Sunday, July 30, 2006

National Report Card on Shelter Killing

In the July 5th Blog, I shared some information from the forthcoming 13th annual ANIMAL PEOPLE analysis of kill rates in communities across the United States. The nation's only report card on this important topic has now been published.

Mahatma Gandi taught us that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress is best judged by how we treat our animals. If that is true, then it is time we reject as a nation the catch-and-kill methodologies of the past and implement proven non-lethal programs that demonstrate we can truly be a humane society.

Excerpts from ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2006:

"The good news is that the national rate of shelter killing per 1,000 human residents in the U.S. has dropped to a record low of 14.7.

“Because the U.S. human population and pet keeping significantly increased since 2001, total U.S. shelter killing is still above the low mark of 4.2 million. However, at 4.36 million in 2005, we could achieve a new low in 2006.

"Los Angeles city and county combined have cut their shelter killing in half since 2003, and at a combined rate of 3.94 are now killing fewer animals per 1,000 residents than San Francisco killed in 1994, the first year of the Adoption Pact that made San Francisco the first no-kill city."

Click on the link below to read the entire report and see how LA is doing compared to the rest of the nation:

Friday, July 28, 2006

Understanding Cruelty Investigations

I am often asked why Animal Control Officers and our Cruelty Task Force sometimes impound animals and other times give warnings when they observe violations of laws such as having too many animals or animals that appear to be neglected. This is an excellent question deserving an answer.

First of all, it should be noted that Animal Services’ ultimate goal is to find safe and happy homes for all animals. This does not excuse a person from neglecting their companion animal(s) or violating local laws. But we also know from years of experience and thousands upon thousands of contacts with the community that the overwhelming majority of animal caregivers don’t intentionally abuse or hurt their animals. However, there are countless factors that may result in an animal being neglected.

Neglect sometimes results from a family or financial crisis; ignorance regarding the proper care of an animal; or any number of other reasons. Sometimes a person’s compassion for animals exceeds their capacity and they take in more animals than they can responsibly care for. These aren’t excuses. But they may be reasons that, if corrected quickly, can avoid an animal being taken to an already over-crowded shelter. With proper intervention and instruction a neglectful caregiver is often provided the information and motivation needed to become responsible.

Realizing this and based upon solid experience and statistics, Animal Control Officers throughout the country have learned that over 90% of animal caregivers who are found to have an animal in need of medical or other attention will comply with warnings, or a “Notice to Comply”, as we call them in Los Angeles. Typical situations involve dogs and cats with flea and other parasite infestations, unsanitary conditions including excessive feces and urine residue in the house and backyard or failure to provide adequate food, fresh water and shelter.

In the vast majority of these situations when an Animal Control Officer gives the caregiver a Notice to Comply, that caregiver responds and the animal’s safety and welfare is restored without the necessity of removing the animal from its home and placing it in a municipal shelter. Impounding an animal into a shelter may seem preferable at first glance but the community needs to know that even the most modern and sanitary shelters expose animals to a variety of diseases and stresses that can negatively impact an animal’s health and happiness.

Animal Services in Los Angeles is doing everything we can to make our new shelters as safe as possible, including the installation of state-of-the art ventilation systems, architectural designs that discourage the spreading of disease, and providing medical support to maintain an impounded animal in the best condition possible. But the best efforts of any municipal shelter can never provide the safe and comfortable environment that a responsible caregiver can provide in his or her home. If necessary for the animal’s welfare, impoundment may be appropriate. But if we can save a home for an animal by warning and assisting the caregiver, it is certainly worth the effort.

So, you may ask, just when do we choose to take (impound) animals from their caregivers instead of give a warning? Our policy is firm and clear (and supported by California law). LA City Animal Services will impound animals that are in imminent danger or when it is obvious that a warning to a caregiver will be ignored. But, again, if an animal is not in imminent danger and the caregiver appears responsible and able to correct a situation such as providing non-emergency medical treatment, flea or tick removal and control, or cleaner housing conditions, then there is no question that it is in the best interest of the animal that we issue a Notice to Comply with follow-up to insure that the caregiver has done whatever was necessary to correct the situation.

