Our History

Back in the early 1980’s, a small group of Santa Marians with an intelligent vision began working together to develop the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. They included “Valley” in the title to encompass neighboring towns.  In 1984, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society became an official 501 (c) 3, public charity serving homeless animals.

The devoted core group of individuals at the beginning included; Ruth Macy, Mickey Trapp, Fern Williams, Nancy Pusser, Jean Eaton and Dr. Jack Sohrbeck with the assistance of Seabreeze Kennel. Initially the organization worked to rescue stray animals by fostering homeless pets in their homes.  Nursing dogs and cats through illness and injury, the dedicated volunteers worked to find these pets their forever loving homes.  Throughout the 80’s the volunteers sold hot dogs and sodas on street corners from Lompoc to San Luis Obispo, and held yard and bake sales to raise money for a much needed animal shelter facility. A lengthy capital campaign project came to fruition in 1988 when the City of Santa Maria offered the society land for one dollar a year next to the waste water treatment plant. With donations from the public, grant money provided by Santa Barbara Foundation, and the generosity of A.J. Diani, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society Animal Adoption Facility became a reality. Recorded history states that without the leadership and tenacious drive of Ruth Macy, it is doubtful Santa Maria would have a Humane Society.

Our Organization Today

Today, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society is a vibrant and exciting organization that exists to rescue, shelter, heal, place, and train dogs and cats while engaging the Central California Coastal community to end animal homelessness.  Since 1984, the caring staff and volunteers of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society have placed 12,985 homeless dogs and cats into new and loving homes and our highly-skilled veterinarians have helped and healed an additional 34,945 dogs and cats.

adoption center

In 2013 the completion of the state-of-the-art Edwin & Jeanne Woods Animal Care Complex, located at 1687 West Stowell Road, Santa Maria, California 93458, became a reality.  Providing shelter for animals in crisis, rescue efforts, expert veterinary care and a pet food pantry for dogs and cats in need helps thousands of animals each year.  Santa Maria Valley Humane Society relies entirely on support from the communities that we serve.

Our Programs

Rescue: Serving the Central California Coastal counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society rescues dogs and cats at risk from euthanasia in area animal shelters.  Our organization also serves as safe refuge for animals in crisis when their human families can no longer provide them a home.

Animal Shelter: Our shelter serves as a learning center for the community as our state-of-the-art facility is a pleasant, friendly, quiet place for people to go to see animal interactions and positive behaviors modeled in the daily routines. Every dog and cat in the care of Santa Maria Valley Humane Society learns basic manners, housetraining, and social skills to become a successful new family member. It is not uncommon for as many as 100 animals per night to seek refuge and safety in our shelter.

Veterinary Care: Quality, affordable medical services and spaying or neutering of dogs and cats in the community through our modern veterinary clinic is a critical part of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society mission.  Keeping animals who have homes healthy, helps those animals stay in their homes and out of the shelter.  Spaying or neutering pets prevents puppies and kittens from being born, further reducing pet overpopulation.

Train:   Inappropriate behavior is the number one reason dogs are relinquished to shelters.  Santa Maria Valley Humane Society animal behavior specialists and certified professional dog trainers teach dogs and cats good manners and social skills in the shelter making homeless animals more adoptable. For animals already in homes, public training classes can correct undesirable behaviors keep those animals safe in homes and out of the shelter.