Animal advocates call for L.A. city leaders to fix overcrowded animal shelters (2024)

Animal advocates rallied at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday, March 15 to urge city leaders to address what they say are severely overcrowded shelters and to stop turning away homeless animals.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, local rescue groups and concerned citizens gave public comment during Friday’s City Council meeting. This group called on the city for emergency action to address the ongoing crisis at the city’s six animal shelters, enact strict enforcement of existing spay and neuter law and prompt a drafting of a breeder moratorium.

PETA members and animal advocates have been taking action this week by plastering posters near Mayor Karen Bass’ residence at the Getty House, around City Hall and by Chesterfield Square/South L.A. shelter. Their message shows a picture of Bass and a stray dog in the background, and reads “If you see a stray in L.A., It’s her fault. Ask Mayor Bass to stop the neglect of animals at L.A. Animal Services.”

Bass’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement the Department of Animal Services, also known as LAAS, pushed back on some of the claims made by protesters.

“Since General Manager Staycee Dains was appointed (in July 2023), overcrowding has been nearly cut in half in less than a year because of new policies to protect animals,” LAAS said.

Additionally, LAAS has increased its volunteers from 560 people who volunteered an hour over 30 days to 953 people who volunteered an hour over 30 days — nearly doubling in less than a year.

“There is obviously much more work to be done but progress has been made and lives of animals have been saved,” the statement read.

According to PETA, animals have been reportedly dumped on the streets when they’re turned away by staff at Chesterfield Square/South L.A.’s animal shelter.

The animal group says the shelter staff have refused to accept stray animals and instructed residents to abandon animals on the streets where they found them. PETA and others say they’ve begged the city to intervene, but despite “mounting evidence” that Los Angeles Department of Animal Services’ “aren’t working,” Bass and city officials aren’t changing them.

“LAAS has washed its hands of the crisis it helped create by refusing to enforce the city’s spay/neuter ordinance and allowing the homeless animals it turns away to flood L.A.’s streets, where they often suffer and die painfully and slowly,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement. “PETA is calling on Mayor Bass to actually do her job and remind city shelters of theirs: to provide shelter to all.”

According to LAAS, Dains invites and encourages collaboration from anyone who wants to work with the department to find solutions that benefit animals and the community.

“It’s crucial to emphasize that LAAS does not and will not entertain the idea of euthanizing healthy, safe, and friendly animals, and any rumors indication otherwise are entirely false,” LAAS said in a statement.

Again the department pushed back saying, “A small minority of ‘advocates’ and certain rescue organizations, who are not actively engaged in our shelters, continue to distort and fabricate an untrue narrative about the department.”

PETA said the most effective way to reduce the city’s homeless-animal population is to ban breeding and enforce the city’s 2008 spay/neuter ordinance to prevent more animals from being born. The group claims the ordinance isn’t being enforced resulting in animals being turned away and left on the streets to breed even more homeless animals.

City Council members voted to draft a breeding permit moratorium in a move to address overcrowding at the animal shelters last year, however, the current status of that law is uncertain.

The moratorium would be lifted once shelters were at or below 75% capacity for three consecutive months, and could be automatically reinstated if shelter capacity rises above 75%. Should the ordinance need more time to be prepared, the motion instructs the City Attorney to amend city law to allow Staycee Dains, general manager of the Department of Animal Services, discretion to limit the issuance of breeding permits.

Additionally, animal services will provide a report detailing violations and citations issued in 2022 related to breeding permits, an analysis of fees associated with violations and a list of cities that placed moratoriums or banned breeding permits.

The city’s animal shelters and department has faced criticisms in recent years from volunteers and rescue groups about animals being neglected, overcrowding and staffing shortages.

Last year, Dains stepped into the role as the general manager of LAAS. Since then, the department has taken steps to correct issues at the shelters.

LAAS continued to say that Dains has spoken openly and frankly about the crisis, which is also occurring nationwide.

The department cites some pet owners abandoning their large dogs at shelters as a reason for overcrowding, as well as too few people are adopting and fostering animals.

The department has undertaken a major campaign to encourage the adoption of animals and has continued to partner with outside groups to host adoption events. Dains previously reported that instituted weekly department-wide, all-staff meetings and volunteer meetings, as well as first-ever regular convening of New Hope rescue partners to discuss problems, gather ideas and implement solutions.

The department has also taken steps to bolster its staff and volunteer force. Angelenos are encouraged to apply through the city’s Targeted Local Hire program. Candidates can begin their career as an Animal Care Attendant providing hands-on care to animals in the department’s shelters.