To be sure, the City does not issue warnings because it is easier or because we don’t care about an animal’s welfare. It is only because we know from decades of experience, both here in Los Angeles and around the country, that most people will correct problems if given a written warning with follow-up to insure compliance.

There is one particular situation that is rather unique and often times reported in the news…and that is the infamous “hoarder”. A hoarder is a term of art that refers to persons who not only have more animals than the law allows but more animals than they can properly care for. Studies show these people often suffer from a form of obsessive-compulsive behavior and will rarely respond to a warning to reduce the number of animals or provide proper care. The nature of this disease is such that these persons are not even aware of how they are neglecting the animals in their household.

“Hoarders” typically rescue animals from the streets and truly believe they are doing the best thing for the animals. Hoarders can live in a household that is filthy, infested with parasites, intolerable smells of urine and feces, and permanently stained and destroyed furniture…but even when confronted with the way they are living and neglecting their animals, they are literally unable to see the reality of the situation. It is like a person suffering from life-threatening anorexia who looks in the mirror and sees a fat, overweight person. It is a delusion of sorts.

So, in spite of our best efforts to help the average animal caregiver to correct neglectful situations, we know that “hoarders” will not (and cannot) correct a situation by themselves. Accordingly, our Animal Control Officers and the members of the multi-departmental Animal Cruelty Task Force are trained to recognize possible “hoarders” and distinguish them from those people in the community who have more animals than they can care for but do not suffer from this obsessive compulsive disorder. When there is a suspected “hoarder”, our investigators can also call upon the expertise of our veterinarians and City and County social services to confirm the person is in fact a hoarder.

When we do identify a hoarder with animals in need of immediate attention, make no mistake about it…we will not issue a Notice to Comply. As I said, this is because we know they are unlikely to correct a situation and it is in the best interest of the animals to immediately remove them from the household. We will often work with our New Hope partners and other qualified organizations in the community to coordinate resources so we can provide foster homes for seized animals so they don’t have to go to the shelter unless absolutely necessary.

Animal Services recently implemented a novel and proactive Foster Program for “evidence” animals. Historically, animals rescued by Animal Services from a hoarding or abusive situation were forced to languish in a City Shelter for weeks, months, or even longer as the case was adjudicated. Recently, with the help of the City Attorney’s Office and the support of the Animal Services Commission, Animal Services implemented a foster program for these needy animals so they don’t have to suffer the trauma of a prolonged shelter experience. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact our Foster Program Coordinator for more information.

During this foster period, hoarding cases are fully investigated and referred to the City Attorney Animal Protection Unit for criminal prosecution or psychiatric evaluation as appropriate. Criminal prosecution is not usually effective with hoarders. Counseling, involvement with Clutterers Anonymous, and constant visits is required to help these folks. We have specially assigned prosecutors in the criminal justice system to make sure these goals are met and to get these animals into good homes as quickly as possible.

For those who have too many animals but do not fit the profile of a hoarder, we will issue a Notice to Comply with careful follow-up, knowing that almost all of these people will comply with our notice to provide the necessary medical care, cleaner or roomier housing conditions, and placing the “excess” animals in other suitable homes. Our investigators will do whatever they can to assist these people in complying with the law to provide a safe home for their animals including referring them to interested New Hope Partners and other qualified organizations and foster families to help bring about compliance in a reasonably short time…again with the animals interests coming first.

For non-hoarders who fail or refuse to respond to our written warnings (Notice to Comply), our Cruelty Task Force and Animal Control Officers will proceed with a formal investigation for neglect and other law violations and refer the matter to the City Attorney or District Attorney for criminal prosecution…and impound any animals suffering or in imminent danger.

