Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in the News

CTV, Community Television of Santa Cruz, explores the work SCCAS does:


Full House Feline Adoption Special

Press Release (August 2017)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is experiencing an abundance of kittens and cats and is seeking forever homes for these wonderful animals. To encourage more animal adoptions and free up space for needy animals, the adoption price for all kittens and cats will be reduced through Labor Day Weekend: 

  • Kittens (2 to 12 months old): $50 (regularly $120)
  • Cats (1 to 6 years old): $25 (regularly $100)
  • Senior Cats (6 years +): $15 (regularly $55)

Adoptions include spay/neuter services, microchipping (including registration), vaccinations and Felv/FIV testing, treatment for fleas/worms, a cardboard cat carrier and a free pet wellness exam with participating local veterinarians.

Adoption is one of the main services Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter offers to our community, and SCCAS appreciates and applauds people who make the life-saving decision to adopt a homeless animal! Come see our adoptable animals, and be prepared to fall in love! For more information and to view adoptable animals, visit our shelter locations at 1001 Rodriguez St. (corner of 7th Ave. and Rodriguez St.) in Santa Cruz, and 580 Airport Blvd in Watsonville.

Rescued Dogs Find New Homes

Press Release (August 2017)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter officers rescued 34 dogs from a Scotts Valley home -- primarily Boston terriers, along with a few Tibetan spaniels and a Chihuahua mix. We are pleased to announce nearly all have been placed in loving homes.

Following execution of the search warrants, staff and volunteers were very busy caring for the dogs, many of which had medical conditions requiring significant veterinary care, including removing rotten and abscessed teeth, blood-work, special diets, supplements and medications, antibiotics, ear cleaning and umbilical hernia repairs. Some female dogs appeared to have been bred repeatedly.

In addition to medical treatment, Animal Shelter staff and volunteers provided socialization and care to these neglected animals. Once ready for adoption, they were spay/neutered and all but three were placed into loving homes that will give them the attention and care they deserve. The Animal Shelter would like to thank the families that offered their homes -- several of whom contacted the Animal Shelter via social media – as well as individuals who donated to help rehabilitate the animals.

Unfortunately, three dogs had to be euthanized after being diagnosed with irreparable chronic health and medical conditions.

The case began when the Animal Shelter was contacted by a concerned citizen regarding numerous dogs being kept in deplorable and inhumane conditions at a residence in the City of Scotts Valley that had been the subject of previous complaints. Despite the operator being currently listed as the Vice-President of the Boston Club of America, Animal Shelter officers found powerful odors and found dogs stacked in airline crates in a small dark room with no ventilation.

Pet overpopulation and animal hording are serious animal welfare issues that lead to suffering, life threatening situations, and euthanasia of pets. Santa Cruz County is a national leader with strong proactive laws that support and protect pets.

Kitten Flippers Take in Foster Cats

By Andrea Patton (Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2017)

When they’re young, kittens romp around until they collapse into a sleepy ball of fur. They pounce with boundless curiosity at every toy, paper bag and hand within a paw’s reach. They seek cuddly companionship with nearby people friends.

Then they grow into adults, and can still be cute, but such a pet’s newfound independence and growing aloofness may feel bittersweet to its human kin, begging the question: How might a kitten lover keep young cats in their lives—without ever worrying about them growing up?

Kay and Dana Mackenzie think they have found the answer, and it lies in fostering kittens, which allows the couple to play with baby cats, while doing some important animal welfare work along the way.

The Mackenzies volunteer at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, and over the course of the eight years that they’ve spent fostering kittens until they’re ready for adoption, the Mackenzies have seen a steady flow of youngins—155 so far—come through their home.

The vast majority of pets in need of fostering are puppies and kittens. “They only need a two-to-three-week stay, sometimes a month or two, to become adult enough that we can vaccinate them and spay or neuter them,” says Jen Walker, programs and development manager for the shelter.

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Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Celebrates International Senior Citizens’ Day with Half-Priced Adoptions during August 2017

Press Release (July 2017)

In recognition of International Senior Citizens’ Day on August 21st, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 2200 7th Ave. in Santa Cruz, CA, will be celebrating our own seniors by offering half-priced adoptions on all adoptable animals six years and older during the month of August 2017.

Far too often, our senior animals linger at the Animal Shelter, awaiting homes of their own and overlooked by potential adopters who focus on puppies and kittens instead. Older pets make fabulous additions to families as these pets are beyond the often challenging stages that puppies and kittens go through. Also, as mature adults, their personalities can be better assessed by families. Many of these animals are already housetrained and some even have some basic training too!

These Golden Oldies have an adoption package similar to the rest of the pets adopted from our Shelter which includes: spay/neuter, age appropriate vaccinations, microchip ID, veterinary exam, carrier for cats and rabbits, and a collar, leash, and license for dogs. Gift bags from local pet supply stores will be given to the senior pets as well.

Please consider adopting a senior pet from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in August 2017 in celebration of International (and all species) Senior Day!

Watsonville Chevrolet’s Annual Custom Car Show to Benefit Animal Shelter

Press Release (June 2017)

On Saturday, July 8, 2017, Chevrolet of Watsonville will host their 9th Annual Custom Car Show, benefitting the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The popular gathering includes over 120 beautifully-restored historic vehicles, hot rods and classics, with 21 different awards handed out, such as Best of Show and People’s Choice. The free event includes music and food, as well raffle prizes and a silent auction that offers an opportunity to win something special while making a donation that helps the neediest animals in the community.

