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LA Getting Serious About No-Kill Animal Shelters

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Photo by Jenny Garlic via Flickr

A Report on Last Night's Humane LA Workshop, Submitted and Authored by Prabhat Gautam

In the past five years, Los Angeles has seen a 50% decrease in the number of animals euthanized in animal shelters and the city, led by L.A. Animal Services General Manager, Ed Boks, would like to bring L.A. to a point where we have no-kill shelters. "No-kill" is defined as not having to euthanize animals unless they are deemed to be extremely aggressive and violent or animals that are in such poor health that it would be seen as inhumane to force them to continue to live.

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Brenda Van Den Bosch of L.A. Animal Services said "we try to treat the animals in the shelters the same way we would treat our own pets" at Wednesday night's workshop that focused in on high volume/low-cost spay/neuter programs.

During the discussion, it was clear that the number of recent euthanized animals is tied to the increase in home foreclosures, as individuals and families have dropped off their pets to shelters after they themselves don't know where they will live or sometimes they move into apartments that do not allow pets.

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By next year, the city would like to have seven spay/neuter clinics, so we as residents of the city have to make sure that L.A. Animal Services will have the budget to do this important work. They say by not having dogs and cats spay/neutered leads to higher rates of adults and children attacked by these animals, more wild animals on the streets, and an increase to taxpayers by having to pay for other services such as euthanizing the animals, so we need to help those who spay/neuter.

The discussion was moderated by the Human Relations Commission, which was created after the 1965 Watts Riots. Rabbi Freehling added a few laughs throughout the night and kept reminding the audience how we have to treat these animals as God's creatures.

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Los Angeles will soon require dogs and cats in L.A. to be spay/neutered--enforcement of the law will begin October 1st. There are $30 discount coupons to help offset some of your costs and a certificate to cover all of the spay/neuter costs depending on income level. There may be other fees at the vet, which you will be required to cover and will not be covered by these coupons.

During the evening's events, many others expressed concerns and had comments:

  • Councilman Bernard Parks spoke about how he is frightened by dogs and doesn't want to be the individual bitten by a stray dog, so he is committed to helping to educate his district and to helping ensure that financial resources continue to go to L.A. Animal Services.
  • Sue Taylor, Executive Director of Actors and Others for Animals stated that her foundation has helped to perform 111,017 spay and neuter procedures over the last eight years, which was an astonishing number to everyone in the audience.
  • Lori Wiess of the Downtown Dog Rescue spoke about how important it is for the homeless people she encounters to have their pets taken care of, so she tries her best to help every animal she can. It was clear that this is her passion and her way of life.
  • Western University vet students, Briana Mirchel and Zarah Hedge, recently commented on how homeless individuals whose pets need medical treatment are often much more concerned about the pets than themselves.
  • Judie Mancuso of California Healthy Pets talked about AB1634 and the importance of getting this legislation passed, which will make spay/neutering the law and then having the police enforcement behind that.The Amanda Foundation's
  • Terri Austin talked about the need for more mobile vet clinics to get to the dogs and cats in areas where there are few vet clinics and where there are low-income families who can't afford veterinary care.

There are a ten more workshops that are free and open to the public. The next workshop is on August 20th and will focus on rescue groups.