Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Warning...

In June 2006, the LA City Council officially went on the record supporting California Senate bill 1806. The bill outlaws leaving an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water. This important bill was approved overwhelmingly by the Legislature last summer and signed by the Governor in September. This groundbreaking measure was made possible thanks to the staff and volunteers of LA Animal Services who were the original authors of the bill.

As the dog days of summer approach, the The Animal Protection Institute (API, a national nonprofit animal welfare group in Sacramento) has sent out the following information:

API has launched its summer initiative, “My Dog is Cool,” to save dogs and other animals from dying in hot cars during warm-weather months.

Every year, dogs die after being locked inside cars while their humans leave them, often for “just a few minutes.” These tragedies occur with alarming frequency, yet the animals’ deaths are completely preventable.

“As the summer heats up, it’s important that people be made aware of the dangers of leaving companion animals inside hot cars,” says API’s director of legal and government affairs, Nicole Paquette. “People mean well by taking their dog or other animal along with them while they work, visit, shop, or run errands, but warm weather can literally turn a car into a death trap.”

** NOTE: A Stanford University test found that even if it’s only 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature can rocket to 116 degrees within an hour. Hundreds of dogs are unintentionally killed or injured each year by being left in hot cars, even with windows cracked and only for a short time.

The lifesaving Web site is a free, friendly resource to help spread the word about the dangers of hot cars. Resources include downloadable posters and “It’s hot!” flyers that can be used when a dog is left in a hot car, and an “Is it Too Hot?” weather forecasting tool that allows you to just enter your zip code and see if it’s too hot to take your pal along in the car.

The site provides everything you need to know to keep dogs safe and happy during hot weather.

The Animal Protection Institute is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. For more information, visit

Below are some additional tips to keep in mind on warm/hot days. These points are from Gary Bogue, a daily newspaper columnist on pets, wildlife and environmental issues for Contra Costa Newspapers, in Walnut Creek, CA, since January, 1970. You can read more insightful information by Gary at:

Things to keep in mind on warm/hot days:

Indoor Animals — Make sure your house doesn't turn into an oven during the day while you're at work. If you don't have an air conditioner, leave as many windows partially open as you can to keep the air circulating. Moving air is important. Your dog or cat will follow the air currents around to find the most comfortable spot.

You can help by filling several liter-size plastic Coke/Pepsi bottles with water and freezing them. (Don't fill them too full because ice expands.) Leave them lying on the floor around the house in places where your pets like to hang out. They can snuggle up against the icy bottles and keep at least a little cooler.

If you have an aquarium or fish bowl full of fish, make sure the sun doesn't shine on them as it moves past your windows. Warm water loses oxygen, and a fish in a sunny aquarium can have trouble breathing and actually "drown."

Outdoor Animals — If your dog or cat spends the day in the back yard, it would be great if they had a dog/cat door that would let them come inside to cool off. If they don't (how about a doggy door into the garage?), you need to make sure they have some shady spots to get out of the sun and plenty of water to drink so they can stay hydrated.

Give the ground under bushes or in shady areas a good watering before you go to work so your dog has a place to stay comfortable. You can always give your pal a bath later.

Drinking Water — Whether your pets stay inside or out, make sure they have plenty of cool, clean water to drink. Leave several large bowls in different parts of your house or yard where your pets like to go and make sure they stay out of the sun so the water doesn't get too hot to drink.

Here are a couple of important points from an ASPCA News Alert on hot weather:

1. Exercise your dog in the cool of the early morning or evening, never when it's hot. Be careful not to let your dog stand on hot asphalt or cement, as its sensitive paw pads can easily burn.

2. Some animals need extra special care in hot weather, especially those who are elderly and overweight, or have heart or lung disease. Hopefully, you know who you are.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Police Departments Across California Support AB 1634

Salinas and Capitola Police Departments are the most recent law enforcement departments to endorse California Healthy Pets Act. The Salinas and Capitola Police Departments have joined the growing coalition of support for the California Healthy Pets Act, which will help keep communities safer by reducing the number of unwanted stray dogs roaming the streets and reduce dog bites.

