Santa Barbara County Animal Services, the county’s largest open admission shelter, provided care for 4,601 animals in 2022 — an increase of nearly 3% over the prior year.
Fortunately, Animal Services also saw a significant increase of placements of pets to loving families, resulting in 1,934 adoptions and 1,246 foster matches for the year.
That’s according to the agency’s recently released annual report.
“SBCAS is building the largest foster network on the Central Coast, resulting in fewer animals living isolated in kennels and more flexibility to adapt to the community’s needs,” Animal Services Director Sarah Aguilar said in a news release.
Through the growth of the fostering program, SBCAS has had many success stories including reuniting 29-year-old macaws, Heckle and Jeckle, with their lifelong caregiver, Charlotte.
When Charlotte and her friend Linda drove off for a vacation with Linda’s beloved macaws, they envisioned themselves soaking up some sun and browsing the quaint shops in Solvang. But partway through their vacation, they got into a tragic car accident.
Charlotte and Linda were rushed to the hospital, where Linda tragically succumbed to her injuries, and Charlotte received emergency medical care. The parrots were transported to Santa Barbara County Animal Services for care.
Nearly three months after the accident, Charlotte reunited with her family, Heckle and Jeckle.
“Nothing is more joyful than reuniting pets with a loving owner, and it’s our great honor to serve people like Charlotte,” Animal Services said in its news release.
While the success stories are many, SBCAS continues to see an increase of animals entering the shelters. Beginning in early November, the campuses in Santa Maria and Goleta experienced a daily average of 14 animals entering the shelters for care.
SBCAS continues to encourage Santa Barbara County residents to volunteer and/or foster these loving animals.
“We are reconnecting with our community members as we encourage them to visit us and help care for pets who are temporarily without families,” said Ms. Aguilar. “County residents are reaching out to volunteer, foster, donate and adopt in numbers that we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. The enthusiasm is propelling us forward as we continue to expand services and accessibility to all areas of the county.”
Additional statistics include:
— 9.476 service activities by Animal Control officers.
— 13,879 donated volunteer hours.
— 969 pets returned to their homes.
— 2,399 spay and neuter surgeries.
To see the entire report, go to countyofsb.org/1434/statistics-reports.