Santa Barbara County Animal Services saw a significant increase in the number of lost pets coming into its facilities for the sixth month in a row during April. The shelter plans to expand its team and hold more community events to meet the needs of the increasing number of lost pets. 

“We know that the community we serve has the capacity to help us, and we are committed to building one of the largest foster programs on the central coast,” Director Sarah Aguilar said in her April summary of services.

Shelter Operations reported a 90.2% live release rate during April, according to its monthly report. To enhance reunification efforts, the department plans to host adoption drives and volunteer meetings. The organization has also partnered with local organizations such as Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter, Santa Barbara Humane and the Animal Shelter Assistance Program to hold free microchip clinics throughout Santa Barbara County starting in June.

The shelter also facilitated the adoption of 156 pets, about a 25% increase from the previous year; however, transfers to foster homes were lower. Animal services placed 127 dogs and 141 cats and kittens in foster care. 

Aguilar also emphasized the growing need for support of newborn animals and expecting dog and cat mothers in their monthly summary. “Challenges to access veterinary care over the past three years mean an increase in the need for support of pregnant moms across our community,” the report said.

The shelter is finalizing a proposal to transfer licensing services to a third party to enhance customer service and improve efforts to increase licensing and reunification rates. To meet the needs of the increase of animals in their services, the shelter is also expanding its animal care team and is actively recruiting for key positions. See more at 

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