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Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Perhaps the number one complaint of customers of Los Angeles County’s Shelter shelter system (DACC) is its byzantine adoption process.   In most shelter systems pets cannot be reserved until they are actually available for adoption, but Los Angeles County allows people to place a “Commitment to Adopt” (CTA) as soon as the pet enters the shelter.  Potential adopters stand in line at the shelter for up to an hour and, if they are lucky enough to be the first one to ask about the pet’s availability, they are able to place a CTA. The person who places the CTA has the right to adopt the pet on the first day the pet becomes available. The problem is that the shelter does not place a note on the pet’s kennel to indicate that the pet is already reserved.   If another potential adopter wants the same pet they have to wait in line only to be told there is already is a CTA on the pet. We recently saw a potential adopter go through the line at the Downey shelter five times, inquiring about a different pet each time, only to find out that the pet already had a CTA. After wasting several hours in line they left and were overheard saying it would be easier to adopt a pet on Craigslist.

Further muddling the adoption process is the DACC’s policy of not requiring payment to be made when a CTA is placed.  The DACC’s rationale is that the owners of stray pets might come and reclaim their pet – thereby forcing the DACC to refund the payment to the CTA holder.

The problem is that more than 25 percent of people placing a CTA never show up to pick up their pet. Some CTA holders plain forget, while others are unwilling to wait and adopt a pet they can immediately bring home be it either from another shelter or Craigslist.

Pets whose CTA holders don’t show up languish in the shelters because potential adopters have been told the pet already has a CTA and is unavailable. This is harmful and sometimes fatal for the pet, and it contributes to shelter overcrowding by delaying adoptions.

We suggest that the DACC adopt the policy that most other shelter systems use including Los Angeles City, Kern County, Bakersfield, Riverside and Long Beach. Anyone wanting to adopt a pet can come to the shelter on or after the day the pet is made available for adoption. If more than one person wants the same pet, all interested parties come to the shelter on the morning of the first day that pet is available and the adopter is determined by lottery.   The winning adopter pays the adoption fee, and, if the pet is not altered, is given a date and time to pick up the pet.   If the adopter does not show up they forfeit the adoption fee and the pet is immediately available for adoption by other interested parties.

This system would save lives, increase revenue streams and reduce the time pets spend in Los Angeles County’s crowded shelters.  It also would have the added benefit of not having so many people leaving the shelters firmly convinced that Los Angeles County’s shelters are too difficult to adopt from.  Losing potential adopters to Craigslist and backyard breeders only perpetuates shelter overcrowding and euthanasia – something that sadly does not keep DACC head, Marcia Mayeda up late at night worrying about.

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This entry was posted in Dog Rescue