Skip to content

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: Disaster Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Disaster Grant from the Petfinder Foundation was used to provide food, shelter, and veterinary care for dogs and cats who were evacuated as a result of the Woolsey Fire in November 2018. Because of the grant funds, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society was able to accept 77 animals from our partner shelters, making room for animals on the front lines of the disaster.

The Woolsey Fire was a destructive wildfire that burned in California's Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The fire ignited on Nov. 8, 2018, and burned 96,949 acres of land. The fire destroyed 1,643 structures, killed three people, and prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people.

When Central Coast communities of California are facing a disaster, animal shelters network to provide swift response to the demand to care for evacuated pets. Because of the grant funds, we were able to accept 77 dogs and cats who were already in-care at partner shelters to allow those shelters to accept evacuated pets. In turn, we were able to spay or neuter, vaccinate, and provide medical care to the transferred pets and find those animals homes.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Awesome follow-up stories from the Woolsey Fire evacuations (Nov. 13-30, 2018):
1. Say hello to Bella, formerly Luna (first photo)! Bella was transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society in mid-November from Ventura County Animal Services so they could make room for animals being evacuated due to the Woolsey Fire. Bella had a short three-day stay with us before she found her new family. Now, a few months after being in her new home, this is what her family has to say:

“Bella has been settling in wonderfully! We’ve been on many adventures together, including enjoying the ocean at Avila Dog Beach, hiking on the Bob Jones Trail, socializing at Woof Pac Park, and many more. We even entered her in Santa’s Doggie Parade in Avila before Christmas! Bella didn’t win, but she looked beautiful in her festive collar. She loves waking up and giving us morning kisses every day. We can’t imagine our life without Bella!”

2. Harley, formerly Harvey Dent (second photo), a 3-year-old pit bull, was an owner-surrender to Santa Barbara County Animal Services. After not being able to find a home for three months, Harley was transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society due to the Woolsey Fire evacuations. Within two weeks, Harley found his match! Now, a month later, this is what his new family has to say:

“I’ve been having the time of my life with Harley. He’s been the best pup; he’s sweet, affectionate, athletic, mellow, polite, loving of all people and other dogs, and a ton of fun. I live alone and work from home so I wanted a buddy I could hang out with all the time and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime. Previously, I was living with and taking care of my mother, who was sick and passed away eight months ago, so it has been a very hard season of life for me, but having Harley has brought me so much joy and comfort. I’m so thankful I found Harley when I did, and I may have needed him even more than he needed me. He’s such a light in my life.

“We go for tons of walks, hikes, doggie playdates, runs, dog beach outings, and he’s becoming a local celebrity in downtown San Luis Obispo because he’s so sweet and handsome. I’m extremely thankful to SMVHS for all you do to give pups good homes, and I hope my story brings you joy. Very grateful for your team and for my boy, Harley!”

3. Meet Dexter, formerly Deputy (third photo)! Dexter was an owner-surrender to Santa Barbara County Animal Services and he was later transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to make room for evacuated animals. Combined, he spent nearly six months searching for his perfect match, but they finally came for him! Now, several months later, this is what his family has to say: “It’s as if Deputy was in our family for years after a day in our house. He sits in the recliner with us every time we get in it.

“We renamed him Dexter, as my wife had a dream we named a pound dog Dexter the night before I picked him up. Funny part was, it was a surprise to my wife that I was adopting him. Bottom line: He is a great addition to our family and a great companion for our other dog.”

The LAST animal in our shelter relocated from the Woolsey Fire evacuations is a a cat named Esperanza (fourth photo). From her Petfinder profile: “Esperanza, our diva cat, is sweet and sour. She is very independent and does not require much attention. For the most part, Esperanza just likes to do her own thing. Some of the things she enjoys are long naps, big fluffy bedding, catnip, and wet food and feather toys. Boy does she like her wet food. Esperanza is one of the chubbiest kitties that we have. When she plays, she will waddle across her room and stand on her hind legs to catch the toy. It is definitely a sight to see. Come out and meet this big sassy kitty. Maybe she can have some catnip so you can really see how funny she can get.” You can meet her here.

Further Reading