The Santa Barbara Audubon Society & Friends of the Douglas Family Preserve have created a very useful guide for dog owners that focuses on your pet’s well-being at the seashore. It is chock-full of important information, listing all the dog friendly beaches of Santa Barbara County (there are 21!), and the rules for dogs at those beaches. Even though it’s winter, the guide is timely because migrating shorebirds are resting and feeding on the beaches right now, and dog owners need to be aware of rules and regulations.
Tips for taking your dog to the beach:
• Bring fresh water and provide shade for your dog to avoid heatstroke on hot days. Drinking sea water can make your dog sick.
• Rinse off salt water as it can irritate your dog’s skin and paws.
• Remove tar with cooking oil, not solvents.
• Sunblock can prevent sunburn on noses and pink skin.
• Very hot sand or asphalt can burn paw pads.
• Practice the “come” command before heading to the beach in order to help your dog with voice control at off-leash beaches.
• Bring treats for encouraging your dog to obey commands at the beach.
• Check www.tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov to see if the off-leash beach is under water at very high tide.
• Carry biodegradable bags with you. Leaving bags on the beach is illegal and will pollute the ocean.
• Training your dog to go to the bathroom at home before you go to the beach will keep the beach cleaner and reduce environmental and financial costs of plastic bags.
• There is a convenient self-serve Monarch Pet Spa warm water dog wash at Arroyo Burro Beach.
• The “Poop Pac,” which was invented and made in Santa Barbara, replaces awkward and flimsy plastic bags. This pack is hands-free and there is a place for keys and your cell phone. For more information, visit www.PoopPac.com
• Always bring your cell phone to the beach in case of an emergency. Calling 911 will get you to the right dispatch for that beach.
Our beaches are a thin ribbon of habitat that shorebirds need to rest and feed during their long distance migrations. As our population increases, places that are crucial for shorebird survival are decreasing. Remember that harassing wildlife is against the law. Unleashed pets harass and kill birds on our beaches every year. You as a dog owner can help. The Friends of the Douglas Family Preserve believe that we can be aware and share the beach with these four simple actions:
• Walk your dog around birds instead of walking through their flocks.
• Leash your dog before they chase birds.
• Respect closed areas set aside for endangered or nesting species.
• Stay away from birds that look sick or are unable to get away from humans.
Luckily for dogs that like to run free on the beach, there are two miles at Shoreline Park Beach from Thousand Steps to east of Arroyo Burro County Beach where off-leash dogs are allowed. Just remember that by law, all off-leash dogs must be: with a responsible person carrying a leash, properly licensed with tags, healthy, not in heat, not aggressive or dangerous, and all waste must be collected. Dogs who are not under voice control should not be off-leash.
Since sick birds are vulnerable and will try to defend themselves with their sharp beaks, it’s best to call a professional if you find an injured bird. Call the Wildlife Care Network at (805) 681-1080. If you find an injured mammal, call the Marine Mammal Center at (805) 687-3255.
For a list of Santa Barbara County Beaches that allow leashed and off-leash dogs, visit ourmesaneighborhood.com
Pets in the Classroom
Established by the Pet Care Trust in 2009, Pets in the Classroom has provided grants to pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers to purchase or adopt new pet and required equipment or to support existing classroom pets. The Pets in the Classroom program has seen more than 7,000 grant requests since the program’s inception. With an average classroom size of 30 students, the program has brought a pet into the lives of an estimated 210,000 students. The addition of grant availability to seventh- and eighth-grade teachers will help increase the number of children positively influenced through the human-animal bond and the numerous benefits that come from learning about responsible pet care.
For more information on the Pet Care Trust and the Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit PetsintheClassroom.org.
C.A.R.E.4Paws’ FurEver Valentine’s Friendraiser
Join C.A.R.E.4Paws’ for a fun-filled event Saturday, February 11, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. At Oreana Winery to raise funds and awareness for Santa Barbara County animals in need. Enjoy wine, chocolate tasting, food, and music by Jesse Rhodes. Plus, bid on amazing silent auction items (all proceeds go to support C.A.R.E.4Paws’ spay and neuter programs). If you’d like to contribute to the silent auction or help sponsor the event, contact C.A.R.E.4Paws at care4paws.org
Tickets are $35 (includes food, a glass of wine, and gourmet chocolate). To buy your tickets, visit care4paws.org/valentines.
You can also mail your payment, with checks payable to C.A.R.E.4Paws:
P.O. Box 60524
Adoptable Pet of the Week
Bob is a gorgeous mini-lop bunny. He is a bundle of cuddly love. A former house rabbit, Bob is looking for a lap to snuggle in and a forever home to share with you. Come and see this lop eared charmer for yourself! Every rabbit sheltered at B.U.N.S. is spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
If you have been thinking about adopting, now is the time since B.U.N.S. is currently overflowing with bunnies and guinea pigs up for adoption! Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is a volunteer organization that cares for abandoned rabbits. B.U.N.S is located at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. B.U.N.S. works to find bunnies permanent homes, and educates the public on caring for a companion rabbit. You can call the County Shelter at (805) 681-5285 or call BUNS at (805) 683-0521 and leave a message for someone to call you back. For more information, visit: www.bunssb.org