May 28, 2024

We are thrilled to announce that the Santa Barbara Humane 2023 Annual Report is now available online!

Please enjoy perusing our annual report and seeing the impact the community’s support has made over the past year.

We are not just a shelter; we are also a hospital, a school, and a sanctuary. Our annual report features stories of rescued animals, program updates, donor recognition, event highlights, and details on how your donations support our mission of animal welfare through safety net programs, affordable veterinary care, education, and adoption services. 

We hope you enjoy reading about the wonderful achievements made possible by your generosity. Thank you for being a vital part of our Santa Barbara Humane family!

santa barbara humane bulldog sage

January 26, 2024 • NOOZHAWK

Santa Barbara Humane Celebrates Successful 2023, Looks Forward to Bright 2024

Thanks to the unwavering support and loyalty of residents of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Humane has a lot to celebrate. Operating through its two campuses in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, SB Humane has achieved remarkable milestones in 2023:

  • 28,656 animals received affordable or free expert veterinary care
  • 5,961 animals and families received financial assistance for veterinary care through the TLC Fund
  • 2,127 animals were adopted into loving homes
  • The first SB Humane Gala was a smashing success, with more than 300 guests and volunteers in attendance.

In 2023, SB Humane saw a 28% increase in adoptions from 2022, resulting in 2,127 animals finding homes. One such animal was Sage, a 3-month-old English bulldog, who was surrendered to Santa Barbara Humane due to a severe respiratory infection and lack of appetite. Her owners were unable to afford her medical care. As a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, bulldogs are prone to respiratory issues, and the veterinarian team’s main concern was determining how severe the respiratory condition was. 

The team was able to physically examine her and run chest X-rays to assess Sage’s condition. The results showed mild pneumonia, but her overall health was good. She was started on antibiotics to treat the infection while closely monitoring her appetite. Within a few days, Sage’s health improved dramatically. Her appetite and energy returned as the pneumonia cleared. Her new family met her, fell in love, and adopted her on the same day.

Like so many other animals, Sage arrived at Santa Barbara Humane as an owner surrender. As an open-admission shelter, Santa Barbara Humane accepts pets surrendered by their owners regardless of the animal’s age, health, or circumstance. In 2023, 1,229 animals were surrendered to Santa Barbara Humane by their owners, an increase of more than 25% from the prior year.

Shelter animals like Sage weren’t the only ones helped by Santa Barbara Humane’s safety-net programs in 2023. Thanks in part to grants and generous donations from the community, Santa Barbara Humane offers low-cost and free medical services to thousands of pets throughout Santa Barbara County through the TLC Fund. This fund made a difference in the lives of 5,961 owned animals in 2022, a 51% increase from 2022 and more than a 650% increase from when the TLC Fund was started in 2020.

Read the full story at >>


Santa Barbara Humane Celebrates 2,000 Animal Adoptions in 2023

As a dog named Tiger was walked out the door by his new adopter, the staff of Santa Barbara Humane took a moment to celebrate a momentous achievement. With the adoption of the two-year-old Anatolian Shepherd, the organization has reached 2,000 adoptions in 2023, already a 20% increase from last year’s totals.

Santa Barbara Humane has seen a steady and heartening increase in adoptions in the past few years. The organization found homes for 1,263 cats and dogs in 2021 and 1,666 animals in 2022. This upward trajectory reflects the hard work of Santa Barbara Humane’s hard-working staff, dedicated volunteers, and the community’s tremendous support.

Kerri Burns, Santa Barbara Humane’s CEO, expressed gratitude for the community’s support and reflected on the achievement, stating, “Reaching the milestone of 2,000 adoptions in a single year is a remarkable accomplishment for our organization. We are profoundly grateful for the growing number of families choosing to adopt their pets from us. ” While Burns is thrilled with 2023’s adoption numbers, she is already looking to the future, “this is just the beginning. We are looking forward to building on this success in the years to come.”

santa barbara humane 2000th adoption russell and tiger


Santa Barbara Humane Shares Need for Renovation

A visit to the Santa Barbara campus today reveals the extraordinary need for a complete transformation. 

Indoor and outdoor facilities are from a bygone era in animal welfare, and coincidingly, there has been a 20% increase, year over year, in the use of Santa Barbara Humane’s services.

Enter a visionary master plan: A phased renovation that promises not just a transformation of animal care for the community but an expansion of services, enhanced accessibility, increased opportunities for veterinary staff training, and a steadfast commitment to infusing every moment with hope and compassion.

In a recent article in the Pacific Coast Business Times, CEO Kerri Burns shares more:

For the past six years, Santa Barbara Humane has been expanding its services to better help the animals in the area and the surrounding community. But now the nonprofit is undertaking its largest expansion yet, with the announcement that it will be retrofitting its current 5399 Overpass Rd. location in Goleta in an approximately $60 million project that will help Santa Barbara Humane “bring the services people need right to them.”

Once complete, it will be the largest nonprofit shelter on the Central Coast.

“We feel we are the best-kept secret in Santa Barbara and we don’t want to be anymore,” Kerri Burns, CEO of Santa Barbara Humane, told the Business Times Dec. 12. “We offer so many services beyond a traditional shelter because we want to meet the people of the community where they are.”

