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Foster Express Challenge helps shelter animals in Santa Barbara County have some holiday fun

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Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Santa Barbara City Mayor Cathy Murillo with adoptable dog, Shadow.
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Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Meagan Harmon and her daughter visiting with Shadow.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Animal Services is hosting the Foster Express Challenge which provides opportunities for anyone who wants to help out a shelter animal this holiday season.

The challenge allows shelter animals an escape from the shelter without a long-term commitment. Visitors are allowed to take a dog, cat, puppy or kitten home with them for as little as two hours or as long as two weeks.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services said this challenge is designed to help shelters get more dogs and cats out of the shelter during this hectic time of year so that they can have more exposure as well as attract potential new foster caregivers.

Some Foster Express ideas include taking a dog out to coffee, on a hike, or home to relax during what is otherwise a slow time for the shelter.

The Mayor of Santa Barbara, Cathy Murillo, and Councilwoman Meagan Harmon visited with the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Volunteer Foster Coordinator to promote the shelter's Foster Express Challenge.

"19 out of 21 of our adoptions last month were a result of this program and we currently have about 15 more dogs lucky enough to be sleeping in cozy foster homes tonight. We're so happy with its success and the benefit for the animals," said Santa Barbara County Animal Services Director Tara Diller. "We are committed to ensuring that we are keeping in line with best practices and fostering is the future of animal sheltering. We hope to only expand this program in the future to help keep shelter pets emotionally sound while they wait for their new homes."

The foster challenge is going on now and ends Jan. 10, 2020.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services takes in just over 6,200 animals per year at their three shelters countywide in Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara.

To participate in the Foster Express Challenge, you can email or visit any of the shelters located in Santa Barbara at 5473 Overpass Road, Lompoc at 1501 West Central Avenue, and Santa Maria at 548 West Foster Road.

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Jessica Brest

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