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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 7th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 52

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society gets money to finish its 'Pet Project'

BY AMY ASMAN


GROWING FOR GOOD
A $300,000 grant from the Hind Foundation will give the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society the money it needs to build a third dog kennel to house more dogs from the local pound, like Sophie (pictured below).
PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY

A $300,000 grant will allow the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to radically expand its canine adoption program, the nonprofit’s executive director Jill Tucker told the Sun on March 4.

The grant from the San Luis Obispo-based Hind Foundation will go toward building a third dog kennel at the Humane Society’s new facility on West Stowell Road in Santa Maria, more than doubling the organization’s capacity for housing stray dogs.

“This is huge,” Tucker said. “We are so unbelievably excited about this.”

The Humane Society launched the “Pet Project” fundraising campaign to replace its cramped and aging headquarters on Black Road almost a decade ago. Construction crews broke ground on the project back in May of 2009. Now the facility is nearing completion; as it currently stands, there are two smaller kennels, an isolation building for sick dogs and puppies, a state-of-the-art cat room, and a spay/neuter clinic.

The addition of 26 indoor/outdoor kennels will allow the “no kill” society to rescue more dogs from Santa Barbara County Animal Services, Tucker said.

“We felt the pressure to expand our dog program because so many dogs in this community need our help,” she said. “We want to make a significant dent in the dog population at county services.”

Tucker said the Santa Maria shelter is “inundated with dogs and cats.”


PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA MARIA VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY

“Santa Maria continues to be the trouble spot,” she said, adding that approximately 78 percent of the county’s animal euthanasia cases occur within the city’s limits.

She explained the reasons for this: “Santa Maria, of course, has the largest population, and with the largest human population comes the largest pet population.”

The amount of poverty and lack of resources in the city are other factors.

“Which is exactly what this project was created to address,” she said.

The Humane Society’s next challenge will be to raise more money to equip the new facility with pressure washers, kennels, gates, a washer and dryer, and dog beds.

“And then we’ll increase the operating budget to serve the dogs,” Tucker said. “There’s a lot of cost and manpower that goes into that.”

The organization will launch a community-based fundraising effort in October to help pay for pet food, vaccinations, microchips, and everything else needed for caring for the animals.

“If every person in Santa Maria gave us $2.50, we’d have it. We’d have enough,” Tucker said.