Twenty-five years ago, when DAWG (Dog Adoption and Welfare Group) volunteers began their work, the Santa Barbara Animal Shelter impounded about 2,000 lost and abandoned dogs each year, and the Santa Barbara Humane Society filled all its kennels with dogs surrendered by their owners. The good news is that times have changed. Last year the County Animal Shelter impounded only a few over 600 dogs, and fewer were surrendered to the Humane Society by their owners.
The principal reason for this, of course, is the growing recognition that almost all companion animals need to be spayed or neutered. The Santa Barbara Humane Society has always promoted spay/neuter and maintained an excellent clinic that makes this vital service affordable to the entire community, for which all of us who rescue and care for at-risk animals are grateful.
It is easy to count the change in other people’s pockets and speculate how it might be better spent, but your article left out many pertinent facts about the role of the Humane Society. Over the years, when DAWG has been desperate for a few extra kennels to get us through a tight place, the Humane Society has opened its doors to us. They have provided spay/neuter care when our little clinic is overwhelmed. We have worked together with the Humane Society to shelter dogs evacuated in the face of fires.
We look forward to a time when all of the wonderful animal rescues that are part of the reasons Santa Barbara is such a special place can work ever more cooperatively in a cause that touches all our hearts.
Shirley Jansen is the founder of DAWG.