Animal shelters in Santa Barbara County see surge of pets

Santa Barbara County Animal Services took in 117 more animals this November compared to last year.

“In the last month, we’ve seen a mixture of everything, but our highest number would be our strays. I think a lot of people don’t know where to look when they miss their animal,” said Esme Medina, Community Outreach Coordinator for Santa Barbara County Animal Services.

Last week alone, they took in 87 pets and on Saturday, 33 were adopted. The facility in Santa Maria can host about 100 animals at a time.

“I would have to say that the influx of that would be a result of housing as well as people moving out of state, moving out of this community, as well as open gates with kids going back to school,” Medina added.

If someone believes they lost their pet, they can call or stop by the Animal Services shelter or even look for their pet online. The county does partner with agencies including Santa Barbara Humane to house some of their animals. Kerri Burns, the CEO of the nonprofit, says they also saw an increase in intakes this year.

“We’ve seen a slight intake over the last year. We’ve seen a 25% increase. However, our adoptions are also up by 30%, and I attribute a lot of that for animals not entering Santa Barbara Humane because of our safety net programs.”

Burns says this is part of a national trend.

“Research has shown that the numbers of animals coming in shelters is still not at the same level it was in 2019. The problem is not many animals are going out as they were in 2019, so this is creating kind of a backflow or a backlog of animals in shelters,” she added.

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