In summary, Animal Services’ policy for issuing a warning versus immediately impounding animals is based on solid evidence and experience with one purpose in mind…to do the best thing possible for the animals as we work together as a community to make LA the safest City in the U.S. for our pets.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Report to the Mayor: Part III

This is the third and last part of my blog containing excerpts from my six month Report to the Mayor. This blog identifies some of the programs Animal Services is relying on to help ease the overcrowding of our current shelters and reduce our community's euthanasia rate. These programs substantially depend upon our employees, volunteers, partners, donations and community support to succeed:

At the same time Department of Animal Services is opening the new Centers described in yesterday's blog, we have also renewed our commitment to our community’s expectation to end euthanasia as a means to control pet overpopulation. Animal Services is demonstrating this commitment through the implementation of several new programs. The following programs are either fully implemented, partially implemented, or in the planning stage:

The Big Fix is the consolidation of the many and sundry programs to provide low/no cost spay/neutering services for pets in low-income households. A description of these many programs can be found on our website. Animal Services will soon have a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the street for managing and operating our six new Spay/Neuter Clinics. These clinics will provide spay/neuter surgery to Animal Services' adopted animals and the pets of our community’s low-income pet owners and feral cat colony managers. Animal Services is also working with the Amanda Foundation to increase their aggressive mobile spay/neuter services. At the same time, we are working with the Sam Simon Foundation to immediately initiate operation of our South LA spay/neuter clinic until an RFP for these services can be awarded. This arrangement – turning over the mobile clinic operation to the Amanda Foundation and the South LA Clinic to the Sam Simon Foundation - is a win/win for the animals, the City, and our partner organizations. Animal Services experienced a 35% increase in voucher subsidized spay/neuter surgeries in Fiscal Year 06 compared to Fiscal Year 05 and a 50% increase in feral cat surgeries during this same time period. Thanks to the City commitment to Animal Services Big Fix spay/neuter programs dog and cat intakes are down 24% over the past past five years, and down another 7% in the first six months of 06. Expanding Big Fix exponentially remains one of our primary goals.

New Hope is a program designed to partner with the vast network of pet rescue, support and adoption agencies throughout Southern California and beyond in the process of locating homes for the animals that Animal Services rescues. We now have over 70 New Hope Partners and expect to double that within the next six months. This program gives New Hope Partners 24/7 access to the shelters to select animals from the New Hope Alert at no charge. This includes spay/neuter surgery, microchip, and vaccinations. It is Animal Services hope that this program will permit all our partners to maximize their limited resources in our shared mission to save lives. Each Center has one employee designated as the New Hope Coordinator. This employee is available to all New Hope Parnters by cell phone and serves as their "personal shopper". New Hope Partners also get a daily email of all animals at risk of euthanasia that they can have at no charge. Animal Services and HLP have also made a sophisticated animal management software program available to New Hope parnters at no charge. If all partners take advantage of this offer, it would represent nearly a $500,000 gift to the rescue community.

Safety Net helps pets and their families stay together through difficult financial times or relocations by networking the entire animal LA welfare community through Animal Services Call Center. The Call Center will serve as a referal service for all animal welfare issues, including pet friendly apartments, attorneys specializing in pet law and landlord disputes, low cost boarding, behaviorists, etc.

Call Center will provide a “one-stop shop” for any and all animal questions, concerns, and problems. It will serve as the clearing-house to help Angelinos find the solutions they seek to pet, animal and wildlife related issues and problems. The development of a centralized Call Center in one location will also free six field officers who now man six separate dispatch stations, one in each Animal Care Center, to respond to problems in the field. The Call Center will also serve as the Field Operations Dispatch. This program brings much-needed efficiency to the department, allowing shelter staff to focus on the customers and animals in their Centers rather than being pulled away from these important responsibilities to answer the phone. And it frees Field Officers to serve the public and the animals out in the community. It will also dramatically reduce the waiting time the public experiences on the phone.

STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program provides medical treatment to severely injured, abused, and neglected animals rescued by Animal Services. This program provides treatment for animals that historically may have been euthanized because they were beyond the capacity of Animal Services to treat. This program also includes many partner veterinarians in the community. Soon Animal Services will have an x-ray machine in every Center that will seriously enhance the triage capabilities of the department in helping animals with life threatening injuries.

