The Santa Maria Humane society announced Tuesday they have merged with the Santa Barbara Humane Society.
Prior to the merger, both organizations served as separate public charities on the central coast. The Santa Barbara Humane Society has been running for 132 years, and the Santa Maria Humane society has been around for 35 years.
Organizers say this merger creates an expanded organization, where they will be operating out of two campuses.
Both organizations will be able to accommodate more rescue efforts, increase pet adoptions, and provide additional reduced cost and free spaying and neutering services for dogs and cats to prevent animal homelessness. It will also allow for more funding towards core programs, such as community veterinary services and animal training.
The merger went into effect on Feb. 3., however the transition to operate as one organization will take place strategically over the next 12 months.
"As we look at the future of animal welfare in our region, we see agencies working together to help more animals in need, especially during times of crisis like responding to fires and other man-made and natural disasters," says Kerri Burns, who moves from Executive Director of SBHS to President of the merged organization. "A talented leadership team with extensive experience in animal welfare will lead the new organization."
Organizers say the community will not see a huge change at first as they will be combining staff and developing consistent operating procedures.
The two campus locations are 5399 Overpass Road in Santa Barbara and 1687 W. Stowell Road in Santa Maria.
To access any current Humane Society services in Santa Barbara, please call (805) 964-4777 and for services in Santa Maria, please call (805) 349-3435.