Increase in Lost Pets Continues, Reports County Animal Services

By the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

For the sixth month in a row, Santa Barbara County Animal Services has seen a drastic increase in lost pets coming into their three facilities, as highlighted in their recently published April reports.

SBCAS Shelter Operations report a 90.2% live release rate, underscoring their commitment to finding loving homes for stray pets. With an increase in lost pets entering their care, they are determined to enhance reunification efforts. Upcoming events, including adoption drives and volunteer meetings, highlight the County’s commitment to community involvement. In June, they hope to host free microchip clinics throughout Santa Barbara County ahead of 4th of July.

In April 2023, SBCAS facilitated the adoption of 156 pets, an increase from the previous year. However, transfers to partner organizations were lower. In April, SBCAS placed 127 dogs and 141 cats and kittens in foster care, providing medical support and temporary homes. Foster homes have been critical in meeting the growing demand for care. In their most recent operational report, Director Sarah Aguilar shares the growing need for support and care for newborn animals in the community and the increased demand for assistance with expectant cat and dog mothers. You can read the Director’s Summary here.

To meet the needs of the growing number of animals, they have expanded their animal care team and are actively recruiting for key positions. They are finalizing a proposal to transfer licensing services to a third party, aiming to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency without raising costs.

About Santa Barbara County Animal Services: SBCAS is the leading animal welfare organization in Santa Barbara County, caring for over 5,000 pets in their shelters annually. SBCAS is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of animals and people through proactive intervention, effective enforcement, collaboration, education, and the compassionate care and rehoming of sheltered animals.

For more information about SBCAS events visit their website at or on social media.


Written by SBC Public Health

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  1. This news release neglected to mention the third most popular pet in the USA. Hundreds of stray and owner relinquished rabbits come into SBCAS each year with 2022-23 one of the highest on record. Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter, a local non profit all volunteer group cares for these rabbits in south SB county.. Funded solely by private donations and available grants, BUNS covers all expenses including medical, food, housing and daily care. Medical care alone can range from 50-80K per year. In south SB County Groups like BUNS and ASAP save the county thousands of dollars a year and contribute to that 90% live releases figure. It would be nice for these groups to be mentioned when SBCAS makes a public announcement about their commitment to abandoned and stray pets in our county.

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