All proceeds go to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, Santa Cruz County’s only open-admission, full service animal shelter.

The Custom Car Show is open to all makes and models. Pre-registration is $30.00, and day-of registration is $40.00. For more information please contact Steve at 831-234-3815 or Rick at 831-722-4122, or visit Watsonville Chevrolet online at

The event will be held July 8 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Chevrolet of Watsonville, 490 Auto Center Dr., Watsonville.

"Meow Luau" Kitten and Cat Adoption Event

Press Release (May 2017)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Partners with Heading Home Animal Rescue to
Find Homes for Kittens and Cats in Our Community

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) will host the “Meow Luau” Kitten and Cat Adoption event at SCCAS’ Santa Cruz shelter, 1001 Rodriguez St. (corner of Rodriguez and 7th Avenue), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The goal of the event is to adopt cats and kittens into new homes during the busy summer season when there are many homeless animals entering shelters.

This event is a joint partnership between SCCAS and local animal welfare organization Heading Home Animal Rescue ( The volunteer-based nonprofit Heading Home Animal Rescue is SCCAS’ leading animal placement partner, taking in and adopting out more pets in need from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter than any other partner.

During the Meow Luau, all kitten and cat adoptions are only $50! Adoptions include spay/neuter, microchip (including registration), age-appropriate vaccinations, routine treatment for fleas/worms, and a free pet wellness exam with local participating veterinarians. The public is invited to come to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter to meet beautiful cats and kittens available for adoption.

Featured events include Michelle Kiba's Ukulele Academy & Hula Dancers performing from noon to 1:30 p.m.; SCCAS veterinarian Dr. Dana Gleason offering information on feline health and veterinary needs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.; and Robin Glascock offering a presentation on cat training (including a live demonstration of clicker training to teach tricks to cats) from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Refreshments, raffle prizes and a bake sale will be available at the event.

Yogurtland Celebrate National "Be Kind to Animals Week"

Press Release (April 2017)

National Be Kind to Animals Week is always the first week of May. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) and local Yogurtland franchises are partnering to celebrate by offering the following specials from May 1-7, 2017.

  • One week of free yogurt for adopters of any Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter animal (limit of one 16 oz. cup per day, starting from the day of adoption).
  • Twenty percent of proceeds during Be Kind to Animals Week from all three Santa Cruz County Yogurtland locations will be donated to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.
  • During the entire month of May, local Yogurtland employees will also ask customers if they would like to donate $1 to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter!

Yogurtland franchises are independently-owned local businesses that regularly give back to the community. Their three Santa Cruz County locations are:

Yogurtland Capitola
1955 41st Ave., Suite A-4
Capitola, CA 95010

Yogurtland Santa Cruz
2117 Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Yogurtland Watsonville
1487 Main St., Suite 102
Watsonville, CA 95076

Animal Film Festival comes to Santa Cruz

Press Release (April 2017)

Santa Cruz, CA – Films from featuring animals and their stories will be screened at a special event hosted by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) and the Center for Animal Protection & Education (CAPE). The 2017 Animal Film Festival, held each year in Grass Valley, California, is bringing several of this year’s films including Audience Choice Awards to the Del Mar Theater at 1124 Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz on Wednesday May 24
from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Advance tickets are now on sale at this link

Five films will be screened: Called to Rescue, a feature film offers a beautiful and inspiring glimpse into fifteen farm animal sanctuaries throughout the US. Director Naomi Call will be our special guest, leading an audience Q&A after her film screens; Love Unleashed, directed by Kasey Klonsky, is a short documentary that explores the deep emotional bond between humans and their older dogs; Maybelle’s Story, directed by Ellie Laks, is a short film about
a cow who had a reprieve from slaughter and getting a second chance at life; Hope the Blind Goat by Shawn Bannon is a two minute long short about a goat who is rescued and given a happy life.

“We received 238 films from around the world for this year’s Animal Film Festival during which we screened the 26 finalists,” JP Novic, executive director, CAPE. “Through our collaboration with the Santa Cruz County Animal
Shelter, we are happy this enables us to bring the top films to the Santa Cruz community. The films are entertaining, touching and thought provoking. People will be so glad they came to this event.” All proceeds raised from this event will benefit CAPE and the SCCAS. To purchase tickets and to learn about the festival, visit

Authorities Seek Information on Illegal Animal Fighting

Press Release (April 2017)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is seeking the public's assistance in identifying the parties behind recent instances of illegal animal fighting. A reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible is being offered in both cases.

In the past several months, Animal Shelter authorities have found two locations where deceased roosters that appear to have been involved in illegal cockfighting were dumped in rural locations near Watsonville: 43 deceased roosters were found near Shell Road, and 34 deceased roosters were found off Rancho Road. Cockfighting is an illegal blood sport where two roosters have knives attached to their legs, are placed in a ring and fight until one dies.
Within the past week, authorities have also found two approximately six-month-old pit bulls, which appear to have been used as “bait dogs” for dog-fighting purposes. Both were found in the Interlaken area of Watsonville, and have wounds and behavior consistent with being used to train other dogs to fight. Dog-baiting is the setting of game dogs against a chained or confined animal for sport. The dogs bite and tear to subdue the opposing animal by incapacitating or killing it.

