Dogs and cats that arrived on the Central Coast from Houston, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have cleared quarantine and are ready to be adopted into new homes, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society Executive Director Sean Hawkins said last week.
Hawkins spoke as he and members of his staff romped with a half dozen of the dogs at Pismo State Beach on Thursday during a photo shoot with Los Angeles-based photographer Chad Suggs. Suggs traveled to the Central Coast to photograph the dogs and give them more exposure in hopes of finding new families for them.
Big dogs, little dogs ranging from a dachshund to a Boston terrier to a Labrador-Staffordshire mix played in the waves and rolled in the sand.
The dogs were already in a shelter when Harvey hit, or were brought to the shelter by people who couldn't care for them after the storm, Hawkins said.
"None of the animals were lost or might have people looking for them," he said.
Santa Barbara County shelters including SMVHS, Woods Humane Society, Santa Barbara Humane Society, Santa Barbara County Animal Services and the Animal Shelter Assistance Program, which handles only cats, partnered to accept the 200 cats and dogs that arrived by bus and airplane in September.
The dogs were quarantined from seven to 14 days. They received medical examinations, were spayed or neutered and microchipped, Hawkins said.
On Thursday, Suggs worked on the beach with six of the 15 dogs waiting for adoption.
"We thought it was a really fun way to showcase their personalities," Hawkins said. "They’re all highly adoptable and are ready to go home."
To view dogs available for adoption, visit the SMVHS website at smvhs.org and click the adopt tab. The shelter, located at 1687 W. Stowell Road in Santa Maria, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.