“This bill will be a much needed tool to aid in the fight to reduce pet overpopulation in California and more specifically, in the City of Salinas,” said Salinas Police Chief Daniel Ortega. The City of Capitola is located in Santa Cruz County, which already has a spay/neuter law that has helped to reduce save taxpayer’s money by reducing pet overpopulation. “We are confident that the cost to the City of Capitola to shelter and euthanize unwanted pets could further be reduced if AB1634 was in effect throughout the state, as the dumping of cats and dogs from outside jurisdictions would be reduced with the implementation of a statewide spay-neuter law,” said Capitola Police Chief Richard Ehle.

Other law enforcement agencies that have already announced their endorsement of the bill include but is not limited to Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Beverly Hills Police Departments. For a listing of the hundreds of organizations supporting AB 1634 visit:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

California American Postal Workers Union President speaks out for AB 1634

Last week was National Dog Bite Week and rising injuries from aggressive pets are in the news. California American Postal Workers Union President Isabelle Bailey has spoken out in support of the California Healthy Pets Act. The Golden State has more dog bite injuries than any other state in the nation. Dogs that have been neutered are three times less likely to attack than unaltered dogs, more evidence that universal spay and neuter means safer communities.

“Every day, postal service employees confront not only aggressive dogs, but too many dogs that are abandoned and roaming our neighborhoods. The California Healthy Pets Act will help reduce injuries from overly aggressive animals as well as curb the number of unwanted pets without a caring home,” said Bailey.

For more information visit:

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time to Focus on AB 1634

California's humane community is making a supreme effort to change forever the fundamental nature of animal care and control in this state by passing AB 1634: The California Healthy Pets Act in the state legislature. At this crucial turning point, some critics of the department persist in trying to distract the local humane community from the task at hand. Instead these ne'er-do-wells dredge up allegations that have been circulated and rebutted weeks or months ago and continue to fabricate new ones.

These regurgitated charges have been addressed numerous times and, while I respect any one's right to disagree with the response, I refuse to allow any of this to create a distraction from the department's mission to save more animals and our collaboration with others in California seeking to win approval for AB 1634. These critics seem to believe that by repeating false charges over and over again they will magically become true. They're wrong.

Rather than wasting any more time responding to these critics again, I will simply refer concerned parties to Should anyone have any additional questions or concerns, I can be reached at 213.482.9558.

It is my hope, however, that all true animal advocates will keep their eye on the most immediate and important goal, which is to help persuade our State Assembly Representatives to support AB 1634 in the upcoming vote. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you didn't contact your Assembly Representative yesterday, do it today!

I am in Sacramento this week talking to our State Assembly Representatives about AB 1634. As I watch this legislation work its way through the process I see a disturbing trend emerging. To date no Republicans have either voted or voiced their support for AB 1634. This is curious because all of us who have worked so hard on this initiative have always viewed it as a bipartisan effort.

Crafted by animal control professionals and veterinarians you cannot find two more bipartisan fields. There are two major reasons for passing AB 1634, the humanitarian reason and the fiscal reason. Seldom does a truly humanitarian initiative actually reduce government costs. AB 1634 does, which demonstrates that it squarely aligns with both Republican and Democratic core values.

So, you might ask, what fault do Republicans find with AB 1634? The charge I hear up here is "Nanny Government". That is, "how dare the government tell me what to do with my property." In other words, the Republican argument against AB 1634 is that it interferes with a citizen's personal property rights.

I personally appreciate Republican core values of fiscal responsibility, smaller more efficient government, and the protection of personal property rights. In earlier entries I explained how AB 1634 will result in extraordinary cost savings to both local and state government. These cost saving will also result in smaller more efficient animal control programs over time. So clearly, AB 1634 is consistent with at least two Republican core values. That leaves the personal property rights argument.

My counter to this argument is simple. Pets are not like refrigerators or motorcycles. Pets can suffer. Nearly one million of them suffer the trauma of a shelter impoundment every year. More than half of them never make it out alive. Another significant difference is that pets reproduce at an alarming rate and at an extraordinary cost to taxpayers.

Clearly, pets are different from most categories of "property". Indeed, many communities in California have already codified this difference by changing the definition of "owner" to "guardian" in their local ordinances. Most Californians understand we are guardians or stewards of our pets. But as a state, we have to admit we are not exercising our stewardship responsibly. The cost and death rates of the status quo confront us with this truth every day.

