

No one is afraid to call Grillo obsessed. He does it himself. He even made a documentary called: "The Rescuer, A Story of Obsession." In it, he searches for one dog and her family for two years.



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Photo by Louis Lopez Antoine Custer, De La Salle De La Salle, ranked third nationally by MaxPreps, finished 14-0, while Centennial finished 12-3. The Huskies can take some satisfaction in scoring three more points than Bellevue (Wash.), which racked up the most points against a De La Salle team in 2004. Even though the offenses put on a show, it was a pair of interceptions by linebacker Cameron Lissarrague and fumble recovery by Jonathan Lopez that proved decisive on three consecutive possessions starting late in the third quarter. "We just needed to make a stop or two for our offense," Lissarrague said. "I'm glad I could make a couple of plays." The offensive fireworks started immediately and Centennial's had a little more flash. Photo by Louis Lopez Nate Ketteringham, CentennialThe Spartans took the opening kickoff and traveled 80 yards in five plays, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle by Hernandez. It came one play after Custer ripped off a 23-yard gain on the edge. As easy as the Spartans made it look, the Huskies made it look even easier. Catalano faked inside on two handoffs, broke right for runs of 25 and 35 yards, the latter a touchdown run to tie it at 7-7 with 8:50 left in the first. An 89-yard kickoff return by Custer set up a 3-yard touchdown keeper by Chris Vanderklugt and De La Salle was back up for seven plays. A 25-yard run by super scat back JJ Taylor (14 carries, 133 yards) set up a 16-yard TD run by Centennial's other QB Ketteringham, tying the game at 14 midway through the first quarter. De La Salle actually had to punt on its next possession and Centennial looked that it would too after a Boss Tagaloa sack. But on third-and-17 from the 13, Catalano threw a quick out to superb wideout McKinley, who sidestepped a couple De La Salle defenders and raced 87 yards for a touchdown. In three series, De La Salle had given up 210 yards, more than it allowed on average per game. 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De La Salle 63, Centennial 42 De La Salle  14  21  20  8  — 63 Centennial  21    7  14  0  — 42 First quarter DLS — Hernandez 15 run (Rodriguez kick), 9:12 C — Catalano 35 run (Jake Perez kick), 8:50 DLS — Vanderklugt 2 run (Rodriguez kick), 7:22 C — Ketteringham 16 run (Perez kick), 5:41 C — McKinley 87 pass from Catalano (Perez kick), 1:45 Second quarter DLS — Custer 9 run (rush failed), 10:54 C — McKinley 25 pass from Ketteringham (Perez kick), 8:42 DLS — Hernandez 3 run (Hernandez rush), 6:23 DLS — Custer 5 run (Rodriguez kick), 1:55 Third quarter C — Bonner 5 run (Perez kick), 9:18 DLS — Custer 20 run (Rodriguez kick), 5:20 C — McKinley 92 kickoff return (Perez kick), 5:07 DLS — Custer 73 run (Rodriguez kick), 3:58 DLS — Hernandez 2 run (Rodriguez kick), 1:55 Fourth quarter DLS — Asiasi 12 run (Custer run), 1:31 Individual statistics Rushing DLS — Custer 31-273, Hernandez 26-175, Vanderklugt 5-64, Anderson 4-27, Asiasi 3-25. C — Taylor 14-133, Catalano 12-89, Ketteringham 8-77, Bonner 1-5. Passing DLS — Vanderklugt 3-4-0-35, Fulton 1-1-0-1. C — Catalano 5-10-1-172, Ketteringham 5-9-1-52, Bankehead 1-1-0-6. Receiving DLS — Hernandez 1-19, Mayer 1-8, Phillips 1-8, Harvey 1-1. C — McKinley 6-153, Bankehead 2-62, Taylor 2-9, Ketteringham 1-6. Tackles DLS — Wiley 10, Lissarrague 8, Brown 7. C — Brambaugh 20, Ulloa 10, Bynum 8, Stewart 8. Team statistics First downs: De La Salle 30, Centennial 23 Rushing attempts-yards: DLS 69-559, C 35-304. Passes: DLS 4-5-0, C 11-20-2 Passing yards: DLS 36, C 230 Total yards: DLS 595, C 534 Fumbles-lost: DLS 2-0, C 1-1 Penalties: DLS 9-71, C 4-43 Possession: DLS 33:14, C 14:40 Photo by Louis Lopez The Spartans celebrate their state title.

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