Fowls Need Help

Hundreds of Birds Up for Adoption

Last week, the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office dismissed animal cruelty charges against a woman accused of hoarding more than 450 animals. These animals, mostly chickens and other birds, are now at Santa Barbara County Animal Services, and they’re seeking permanent homes.

According to the press release issued by Animal Services: “There is a wide variety of fowl available, consisting mainly of chickens — both roosters and hens. There are also turkeys, turkens and pigeons available. Anyone interested in opening their heart and home to one or more of these homeless birds is invited to apply for adoption. The animals are available for adoption immediately upon an approved adoption application. Interested parties are asked to come in to the County’s Santa Barbara Animal Shelter at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta and complete an adoption application. Serious applicants are encouraged to bring appropriate transport cages. Adoption fees apply and start at $5.00. Telephone inquiries are discouraged.”


Although many people are skeptical about owning a fowl as a pet, you might want to reconsider when it comes to chickens. Chickens are easy and inexpensive when compared to other pets. You can have fresh, nutritious eggs on a daily basis, quality nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and nontoxic pest and weed control. Chickens are also friendly animals with individual personalities. Plus, it’s better for the environment: Food that’s grown locally requires fewer resources to get that food to your table.

Surprisingly, chickens can adapt very well to the constraints of an urban environment. However, like all pets, they do have certain requirements, and there are many things to consider before getting chickens. First, you must check your local ordinances. Many cities are starting to allow hens, but most won’t allow roosters as they are perceived as noisy and would fall under noise ordinances. You will need enough room for a chicken coop. A good rule of thumb is 4 square feet inside the coop per chicken and 10 square feet of outdoor space. You will also need nest boxes where the chickens can lay their eggs and bird netting to protect your outdoor run from hawks. Chickens are susceptible to diseases, so make sure you know of an avian veterinarian. Most importantly, tell your neighbors what you’re doing. You can try to bribe them with free eggs since most chicken owners end up with more eggs than they know what to do with.

Tanya Gazdik Irwin, a friend of mine from Detroit, has a neighbor who raises hens. When I asked her if she has any complaints about the noise or smell from the chickens, she stated: “There is no noise since she has only female hens, and there’s no smell because she cleans up after them, just like a dog. She’s had them for two years, and the neighbors are fine with it. They are so smart; if you rattle a plastic bag, they come running because they know they are getting a treat. They are very friendly and social. Plus, their eggs are so much tastier than even the organic free-range ones at the grocery store.”

The design store Rooms & Gardens in downtown Santa Barbara has a chicken coop at the back of their store. When I heard of this, I had to see it for myself. I must say that I was quite impressed with the set up. Plus, the chickens really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

If you are interested in adopting a chicken, or any of the other hundreds of birds that are up for adoption, visit Santa Barbara Animal Shelter at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta


ASAP Takes New Approach to National Shelter Cat Month

June is National Shelter Cat Month and ASAP, the nonprofit organization that takes care of the cats at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter in Goleta, is offering a new take on the old problem of cat overpopulation with its “Every Cat Has a Tale to Tell” campaign.

Approximately four million cats and kittens end up in shelters nationwide each year —and shockingly, 70 percent are euthanized. The cats at the Goleta shelter have it much better: More than 92 percent of cats and kittens in ASAP’s care are adopted. This extremely high “live release” rate is possible because of ASAP’s presence at the shelter, where, since 1989, dozens of volunteers have worked daily to provide care for the area’s homeless and abandoned cats.

However, by June each year, the ASAP shelter starts filling up with cats and kittens. And this year is no exception—currently there are more than 75 adult cats at the shelter and 100 kittens in foster. The situation is critical, as the population of cats and kittens will continue to rise throughout the summer and fall months. Indeed, each day it costs ASAP over $100, or $3,000 per month, to feed just the kittens.

To draw attention to the problem of cat overpopulation at this peak time, ASAP has embraced the theme “Every Cat Has a Tale to Tell”:

“Shelter cats aren’t broken. They’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we’d call them wise. They are the ones with the tales to tell and stories to write. The ones dealt a bad hand, who responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter cat. Save one.”

Every cat and kitten that ends up in a shelter has a story to tell, of heartbreak or hardship that caused them to be homeless through no fault of their own. ASAP will be featuring this theme throughout the month, and at two special events on June 16th—an adoption promotion in partnership with Perry Ford from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and its first-ever “The Pussycat Chronicles” evening fundraiser at Red’s from 6-9 p.m. The public join ASAP in celebrating June as National Shelter Cat Month by adopting, donating much-needed funds, fostering a litter of kittens or volunteering at the shelter, and by attending either or both of these events.

ASAP is located at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta. For more information on “Every Cat Has a Tale to Tell” and National Adopt A Cat Month at ASAP, please call (805) 683-3368 or visit


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