Animal Rescue Services

As a resource to our Central Coast communities, the Santa Barbara Humane Society operates an Emergency Animal Response and Technical Rescue team.

Emergency Animal Response & Technical Rescue

Check out our post on Timothy Collins’ article on Animal Rescue, recently published in Ranger Magazine.


As a resource to our Central Coast communities, the Santa Barbara Humane Society operates an Emergency Animal Response and Technical Rescue team. This team, made up of highly trained SBHS Employees and local Volunteers, trains upwards of 20 hours per month on various aspects of animal rescue. Team members coordinate and collaborate with other local emergency response agencies, and bring an expertise in regards to animal welfare and rescue related emergencies.  We are available 24/7, 365 days per year in the event of an animal-related emergency at no cost.

Technical Animal Rescue team members train in many aspects of emergency response, most stemming from the world of human Search and Rescue.

Low and high angle rescue

From time to time, an animal will fall off of a hiking trail and become injured or stuck. Our team is prepared to access and recover that animal. This includes horses spooking and falling into ravines, and dogs chasing balls off of the beachside bluffs.

Highline operations

This advanced rescue technique is for accessing a victim stranded in an area not accessible from the sides (e.g. stuck on a rock in a flowing river).

Water rescue

We are trained to respond to small and large animals that might have the misfortune of becoming stranded in standing and swift water, including the ocean.

Trailer accident response

In the event of a vehicle accident involving horses or livestock, our team is available to respond and assist other emergency personnel in the extrication and handling of the animals.

Exotic animal handling

We train not only with dogs, cats and domesticated horses, but have experience with mustangs, llamas, alpacas, potbelly pigs, goats, sheep, emus, raccoons, as well as other wildlife. We are always looking to work with new and exciting animals!

Emergency first aid

We work exclusively with local veterinarians to be prepared to handle any life threatening injuries an animal may incur during an emergency.

Evacuation Assistance

We assist Santa Barbara County Animal Services in the event of a disaster to efficiently evacuate animals from homes and ranches. We are equipped with multiple horse trailers, as well as a fleet of standby volunteers in order to handle an emergency of any size. The shelter itself has become a refuge for evacuated animals in the past as well.

Evacuation management in the event of natural disaster

Members of our team are available to help local ranch owners and managers plan and prepare for natural disasters. We conduct ranch evaluations free of charge, and are happy to help conduct emergency evacuation trainings for boarding stables and other ranches.

If you are interested in receiving more information or having your ranch evaluated, please contact Tim Collins ([email protected]).


Santa Barbara County Animal Services: (805) 681-5285

Santa Barbara City Animal Control: (805) 963-1513

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

In an emergency situation, it is important to not only prepare your family for evacuation, but also keep in mind the safety of your pets.  Here is a list of tips to help you prepare for a disaster.

  1. Make sure your pets are wearing current ID tags with your cell phone number in case they become lost or separated from you. It is also important to microchip your pets in case they are picked up by Animal Services or a vet clinic and they don’t have their tags.
  2. Include provisions for your pet in your evacuation kit, such as food, water, a harness and leash, and carrier or crate with bedding. Also bring their medications, vaccination records, and a first aid kit. If they eat canned food, don’t forget a can opener as well.
  3. Have a current photo and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case they get lost.
  4. Find a safe place to bring them ahead of time. The Santa Barbara Humane Society, located at 5399 Overpass Road, will accept pets in the event of a county-wide emergency. There are also lists of pet friendly hotels online at
  5. If you evacuate, take your pets with you. Do not leave them behind – if it isn’t safe for you, it is not safe for your pet.  It is better to evacuate early rather than to wait for a mandatory evacuation order, because in some cases emergency officials will not allow you to bring or go back for your pets if the danger is too great.
  6. If you decide not to evacuate, keep your pets inside with you. If they can smell smoke, they can become afraid and bolt.
Horse and Ranch Owners
  • Have a plan in place for your horses including how they will be evacuated and where they will go. The Humane Society can assist in creating an evacuation plan, as well as coordinate emergency training for you, your employees, and your animals.
  • If you are unable to take all of your animals in an emergency, coordinate with County Animal Services for assistance. Their hotline number during an emergency is (805) 681-4332.
  • Evacuate as soon as possible! Even though you may know your animals, the added stress of a disaster setting – smoke, lights, sirens, aircraft- could make your animals difficult to catch and load. The earlier you begin evacuation proceedings, the more time you will have to get out.
  • Practice beforehand. Work with your animals, equipment, and people involved regularly so that they are trained and know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Volunteering with the Animal Rescue Team

We are always looking to recruit new volunteers!  If you are interested in volunteering with the Animal Rescue team, please contact our Training Coordinator.

Pin It on Pinterest