Good news at Santa Barbara Humane

Nonprofit has a successful year, kicking off 2022 with a record-breaking fundraiser

Betty White chats with James Corden during “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in 2017. Her love for animals inspired people to donate more than $13,000 to the Santa Barbara Humane on Monday.

The dogs and cats at the Santa Barbara Humane have every reason to bark and meow with excitement.

After all, in 2021, the nonprofit found homes for 1,263 animals, including 827 given to Santa Barbara Humane by families who could no longer care for them.

And 2022 kicked off with a record-breaking, one-day fundraiser — the Betty White Challenge. Monday’s virtual event raised $13,365.61 and with a grant from Santa Barbara Humane board members and other community members, the total will exceed $26,000.

Additionally, Santa Barbara Humane, which has animal shelters in Goleta and Santa Maria, had a 96% release rate for its animals, which is higher than the national average of 89%, Sofia Rodriguez, the nonprofit’s chief philanthropy officer, told News-Press .

“We take our time and patience and invest in each animal and decide how best to house them safely,” Ms. Rodriguez said.

The Santa Barbara Humane dogs were temporarily named after Betty White’s characters on Monday, her birthday. Meet Rose (“The Golden Girls”) and Midge Haber (“Suddenly Susan”).
This cat was named Mrs. Nethercott after the librarian played Ms. White in The Middle.

Some animals require a special time, such as B. Beau, a 2 year old retriever heeler mix.

Beau came to the Santa Barbara Humane after spending his entire life in a garage without the company of humans or other dogs. When he first came to the shelter, he hid in the back of the kennel, growling softly with fear and shaking.

“It took months and months to rehabilitate him,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “He was with us for (six) months before we were able to place him with a family today.”

Santa Barbara Humane CEO Kerri Burns said community support makes it possible to help dogs like Beau thrive and be housed.

Another dog that needed help was Canela, a 7-month-old German Shepherd who was brought from another shelter and may have broken his hind leg. X-rays showed that she had a complete fracture of the tibia. Santa Barbara Humane realized she needed a complete amputation to be pain free.

The operation was successful and Canela, who had adapted to life on three legs, was adopted.

In 2020, Santa Barbara Humane helped more people by becoming an open shelter, Ms. Rodriguez told News-Press.

This means that Santa Barbara Humane accepts all animals, regardless of age, health or circumstances. This offered almost 900 owners a safe haven to give up their pets.

And Santa Barbara Humane is taking care of the animals’ medical needs, Ms. Rodriguez noted.

The non-profit organization provided affordable medical services to thousands of pets at their Goleta and Santa Maria veterinary clinics through their TLC fund. The fund helped 2,300 families in 2021, more than double the 1,000 families helped in 2020.

Ms. Rodriguez noted that many South County people used to have to drive to the Santa Barbara Humane animal shelter at the Santa Maria Animal Shelter. The clinic of the Goleta shelter performed only neutering and neutering.

In July, Santa Barbara added Humane programs to make its Goleta Clinic full-service, Ms. Rodriguez said.

Santa Barbara Humane also expanded its training and behavior programs to include puppy classes and breed-specific classes to help Shepherd and Husky owners. These are in addition to the existing Refined Rover, Reserved Rover, and Reactive Rover classes.

In fact, thanks to donations, 761 dogs completed free or low-cost humane behavior training. This includes 65 who were enrolled in a new training center in Santa Maria.

That was all good news for Santa Barbara Humane.

Then came the Betty White legacy.

The popular TV icon and animal advocate, who died December 31, was honored by the #BettyWhiteChallenge, a Facebook and Twitter movement urging people to donate $5 to their favorite shelter or animal rescue on Monday donate. That day would have been Ms. White’s 100th birthday.

Santa Barbara Humane helped spread the word and asked people to donate to

People responded with donations of more than $13,000, which will be matched by matches from Santa Barbara Humane board members and other community members.

“Community” is the keyword.

“We have so much to do with the pandemic and job losses,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “The Betty White Challenge brought people together in one day to do something positive for their own communities.”

Ms. Rodriguez was thrilled with the donations and the increased awareness of the Santa Barbara Humane website and services.

In addition to donations, people were able to see details about volunteering opportunities, Ms. Rodriguez said. “This has a ripple effect that will continue well beyond January 17.”

In addition to raising funds, Santa Barbara Humane used the Betty White Challenge to shine a spotlight on animals that need homes. The nonprofit did so by naming each of its animals after one of Ms White’s characters on Monday. She played many of them.

For example, dogs have been named after several Ms. White sitcom characters: Rose on NBC’s Golden Girls; Midge Haber on NBC’s Suddenly Susan; and Bea Sigurdson on Fox’s That ’70s Show. A black cat became Mrs. Nethercott, the librarian played Ms. White on ABC’s The Middle.

Animals were also named after their spunky character Elka on TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” and Dr. Named Shirley Flott, Ms. White’s character on Fox’s Ally McBeal.

“I remembered her from ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'” said Ms. Rodriguez, referring to Ms. White’s portrayal of WJM-TV’s man-hunting housewife Sue Ann Nivens.

An animal also has this name.

Ms. White’s popularity never ended. Fans on social media lobbied to include her on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” and she became the show’s oldest host at 88.

And Ms. White dedicated her life to various animal organizations, from the American Humane Society to the Morris Animal Foundation. In the latter, she held several offices, including President.

“She was also very clear about being an animal advocate, not an activist,” Ms. Rodriguez noted. “She donated a lot anonymously.”

Email: [email protected]


For more information on Santa Barbara Humane, visit

Comments are closed.