So when a state representative votes no on AB 1634 whose property rights are they protecting? Responsible breeders? No, responsible breeders are exempt from this legislation. Then who? The group up here lobbying against AB 1634 characterize themselves as hobby breeders. These breeders do not want to declare or pay taxes on the income they raise from their hobby. Nor do they want to help pay for the costs resulting from a hobby experiment gone wrong.

When a hobby breeder cannot sell the offspring from their hobby they can conveniently dump their property at their local shelter at no cost to them. Visit the LA Times or any other local newspaper in California and see the hundreds of thousands of dollars in undeclared income earned every year by hobby breeders. But what happens to the property they cannot sell in the local newspaper, bulletin board, or website? When they can't sell this "property" for a handsome profit, they can simply dump it at the local shelter for you and me to pay for.

All AB 1634 does is make hobby breeders honest. If people want to breed animals for profit they should declare their income. Why should the rest of us have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year to clean up hobby experiments gone wrong?

Please call and fax your Assembly Representative today and tell them personal property rights cannot be allowed to trump personal responsibility. As long as there are irresponsible breeders in California we will need AB 1634!

For more information visit:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ask Your State Representative to Support AB 1634 Today!

Some ask why AB 1634 allows pure breed animals to be bred while it precludes owners of mixed breed animals to do the same. It is estimated by some that in California 97% of the 500,000 animals killed in municipal shelters each year are of mixed pedigree.

Pure breed dogs and cats are usually adopted or rescued by breed specific organizations who have a specific interest in protecting their breed. These organizations are often capable of accepting pure breeds that would have been difficult to adopt due to serious behavior or health issues.

A critical problem facing California today is the indiscriminate breeding of dogs and cats. Pet overpopulation is costly to local ($250 million annually) and State ($121.6 million to date plus $30 million annually) government.

Pet overpopulation contributes to the spread of disease, some of which are transmittable to humans. Pet overpopulation also places an enormous burden on the thousands of municipal employees throughout the State who we require to perform euthanasia simply because there are not enough homes for all the animals in our shelters. The national annualized attrition rate for shelter workers is 40%. In California some shelters have a 90% rate. It is not right to ask our employees to continue killing without providing them the tools they need to finally solve this vexing problem.

The legislative intent of the Hayden and Vincent Bills passed in the late 90's is clear. The intention is to make California a "no-kill" State by the year 2010. AB 1634 is critical to achieving this laudable goal. It is not likely we will achieve this goal without this legislation.

It is time for courageous legislative action to help end the horrible and unnecessary destruction of life in the State of California. If we fail to pass AB 1634 the message we will send to our children is that life has little or no value compared to the personal property rights of irresponsible breeders.

The time has come to end the unnecessary and senseless breeding of pet animals while we are unable to provide enough loving homes for all of them.

The above article was written in collaboration with Mike McFarland, Executive Director of Stanislaus County Animal Services. We urge you to fax and call your Assembly representative today!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Three Reasons to Support AB 1634

Assembly Bill 1634 – The California Healthy Pets Act – continued on its path to the Governor’s desk Wednesday, May 16th when it was passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a B roll call vote.

AB 1634 is designed to serve as a significant tool in helping end the incalculable suffering of lost and homeless dogs and cats in the State of California.

There are many reasons for supporting AB 1634. I want to highlight just three:

1. Public Health: According to the American and California Veterinary Medical Associations, dogs and cats have many transmitted diseases, many of which are fatal and some are potentially contagious to humans. Spayed and neutered pets are rarely exposed to these diseases.

The number one killer of cats and dogs, after euthanasia, is cancer. Spaying and neutering can prevent most of these deaths. Medical research shows that spayed and neutered cats and dogs live longer and healthier lives. For these and many other reasons, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends early spaying and neutering because younger animals recover faster and with less pain.

This modest one time expense can save an incalculable amount of money in veterinary care as well as all the heartache resulting from unnecessary illnesses over the life of an animal.

