K-9 PALS — a volunteer organization that provided support and services at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter for 11years — has announced its plans to withdraw from the facility at the end of August. The decision comes three and a half weeks after the dismissal of K-9 PALS president Janelle Ward as volunteer coordinator at the shelter.

“K-9 PALS will no longer be an organization supervising and managing volunteer activities at an animal shelter,” K-9 PALS boardmembers wrote in an emailed statement. “Given the events of the past 18 months, we believe this is the best option for both the organization and the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter.”

While the K-9 PALS Web site boasts a “unique relationship” with Santa Barbara County Animal Services, that relationship appears to have decayed over the past months. On July 7, County Animal Services announced in an email that Ward would no longer coordinate volunteers at the shelter as part of a “restructuring” of the volunteer program that will result in “changes in the relationship between volunteers and Animal Services.” Ward had volunteered at the shelter for over 17 years.

After withdrawing from the shelter at the end of the month, K-9 PALS plans to transition into a “resource” for all animal welfare groups and shelters in the county. They will also continue to provide veterinary care assistance, prescription dog foods, and spaying and neutering programs for dogs at the county shelter.

Although K-9 PALS faces an uncertain future, the group has already begun to move on by planning an August fundraiser at Hollister Brewing Company.

Check The Independent’s Thursday print edition for more on this story.


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