She has lived here only 18 years but, already, she has become a legend.

Publicity is essential to a project that is her very life; but newsmen from as far away as San Francisco have tried and failed for the story of her personal life, and most of them stand in awe of her.”

Lloyd occasionally would relate the last time she saw her father: On Christmas Eve 1928, he helped her escape communism and flee from her hometown of Irkutsk, Siberia.

Lloyd continued rescuing animals with her hands-on style.  She even risked her life to lure a frightened German shepherd off Interstate 5.

“Back then Mrs. Lloyd was the only person the sheriff could call if he saw a distressed animal, and I mean the only person. There were no animal activists,” Jo Smith said.

“If you’d call the shelter, she’d answer the phone herself and hustle you to adopt an animal or donate money. She was magnificent… Many others including me still volunteer at the thrift shop because of Mrs. Lloyd,” Smith said.

Lloyd was honored by the Legislature in 1969 for her “spirit of public service and devotion to animal welfare” in a resolution sponsored by Assemblyman John Stull, R-Leucadia.

In 1970, she spearheaded a drive to end the trapping of wildlife. She also worked to introduce low-cost spay and neuter clinics to the county. By 1974, when Lloyd retired as founder and president of Rancho Coastal Humane Society, the shelter had taken in 60,000 birds and animals, including a deaf dog, a baby seal, a 400-pound baby beak whale, vultures, skunks, foxes, turtles, ducks, possums and a bobcat kitten. One of the most unusual friendships was between a 6-foot boa constrictor and a pigeon that enjoyed sitting on the snake’s head.

Lloyd continued lobbying and fundraising efforts on behalf of animals until her death in 1979 at 74.

Editor’s Note:  Please allow RCHS to honor its founder, Maria K. Lloyd as we “hustle you to adopt an animal or donate money” to continue her legacy in animal rescue!