Burns, who joined the nonprofit six years ago, said the project will be done in phases so that people of the community can continue to access Santa Barbara Humane throughout. The first phase of the process will cost approximately $16 million while the second phase, which would begin a couple of years later, will cost approximately $46 million, with the entire project hoping to be completed within five years of the launch of phase 1.

So far, Santa Barbara Humane has raised approximately $10.5 million toward the goal, secured preliminary approvals from the City of Goleta and aims to begin phase 1 in the summer of 2024.

“Our mission is to be champions for animals and the people who love them and through this build, we will be able to continue to do that,” Burns said. “We are a local nonprofit and we have only come so far because of our community and now we are excited to unveil this project and one day soon finish this beautiful project with our community, together.”

Burns noted that when she first took over the role, after having spent nearly two decades in the animal welfare business, the adoption rate for the nonprofit was a couple hundred animals per year. Since taking over in 2018, Burns said Santa Barbara Humane has seen over 9,000 animals adopted and has taken in about 5,000 animals from other overcrowded shelters throughout the state.

But what people might not know is that Santa Barbara Humane offers much more than just the adoption of animals. Burns said the nonprofit offers dog training, affordable veterinarian services, free food for those who cannot afford it for their animals and many other services.

In regards to medical care, Santa Barbara Humane has completed over 100,000 medical procedures. The new facility would help their mission as it would expand their medical services capability by making it three times larger, offer classes to upcoming and hopeful veterinarians because “there is a massive shortage right now” and give people a place to seek anything they might need.

“We want to offer all the services people don’t think exist or can’t afford right to them,” Burns said. “I could envision the new facility being complete every day and I could feel what an accomplishment it would be for this community.”

Along with growing its services, this also isn’t Santa Barbara Humane’s first expansion opportunity. In 2020, the nonprofit merged with Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, making that its second location in the county. In 2023, Santa Barbara Humane is also expecting its best year yet, adopting out over 2,000 animals with their vet team providing care to nearly 30,000 public animals, meaning that doesn’t include the care provided to those in the shelter.

“When this project is completed, I am going to be so proud of this community for recognizing and stepping up and building the next campus for generations to come and to help more people and pets stay together,” Burns said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many more people began adopting animals as a way to cope with being indoors as well as the other difficulties at that time. Burns said she expects that trend to continue even as the pandemic seems to have subsided.

“If you look at any major way or major situation, people have taken in pets and we know now it is because of what it does for the health and the emotional well-being of humans,” she said. “Animals create a host of feelings for us and as time has progressed we understand what animals can do for us and our lives and I don’t think that will slow down at all. It will only grow.”

Read the article at Pacific Coast Business Times >>

May 8, 2023

Story Poles Signal a New Era at Santa Barbara Humane

It is time that our facilities grow along with our programs, services, and vision for the next 136 years. 

Today we will be erecting some story poles  at our Santa Barbara campus, which will be up for the next week or two. These story poles signal the work we’ve done to support a new era of animal welfare at Santa Barbara Humane. 

We have been working with a professional team to identify a renovation plan that will offer a celebrated resource for sheltered animals and community animals. We are looking to include state-of-the-art veterinary facilities; enlarged pet enclosures optimized for security, support and stimulation; and adapted spaces for behavioral training.

We are early in the planning phase, and the story poles are a required precursor to presenting the City of Goleta with our conceptual plans. 

There will be a great deal more information coming out on our renovation efforts as we officially move forward with our planning and fundraising. 

We look forward to having your support as part of this exciting new chapter. 


Talking TLC with SB Humane

This week we visited with Kerri Burns, CEO of SB Humane and her team of CFO Paige Van Tuyl, and COO Dori Villalon at the Santa Barbara location on Overpass Road. The four-acre property holds a veterinary clinic and surgery center, food, lodging and training of dogs, a cat hotel, and offers shelter during local disasters for pets like rabbits, chickens, and horses.

It is obvious this team loves animals and their job, as evidenced by the animals that are there. The tour started with the vet clinic where we were greeted by the dog manning the clinic; yes, seriously. Dogs are assigned to various tasks for socialization skills. This dog was great, smiling, attentive, and followed us around – it did appear he was managing the place!

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Katie Marrie, holds a Masters in Shelter Medicine, and the clinic is staffed with licensed veterinarians. They perform up to 30 surgeries a day, do blood work in-house, sterilize equipment via autoclave, do health exams, and provide vaccinations. 

Burns said that services for animals are provided whether the pet owner has funds or not. “Those who can pay are actually helping pay for those who cannot, and of course anyone can make a donation towards that.”

The cat shelter features music – which research has shown calms the cats – and pheromones released into the air which smell like a mother cat, so the cats instinctively feel safe. The cats’ cages are roomy and split-level, and have a doggie door so the felines can go outside. 

We next toured the property where there are large open areas for individual dogs to run and play on a rotating basis. There is a recreation and skill learning plan, so dogs are both exercised and socialized. They go to the beach, to Home Depot, and other types of outings. The dogs have heated individual outside pens they go to only for sleep at night and feedings. Burns asked if I noticed any dogs barking. There was a friendly bark as we walked through, but not the expected chorus of barking from all the dogs. She mentioned this was because of the programs they have at the center. 

Read the full article at >>

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