“Cockfighting and dogfighting are barbaric rituals that involve egregious animal cruelty and torture,” Field Services Manager Todd Stosuy said. “The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter will work with the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute those involved in cockfighting or dogfighting to the fullest extent of the law.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible. Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact the Animal Shelter at 831-454-7200, ext.1.

Planning Ahead for Your Pet,Exploring End-of-Life Decisions

Press Release (March 2017)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) will host a workshop to engage pet owners in planning ahead for their pet’s end-of-life care on March 26, 2017 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. at SCCAS, 2200 7th Ave.(main entrance is 1001 Rodriguez St.) in Santa Cruz.

Veterinarian Dr. Gabby Ravina will lead a discussion about pet end-of-life care, hospice, and euthanasia decisions. This meaningful but often very difficult stage of pet ownership is the focus of her practice, Peaceful Paws Veterinary Hospice.

RSVP required to as space is limited. A donation for the Shelter is requested.

As Dr. Ravina says: "Death is inevitable, yet it remains one of the most difficult things to talk about. As tough as it may be, thinking about what we want for our loved ones ahead of time, allows us time to make important decisions before we are faced with a crisis. It can also help us provide a better quality of life for our pets in their sunset years, as we continue to create beautiful memories together.”

About Gabrielle Ravina:
Dr. Gabrielle Ravina, a native New Yorker, developed her love of animals at an early age. It was no surprise to her family that by the age of twelve, she already knew she wanted to become a veterinarian. She achieved this goal in 1997, graduating from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. From there she went on to a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Georgia. After that she packed up and headed West, landing quite by chance in Santa Cruz, where she began her career. She has been a companion animal veterinarian in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos for seventeen years, including more than six years in the field of an emergency and critical care.

Dr. Ravina has a deep love for the human-animal bond. As a veterinarian, she finds one of the most important ways we can honor that bond is through compassionate end-of-life care for pets and their families. She understands first-hand how difficult it is to say goodbye to a member of our pet family. When her own cat, Finn, became terminally ill, she chose to help her make this transition at home, where she was most comfortable and least stressed. She has also provided in-home services for friends, neighbors, and clients to help them through this difficult time. Dr. Ravina established Peaceful Paws Veterinary Hospice in order to provide as many families as possible with the option of in-home end-of-life care for their pets.

Dr. Ravina is a member of the California Veterinary Medical Association, the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative care, the Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, the Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement, and the Santa Clara Veterinary Medical Association. She shares her home with her partner, Hayden, their two children Dylan and Scarlett, and their two polydactyl cats, Rascal and Roo.z

Animal Shelter to Celebrate St. Pittie’s Day Weekend

Press Release (March 2017)

To raise awareness and find good homes for adoptable dogs, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) will host “Saint Pittie’s Day Weekend Celebration” March 17-19 to highlight what loving companions Pit Bulls can be when given the right training, care and environment.

The weekend-long “Adopt-a-thon” will include a pub crawl/fundraiser, free classes by breed experts and free professional pet portraits for all Santa Cruz County owners of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. SCCAS will also be offering special gifts for the lucky people who adopt Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes, including:

  • FREE one-on-one training consult with Carla Braden, PMCT, SCCAS Behavior & Training Coordinator
  • FREE St. Pittie’s Day or SCCAS tee-shirt for adopter
  • FREE dog toys for your new family member

The list of weekend celebratory events includes:

1st Annual Pit Stop Pub Crawl! -- 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
In-person registration is open at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 2200 7th Ave., Santa Cruz (main entrance on Rodriguez Street). Fee of $20 supports free and low-cost spay/neuter services and includes the following:
Unique St. Pittie’s Day tee-shirt -- Wear your shirt to the Pub Crawl locations as proof of your registration and show your support for this great breed!
Drink specials at local animal-loving establishments including Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Discretion Brewing, The Jury Room, Beer Thirty Bottle Shop and Pour House and Brady’s Yacht Club. Check the web for this year’s partners and their specific offers.

FREE Pit Bull Seminars

  • Noon-1 p.m. -- PIT BULL 101, presented by Our Pack Pit Bull Rescue
  • 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. -- PIT BULL PLAYMATES (Dog Introductions and Play) by Carla Braden, PMCT

FREE Pittie Portraits – Noon-3 p.m.
FREE professional pet portraits for all Santa Cruz County owners of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes by photographer Tom Burke!

Name Dropping: Opening Doors, Creating Hope

By Justine DaCosta (Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 2017)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is an “Open Door” facility, taking in abandoned and stray animals from throughout the county. Many of the dogs that end up in the shelter are Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes, coming in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They are mixed with everything from dachshunds to terriers and, like all dogs, they have a full range of personalities. They can be great running or hiking partners, or skilled lap warmers.

Two years ago, a group of the shelter’s volunteer photographers launched “Adopt-a-Chihuahua Project,” aimed at educating the public about these special dogs. After taking more than 3,000 portraits of Chihuahua and Chihuahua mixes with either their owners or volunteers with shelter dogs, the group created three 12- by 2-and-1/2-foot banners, which were displayed on Metro buses for three months.

