SANTA MARIA VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY
June 9, 2010
The Santa Maria Valley Humane Society (SMVHS) was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1982 and operated as a volunteer-run organization focused on adoption solutions for unwanted cats and dogs. In 1988, the organization opened its current facility at 751 Black Road, Santa Maria, CA and added paid staff to manage the care, health, and placement of homeless animals. In 1998, the organization responded to the enormous need for low-cost spay and neuter alternatives by opening Northern Santa Barbara County’s only low-cost clinic available to the public. Now, with over 100 dedicated volunteers, a focused, hard-working staff, and impassioned volunteer board members the SMVHS lives out its mission. This includes: providing quality, compassionate care for homeless animals; addressing the critical issue of dog and cat overpopulation; and enhancing the human and animal bond.
There is a critical and ever-increasing animal over-population situation in northern Santa Barbara County. Sadly, more than 2/3 of all animals euthanized annually in the entire County of Santa Barbara are from the Santa Maria area. The Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelter in Santa Maria euthanizes one out of every three animals entering its facility.
Members of the SMVHS are impassioned to reduce this sad but true statistic. Stated in governmental terms this is equivalent to a ‘live release rate’ of 66% for the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Shelter in Santa Maria. Working in partnership, the SMVHS currently rescues from the County shelter as many animals as SMVHS space allows. With the additional services offered at the new SMVHS shelter, scheduled to be completed in 2011, and with increased public awareness on the importance of spay/neuter the eventual goal is to increase the County shelter’s live release rate to 90%. This figure acknowledges that there shall always be a few animals far too ill and or far too poorly behaved to place in new homes.
In 2009, SMVHS low-cost spay/neuter clinic sterilized nearly 1,700 animals and anticipates increasing that number to well over 1,800 in 2010. This includes reaching a milestone of our 20,000th surgery. The SMVHS low-cost spay/neuter clinic provides quality, affordable spay/neuter services to the greater Santa Maria area. Please note it is the only low-cost spay /neuter facility between the Santa Ynez Valley and the City of San Luis Obispo. The city of Santa Maria generates more than 3,000 unwanted animals per year to the County shelter with untold more left to fend on their own, abandoned and in need.
The SMVHS low-cost spay/neuter clinic makes a major impact on the wellbeing of animals living in this community. Many pet owners want to do the right thing and have their animals sterilized but are unable to do so due to the high cost of the procedure at traditional veterinary practices. SMVHS offers these services for a fraction of the price making the procedures affordable. Additionally, on a funds-available basis, the Sophie’s Fund program at the SMVHS offers even greater discounts to people in financial hardship. An important public service is the spay/neutering of feral cats orchestrated by local cat rescue organizations in partnership with the SMVHS low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Calculations show that 1 unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce an estimated 420,000 cats within 7 years. It is estimated the surgeries performed in the SMVHS low-cost spay/neuter clinic each year prevent the birth of millions of unwanted animals.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
watching their numbers grow for spay/neuter and watching their board grow more professional. They've also recruitd a very professional ED with great experience and a caring heart to manage the organization and build the expanded shelter.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Expand and modernize their facility - which is in the plans. They've raised $2.3 million of the necessary $3.4 million and request/require all board members and staff to attend the Non Profit Support Center's Development Officer Training.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Understanding the great need in our community for animal care, proper shelter size and public education to reduce over population and euthansia rates. I enjoy connecting with each animal at the shelter.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Volunteers who are dedicated to compassionate treatement of animals. Staff who work in less-than-comfortable conditions to save animals and find them proper, permanent homes.People who over-come their differences to save animals.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Finish the new shelter, start an endowment to cover the costs of maintaining the shelter and staff, complete the enlarged spay/neuter clinic and staff it so the number of low cost surgeries can double.
Ways to make it better...
The shelter was larger and more modern. The offices had proper equipment such as pcs and desks, chairs etc. The offices were properly air conditionedd and sealed so the dirt doesn't blow in from the fields and sewer plant.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
The increasing number of unwanted, homeless animals in northern Santa Barbara County and the need for more funds to complete the new shelter and maintain the organization. The population needs educating concerning spay/neuter.
One thing I'd also say is that...
Over the past ten years the organization has faced great challenges due to pet over-population however it is passionate about saving animals and providing low-cost spay neuter services to the general public.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I volunteer for the SMVHS as a grant writer. I also walk dogs.and stuff envelopes.
Review from Guidestar