Humane Society of Ventura County during the Pandemic

Adoption Counselor Josephine Maxson with some wonderful dogs to adopt.

by Carol Leish

Greg Cooper, Director of Community Outreach, of the Humane Society of Ventura County, said: “I think that the most important thing that I would like to educate the community about is our shelter is Ojai is ‘OPEN’ for most of our services. However, we are closed for casual visits.”

“Out adoption rate for cats and dogs is about the same now compared to before the pandemic,” according to Cooper. “We had initially closed last March (2020), to all adoptions and intakes due to the Stay-at-Home orders, but readily initiated an appointment only system for most of our services.”

“We do want the community to have access to our services,” according to Cooper. “But we want the community to understand that we have changed the way we operate because of the pandemic. Most of our services are still available, but by appointment only. The second thing that I would like our community to know about is that we’ve had a significant downturn in donations since the beginning of the pandemic. I am sure that the reasons vary greatly, but from our point of view, we still need to offer our services. However, with fewer resources and decreased donations, things have become very challenging.”

“Not having the public on the property (during the pandemic), has certainly been strange for the animals and staff who have become accustomed to having that interaction. Raising awareness for the compassionate care of all animals is a key component of our mission,” according to Cooper. “And, without that person-to-person interaction, our opportunity to educate diminishes. We are also closed to volunteers who have traditionally helped with socializing the animals. Our kennels staff have picked up that slack so that every dog, cat, and horse on our property still receives a tremendous amount of interaction.”

Cooper said, “We adopt out dogs, cats, horses, and occasionally other domesticated animals like birds and hamsters. Before the pandemic people could come to the Shelter and browse. We have initiated an appointment-only system for adoptions. Now, we ask that people look at the photos and bios of the available animals on our website,, then request an appointment to visit. From there, the adoption process is pretty much the same. Thus, if it’s good fit, they need to fill out an application and then get screened further (such as a yard check for dogs), before proceeding with the adoption.”

“The number one way to support our efforts,” according to Cooper, “is through financial donations through our website, or by credit card over the phone, or by mailing in a check. As a nonprofit, we rely solely on the support/generosity of our community. We are often confused with national organizations, such as the HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.), or the ASPCA (American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). We are our own nonprofit and receive no funding from either the national or local government. We also need in-kind donations, such as: towels and blankets; unopened bags of dog and cat food; and, toys for cats and dogs. A complete list of items, which is on our Amazon wish list, is updated daily. It’s at: encoding=UTF8.

Remember that the Humane Society of Ventura County continues to be open now. Cooper said, “We ask for patience and understanding from the public during the pandemic. We want to ensure people that the animals are very well cared for and we can still provide most of our services. Please call: (805) 646-6505, and look to our website: for the most up-to-date information if you’re interested in adopting an animal.” Yes, animals are/can become an important part of our families.

Editor: First of 3 articles about pet adoption agencies in Ventura County. Next issue will be about CARL.

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