TLC (Teach Love and Compassion) provides at-risk youth with employment training in animal care. This program, currently in development, is designed to be intergenerational allowing our staff and community’s elderly to work with our youth to teach love and compassion through the care and love of animals. TLC will be an umbrella program dealing with many animal welfare issues, such as hoarding, the link between domestic violence and animal abuse, humane education, and much more.

Anti-Cruelty Task Force is a partnership with LAPD and the City Attorney. Together we investigate animal cruelty and abuse complaints, including dog and cock fighting, as well as cases of physical abuse and neglect. A database for tracking and reporting on these cases is being developed, and these statistics will be in each month’s General Manager Report to the Commission, which is also available to the public on our website. As could be expected with any multi-departmental effort, there are some coordination and growing pains, but we are working diligently with our partners to address them.

Volunteer Dog Training Program trains Animal Services’ employees and volunteers to improve the quality of life and adoption rate of sheltered dogs through behavior training provided by our community’s most reputable dog trainers.

Orange Dot Program is designed to identify and encourage improved behavioral response from shy dogs in a shelter environment; this program is effectively used in other shelters to help ensure dogs are provided every opportunity to be safely placed in a loving home.

My Castle, My Crate is a program using kennel crates for dogs in isolation or with behavioral problems to provide a stress free “safe house” in the kennel. Benefits include improved recovery time from illness, injury or improved behavioral manifestations caused by stress. The new shelters provide this safe space in all the kennels.

FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-terminations) provides low or no cost spay/neuter service to feral cats managed by trained feral cat colony managers trained by one of Animal Services feral cat partner organizations. Animal Services experienced a 50% increase in voucher subsidized spay/neuter feral cat surgeries to date in Fiscal Year 06 compared to the same time period in Fiscal Year 05. FELIX will play an important role in our pending Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program, currently in development. Animal Services is partnering with almost all the local feral cat organizations, and welcomes any not now participating.

Foster Program trains volunteers to provide temporary homes for special needs animals until they are healthy enough for adoption. There are several facets to this program which includes our Bottle Baby Program to provide care for neonate orphanes. Animal Services provides training to volunteers interested in providing this life saving care. Animal Services has also started an Evidence Animal Foster Program. Historically, animals rescued from abusive or neglectful conditions were left to languish in shelter kennels for months while the legal proceedings were under way. Today, animal victims of cruelty and neglect can be fostered into loving homes until a judge decides in the matter. Overall, the Foster Program provides a safe place for animals that Animal Services historically could not properly care for or had to euthanize. This program will only be as successful as the community wants it to be because it relies on the community to provide this much needed love and care to our neonate, sick, injured, abused, and neglected animals. All the animals would have been killed in prior years. Volunteers developed a 7 minute informational CD for foster parents.

FEV Testing and Vaccination Program has been implemented as a pilot program. Designed to enable new cat owners the opportunity to determine any “at risk” factors that may affect their newly adopted cat and any cats at home upon introduction. Animal Services is also providing free dog vaccinations in all our Centers thanks to a donation received for that purpose. By making vaccinations more readily available to our community's pets we will see less disease in our shelters.

Make-Over Program is in development phase to include outside vendor participation. At this time, Center personnel and volunteers that have grooming experience provide grooming for animals that need such attention. Best Friends volunteers continue to support grooming needs for large-scale adoption events.

Legal Issues: Animal Services is working with the City Attorney’s office and members of the public on no less than 30 legal issues, statutues, ordinances and/or programs, such as a new animal control ordinance dealing with mandatory spay/neuter; the aforementioned TNR program designed to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in LA; a possible rooster ban in LA to curtail cock fighting; allowing evidence animals to be fostered in a loving home rather than languish in our shelters; and neighborhood intervention programs that solves problems with potentially dangerous dogs before anyone is hurt or bitten, and much more.