After they came down, the group began looking for a new home for the banners and Chris O’Connell, development manager at Ocean Honda, was quick to get involved, and placed a banner on their fence facing Soquel Drive.

“We at Ocean Honda are happy to do whatever we can to get dogs adopted,” O’Connell was quoted as saying.

You can check out more about the Adopt-a-Chihuahua Project here:

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Offers
50 FREE Spay/Neuters and Microchips
for Resident Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls & Cats

Press Release (February 2017)

In honor of World Spay Day 2017 Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) will offer 50 FREE spay or neuter surgeries and microchips for Santa Cruz County resident Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls and cats over the age of 8 weeks. Registration and scheduling for the free surgeries and microchips (limit is two animals per residence) will be available on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10 am to 2 pm at the SCCAS and FOWAS (Friends of Watsonville Animal Shelter) Planned Pethood South clinic, 150A Pennsylvania Drive in Watsonville. Animal owners should not bring their animals to register and must bring proof of residence in Santa Cruz County. Registrations will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

The goals are to help reduce our homeless animal population and also help residents comply with current animal ownership laws. Santa Cruz County has a law requiring that dogs and cats over the age of six months that reside in Santa Cruz County must be spayed or neutered.

All surgeries are performed by a licensed veterinarian with a professional focus on spay/neuter procedures.  Surgeries include a preoperative exam by a veterinarian, pain medication and dissolvable sutures.

To receive the free spay or neuter surgery and microchip, SCCAS provides and requires a rabies vaccination (if not current), a dog license (if not current), and a blood panel test if a dog is 7 years old or older and a cat is 9 years old or older.

SCCAS offers these services at low-cost:
Rabies vaccination (dogs and cats over three months of age):                      $10
License for altered dog:                                                                           $29
Blood Panel Test (for dogs 7 years old & over & cats 9 years old and over):   $55

“SCCAS receives a high percentage of Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls and cats,” says Melanie Sobel, SCCAS general manager. “This targeted spay/neuter and microchip initiative will help end unwanted births, increase the number of animals returned to their owners, and save taxpayers' money at the same time."

Also, spaying and neutering pets can be beneficial to pets and owners as well. Spaying or neutering a pet can reduce offensive behaviors like urine spraying as well as eliminate or reduce the risks of ovarian, uterine, mammary, testicular and prostate cancers.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Says "Pay It Forward" Adoption Special
   Adopt an Animal for only $75, and
Pay It Forward for our Community Pets in Need!

Press Release (December 2016)

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is offering a holiday “Pay it Forward” special to help fund the Shelter’s important programs and services offered to the community. Starting December 1, 2016 the adoption price for all dogs, puppies, cats and kittens is only $50 through December 2016!

SCCAS is also asking the community to “pay it forward” to their community’s neediest animals by also donating at least $25 to one of the following funds:

  • Planned PethoodFund, which funds FREE spay/neuter surgeries
  • Extra Mile Fund, which allows medical rehabilitation for animals beyond what our shelter budget permits
  • Pet Food and Supply Fund, which purchases pet food, pet toys, flea medication and other supplies for underserved animals in the community
  • General Program Donation Fund, which supports animal adoption, animal enrichment and public outreach and education programs

The adoption fee includes spay/neuter, microchip (including registration), age appropriate vaccinations, Felv/FIV testing and cat carrier (for cats), license, leash and collar (for dogs), routine treatment for fleas/worms, and a free pet wellness exam with local participating veterinarians.

SCCAS currently has beautiful cats, kittens, dogs, puppies and rabbits waiting for a forever home.  Open your heart and home by adopting a companion animal for a $50 adoption fee and a generous donation that will help the local homeless and underserved animals in your community.

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Says "GET OUT AND VOTE"!
  1/2 Price Specials, Day After Election Day

Press Release (November 2016)

Voting is a hard-won privilege, a triumph of democracy and representative government. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) wants to celebrate democracy by offering special prices on the day afterElection Day.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9,2016, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter will offer half-price services, including adoption fees for all adoptable pets, and microchip implants, registration and rabies vaccines for dogs and cats. Voters are encouraged to wear their “I Voted” stickers, though specials are available to all customers.

The Animal Shelter is located at 2200 7th Ave., Santa Cruz, and will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information and to view adoptable animals, please visit our website

The Loma Fire, Domestic Animals, and Emergency Preparedness

Press Release (September 2016)

Yesterday a fire erupted in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Loma Prieta Ridgeline (the Loma Fire). While the Loma Fire has not yet entered Santa Cruz County, it is causing substantial evacuations in the area in both counties and may cross the county line at any time, depending on weather conditions.

For Santa Cruz County pet and livestock owners displaced by the fire who are not able to keep their animals with them during the displacement, animal evacuation sites have been set up as follows:

·Small domestic animals (e.g. dogs, cats, rabbits) – Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 2200 7th Ave., Santa Cruz

·Horses – Graham Hill Showgrounds, 1145 Graham Hill Road, Santa Cruz

·Other livestock – Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave., Watsonville

Regardless of how this fire develops, remember that we live in a place prone to wildfires and earthquakes. We strongly encourage pet owners to be prepared in case of such emergencies. If you are asked to evacuate, take all animals with you. Include in your evacuation pack at least 3 days’ worth of food, 2 weeks’ worth of any current medication, and vaccine records. Make certain all pets are wearing current ID. Keep an up-to-date list of species-appropriate boarding facilities, and of regional motels that accept pets. For further details, visit the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s emergency preparedness website,

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is currently housing more than 20 horses, several llamas, and multiple domestic pets as a result of this incident. Our shelter was already near its capacity, and has in place a 50% discount on all adoptions through the end of October.

