NewsLocal News


Local animal shelter reports increase in husky dogs

Posted at 6:23 PM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 22:49:32-05

Santa Barbara County Animal Services says the number of huskies they’re receiving at their shelters is on the rise.

Crystal the husky is an adoption success story for the Hensic family.

“She’s like my sister,” said Hannah Hensic.

“She goes to cheerleading practice with Hannah. The girls love her,” said mom Heidi Hensic.

The Hensics adopted Crystal from the Animal Services shelter in Santa Maria last year and after working through some behavioral issues, they say they’ve got their dog figured out.

“She’s only destroyed one thing and it was our Amazon Firestick,” Heidi said.

“We take her to the dog park almost every day after school and then I give her walks. She gets a walk in the morning,” Hannah said.

“I give her a walk, depending on my time, 2-4 miles a day,” Heidi added.

But not everyone is willing to work through that.

“We’ve seen an increase of about 100 huskies coming in versus two years ago and that’s a lot. Huskies are a unique breed that you should do research on before you adopt,” said Dori Villalon, Interim Director of Santa Barbara County Animal Services.

In 2016, the county’s shelters saw 169 huskies or husky mixes. That number jumped to 251 in 2017.

The popular show “Game of Thrones” is believed to have contributed to the uptick in husky adoptions and returns. One of the stars of the show, Peter Dinklage, has asked fans to make sure they’re prepared for the responsibility and adopt from a shelter.

Animal Services says potential pet owners should be aware of the behavioral issues and the grooming that comes along with owning a husky, factors that often lead dogs back to the shelter.

Sabrina, a husky currently at the shelter in Santa Maria, was adopted by a family and then returned. Animal Services is still working on training her.

“You’re gonna have a dog that could be escape-prone, could have some prey drive so cats or small mammals around could be a problem, and vocalizing. We usually know when there’s a husky in the building because they’re howling and they’re unhappy, so they can be talkers,” Villalon explained.

If you’re still interested in possibly adopting a husky, the shelter recommends going on to find all of the furry options near you.