“These factors have created an overpopulation of large dogs in shelters,” LAAS said. “We are urging Angelenos to help us confront this crisis by coming forward to help animals by fostering, adopting, volunteering and donating.”

Animal advocates call for L.A. city leaders to fix overcrowded animal shelters (2024)


Animal advocates call for L.A. city leaders to fix overcrowded animal shelters? ›

Animal advocates rallied at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday, March 15 to urge city leaders to address what they say are severely overcrowded shelters and to stop turning away homeless animals.

How do you fix overcrowding in an animal shelter? ›

Remind the community to spay/neuter their pets

The best way to reduce shelter overcrowding is to stop the fast pet reproduction. Again, social media is a fast, affordable, and effective way to get the word out about the importance of spaying and neutering.

What do animal rights advocates do? ›

An animal advocate is someone who believes in the right of animals to exist without fear of abuse, exploitation or extermination. Animal advocates work hard and sometimes fight so that this right is upheld. Animal advocates can be individuals, or people who volunteer or work for an animal welfare organization.

Why are animal shelters overcrowded? ›

Adoptions haven't kept pace with the influx of pets — especially larger dogs like Kaine — creating a snowballing population problem for many shelters. Shelter Animals Count, a national database of shelter statistics, estimates that the U.S. shelter population grew by nearly a quarter-million animals in 2023.

What organization helps animals the most? ›

ASPCA. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Can overcrowding be fixed? ›

Yes, teeth crowding can be fixed. There are actually multiple ways to fix teeth crowding. Your orthodontist will offer you a few different options to fix the issue. It's important that, before making a decision, you are fully educated on the options available.

How can overcrowding be solved? ›

Here are a number of ways to do this:
  1. Build better infrastructure. Up to a point, overcrowding can simply be improved with better infrastructure. ...
  2. Provide better information. Allowing visitors to plan their visit to minimise delays is important. ...
  3. Manage the flows. ...
  4. Create supporting experiences to disperse visitors.
Aug 13, 2018

When did overpopulation in animal shelters start? ›

The framing of the unwanted pet problem as an over- population problem in the US became evident by the early 1970s. In 1973, an estimated 13 million animals entered shelters (HSUS, 2016). Not surprisingly, this led to perceptions of a correla- tion between high pet production numbers and high euthanasia rates.

How many animals are euthanized due to overcrowding? ›

Shelter and rescue populations in the U.S. have surged by 900,000 overall since January 2021, and more than 359,000 dogs were euthanized in 2023, marking a five-year peak, according to animal advocacy group Shelter Animals Count. Meanwhile, 330,000 cats were euthanized last year.

How many cats allowed in Los Angeles? ›

California Pet Restrictions
Los Angeles3
Santa Clara3
Contra Costa5
5 more rows

Who regulates animal shelters in California? ›

Animal control shelters are regulated under the California Food and Agriculture Code and the California Civil and Penal Codes, and city, county and/or city/county animal control shelters and/or their agencies are mandated to provide "necessary and prompt veterinary medical care to animals housed in an animal control ...

What is the animal law in California? ›

Animal cruelty is a serious crime and is a violation of California Penal Code 597. It is against the law to intentionally hurt, kill, overwork, deprive an animal of necessary medical care, food and water, fight animals against other animals or leave an animal inside an unattended car, etc.

Is PETA a honest charity? ›

Rating Information

This charity's score is 97%, earning it a Four-Star rating.

How do you fix animal hoarding? ›

Approach potential hoarders with empathy and compassion, rather than judgment. The most effective interventions require strong support from family, friends, and the community. Help hoarders by monitoring their home environment. If a hoarder continues to acquire animals, ensure the animals are sterilized and vaccinated.

How do you manage animal population? ›

From an ecological perspective, it is clear how to control a wild- life population: reduce the available food and habitat to lower the carrying capacity, compensate for the missing predators by killing individuals in the population, or slow the population's ability to reproduce.

How can we solve the problem of homeless animals? ›

  1. 7 Ways You Can Help End Pet Homelessness. Millions of pets end up in shelters every year across the United States. ...
  2. Know the causes of pet homelessness. ...
  3. Spay and neuter pets. ...
  4. Adopt. ...
  5. Make sure your pet doesn't get lost. ...
  6. Be a volunteer. ...
  7. Help lost pets. ...
  8. Donate to help homeless pets.

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