2. Public Safety: Spaying and neutering reduces the dangers caused by roaming stray animals, the transmission of rabies, and injuries from dog and cat bites. Over 30,000 dog and cat bites are reported in California annually. Over 23,000 involve dogs. Unaltered dogs are three times more likely to attack humans and other pets.

According to the Center for Disease Control, California has the highest occurrence of dog bites, animal attacks and attack-related fatalities in the nation -- and children are the most common victims. In fact, 50% of all children are bitten by a dog or cat by age 12 according to the CDC. People over 70 years of age comprise 10% of all dog bite victims and represent 20% of those killed by dogs. 75% of all dog bites, attacks and fatalities involve intact male dogs.

The insurance industry estimates it pays more than $1 billion each year in homeowners’ liability claims resulting from dog bites. Hospital expenses for dog bite-related emergency visits are estimated at $102.4 million. There are also medical insurance claims, workmen’s compensation claims, lost wages, and sick leave and other associated business costs that have not been calculated.

3. Fiscal Responsibility: In 1998 the State enacted the Animal Shelter Law, SB 1785, commonly called “The Hayden Bill”. Since its enactment the provisions of the Hayden Bill have generated the third largest reimbursable fiscal mandate in the state. To date the Hayden Bill has cost the state $121.6 M and is conservatively growing at a rate of $30M a year.

In order to meet the requirements of the Hayden Bill to hold animals for longer periods of time and provide more medical services to treatable animals, the City of Los Angeles allocated $160 million to build seven animal shelters with medical clinics just to manage the crushing number of lost and homeless animals rescued by LA Animal Services every year - over 50,000 animals. To further meet the requirements of the Hayden Bill the City Council had to increase Animal Services’ budget by 36% over the past six years, with a 28% increase this year alone.

The lesson we have learned from the Hayden Bill is that addressing the pet overpopulation problem from the back end is expensive. Warehousing thousands of animals for longer periods of time in costly mega shelters is not a viable long-term solution. It is very much like trying to mop up a flooded basement without first fixing the broken water pipe. The water keeps pouring in despite our best efforts to mop it up. To not support AB 1634 gives new meaning to penny wise and (dog) pound foolish!

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. AB 1634 provides an elegant response for ending the insanity of escalating budgets and escalating body counts. AB 1634 will help us fix the broken water pipe.

Please call and write your state representative and ask him/her to support AB 1634.

For more information on this important initiative visit:

Monday, May 14, 2007

California's Healthy Pets Act

Every year, nearly one million cats and dogs pass through the doors of animal control agencies throughout California. And every year, hundreds of thousands of them – many perfectly healthy and adoptable – are euthanized by overcrowded shelters that are unable to find them good homes. Here in Los Angeles, despite the fact that we have some of the best voluntary spay and neuter programs in the state, nearly 19,000 dogs and cats were put down at city shelters over the past 12 months. Perhaps those numbers don’t bother you, but this one might: collectively, our state and local governments are spending $250 million taxpayer dollars to house, care for, and ultimately kill about half a million dogs and cats each year.

To combat this taxpayer burden and overpopulation crisis, Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) has introduced the California Healthy Pets Act, which would require most pets in California over four months of age to be spayed or neutered. Under Assembly Bill 1634, dog and cat owners who don’t comply would be cited if their pet comes in contact with a local animal control officer, but given time to spay or neuter their pets before a fine would be assessed. A portion of those fines would be used to expand the availability of free or low-cost spay and neuter programs.

In absence of this legislation, California will continue to take a piecemeal approach to pet overpopulation and things will never really improve – even when there is already a proven approach to solving this problem just waiting to be implemented: mandatory spay/neuter laws. And with a growing number of free and low-cost spay/neuter services up and down the state, mandatory spay/neuter laws should not pose a financial burden for pet owners.

Mr. Levine’s legislation contains a number of common sense exceptions, including for show and sporting dogs, law enforcement dogs, dogs used in search and rescue, cats or dogs who are too old or in poor health, and guide, service and signal animals. The bill is modeled after a highly successful mandatory spay and neuter ordinance that has been in place in Santa Cruz County since 1995. Within two years of the County’s enactment of the measure, it began to see a noticeable reduction in the number of animals entering its shelters. Within eight years, despite a 15 percent growth in the county’s human population, the number of animals entering the county’s shelters was cut in half.