Rabbit Brigade: rabbits have become the number 3 preferred pet in Los Angeles. Animal Services rescues hundreds of rabbits annually. All rabbits are now spayed or neutered prior to release. Animal Services partners with a number of rabbit rescue organizations and volunteers under the leadership of the nationally respected House Rabbit Society. – nothing demonstrates the transformation of Animal Services more than our new website. Designed to make information easily accessible with a look that is easy on the eyes and is intuitive in function. Much more detail can be found on our website including a Blog from the General Manager, a 20 plus page monthly report from the GM, and details on all of Animal Services many programs and initiatives. Animal Services’ and the City’s websites both feature a Pet of the Day function to help improve adoptions. It is our hope other City departments will put this feature on their website. Instructions for doing so are available at

Pet of the Month program initiated by Council member Herb Wesson highlights the City Council’s support of Animal Services’ efforts to increase adoptions and reduce euthanasia. Every animal featured at a City Council meeting since the practice of showcasing them at Council meetings on alternate Fridays was instituted early this year is now in a loving home! Check out our website to find instructions on how to put this feature on your website.

Lost and Found Bulleting Board: Animal Services is working with partner organizations to develop a lost and found bulletin board that will allow good Samaritan citizens to reunite lost pets with their owners without the animals ever having to suffer the trauma of a shelter experience. Keep your eyes open for that!

Match Maker: Animal Services has initiated its own Match Maker program. By going to our on-line Match Maker program found on our website, you can describe the type of pet you are looking for. Every time a pet matching your description becomes available, you will be notified by e-mail with a picture and description of the animal and its location.

Home Shopping Petwork is a high quality, 30 minute television program on Channel 35 that highlights the programs, events, employees, volunteers, and most importantly the animals of Animal Services. The program can be viewed several times per month. For a listing of the show schedule, visit

SALA – (Shelter Animals of Los Angeles) is a 501c3 Animal Services fund raising organization comprised of influential volunteers, residents and business owners wanting to help Animal Services raise funding for the life saving programs described above which are designed to facilitate achieving LA’s no-kill goal. The SALA Board is currently in formation.

Dog Licensing Program: Another reason for our declining euthanasia rate is that Animal Services has one of the highest success rates in the country for returning lost pets to their grateful owners, a rate four times higher than other large cities. Animal Services returns over 4,500 lost dogs and cats to their owners each year. 100% of the animals that Animal Services rescues with a current license go home, unfortunately, 90% of the animals we rescue come in with no identification and never go home again.

License Canvassing program: Animal Services is asking the Mayor’s Office and the City Council to reconsider funding the License Canvassing program that was deleted in this year’s budget. Conservatively, there are an estimated 700,000 pet dogs in the City of Los Angeles. Only 120,000 dogs are licensed and this number decreases each year. The program consisted of 15 Department personnel who go door-to-door and collect canine license fees.

This program was not functioning properly until February 06. Since then we immediately began to show positive results. Beginning in March 06 additional staff was recruited for the program and the number of licenses and revenue began to increase from 790 new and renewal dog licenses representing $24,373 in revenue in March to 2,498 new and renewal dog licenses representing $84,093 in revenue in June. Animal Services projects with a full contingency of fifteen canvassers we could conservatively generate $750,000 in license revenue in the first year. Because licenses must be renewed annually this revenue will continue to increase and compound per annum. This revenue would greatly supplement Animal Services budget and allow us to better provide the level of care LA residents expect.

Animal Services is deeply committed to achieving the Mayor, City Council and our community's ultimate goal of ending institutional euthanasia as a method for controlling pet overpopulation! The above-mentioned programs combined with established initiatives and programs under the Mayor, City Council, and Commission's leadership are already producing significant demonstrable results.

Together we are making LA the safest city in the US for our pets! Thanks to everyone playing a constructive role in this exciting challenge!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Report to the Mayor: Part II

This is the second part of a report presented to the Mayor and City Council on the progress of Animal Services over the course of the past fiscal year focusing as appropriate on the past six months. This portion focus on the new state of the art Animal Care Centers we are about to open:

Animal Services initiated its most significant fiscal year ever, with the planned opening of six new state of the art “green” Animal Care Centers over the next six- to seven-month period. These Centers will serve as “the” pet Adoption Centers of choice for all Angelinos as well as residents in surrounding communities. They will each feature a Spay and Neuter Clinic, Community Training Room, Get Acquainted Area, Training Field, Animal Behavioral Assessment Area, Grooming Room, Free Flight Aviary, Increased number of kennels (decreasing number of dogs per kennel from 5 - 9 to 1 - 2).