Special Autumn Adoption Special 1/2 Price on All Adoptions

Press Release (September 2016)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is experiencing an overload of animals at their shelter and are seeking forever homes for adoptable animals.  Adopting out animals helps open up space at their open-admission shelter for other animals that need Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s help.  To encourage more animal adoptions, the adoption price for all dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and rabbits will be half price through October 2016.

There are so many reasons to adopt from the shelter. One of the best is that shelter animals make great pets. Many have already lived with a human family and have the basic training, socialization and cooperative skills they need to become part of your household. And many, but not all, of shelter animals have the advantage of being mixed-breed animals that use what geneticists call “hybrid vigor” to avoid some of the health issues of purebred animals.

Shelter animals are also quite a bargain since their fees include spay/neuter, microchip (including registration), age appropriate vaccinations and Felv/FIV testing, routine treatment for fleas/worms, and a free pet wellness exam with local participating veterinarians.

Adoption is one of the main services Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter offers to our community, and it is a cooperative labor of love with our adopters. SCCAS appreciates and applauds people who make the life saving decision to adopt a homeless animal!So, come on over to visit Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s adoptable animals, and be prepared to fall in love!

For more information and to view adoptable animals, please visit our shelter locations at 2200 7th Avenue in Santa Cruz and 580 Airport Blvd in Watsonville.

Special Price Adoptions for Kittens and Cats to
Ease Overcrowding at Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter


Press Release (July 2016)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is offering special adoption prices through July 2016 for all kittens and cats at their Santa Cruz shelter, 2200 7th Avenue.  Due to a high volume of kittens and cats in the shelter, SCCAS wants to ensure that these healthy, adoptable pets are offered a second chance to find a new forever home.

Normal feline adoption fees range from $55 to $120, depending on the animal.  The current price special will be $60 for kittens under one year of age, $35 for adult cats one to six years of age, and $20 for senior cats over 6 years of age.  All adoption fees include the following:

  • Spay/Neuter
  • Initial worming and vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccine (over three months of age)
  • Microchip ID
  • FeLV (Feline leukemia virus) testing (over six months of age)
  • Cardboard cat carrier

“Adopting a shelter animal not only saves a life, it also opens up precious space in our shelters for Santa Cruz County’s neediest animals,” said Melanie Sobel, general manager for Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.  “We are asking community members to consider a shelter cat as the next addition to their household.”

July Christmas in July at the Cottage Shop!
All Proceeds Benefitthe Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter


Press Release (July 2016)

For the entire month of July 2016, there will be a special Christmas section at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s Cottage Shop, 2260 17th Ave. in Santa Cruz, Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 pm. Now is the time to get the things you need to decorate for the holidays! We have tree ornaments, lights, garlands, seasonal decorations of all kinds, and greeting cards. And as always, we have a great variety of quality items at very low prices.

Come to the Cottage Shop for Christmas in July! Avoid the rush! Be prepared early! Take advantage of the low, low prices!

With your help we can support Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter's many programs benefiting the community, including the Planned Pethood free and low-cost spay/neuter program and the humane education program.

Don’t forget, if you are clearing out your closets, moving, changing your décor, furnishing a beach house, downsizing, we can take those unwanted items off your hands. We accept your new and gently used donations on the Cottage Shop’s front or back porch every day.

And if you are looking for a great volunteer experience, give the Cottage Shop a try. Not only do we benefit the animals and feel good about what we do, we have fun! Contact: Marsha Bassett, Cottage Shop Volunteer Coordinator,, 831-566-0588.

July 4th Safety Tips for People and Their Pets

Press Release (June 2016)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter wants to remind pet owners about safety over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.  More animals are lost during the 4th of July celebrations than at any other time of the year. Loud noises from fireworks frighten animals due to their heightened senses of hearing, and they will do anything to escape the noise. This behavior is usually unpredictable and out of character, and it may include chewing through a leash, jumping through screens and glass windows, digging under a fence, jumping over a wall, bolting away from the owner, and running into traffic.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to help ensure your pet's protection. Just follow these simple guidelines to make July 4th a great holiday for both you and your pet!
• Don’t take your pet to fireworks displays. The explosions of the fireworks are loud to the human ear. Imagine how loud it sounds to your dog, who can hear sounds up to 60,000 cycles per second -- that's three times greater than the human ear can even register.

• Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

• Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals become destructive when frightened, so be sure you've removed any items your pet could destroy or may be harmful to your pet if chewed. It’s important that they have a safe, quiet “den-like” place to relax, such as a secure room of the house or blanketed crate. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him/her company if you go out. Shut windows and blinds or curtains.
• Exercise your pet. Tire your dog or cat out with plenty of exercise early in the day.
• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal care and control center, where they have the best chance of being reunited with their owners. Two forms of ID are always best when it comes to protecting your pet. If an individual finds your pet, the first thing he or she will look for is an ID tag. In Santa Cruz County, if your pet is taken to Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, he/she will be scanned for a microchip, which is permanent identification. Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter offers microchips pets for $15 everyday, no appointment necessary.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s
Summer Adoption Event


Press Release (June 2016)

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is celebrating summer with the Hot Dawgs, Cool Cats & Rockin’ Rabbits summer adoption event on July 9, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Santa Cruz shelter location, 2200 7th Avenue in Santa Cruz.   All adoption fees will be half price!

This event is a joint partnership between SCCAS and local animal welfare organization Heading Home Animal Rescue Both organizations will have animals on site available for adoption.

Participants are invited to come to Santa Cruz County’s largest animal shelter to meet wonderful animals available for adoption. There will also be snow cones and other refreshments, a kid’s coloring contest, raffle prizes and a bake sale.

All adoptions include spay/neuter, microchip (including registration), age appropriate vaccinations, routine treatment for fleas/worms, and a free pet wellness exam with local participating veterinarians.

“During the spring and summer months, as the weather gets warmer, animals begin new breeding cycles and many animals enter the shelter,” said Melanie Sobel, General Manager, SCCAS.  “We urge anyone looking for a companion animal to come to the shelter to support the local homeless animals in our community.”


From pet care to legal help, Santa Cruz homeless get connected

By Ryan Masters (Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 2016)

"...On the sidewalk in front of the arena, Dianne Thompson of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter helped a team of veterinarians and staff administer free vaccinations and hand out leashes, pet food and toys.

“A large percentage of the Santa Cruz homeless population has an animal. We try to support that relationship because they provide emotional support and companionship,” Thompson said."



Gifts Contribute to Progressive, Proactive Programs and Services for Local Pets and People

Press Release (April 2016)

SANTA CRUZ, CA. April 21, 2016-- The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter will receive a generous gift from Mabel Pearl Hull (better known as Polly, 6-23-1920 to 7-22-2014) Trust. Ms. Hull was born in England and followed her rainbows to Montreal and California. She never married, concentrating on her love of music (piano and guitar), the theatre and performing in numerous plays during her lifetime.  She eventually retired to the Watsonville community.

Ms. Hull had a beloved old cat, named Moshi, who was cremated and buried with her in her gravesite at Oakwood Memorial.  She always had a passion for rescued cats and dogs. It was her wish to leave a third of her estate to an animal shelter where her passion would live on.

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Zach Friend and Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Board Chair, Deputy Chief Steve Clark will be at the Shelter, 2200 7th Ave. in Santa Cruz, on May 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm to accept Ms. Hull’s gift and honor her legacy.

Gifts received by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter support progressive programs such as Planned Pethood, the County’s only low-cost and free spay/neuter, vaccine and microchip program for resident pets. Additionally, the Door-to-Door community outreach and education program provides free resources and services for pets in the most underserved areas of the county. Also, the Shelter’s Humane Education program gives bilingual presentations in south county and provides a summer camp at the facility so that young people can learn about animal welfare and care.

“We are so thankful that our community supports the valuable work of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in helping local animals and people,” says General Manager Melanie Sobel. “We rely heavily on donations to subsidize, sustain and grow our progressive, proactive programs that help us serve the animals in our community and those who love them.”

link to Sentinel article

Safe cat patios on display for Santa Cruz County Catio Tour

By Samantha Clark (Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2016)

“Catios” are patios for cats — outdoor enclosures that keep frisky felines safe from cars and other hazards of the outside world, including coyotes and mountain lions in these parts. They keep native birds, reptiles and rodents safe too.

Patty Walters of Santa Cruz built one attached to her house so her three cats, Hugh, Mimi and Peaches, can enter it through her bedroom and bathroom windows. They hang out on wooden decks overlooking her backyard with connecting tunnels covered in wire mesh.

“They race across it and bask in the sun,” Walters said. “I’m a protective parent. I want my cats and the wildlife safe.”


FREE for the Chi!
Free Spay /Neuter, Rabies Vaccine & Microchip for
Santa Cruz County Chihuahuas in February

Press Release (February 2016)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) is celebrating National Spay/Neuter Month with an amazing offer for Santa Cruz County Chihuahua owners! Starting February 1, 2016, all Chihuahuas that reside in Santa Cruz County are eligible for a free spay/neuter surgery, rabies vaccination and microchip identification. This offer is limited to the first 100 Chihuahua owners that sign up, first come, first served.

Funds to cover these services are provided thanks to the Alice & Emmy Fund, a generous gift from the Chihuahua Pride Day event.


Make an appointment IN PERSON at either shelter location (2200 7th Ave. in Santa Cruz or 580 Airport Blvd. in Watsonville) by February 29, 2016. Bring your Chihuahua OR a photo of your dog when making the appointment.


SCCAS also offers its Planned Pethood program which provides low-cost spay/neuter, rabies vaccine and microchip for all Santa Cruz County resident dogs, cats and rabbits New in 2016, the Planned Pethood program offers even lower costs for limited income pet owners:

Planned Pethod Spay/Neuter for Limited Income*




Rabies Vaccine                  $10



Microchip                          $10



Dog License                        $29

*Limited income eligibility will be determined through proof of government assistance or proof of income levels per household.

