Santa Barbara County Animal Services(SBCAS) has been proactively working to keep the community aware of changes to our daily operations and animal related topics.   SBCAS is receiving inquiries about pets, COVID-19, and the services we are currently offering.
Below is a short Q&A session put together for our pet parents and community members.

Q: Why can't I surrender my (healthy) pet?
A:  Approximately 14% of our animal intake comes from owner surrenders.  74% of our intakes come from stray (lost) animals.  Those two numbers combined would typically mean a whole lot of pets coming in.  We are trying our best to avoid the overcrowding of animals and have sent a significant number of our shelter pets into foster homes.  We are prepared to assist the public and want to maintain space for pets that need us in the coming weeks.

Q: Why do you need me to hold this stray pet?
A:  That's a great question!  SBCAS is asking people who find friendly stray pets to consider fostering them until the shelter can resume normal operations.  This could possibly be 4-6 weeks or even longer!  Pets typically stay close to home when they go missing, so fostering them where they are found helps get pets home much quicker.  The pets also avoid the stress of the shelter if they stay with the finder.  People who find stray animals should call SBCAS to make an appointment for the animal to be vaccinated, dewormed, photographed, and checked for a microchip.  Finders should also file a found report with SBCAS and hold the pet at home to give the owner time to locate it.  We are asking people who find stray animals to place the animal on Nextdoor, 805 Pets, Facebook, and other types of social media in the hopes we are able to reunite the pet and its owner.

Q: Are you stopping operations? 
A:  No.  We have modified operations to repond to emergency animal control calls and have halted all non-essential services.  We are still holding adoptions by appointment and we are in need of foster caregivers.  We are accepting stray animals by appointment (see above) and emergency owner surrenders.  Please contact your local shelter for questions of to make an appointment!

Q: Can my pet transmit COVID-19 to me and my family? Can I transmit COVID-19 to my pet?
A:  According to the CDC and the USDA, it is rare for humans to give the virus to animals, but if a person is infected, that person should limit the interaction with their animals as a precaution.  At this time, the USDA says there is no evidence animals can spread the infection to people.  Things are changing daily in regards to COVID-19 and Pets.  The health and safety of our pets and the community is our top priority.  Please visit the link below for more information.

Q:  How can I help?
A:  First of all, THANK YOU!

Foster homes are needed now, but more importantly, we need adopters to adopt animals currently in foster homes.

SBCAS will need fosters for all types of animals, be we are specifically looking for foster homes without other critters or small children due to the nature of the animals in our care.  SBCAS provides veterinary care, crates, supplies, and food.  You may also donate pet food or pet supplies to animals in need at any of our three shelter locations.

Q:  I have a trapped cat.  Can I bring the feral cat into the shelter?
A:  Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) Services are suspended during this time as they are considered non-emergency programs.  These cats are at no imminent risk in their outdoor homes.  Only significantly sick or injured cats and kittens, or cats and kittens at significant risk such as cruelty or neglect, should be brought into the shelter during an extreme crisis such as COVID-19.

Q:  Can I schedule an appointment for spay-neuter?
A:  Unfortunately, we have suspended our public spay-neuter clinic at this time and these services are not considered essential.  Please contact your full service veterinarian to see if they are able to accommodate your pet's needs.

Q:  I need a rabies vaccine and license.  Can I come to the Thursday Affordable Vaccine Clinic?  Will I have a late fee if my license is overdue?
A:  We have suspended our public vaccine clinic at this time.  Please contact your full service veterinarian to see if they are able to accommodate your pet's needs.  If you need to update your Santa Barbara County Dog License, you may do so on our website,  You may also call you local shelter if you experience any issues online.  Staff will be happy to assist you!  Currently we are waiving late fees for overdue licenses.

Q:  How can I meet an animal already in foster care that I am interested in adopting?
A:  Contact your local shelter to be connected to one of our foster coordinators.