Despite cries from breeders that Mr. Levine’s bill is too severe, there are counties that already have more stringent laws than what the California Healthy Pets Act contains. And why shouldn’t they? Medical research shows that spayed or neutered cats and dogs live longer and healthier lives. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends early spaying and neutering because younger animals recover faster and with less pain. Spaying and neutering also protects and improves the health of pets by reducing or eliminating many health problems that are difficult and expensive to treat, such as cancer, tumors, hernias, infections and other life-threatening diseases.

Depending on how you choose to look at pet overpopulation problem in California, there are either 500,000 or 250 million good reasons to try and do something constructive to solve it. Crafted by a comprehensive coalition of animal welfare experts, AB 1634 is a common sense approach that will not only establish California as a national leader in the humane care for animals, but it will save our state’s taxpayers millions of their hard earned dollars.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Support for Mandatory Spay and Neuter of Cats and Dogs

The following letter supporting AB 1634 is from Paula Kislak, DVM and President of The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights:

The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights is a California-based organization which represents 3,000 veterinarians. It is on behalf of our veterinary members, that I submit this statement in support of mandatory sterilization of cats and dogs and offer the expertise and resources of our organization to help achieve this goal.

There are many reasons to support the sterilization of cats and dogs, foremost among them are the health benefits to the individual animal. Sterilization reduces or eliminates the chance of developing several serious medical conditions that occur commonly in the unsterilized population. These include mammary carcinoma (breast cancer) and pyometra (uterine infection) in female animals and testicular neoplasia and prostate disease in males. Additionally, animals who are sterilized have reduced incidence of aggression, urine spraying and marking, wandering, and fighting. These behaviors result in transmission of venereal and infectious diseases (ex. feline AIDS) and are the most common reasons for abandonment of animals and euthanasia at our shelters. Avoiding these behavioral issues through sterilization will significantly improve longevity and quality of life for the animal and his or her family.

AVAR supports early-age sterilization, as well. This refers to the practice of surgically sterilizing cats and dogs between 6-16 weeks of age, prior to the onset of puberty. Early-age sterilization has been performed safely for decades at shelters and in private veterinary clinics throughout North America. The surgery is faster and recovery from anesthesia more rapid in the pediatric patient. And, along with the long-term health benefits mentioned above, pre-pubertal sterilization avoids pregnancies at an early age (potentially occurring as early as four months) which is stressful on young animals.

The positive impact of sterilizing cats and dogs also extends to the animal population as a whole and, in fact, the entire community. It is the most effective way to reduce the number of litters born and the resulting influx of animals into our shelters. This saves millions of taxpayer dollars needed to feed, house, euthanize and dispose of many hundreds of thousands of animals every year in our state.

Although California law already requires that animals adopted from shelters and humane societies be sterilized, there are many individuals throughout the state who are breeding their animals irresponsibly, thereby contributing to the overpopulation crisis and negatively impacting our streets and shelters. Requiring that all animals be spayed and neutered, with limited medical exemptions, will reduce the taxpayer burden for collecting and sheltering unwanted animals and the shame of killing so many cats and dogs in California.

Thank you for your willingness to address this tragic situation by considering this proactive and farsighted legislative opportunity. Again, I offer the expertise and resources of our veterinary association and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Paula Kislak, DVM

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Breeding Backlash

The following article was written by the Director of Riverside Animal Control, a strong partner organization with LA Animal Services and the City of Los Angeles in supporting AB 1634:

Support Assembly Bill 1634

When will residents of California say enough is enough and take a stance on ending the unnecessary euthanasia of cats and dogs? I say that time can be now.

With the introduction of Assembly Bill 1634, the California Healthy Pets Act, comes the opportunity and moral obligation for California and its residents to become the model for states and countries around the world to end the euthanasia of dogs and cats in municipal and private animal shelters.

Why now? Animal organizations in California have spent millions of dollars year after year caring for animals and reducing euthanasia rates with great success, but the ultimate goal continues to elude them for one reason: irresponsible pet owners.

These pet owners continue the animal breeding cycle, leaving a renewable population of pets that forces animal shelters with finite resources to continue to euthanize surplus animals. AB 1634 would put the onus of responsibility to spay or neuter pets on the owners.