These new Animal Care Centers demonstrate the City’s commitment to animal welfare in Los Angeles. They provide every section of Los Angeles with a pleasant, green, humane community-based Animal Care Center where staff and volunteers will be able to educate residents of all ages on the intrinsic value and benefits of the human/animal bond through our many interactive Teach Love and Compassion programs.

Animal Service is in the process of hiring 126 new employees to handle the conservatively estimated 400% increase in workload represented by these facilities. This is an unprecedented, yet appropriate, rate of Departmental growth in response to our community’s growing service delivery expectations.

Of the eight projects funded by the Animal Facilities Bond Program, the South Los Angeles Annex is complete and the new South Los Angeles Center is on hold pending a City Council review of the proposed location. The remaining six projects are in construction. The construction completion and shelter opening dates are as follows:

North Central – October 6 and 7, 2006

West Los Angeles – October 2006

East Valley – October 2006

West Valley – November 2006

Northeast Valley – December 2006

Harbor – January 2007

At the same time the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Animal Services is opening these new Animal Care Centers we have also renewed our commitment to our community’s expectation to end euthanasia as a means to control pet overpopulation. This new mission and vision are articulated in our new mission, vision and value statements which can be found on our website at

Animal Services is also demonstrating this commitment through the implementation of several new programs. Part III of this report will describe just a few of the programs Animal Services is implementing to help reduce pet euthanasia in LA.

But it is important to keep in mind Animal Services cannot do this alone and we welcome the assistance of the entire community to help save a life, adopt a pet, sponsor a program, make a donation, volunteer, join our bottle baby program. Together we are making LA the safest City in the US for our pets!

The mission, vision and values of Los Angeles Animals Services was recently published in an article in the LA Times. If you have not had a chance to read this article, just click on the link below:,0,5046611.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Monday, July 10, 2006

Report to the Mayor: Part I

The following is an excerpt from a report from the GM of Animal Services to Mayor Villaraigosa. Watch for part II later this week:

I want to report on the progress made so far this calendar year at Animal Services. Los Angeles Animal Services received two national recognitions during the past six months. The first mention came from Maddie’s Fund®, the well known Pet Rescue Foundation (, established in 1999 to help fund the creation of a no-kill nation. The recognition was for “transparency,” ie., the ready availability of information to the public.

Of the over 5200 animal control departments in the United States and the tens of thousands humane societies and other animal welfare organizations, Maddie’s identified only five organizations for their transparency. LA Animal Services was at the top of this list and was the only municipal animal control program recognized.

One of the reasons for this recognition is LA Animal Services’ willingness to post its statistics on-line. Animal Services shares Maddie’s philosophy that transparency “will ultimately help save more lives,” and that by our example “other organizations will see the true merit of moving in this direction, and that transparency will become commonplace in the very near future.”

The second recognition came from the leading independent newspaper providing original investigative coverage of animal protection worldwide. Founded in 1992, ANIMAL PEOPLE has no alignment or affiliation with any other entity. The official 14th annual ANIMAL PEOPLE analysis of kill rates in communities across the United States goes to press on July 20th. Merritt Clifton, editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE, forwarded LA Animal Services the following recognition based on the best available data of total U.S. shelter killing:

Los Angeles city and county combined have cut their shelter killing in half since 2003, and at a combined rate of 3.94 are now killing fewer animals per 1,000 residents than San Francisco killed in 1994, the first year of the Adoption Pact that made San Francisco the first no-kill city." Mr. Clifton goes on to cite LA as an example of a community making the “fastest progress” towards no-kill joining all “Southern California” in “the steepest decreases in shelter killing nationwide since 2001.

