Our View: Project to suit a pet
Our View

Our View: Project to suit a pet

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The humane societies in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara have agreed to work as one. It’s a marriage of necessity.

The union has been a work in progress since mid-2018. The necessity of this joining became obvious when the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society began to have problems, specifically demands that exceeded the ability of staff and finances to satisfy.

Another major problem was that, as nonprofits, they essentially were going head-to-head for public recognition, funding and professional staff.

When such conflicts occur in the for-profit sector, either one of the competitors perishes or they decide on a merger.

This is not about Santa Maria or Santa Barbara winning or losing. It’s about doing what is best for the clientele, which in this case are the animals that need shelter assistance, for whatever reason. As a shelter operation under a single umbrella, available funding will have a much greater reach for the animals that need help and care, which in turn will help local residents seeking a pet.

Helping domestic animals has become a major undertaking throughout the county. Both the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara humane shelters adopt out about 1,000 animals a year. The biggest issue, besides finances, for the Santa Maria facility has been that the county-run shelter has been sending animals to North County, which at times has been more than the Santa Maria facility could handle.

For example, last year, when the Santa Maria facility had budget difficulties so daunting it had to release staffers and cut some programs and services, the county sent 400 pets here.

The Santa Maria/Santa Barbara shelter union should help with the overcrowding issue.

There also is the matter of history. The Santa Barbara shelter was established in 1887, and in fact is the third oldest Humane Society in California.

And there is no equivocation when it comes to upholding the humane tradition. Local shelters generally are no-kill facilities, which while often contributing to the overcrowding problems, is what a Humane Society should be all about.

In a very real way, the merger of the two county humane societies focuses public attention on the protection of animals in general, many species of which are in dire straits because of wildfires, deforestation, climate change and the march of humanity into Earth’s wilder environments.

All of them need your help. As nonprofits shelters they rely on the public’s generosity for the most part, which includes the willingness of folks to drop by a shelter, see all the animals who need a good home, and choose the companion who connects to you personally.

You can do all that by visiting the Santa Maria Humane Society facility at 1687 Stowell Road, or for folks living further down the coast, you can go to 5399 Overpass Road on the upper edge of

Santa Barbara.

Everyone who has a dog or cat at home can tell you how saving a dog or cat improved their lives, immensely, and it can do the same for you and your family.

Activist Cesar Chavez once said, “Kindness and compassion toward all living things is a mark of a civilized society. …”

Indeed, that is precisely what our Humane Society facilities are doing. And with the merger, the two major providers will be doing it together

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