Is the bill an attempt to stop the breeding of purebred animals altogether? Absolutely not. In fact, many exemptions exist within the bill to ensure the continuity of purebred pets of quality, rather than below-standard or unhealthy pets inhumanely overbred purely for profit. Exemptions in this bill would allow responsible breeders to continue the genetic lines of purebred dogs and cats while encouraging ethical breeding practices.

Animal-control programs are complaint-driven, and enforcement is accomplished on a daily basis by thousands of animal-control officers statewide.

Most reputable breeders interact with animal-control agencies primarily to obtain licenses or kennel permits. They rarely hear about complaints from animal control organizations. Breeders for years have done a great job of rescuing purebred animals from shelters.

AB 1634 would exempt these reputable breeders from spaying and neutering their breeding stock. On the other hand, the bill would allow officers to stop indiscriminate breeding practices through the use of monetary penalties, which would be applied to irresponsible pet owners who fail to take advantage of low-cost spay-and-neuter programs to prevent undesired breeding.

Don't mixed-breed animals deserve to have offspring? Until the day comes when California is not euthanizing more than 1,000 dogs and cats per day, I say no. Spayed and neutered mixed-breed dogs and cats make great family companions, and deserve to be loved the same as purebred animals.

Until the tragedy of pet overpopulation and homelessness in our society is corrected, I cannot support the sad and needless euthanasia of animals simply because we refuse to prevent them from being born.

When will the killing stop? The answer to this question is in the hands of California legislators. Be a part of the solution and join me in supporting AB 1634.

Robert Miller, Director
County of Riverside Department of Animal Services
5950 Wilderness Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
Phone: (951) 358-7442
Fax: (951) 358-7300

Monday, May 07, 2007

Year to Date and April 2007 Numbers and Where We Go From Here

Year To Date Numbers:
Despite a 3.45% increase in the number of dogs and cats rescued by LA Animal Services in the first four months of calendar year 2007 (from 11,532 to 11,930), the City's euthanasia rate continues to decrease!

The euthanasia rate for Calendar Year to Date compared to the first four months of 2006 shows a 13.25% decrease (from 3198 to 2774)! Keep in mind that 2006 was a historic record year for euthanizing the fewest number of animals and now 2007 appears to be on track to be another record year!

Adoptions Year to Date are up 2% (from 4349 to 4437) and New Hope placements are up 3.2% (from 1919 to 1982).

LA Animal Services continues to lead the nation in returning lost pets to their frantic and grateful owners with a 1.2% increase Year to Date over last year (from 1385 to 1402). This rate is four times higher than any other large municipal program.

April Numbers:
April 07 showed a 5.3% increase in the number of animals rescued by LA Animal Services (up from 3395 to 3577) compared to April 06. The continual increase in the number of animals coming into LA City Animal Care Centers demonstrates the need for widespread support of the California Healthy Pet Act (

Despite this increase in numbers, LA's April euthanasia rate is the lowest April ever recorded, down a whopping 22.7% (from 1099 to 849)! This follows March's historic all time low euthanasia month!

Although Adoptions were down 5% (from 1102 to 1044) our New Hope partners picked up the slack and adopted 9.4% more animals this April than last April (from 622 to 681)!

Where We Go From Here:
While these numbers may appear to paint a rosey picture to some, I want to make sure we don't fool ourselves with respect to the challenge before us.

LA Animal Services is criticized from both sides. When euthanasia is up we are criticized for being a "death camp". When euthanasia is down we are criticized for being a "concentration camp".

LA Animal Services walks a very difficult line - we must try to maintain a high quality of life for our sheltered animals while attempting to not unnecessarily sacrifice the life of any animals when we need more space for incoming animals.

To ensure LA Animal Services continues to trend towards No-Kill we have or are implementing the following strategies:

1. When an animal is healthy and has a good disposition, we hold that animal for at least 45 days to maximize our efforts to adopt it out. Most municipal shelters hold animals for a week or less. During those 45 days staff becomes well acquainted with each animal so as to better plead its case to both adopters and our New Hope partners. If after 45 days none of our 120 New Hope partners or anyone of our 4 million residents steps up to adopt an animal, we then stress the urgency for help with that animal by posting him/her on a seven day Red Alert on our website. This step provides anybody and everybody one last opportunity to save that animal.

