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Santa Barbara County Animal Services dropped adoption fees for dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs this week, making four-legged companions cheaper than a date downtown with your Homo sapien sweetheart.
The “Take me… I’m yours” Valentine’s adoption drive lasts until Feb. 18 and offers pets up to 50 percent off, including dogs for $41, cats for $14 and two-for-one rabbits or guinea pigs for $25. The Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter is located at 5473 Overpass Rd. in Santa Barbara and is open 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
SBCAS Community Outreach Coordinator Stacy Silva said Valentine’s Day provides a special opportunity for the shelter’s animals to find true love of their own in caring homes.
“The event was started in honor of Valentine’s Day,” Silva said. “It is a great holiday to remember those that we love and to open your heart to a new animal. Every year at Valentine’s Day, we like to do some sort of a promotion to get as many animals into homes as possible, but the discount varies each year depending on how many animals we have in the shelter and what their needs may be.”
According to Silva, the pets require a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, preferably involving scented candles, red wine and a soundtrack of Dido or George Michael to set the mood.
“The first thing that we are looking for is a loving home,” Silva said. “Some household that is going to welcome the animal and make them a part of their family and love them and make them a part of their day-to-day routine. We look for a kind of cohesive home environment and the ability to provide for the animal going forward.”
However, third-year communication and film and media studies major Ashley Golden said shelter animals’ unknown backgrounds could turn away potential owners.
“As a general rule, I prefer new animals because they are guaranteed to not have a negative history,” Golden said. “With adoption I don’t know their past or training, and there might be bonding issues.”
Contrastingly, Silva said adopted furry friends typically require less training and form deep connections with their new owners, who enjoy unexpected benefits of adopting animals in need.
“When you adopt a pet you typically get an animal that has already entered into its maturity,” Silva said. “You are getting … an animal that has had a health screening, it has had its vaccinations, it has been spayed or neutered, all of which, if you were to get an animal from another source, [you would] have to do yourself. You know when you rescue an animal from a shelter, they know that you’ve done that and they are typically grateful, and the bond can be that much stronger.”