These two positive mentions demonstrate Los Angeles is on the right track and is developing meaningful momentum for further improvement. Over the past five years, LA City's dog euthanasia rate decreased 62 percent and our cat euthanasia rate decreased 19 percent.

In just the first six months of 2006, we’ve seen another 12 percent decrease in dog and cat euthanasia compared to the same period in 2005. In the 05/06 Fiscal Year just ending, fewer than 19,500 animals were euthanized.

This is the lowest number of animals killed in any one-year period in LA City history! At mid-calendar 06, the number of dogs and cats euthanized is 7,800. If we are able to maintain or improve our current efforts we may reduce dog and cat euthansia to under 16,000 this calendar year representing an additional 20% decrease in euthanasia.

During the past six months LA Animal Services experienced a 7% increase in adoptions compared to the same time period in 2005. The first two quarters of calendar year 2006 represent the highest pet adoption quarters [6821 adoptions] and the lowest euthanasia quarters [7,865 deaths] in LA Animal Services’ history! Add to this an additional 3,121 transfers to partnering organizations and our high return to owner rate and Animal Services “live release rate” for dogs and cats is an amazing 58%.

Animal Services has a 70% “live release” rate for dogs and a 44% “live release” rate for cats. The past six months is the first time in LA Animal Services history when more animals left alive then were killed. Together, we are truly making humane history in LA!

I want to thank everyone who is helping make the no-kill vision a reality in LA!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Weekend After

LA Animal Services rescued a huge number of lost and frightened dogs and cats following the 4th of July celebrations. Fireworks terrify animals and they often run away, making this the busiest week of the year for Animal Services. To make room for all these new animals we are having a great post 4th of July Adoptathon with reduced adoption fees this weekend.

Please help us get the word out. Lets see if we can't empty all the shelters this weekend!

For more information click on the attached flier

or visit

Thank you!
Ed Boks

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Special Report from ANIMAL PEOPLE: U.S. Kill Rates and how L.A. compares

The official 13th annual ANIMAL PEOPLE analysis of kill rates in communities across the United States goes to press on July 20th. Merritt Clifton, editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE, just forwarded LA Animal Services this year’s projection compiled from the best available data of total U.S. shelter killing. Here is a preview of the soon to be released report:

“The good news is that the national rate of shelter killing per 1,000 human residents in the U.S. has dropped to a record low of 14.7, just slightly lower than it was before the economic collapse in 2001 that knocked funding for spay/neuter programs back, and simultaneously, while the feral cat population continued a steep decrease, and the pit bull terrier population exploded.

“Because the U.S. human population and pet keeping significantly increased since 2001, total U.S. shelter killing is still above the low mark of 4.2 million. However, at 4.36 million projected in 2005, we could achieve a new low in 2006.

“The bad news is that the rates of shelter killing per 1,000 humans went up slightly along the Gulf Coast, in Appalachia, and--most alarmingly--in the Southwest. Since most of the data is from fiscal years ending before Hurricane Katrina, that was not a factor.

“The rates of increase in all three regions were small enough to be within the margin of error for the survey method, but even if there was not an actual increase, I think it can be said that there was no demonstrable decrease. In all three regions, rates of pet sterilization are probably just barely getting to the 70% necessary to stabilize the population.

"Los Angeles city and county combined have cut their shelter killing in half since 2003, and at a combined rate of 3.94 are now killing fewer animals per 1,000 residents than San Francisco killed in 1994, the first year of the Adoption Pact that made San Francisco the first "no-kill city." end quote

This is good news indeed and further proof that Los Angeles is on the right track and developing momentum. Consider that over the past five years, LA City's dog euthanasia rate decreased 62 percent and our cat euthanasia rate decreased 19 percent. In just the first six months of 2006, we’ve seen another 12 percent decrease in dog and cat euthanasia compared to the same period in 2005. In the 05/06 Fiscal Year just ending, fewer than 19,500 animals were euthanized. This is the lowest number of animals killed in any one-year period in LA City history!

We still have a long way to go, but together we are transforming LA into the safest and least lethal city in the US for our pets. Thank you all who are helping in a constructive way!