Even then this is not an automatic death sentence. Staff can, and often do, take animals off the seven day Red Alert when they think that animal just needs a little more time. That is how and why we often have animals in our Centers for months at a time. I cannot find ANY municipal shelter in the world that DOES MORE to save lives than LA Animal Services!

2. LA Animal Services will continue to promote adoptions and will continue to find ways to maximize the resources of our New Hope Partners. Working with our New Hope Partners, LA Animal Services is placing nearly 21,000 dogs and cats every year. I cannot find ANY animal adoption program anywhere in the world placing more animals than LA Animal Services. And we are committed to doing better! In addition to that, we reunite over 4,000 lost pets with their owners each year!

Please help us promote our current Be Kind To Animals Week Adoptathon in which we offer half off adoption fees!

3. As many of you know, LA Animal Services is in the process of vacating our East Valley and West LA Animal Care Centers to move into our new facilities. Our new facilities will increase our holding capacity by over 400%!

So what to do with our old facilities? LA Animal Services is developing a Request for Qualifications to identify one or more animal welfare organizations willing and able to manage our old facilities in partnership with LA Animal Services and in support of our No-Kill goal.

4. LA Animal Services continues to provide more and more spay/neuter surgeries for the pets of our residents each year, nearly 40,000 pets in 2006 and we are on track to do 44,000 in 2007. I cannot find ANY municipal program ANYWHERE that is doing more to provide spay/neuter services to its residents.

Later this year we will be opening our Spay/Neuter Clinics in order to provide even more spay/neuter services to our residents. South LA's Spay/Neuter Clinic is already operational and we hope to have North Central operational soon, with five additional clinics coming on line no later than next spring.

5. LA Animal Services is one of the original drafters and supporters of AB 1634. Now we have the support of the Mayor and the entire City Council! Our efforts on this state initiative laid the foundation for us implementing a City spay/neuter ordinance which is on a parallel track even now.

Never was more being done to end the senseless killing of lost and homeless animals in the City of LA! I want to thank every employee, volunteer, and partner in helping us achieve the remarkable numbers of the last five years. But we have a long way to go and we need your help. Please consider ways of helping support the above initiatives, and/or consider joining our Volunteer Program.

Its an old but true maxim, that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Celebration of Compassion: Be Kind to Animals Week

Be Kind to Animals Week was the first large-scale campaign to bring attention to animal welfare in the United States. The idea extended from "Mercy Sunday", a partnership between American Humane and clergy in several states. But the need for a more cohesive, nationwide campaign was seen as a natural outgrowth of the association's mission and its collaboration with humane societies throughout the country.

In 1914, plans were discussed to expand the movement to create a unified celebration on a national level. Dr. William O. Stillman, president of the American Humane, believed strongly in a systemic approach that would bring the "tenets of kindness to those who would not otherwise be brought under its influence." The objectives were to heighten public awareness through humane education, highlight the work of humane societies, and again ask clergy to speak about child and animal welfare issues on what had been renamed "Humane Sunday."

The inaugural Be Kind to Animals Week, May 17-23, 1915, was a revolutionary concept. With radio in its infancy, and long before television, American Humane effectively used the media of the day to promote the observance in 43 of 48 states. Posters and literature were distributed, and local newspapers helped publicize the events, resulting in a tremendous response.

Over the years, Be Kind to Animals Week has continued to grow and embed itself into the popular lexicon and the public's consciousness. In 1973, the children's TV show Romper Room promoted it, and in 1990, Congress passed a resolution declaring May 6-12 as Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week. It also has been featured in thousands of news stories and even in comic strips, including Dennis the Menace and Mutts.

In 2007, the 93-year tradition continues with a weeklong celebration of kindness and compassion May 6-12. [From Spring Issue of "The National Humane Review" pg. 5]

LA Animal Services is celebrating Be Kind To Animals Week with a weeklong Adoption Promotion to encourage Angelenos to do the kindest thing of all - provide a loving home to a homeless pet. From May 6 through May 13, all adoption fees will be reduced by 50%!