Tuesday, December 18, 2007


This posting is the third in a series of messages responding to the recommendations of the "No-Kill Equation". The No-Kill Equations is comprised of ten commonsense, long-standing practices embraced and implemented by LA Animal Services with remarkable results.

An animal advocate in our community conducted and submitted an analysis comparing the "No-Kill Equation" to LA's programs and practices. Today’s message focuses on the third recommendation of the “No-Kill Equation,” which is Rescue Groups.

The Ten "No-Kill Equation" Recommendations are:
1. Feral Cat TNR Program – (Responded December 11th)
2. High Volume/Low-Cost Spay/Neuter (Responded December 16th)
3. Rescue Groups
4. Foster Care
5. Comprehensive Adoption Program
6. Pet Retention
7. Medical and Behavioral Rehabilitation
8. Public Relations/Community Involvement
9. Volunteers
10. A Compassionate Director

The No-Kill Equation will appear in this blue font.
The analysis of LA Animal Services' efforts will follow in italics.
Following the analysis I will further explain our New Hope program in this font.

III. Rescue Groups
An adoption or transfer to a rescue group frees up scarce cage and kennel space, reduces expenses for feeding, cleaning, killing and carcass disposal, and improves a community’s rate of lifesaving. Getting an animal out of the shelter and into an appropriate placement is important and rescue groups, as a general rule, can screen adopters as well or better than many shelters. In an environment of 5,000,000 dogs and cats killed in shelters annually, there will rarely be a shortage of adoptable animals and if a rescue group is willing to take custody and care of the animal, rare is the circumstance in which they should be denied.

LA Animal Services recognizes and embraces the advantages provided by dedicated rescuers finding good homes for the animals in their care. LA Animal Services welcomes the participation of rescue groups and organizations and constantly strives to improve its policies and procedures to maximize the benefits of these partnerships. In 2005 the Department created the Participant Shelter program to streamline procedures for the approximately fifty rescue organizations taking animals from LA Animal Care Centers. In 2006 this program expanded to become the New Hope program, and now partners with over 125 registered rescue organizations to facilitate the rescue and adoption of thousands of animals from the shelters. Department staff provides comprehensive daily lists of available and at-risk animals, as well as urgent notifications, to these rescuers and groups, helping to facilitate nearly 6,000 live releases a year.

The New Hope Program was implemented to eliminate all obstacles that might prevent the animals most at risk of euthanasia from being redeemed into caring, dedicated, expert hands. These animals are placed on a New Hope Alert that is sent to New Hope partners each day by email. The Alert shows a picture and description of the animals, and the Care Center location where the animal(s) can be found. The list is also available on our website and is updated hourly. In addition, New Hope Coordinators assigned to each Animal Care Center send urgent emails to partners concerning specific animals in critical need. Thanks to a vast network of rescue organizations and concerned residents these pleas can reach thousands of people in a matter of minutes.

Animals on a New Hope Alert are available to New Hope partners at no cost, and the animals are provided free spay/neuter, microchip, and vaccinations. The New Hope Program allows LA Animal Services to help organizations who rely on donations, grants, and dedicated volunteers to maximize their limited resources so they are better able to help us all achieve “No Kill”. New Hope is decidedly win/win/win for the rescue groups, for LA Animal Services, and most importantly, for the animals. New Hope is not designed to save animals from adoption, but to save animals from euthanasia.

The New Hope program has been implemented in Maricopa County, AZ, New York City and several other communities across the United States. While the program may not be perfect, it is designed to continually improve and meet the needs of any community. Thanks to the help of many New Hope partners in LA, I believe the LA New Hope program is the most collaborative and successful shelter/rescue partnership program in the United States.

In addition to the program benefits noted above, other New Hope highlights include:

New Hope Partners receive 24/7 access to all Los Angeles Animal Care Centers.

Each facility has a designated New Hope Coordinator trained to provide the very best customer service to our New Hope Partners.

New Hope Partners are able to contact each facility via special "hot lines" to let the respective New Hope Coordinator know if they can help an animal. The New Hope Coordinator is able to immediately remove the animal(s) from the New Hope Alert and then work with the partner to transfer the animal as quickly as possible to the partner organization.

When a New Hope partner needs additional time to transfer an animal they can coordinate that need with our New Hope Coordinator. When necessary, and as recourses are available, transportation of the animal may be provided by the Department for the New Hope Partners having difficulty making these arrangements themselves.

Every New Hope Partner, upon request, receives a sophisticated, yet simple-to-use software package to help them manage the animals in their care. This software was developed by HLP Chameleon and is being generously donated to our New Hope partners. This software provides the smallest to the largest rescue groups the same level of animal management functionality used by over 350 of the largest animal shelters in the United States! We are deeply grateful for HLP's continued and generous commitment to help shelters achieve no-kill.

There are two types of New Hope Alert; a Green Alert and a Red Alert. A Green Alert identifies animals not imminently at risk of euthanasia. These are animals that, in the view of the Department, are not likely to be adopted any time soon for one reason or another, such as age or medical condition. A Red Alert identifies animals that are at risk of euthanasia. New Hope partners are provided seven days to take possession of Red Alert animals, unless the health of the animal requires a more immediate response. All the benefits of the New Hope program apply to all the animals on both the Green and the Red New Hope Alert.

The New Hope program is under review even now in an effort to identify additional enhancements. For more information on our New Hope program, and to see our New Hope Alerts, please visit our website at www.laanimalservices.com.