22 canines will find new homes in Santa Barbara
A highly anticipated caravan of dogs arrived in Santa Barbara Saturday evening after making a long trek from Texas to escape Winter Storm Uri’s icy weather and power outages.
The pack of 22 dogs was greeted by staff members at Santa Barbara County Animal Services headquarters in Goleta, where they waved Texas flags and cheered as the vans of canines arrived.
“There was just such a feeling of joy, and the dogs were so happy,” Angela Yates, director of Animal Services, told the News-Press Monday. After making the long trek, Ms. Yates said the dogs were wagging their tails excitedly as if “they knew the people were there to help them.”
The Texas canines will be relocated to Santa Barbara homes and begin a new life after escaping life-threatening conditions as a result of Winter Storm Uri.
As widespread power outages left thousands of Texas residents without power or running water for days, animal shelters were not spared from the effects of the storm, and they experienced outages and freezing temperatures that placed their animals at risk.
In a response effort, El Paso Animal Services took in dogs from other shelters across the state, housing twice its capacity with a total of nearly 500 dogs in its shelter.
With dogs crowding the packed space, Ms. Yates said the situation was on the verge of becoming a crisis.
“When you have double your maximum capacity and have multiple dogs in a kennel that’s built for one dog, you really reach a human crisis point,” Ms. Yates said. “You cannot physically care for that many animals in that space.”
In response to the desperate situation in El Paso, Santa Barbara County Animal Services responded and offered to find dogs new homes in Santa Barbara.
In addition to the dogs, the animals included one cat.
Thus far, the community support for this effort has been overwhelming, Ms. Yates said. As of Monday, the shelter has received more than 400 adoption applications just for the 22 Texas dogs.
By the end of the week, Animal Services is expecting to see each of the 22 dogs settled into new homes, Ms. Yates said.
“I think it’s made us realize the life-saving capacity in our community to adopt dogs,” she said. “We really can help more dogs because our community is willing to step up.”
While not everyone who applied will be able to adopt a dog from Texas due to limited numbers, Ms. Yates said there are plenty of opportunities to adopt in Santa Barbara County. Animal Services also has a shelter in Santa Maria, and Ms. Yates hopes that those who do not receive a Texas dog may consider adopting from other areas of the county.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get all the Texas dogs adopted and all the dogs in Santa Maria adopted?” Ms. Yates said.
For more information on animal adoption, visit countyofsb.org/phd/animal/home.sbc.