“Santa Cruz County has a mandatory spay/neuter law for dogs and cats over the age of six months that reside in the County”, says Melanie Sobel, SCCAS general manager  "By spaying or neutering companion animals, we can end unwanted births, reduce the needless suffering that homeless animals endure, and save taxpayers' money at the same time."

For more information, please visit or call (831) 454-7200.

Shelter Warns of Increasing Reports of Distemper

Press Release (February 2016)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is renewing a call for residents to have their companion animals vaccinated after a sharp increase in the number of reported cases of raccoons infected with distemper.

The disease has a high mortality rate in raccoons, and while it poses no threat to humans, it can infect companion dogs and cats through bodily secretions or waste. Signs of distemper often begin with respiratory symptoms such as high fever and reddened eyes, but progress to include lethargy, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhea, and finally disorientation and other bizarre behavior.

Since the beginning of 2015, the county has received more than 400 reports of raccoon distemper. The cities most impacted are Santa Cruz (195 reports), Aptos (100), and Watsonville (79). Last month, there were 66 reports in the city of Santa Cruz alone, concentrated in the Seabright, downtown and the West Side neighborhoods.

The problem is also accelerating. Through the first 10 months of 2015, there were 185 reports of possible raccoon distemper. In the last three months, there have been 220.

If you see a raccoon suffering possible distemper, please call Animal Services at 831-454-7227.

The Animal Shelter is offering the following tips to homeowners and pet owners:

  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats.
  • Although distemper poses no threat to humans, anyone bitten or scratched by a raccoon must contact their physician immediately.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Those who feed pets outdoors should take special care to remove any leftover food. It can attract infected animals not completely debilitated by the disease.
  • Please do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife may lead to large concentrations of animals around food, increasing the spread of disease.
  • Restrain your pets; do not allow them to roam. Keep dogs on a leash when outside your property.
  • If you observe a sick wild animal, do not approach the animal!

Santa Cruz lawyer speaks on trusts for pets

By Kara Guzman (Santa Cruz Sentinel January 2016)

In case he or his wife dies, Michael Kerner has set aside a $75,000 trust to ensure their three pets are safe and happy. The Santa Cruz-based lawyer and fiduciary officer will be speaking at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Thursday on setting up wills and trusts to care for pets.

“If you die and there’s nothing established to care for your pet, your pet’s going to end up at the animal shelter and they don’t want any more pets,” said Kerner, who owns two cats from a shelter and a dog he rescued from the streets of Taipei. “It’s not good for the shelter and it’s not good for the pet.” more

In response to coyote, mountain lion sightings,
residents to learn how to keep them away

By Samantha Clark (Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 2015)

Residents are reporting an increase in coyote and mountain lion sightings and attacks on pets. To curb the concern, a Westlake neighborhood group is hosting an educational workshop to help residents coexist with the animals that come from nearby wildlands in search of food.

The informational session is 7:15 p.m. Thursday at High Street Church, 850 High St. more

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Reports Increase in Distemper in Raccoons

Press Release (November 2015)

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter announced today that several raccoons have tested positive for distemper in the Aptos and Watsonville area of Santa Cruz County. In addition, there have recently been multiple cases of sick raccoons in the Seabright area of Santa Cruz. These animals will be sent to testing in the near future to determine if they have distemper.

Distemper poses no health risk to humans, but it can affect your companion animals. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter shares the following tips to help prevent your companion animals from contracting distemper:

  • Vaccinate your dogs and cats.
  • Although distemper poses no threat to humans, anyone bitten or scratched by a raccoon must contact their physician immediately.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Those who feed pets outdoors should take special care to remove any leftover food.  It can attract infected animals not completely debilitated by the disease.
  • Please do not feed wildlife.  Feeding wildlife may lead to large concentrations of animals around food, increasing the spread of disease.
  • Restrain your pets; do not allow them to roam.  Keep dogs on a leash when outside your property.
  • If you observe a sick wild animal, do not approach the animal. 

A healthy animal may contract canine or feline distemper from direct contact with an infected animal or its bodily secretions and waste. Under most environmental conditions the virus does not survive long outside the body; therefore, transmission requires close interaction between animals to enable direct contact or aerosol exposure. Many of the symptoms displayed by an animal with distemper are very similar to symptoms displayed by a rabid animal (only testing of brain tissue can determine if an animal is rabid). 

In the initial stages of canine distemper, the major symptoms include high fever, reddened eyes, and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. An infected dog will become lethargic and tired, and will usually become anorexic. Persistent coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Symptoms of feline panleukopenia, commonly referred to as feline distemper, include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and sudden death.  

Please contact your veterinarian to find out if your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. Report sick or injured wild animals by calling the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter at 831-454-7303 extension 1. 

Santa Cruz Coutny Animal Shelter - Winter Hours of Operation

Press Release (November 2015)

Starting Tuesday, December 1, 2015, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) has new winter hours of operation at their Santa Cruz location, 2200 7th Avenue in Santa Cruz.  The new hours are as follows:

Monday—Sunday      10:00 am to 6:00 pm   

The new winter hours only decreases the shelter’s hours of operation open to the public by one hour per week. The shelter is still open seven days a week, closing at 6:00 pm instead of 7:00 pm Tuesday through Friday and staying open until 6:00 pm instead of 5:00 pm on weekends and Mondays.

