For the last four months and for the foreseeable future Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control (DACC) has lowered its adoption prices to $15 for dogs and cats are being given away for free. Although critics question the quality of these adoptions and the bounce-back rate has been fairly high, there is little question that the program has been hugely successful and that the euthanasia rates have dropped considerably at every Los Angeles County shelter.
However the increased adoption activity has had an unanticipated downside as often the DACC spay/neuter clinics have not been able to keep up with adoptions. Marcia Mayeda the supercilious head of DACC only provides veterinarians at her shelters Monday – Friday, and Downey’s medical staff can only alter between 25 and 30 pets per day. For the last several weekends, members of the public placing “Commitments to Adopt” on unaltered Downey pets have been told that they could not pick up their pets until the following Wednesday due to the huge adoption demand. Right now while shelter populations are low, very few pets are dying at Downey for wont of a kennel; but if history serves as a guide, in two months the shelter will be filled beyond capacity and pets will be killed because too many kennels are being occupied by adoption pending pets waiting to be sterilized.
There are two easy solutions available for the DACC, if the agency truly wants to avoid killing pets because they can’t provide timely sterilization services. First they can remove the red tape obstacles preventing the DACC from bringing in outside veterinarians to the County’s spay/neuter facilities either in the evenings or weekends. Secondly they can make a deal with the ASPCA whose mobile spay/neuter van sits idle in Downey Shelter’s parking lot Monday through Friday. This van can easily alter twenty pets per day and currently is only used on weekends.
Meanwhile Baldwin Park is soon going to undergo much needed renovations. The plans are to refurbish one kennel building at a time and the project will take over a year. During the renovation the loss of a building will mean that the shelter will lose 48 kennels or the ability to house nearly 100 dogs. We are hoping that the DACC will try to minimize the impact of Baldwin Park’s lost kennels by facilitating daily transfers to the high adoption Agoura shelter. Agoura has been averaging over 20 empty kennels every day for the last year and can easily absorb a great deal of the volume if a transport protocol and program is competently instituted. To further help Baldwin Park, Wings of Rescue has also agreed to step in and transport its pets to safety to no kill facilities in the Pacific Northwest.
Lastly, Marcia Mayeda has scornfully stated that she never reads this blog. It is gratifying that the reading challenged bureaucrat is perhaps one of the few DACC employees who don’t. This was proven when within hours of the publication of last week’s piece exposing Baldwin Park’s management decision to throw away donated food, arrangements were made with a local food bank to receive and distribute any future donations to those members of the community who need assistance. We give full marks to DACC Deputy Director Danny Ubario for quickly stepping in to bring a happy and productive solution, but seriously question how shelter manager Sherry Koenig could have been so insensitive and clueless as to authorize the food to be thrown into dumpsters in the first place.