Mission and Vision

The Mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society is to serve our community by providing and promoting humane, compassionate, and conscientious care of companion animals and preventing their overpopulation, and to further the prevention of cruelty to animals and the enforcement of the laws of the State of California pertaining to the prevention of cruelty to animals.

The Vision of the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society is to be the companion animal resource in the Santa Ynez Valley by:

  • Providing people with the information and resources they need to raise happy, healthy, safe and socialized companion animals.
  • Providing our community with information and resources to successfully control the population of and improve the lives of feral and domestic animals
  • Providing companion animals with the chance for a brighter future.

Nonprofit Status

The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society in partnership with Dog Adoption and Welfare Group is a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors composed of volunteers from the community who are dedicated to animal welfare. Donations to the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society in partnership with Dog Adoption and Welfare Group directly benefit the animals living in our community and are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

As with most charities, the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society in partnership with Dog Adoption and Welfare Group cannot continue to operate on operational income alone and relies on financial support from fundraising events and donations from the community to keep our doors open. We appreciate your support.

History of Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society

The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society was established in the early 1970s as an informal group of dedicated men and women who were concerned about the care and protection of animals in their local community. In the early years they served as independent individuals without an official entity or organization. Their objective was to rescue lost and unwanted animals and to find homes for them. This was largely accomplished with little or no outside financial support and by using their own homes to care for pets while they networked throughout the community to find homes for as many as possible. They served without any thought of personal gain or reward, motivated simply by their shared love of animals and a desire to serve their dependent friends and their community. 

Recognizing the overpopulation of dogs and cats needed proactive solutions, they began picking up pets from Valley residents once a week and making the 100 mile round trip to the Santa Barbara Humane Society facility to have the animals spayed and neutered. The following day, they repeated the 100 mile drive to pick them up and return them to their homes. Later, they found a local veterinarian, in Los Olivos, to do the surgery, but these dedicated ladies continued to pick the animals up and return them to their owners.

By 1979 they had reached the point where they were able to establish a formal organization, and a non-profit corporation was formed in December of that year. They hoped this entity would provide continuity to carry out their mission and enable them to obtain financial support from the community. The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society was founded in 1979 and is the oldest animal welfare organization in northern Santa Barbara County.

Operating as the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society, Inc., a private, non-profit California corporation, they continued their established method of using their own homes as havens to house and care for local pets and making regular trips to pick up and deliver animals for their spay and neuter program.

In 1984, the volunteers mounted a fund raising effort and, with the generosity of two major donors, a parcel of industrial land was purchased in Buellton. The following year they completed construction of a 3,805 square foot building debt-free. This building continues to this day as the home of our small organization that had such humble beginnings in the homes of its directors and their friends.

The facility was expanded in 1998 adding an isolation and recovery area, in 1999 with the addition of a mobile caretaker's residence, and again in 2002 with the addition of 10 dog kennels. The facility has grown to total of 27 dog kennels and 14 cat cages, along with an outside covered area for cats. In addition to the kennels and cat cages, the shelter has a fully equipped veterinarian surgery and isolation rooms.

History of Dog Adoption and Welfare Group

DAWG began in 1991 as a group of volunteers caring for dogs impounded in the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. These volunteers wanted to do more for lost and abandoned dogs and lobbied the county to provide a veterinarian for emergency care and protective vaccines and money for outside veterinary services. In 2000, DAWG received two substantial fundings that allowed us to build the shelter on adjacent land leased from the county at a nominal fee. It began with twenty kennels, four exercise yards and a fledgling veterinary clinic. Over the years, DAWG expanded to include three isolation kennels, a Little Dog Land with a congregate yard and a room with small dog cages, a dozen additional “condos” for smaller dogs and in 2016 three more large kennels. A Meet and Greet Yard was added to facilitate potential adoptions. The veterinary clinic was expanded and fully equipped to provide comprehensive care for many DAWG dogs. By 2019, the shelter could house 45-50 dogs at any time. Through the hard work, dedication, and generosity of wonderful volunteers and community members DAWG grew from literally nothing, to an amazing facility that has placed over 8000 dogs into forever homes. We save lives every day. Without DAWG, hundreds, even thousands, of adoptable dogs would have died unnecessarily. 

Merger of SYVHS/DAWG in 2020

DAWG’S lease agreement was due for renewal in March of 2020 and the Santa Barbara County opted to not renew the DAWG’s lease.  Anticipating this upcoming change, DAWG explored their options and evaluated their long-term mission. DAWG and SYVHS determined that by combining their unique strengths, assets and experience, they will have a greater reach and more resources to help even more animals throughout Santa Barbara County.The two organizations are similar in size, animal welfare philosophy, adoptions, vet care and programs.  By merging, the two organizations will be more efficient, allowing them to save more animals and continue to provide valued community support to both companion animals and their owners. The merger is consistent with a nationwide trend of mergers among small and mid-sized non-profit organizations to share resources, expand services and reduce administrative costs.

Together, we have the ability to expand our mission in ways that wouldn’t have been possible separately.