On Wednesday, May 26, C.A.R.E.4Paws and Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS) join forces with five other nonprofit partners to open two new Pet Resource Centers at the County Animal shelters in Lompoc and Santa Barbara.
No pet owner should ever have to make the tough decision between paying a bill and buying pet food or providing medical treatment for a four-legged family member. But the pandemic has made it hard for a growing number of community members to care for their pets, leaving animals at greater risk of being relinquished to a shelter. The Pet Resource Centers are part of the shared community-based vision of C.A.R.E.4Paws and SBCAS to leverage partnerships to provide increased support services that prevent animals from ending up in shelters.
On May 26 at 10 a.m., Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborn will perform the ribbon cutting at the Lompoc shelter, 1501 W. Central Avenue; while Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte will do the honors at 1 p.m. at the Santa Barbara shelter, 5473 Overpass Road.
Pet Resource Centers are locations where community members can pick up dog and cat food and other supplies, as well as sign up for critical pet wellness services and veterinary care in C.A.R.E.4Paws’ mobile clinic and the SBCAS clinic at the Santa Maria Animal Center.
In January 2020, C.A.R.E.4Paws and SBCAS co-launched a center at the Santa Maria Animal Center and the Companion Animal Placement Assistance (CAPA) has been sponsoring a pet food bank at the Lompoc shelter since 1997. This is in addition to the 10 centers hosted by C.A.R.E.4Paws at partner agency locations throughout the County.
Based on community response to these prior efforts and the critical need for pet food, supplies and veterinary care created by the pandemic, C.A.R.E.4Paws, SBCAS, and CAPA were joined by four additional nonprofit partners to open the new centers in Lompoc and Santa Barbara: Animal Care Foundation of Santa Barbara County, ASAP Cats, K-9 PALS, and Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (BUNS).
According to Angela Yates, Director of Santa Barbara County Animal Services, “These Pet Resource Centers are a perfect example of how we can provide greater service to the community through partnership! Alone, none of our organizations could provide all the support and services needed in our county, but together we can form a strong safety net that keeps animals together with their families, in homes rather than shelters.”
Beyond the joint Pet Resource Centers, during the pandemic, SBCAS and C.A.R.E.4Paws began collaborating even more closely to prevent animals from being relinquished at SBCAS’s three shelters. A joint staff member works with pet owners inquiring about relinquishing their animals to provide access to the services and support they need to prevent them from having to give up their pet. This includes assistance with spay and neuter surgeries, veterinary care and pet food.
Since the start of COVID-19, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Companion Pet Assistance program has distributed more than 400,000 pounds of pet food to pet owners in need throughout Santa Barbara County. This amount of pet food is 100 times the total amount of pet food distributed during any year prior to the pandemic and reflects the tremendous need in the community. The uncertainty around the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic creates an imperative to bolster services and resources to keep families together.
“The Pet Resource Center shelves are filled with food donated by individual community members and local businesses, and we encourage everyone to be a part of this project by continuing to drop off donations at all three shelter locations,” says Isabelle Gullo, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Executive Director. “Together we can ensure that no cat or dog in our county goes hungry.”
- Community members in need of assistance, visit the Pet Resource Centers at the three County shelters during open hours.
- For help with pet food or other services and for a complete list of Pet Resource Centers countywide, go to C.A.R.E.4Paws Pet Assistance
- Donations for the Pet Resource Centers can be dropped off at all three County shelters
- SBCAS services and programs