Local agency taking in 22 dogs after winter storm

Staff Report

After Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc across Texas, Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS) responded to the call for help from animal shelters directly impacted by the freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. 

With their owners stranded without power and water, thousands of Texas pets entered shelters during the storm’s aftermath. As a result of this rapid influx of animals into the shelters, dogs and cats that were already there before the storm hit are now at risk of euthanasia due to space limitations and exhausted resources. Through a major collaboration of animal organizations, a goal was set to find safe transport for 1,000 animals or more across state lines to free up critical space in the exhausted Texas shelters. 

Twenty-two dogs made the long journey from El Paso, arriving in Santa Barbara on the evening of Saturday, March 6. The dogs selected for the journey ranged from 4 to 70 pounds and were said to be healthy and social. 

Most importantly, the priority was to transfer dogs that truly don’t have a home or are at risk of euthanasia, according to SBCAS Director Angela Yates. 

“As a municipal shelter, it’s unusual for us to transfer in animals from other jurisdictions, but in times of disaster and crisis, our network of animal shelters work together to save as many animals as possible,” Yates said. “We are so grateful that we are in a position to offer these 22 dogs a new and loving life in Santa Barbara.”

The transport was made possible through SBCAS’s partnership with C.A.R.E.4Paws, Shadow’s Fund and the Santa Barbara Animal Care Foundation, who rallied their support and resources to assist. El Paso Animal Services transported the dogs to Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, Arizona, which offered to act as a transport hub to give the canines a day of rest. 

SBCAS volunteers than made the 18-hour round-trip drive to the Tucson facility and back to bring the dogs to Santa Barbara. 

“Through this collaboration, we are able to provide these shelter pets a greater chance at a loving home and we can’t thank SBCAS enough for being a lifesaving partner,” said Ramon Herrera, interim director of El Paso Animal Services.

Upon arrival to the Santa Barbara shelter, the dogs were rotated throughout play yards, and received a vet exam before being placed up for adoption. 

Anyone interested in giving one of these Texas dogs a California home, please visit https://countyofsb.org/phd/animal/texasdogadoption.sbc and fill out an application that is specifically set up for these Texas canines.