An 18-year-old woman living in Lompoc was allegedly shot and killed by her boyfriend in an alleged domestic violence murder, District Attorney Joyce E Dudley has announced. The victim had recently moved to Lompoc from Texas and had two husky puppies and a cat. The victim’s death and subsequent arrests left the animals abandoned at the crime scene.
The Lompoc Police Department and Lompoc Animal Control rescued the animals and transported them to the Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society/DAWG Shelter.
The victim’s family, devastated by the loss of their daughter, wanted possession of her animals to savor as a tangible connection to her. However, her family lived in Texas, and they could not travel to California due to the COVID travel restrictions. It was at that point the family turned to the Lompoc Police Department and Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Victim Advocate for help.
The District Attorney’s office then coordinated a plan to return the animals to the victim’s family through a joint collaborative effort of several animal welfare partners:
Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society/DAWG, which organized safe transport, temporary shelter and veterinary care for the dogs; and CARE4Paws Safe Haven, which facilitated care for the cat through ASAP (Animal Shelter Assistance Program).
As a result of the joint effort, the three pets were reunited with the victim’s family on April 16. The pets were transported halfway to Arizona by Mia Harrington, a local dog care professional who provides local pet services. The dogs and cat are now well and living with their new family.
The parents of the victim said they are very grateful to have their daughter’s animals, especially now as they begin their grieving process.
For more information about services available to pets and pet owners, check out the following resources:
» CARE4Paws Safe Haven program is a Santa Barbara countywide program that assists victims of family violence and their companion animals. C.A.R.E.4Paws helps facilitate safe, anonymous refuge for animals so an owner can leave an abusive partner without fearing for the safety and well-being of a family pet. Visit https://www.care4paws.org/safehaven.
» ASAP (Animal Shelter Assistance Program), which provided temporary shelter and care for the Lompoc woman’s cat. The mission of ASAP is to save the lives of cats in Santa Barbara County by providing shelter, veterinary care, behavioral support, adoption and foster services, education and community outreach. Visit https://www.asapcats.org/.
» The Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society/DAWG provides shelter, adoption, boarding, low-fee vet clinic, foster program. Visit http://www.syvhmanie.org.
If you, a loved one or a neighbor is in danger of being abused, contact the District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Program at 805-568-2400; a victim advocate is available to talk to you 24/7.