History of the Shelter

History_of_the_Shelter.pngThe Humane Society of Ventura County was organized in 1932 by a group of dedicated animal lovers. After many years of struggling with small shelters, very little money and lots of needy animals, the Humane Society moved into our the existing shelter in 1982.

Sara Bayless (pictured at right), our beloved benefactor of many years, bought and donated over 4.4 acres of beautiful property for our new Shelter. Thanks to a lot of hard, dedicated fundraising, the Shelter was paid for the day we moved in.

Our badged and trained Humane Officers have been responsible for alleviating the suffering of many animals throughout the county. Over 400 reports of neglect and abuse are filed each year. Some of these cases are prosecuted in court, but many are handled by educating and monitoring the pets' families.

The Humane Society and other emergency agencies are always involved in rescuing animals during fires, floods and other disasters. The Shelter is a busy place. We never know what it’s going to be like from day to day.

Our Spay and Neuter Clinic was started in 1986 and has since been responsible for altering approximately 15-20 dogs, cats and other animals per day. As Claire Ladigin often said, “an animal never born never suffers.” The Humane Society is so blessed to have Dr. Curtis Lewis who has been with us since the beginning of the clinic. Spaying and neutering is the best solution for animal overpopulation.

Mr. Harry Valentine understood the value of spaying and neutering pets and left a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of animals in Ventura County. The Harry Valentine Visitors Center opened on July 30, 2011. The new visitors center marked the beginning of a three phase project dedicated to remodeling the Spay and Neuter Clinic. The first stage of the project moved adoption counselors and administrative staff out of the old building and into a new building complete with the Humane Society’s very own gift shop. Phase two of the project included the remodel of the existing building into additional cat housing, housing for sick animals, an office for the Humane Officers and a state of the art spay and neuter clinic that is twice the size of the original clinic that opened in 1986. The third phase of the project is still in the fundraising stages but it is to expand and remodel the existing kennels.

Humane Education became one of our main priorities in the late 80s. We have visited thousands of school classrooms, children and youth organizations, service clubs, and various functions promoting the protection of and kindness to all living beings and our environment. Children are never too young to learn respect for all life.

Our Pet Therapy program has been run by volunteers for 25 years. What joy these pets bring those who are confined to assisted living facilities and hospitals.

We are very proud of our high adoption rate. The staff and volunteers at the Shelter work very hard to find a loving home for each and every animal. Our dream is that someday there will be a responsible and happy home for every one of the very deserving animals in Ventura County.

We value our loyal volunteers – BIG TIME! Since the day the Humane Society was organized, volunteers have been a huge part of what we do. These dedicated folks socialize the Shelter animals, do fundraising, help at various events throughout the county, make necessary repairs at the Shelter, help with landscaping, serve on the Board of Directors, and do many more valued jobs.

Come and join our Humane Society family – it’s lots of fun and look at all the good work you’ll be doing for the animals. Please visit our Shelter and Adoption Center. You will meet a happy staff and volunteers who love being here. It is a cheerful, positive, hopeful place and we welcome all of you.


Shelter & Adoption Location:
402 Bryant Street in Ojai