Dog Days in L.A.

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      August 6, 2021

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Dog Days in L.A.
PHOTO BY LORI FUSARO In 2018, Boo was rescued by L.A. Animal Services and moved to Best Friends Lifesaving Center in L.A. where the team center staff and volunteers first did their magic, and a foster family “gave him a quiet and calm home where he could continue to build confidence.” He was later adopted by Meg and Eric Sedrakyan, who say “He’s the best friend we’ve never had.” (la.bestfriends.org/adopt)
‘Los Angeles is now the largest no-kill city in the United States’ L.A. Animal Services increased its partnerships with animal agencies and fosters so that dogs, cats and creatures are being adopted in record numbers. The City’s mid-year lifesaving statistics report that from January to June, 2021, its shelters found homes for 5,486 animals including 2,895 dogs; 1,784 cats, 236 kittens and 249 rabbits. Another 981 shelter guests were placed in foster care and 1,665 pets were reunited with their families. As a result, the City of Los Angeles is on track to become a “no-kill” city by 2025. A 90 percent save rate is the nationally recognized benchmark to be considered “no-kill,” factoring that approximately 10 percent of pets who enter shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant humane euthanasia rather than killing for lack of space. Best Friends Animal Society Recognizes L.A. Animal Services To reward such great work, in June, L.A. Animal Services was recognized with the Touchstone award from Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. As recently as 2012, when Best Friends Animal Society launched the ‘No-Kill Los Angeles’ (NKLA) initiative, only 56 percent of dogs and cats in city shelters were making it out alive. “Thanks to the hard work of so many, including the entire NKLA Coalition, Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles Animal Services, the L.A. City Council, our fabulous local community and devoted volunteers, we are thrilled to announce a sustained save rate of 90.49 percent for 2020,” Best Friends announced in March. “Los Angeles is now the largest no-kill city in the country.” Best Friends also reports that the number of dogs and cats killed nationwide is down to about 347,000 in 2020 from 625,000 in 2019 and the United States is now at an 83 percent save rate. “This was a monumental year for cats and dogs in America’s shelters,” Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society wrote online. “We saw communities, shelters, and individuals step up for animals in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and now we are closer than ever before to achieving our goal of no-kill by 2025. Since we announced our no-kill goal the number of cats and dogs killed in shelters has decreased by 76 percent, down from about 1.5 million in 2016. This is incredible progress, but we must never lose sight that there are still over 950 cats and dogs killed every day just because they do not have a safe place to call home.” L.A. Animal Services is also working to decrease the numbers of deaths in shelters. “The only animals we put down are those that pose a danger to the public or staff or have a health condition,” said a representative of L.A. Animal Services. “We work with organizations and foster agencies that take animals.” For more information on L.A. Animal Services, go to laanimalservices.com Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Sergeant Juan Maceda with Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control said the numbers are also looking better at the Agoura Shelter and throughout the County. “People are keeping their pets,” Maceda said. “So, here at Agoura, we have not had an increase in returns, As far as animals being returned to the shelter, from the first day of the year to now, we only had nine dogs and two cats returned. Right now, we are helping other care centers by doing transports to other care facilities…we are helping the care centers have a better chance of being adopted and open up space for new animals.” Sgt. Maceda added that the Agoura Animal Shelter is their most popular adoption location and they are always upgrading the facility, including a new horse barn. “Cats, dogs, livestock...people will come in to adopt,” Sgt. Maceda continued. “This gives them a chance to get adopted. This facility is very fortunate, very involved, the Boy Scouts do projects here, people donate items, the community is very involved because of where it sits.” Asked when Agoura and the County will be “no-kill,” he was cautiously optimistic. “Not yet,” he said. “We are working toward the 2025 objective; we will only put an animal to sleep for behavior or medical issues or they are not safe to adopt. We’ll do our best; euthanasia is the last thing we will do. We work with the County and we network with Best Friends Animal Society.” About Best Friends Animal Society Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 347,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,300 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All. For more information about L.A. County Shelters: animalcare.lacounty.gov/ For more information, visit bestfriends.org. To learn more about fostering, visit bestfriendsla.org.
Annemarie Donkin

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