The SCCAS Watsonville shelter location (580 Airport Blvd.) has the following hours of operation:

Monday – Saturday               9:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed Noon to 1:00 pm)

Sunday                                   Closed

For more information please call 831-454-7200.                          

Santa Cruz County Fundraiser Gives Dogs a Day at the Pool

By Calvin Men (Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2015)

The day was for the dogs at the Simpkins Family Swim Center on Saturday during the inaugural Parks & Rex fundraiser. Dogs of all shapes and sizes were let in to be pampered with massages, grooming sessions and treats. more

KPIG disc jockey subsidizes adoptions of black cats

By Ryan Masters (Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2015)

For centuries, black cats have taken a bad rap thanks to Europe’s irrational fear of witches. Bad publicity from Halloween and Hollywood have only prolonged the notion the animals portend evil, bad luck, misfortune, even death.

Hogwash, says KPIG disc jockey Laurie Roberts.

“Black cats are last to be adopted because of some silly superstition,” Roberts said. “Thing is, they all have groovy personalities because they have to try to harder to compete with all the ‘pretty’ cats.”

Roberts’ 10-year-old black cat, Bogey, was a rescue from the animal shelter. When Bogey died in 2014, she wanted to honor his memory. more

Positive Enforcement, Community approach to animal control opens doors in Santa Cruz

By Michael Sharp (Animal Sheltering, 2015)

Animal control officers were originally called to the housing complex in California's southern Santa Cruz County to deal with an aggressive dog out front. But it's what they found in back that has stayed with officer Carlos more

For All Cats Residing in Zip Code 95076:
FREE Cat Spay/Neuter, Microchip, Rabies and FVRCP Vaccinations &
FREE Case of Canned Cat Food & FREE Bag of Wellness Dog Food

PSA July 2015

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter received a grant from PetSmart Charities for $86,000 to go towards FREE spay/neuter for cats that reside in zip code 95076. Also provided for FREE are a microchip (includes registration), rabies and FVRCP vaccinations! To further entice residents to take advantage of this offer, SCCAS will also be giving away a FREE case of canned cat food (24 cans) and a free bag of Wellness dog food to more

Surrendering a Pet to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is Now Free!

PSA July 2015

Starting July 1, 2015, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) will eliminate “owner surrender fees” for animals residing in Santa Cruz County. 

Too often, pet owners who no longer want their animal would either abandon the animal to fend for itself on the streets, or “get rid of” their unwanted animals through Social Media, where animals may end up in a compromised more

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Teaches Pet Care to Schoolchildren

By Nala Rogers (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2015)

A dozen fourth-graders sat on the floor at Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville recently, watching a volunteer from the Santa Cruz County Animal more

Involving the Community Through Proactive Animal Control

ASPCA Pro 2015

After working as a street Animal Control Officer and manager for several years, Todd Stosuy became frustrated with what seemed to be an endless cycle of impounding animals and issuing citations – but not seeing long-term more

Wine and Wet Noses raises thousands for local animals

By Carol Carson (Press-Banner, May 2015)

The Annual Wine and Wet Noses event returned to Scotts Valley again this year and raised almost $8,000 for local animals.

“I had this crazy idea about five years ago. I thought I can put together a groovy little event and raise some money for the animal shelter and rescue organizations,” said event founder Laurie more

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Offers “ONE STOP” Program Low-Cost Rabies Vaccinations, Microchips & Dog Licenses

PSA April 2015

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) now offers a “ONE STOP” rabies vaccination, microchip and dog license program at its facility at 2200 7th Avenue in Santa Cruz, Monday through Friday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. No appointment is required. The rabies vaccine for dogs is $10 with dog license renewal purchase. First time dog licensees will receive a FREE rabies vaccine with dog license purchase ($29 for an altered pet and $100 unaltered).  All rabies vaccines for cats are $10. Microchips for dogs and cats are $ more

Central Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association Has Adopted Santa Cruz Animal Shelter as Their Community Outreach Project For 2015

PSA April 2015

The Central Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) has adopted the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) as their community outreach project for 2015. On February 26th, the entire CLCA team met at the animal shelter for a project walk-thru discussing the allocation of planting zones as well as discussing overall more

County Honors Santa Cruz County Veterinarian Dana Gleason

By Joel Hersch (Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2015)

When three stray kittens were found to be losing their vision due to eyelid deformities, veterinarian Dana Gleason of the Santa Cruz County Animals Shelter rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

Gleason, the first full-time, in-house veterinarian hired by the county two years ago, performed one surgery at the shelter clinic six weeks ago while the other two were operated on at an animal ophthalmology specialty practice in more

Animal advocates say think twice before buying pets as Easter gifts

By Patricia Sousa (Press Banner, 2015)

Baby rabbits and chicks are popular Easter gifts that often find their way into animal shelters and rescue groups when the novelty wears off.

“We end up getting a lot of bunnies after Easter because people think it’s a great idea to get a little Easter bunny for their kids and then they don’t realize the care that’s needed for these animals,” said Erin Conway, volunteer program coordinator of the Santa Cruz County Animal more

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