Our HistoryEnjoy a scroll back in time through the history of the Santa Barbara Humane Society.
Our Beginning in 1887
April 18, 1887
In early 1887, David Beck of Illinois purchased 27 acres in the Goleta Valley, and developed his land as a walnut farm. After the death of David Beck in 1915, part of his property was used for two state highway projects, and the remainder was subdivided and sold in the 1960s. This was when the connection between the Beck Farm and the Santa Barbara Humane Society began.
January 1, 1949
In 1949, we started providing humane education programs in elementary schools and to the general public on the proper care and treatment of domesticated and wild animals. We have continued this program and expanded to include five different presentations available to all Santa Barbara County elementary schools, from Lompoc to Carpinteria.
Surplus Land Acquired
January 15, 1963
The Humane Society was able to acquire about two acres of the surplus state land from the construction of Ward Memorial Boulevard.
A Tragic Incident 1963
May 1, 1963
A tragic incident in the history of the Humane Society occurred in May 1963 when the old Beck Family Farmhouse was vandalized. Delmer S. Steele, local building contractor and member of the Santa Barbara Humane Society’s Board of Directors, along with William Rudolph, were instrumental in restoring the building, which became the Society’s Administration Office.
Spay/Neuter Clinic Opens
January 1, 1972
In 1972, the Santa Barbara Humane Society began spaying and neutering its adoption animals, performing almost 1700 surgeries within the first year. In 1973, the Society opened its public Spay/Neuter Clinic to the general public for a total of 2100 spay neuter surgeries performed that year.
Thrift Store Closes
January 1, 1985
The downtown Thrift Shop once operated by the Santa Barbara Humane Society is no longer in existence after closure in 1985. Donations of animal related items (as found on our website wishlist) are still welcome at our shelter today.
Dog Play Groups
March 1, 2015
The Humane Society implements Dog Play Groups, an adaptation of the national Dogs Playing for Life initiative.
March 1, 2015
Santa Barbara Humane Society Launches “Shelter-at-Home” Foster Animal Program
Open Adoption Policy
August 1, 2015
Santa Barbara Humane Society implements Open Adoption policy
January 1, 2016
We celebrate the new year with the unveiling of our new logo with a contemporary color palette. The logo also honors the Beck House, a proud landmark symbolizing those once numerous and commonplace buildings that were the hub of the small farm-life in Goleta. It is with great pride that we enjoy 5 acres of the Beck Family Farm, where the Humane Society may continue to provide a farm-like atmosphere in which to serve the community and to honor the history of the Goleta Valley.
January 19, 2016
To this day, the old Beck Family Farmhouse still houses our Administration Office, but many new buildings have been added since 1963 as well: a Shelter Office, additional kennels for adoption animals and boarding animals, a Spay and Neuter Clinic, and a Humane Education Center. The barnyard and horse corrals allow for the Society to house large animals and maintain its fleet of disaster response vehicles for large animal rescue.
Kerri Burns Named Executive Director
January 2, 2018
Following a nation-wide search, the Santa Barbara Humane Society is pleased to announce that Kerri Burns has been selected as Executive Director and will begin her new position February 19, 2018. Kerri most recently was Interim Executive Director for the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. Prior to joining Tree House, she served as President of Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, and earlier was Interim Chief Executive Officer and President of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in Tucson. She previously managed Animal Emergency Services Programs for the American Humane Association, assisting animals through some of the nation’s greatest animal disasters. Well regarded for advancing private-nonprofit partnerships, Kerri also managed charitable giving for PetSmart Charities®. Additionally, Kerri was recognized with the American Humane Association’s Dennis White Award for her educational outreach on a variety of animal welfare topics.