Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Good News for LA's Canines!

LA Animal Services’ Kill-Rate hit an all time low in 2006! In calendar year 2006, 19,214 dogs and cats were euthanized in LA’s six municipal Animal Care Centers. This represents a 6.6% decrease compared to 2005 and more than a 50% decrease compared to 2001!

Of the 25,045 dogs taken in by Animal Services in 2006, 6,937 were euthanized. This represents an incredible 72% live release rate! These numbers show a 14.2% decrease in dog euthanasia compared to 2005 and a 60% decrease compared to 2002! 28% of all dogs entering LA Animal Services were euthanized in 2006 for one of the following three reasons: The dog was 1) sick/injured, 2) dangerously aggressive, or 3) there was a lack of space to hold the dog for a longer period of time.

Of note, 41% of all dogs euthanized were pit bulls, despite the fact that adoptions for pit bulls were up 7.6% and the live release rate for pit bulls increased nearly 12% - thanks to the help of New Hope Adoption Partners (rescue groups encouraged to take advantage of a no fee release program).

Success for cats was not so dramatic. Of the 21,373 cats taken in by LA Animal Services in 2006, 12,278 were euthanized. This represents a 1.3% decrease in cat euthanasia compared to 2005 and a 19% decrease compared to 2003. 57% of all cats taken in by LA Animal Services were euthanized in 2006.

One reason this number is so high is because 46% of all cats euthanized (5,584) were orphaned neonates. Neonate kittens are too young to survive on their own. Animal Services developed its “Bottle Baby Program” in 2006 to help reduce the number of neonates euthanized each year. This program trains volunteers and staff to foster neonates in their homes until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and adopted. Although very rewarding, fostering neonates is also labor intensive, requiring foster parents to feed “sucklings” with eye droppers or baby bottles every two hours for several weeks until they are weaned. In 2006, 186 neonates were successfully fostered. Animal Services intends to increase that number in 2007 with the help of compassionate volunteers. Another significant percentage of euthanized cats were feral (wild) cats.

Two target populations we as a community have to focus our resources on in 2007 are our pit bulls and our cats. As we get our feral cat and pit bull populations under control we will take yet another giant leap towards No-Kill.

With programs currently in development, we are confident we will see another significant reduction in LA’s pet euthanasia rate in 2007. It is my hope all Angelinos will assist Animal Services in achieving this goal by spaying or neutering their own pets, adopting a pet or two, or volunteering with LA Animal Services in 2007.

Together we can make Los Angeles the first major metropolitan No-Kill City in the United States.