Reducing euthanasia in L.A.

By Aaron Blevins, 12/20/2012

Pet advocates push for adoptions at shelters during the holidays


December is the season of giving, and animal welfare advocates are asking for the public’s help in giving Los Angeles’ shelter animals another chance at life in a loving home.

No-Kill Los Angeles, a coalition of more than 50 members led by Best Friends Animal Society, has launched its “No-Kill December” initiative, seeking to further reduce the number of animals that are euthanized in the city’s six shelters annually.

“It’s amazing. We’re roughly over 3,800 less animals euthanized in [Los Angeles] Animal Services this year,” Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends, said. “It’s going really well.”

From July to October this year, Los Angeles Animals Services euthanized more than 10,000 animals. Best Friends and its coalition partners hope to reduce that figure to zero for December, though the organization could not specify whether any animals had been put down so far this month.

To help fulfill its mission, the organization is pushing for the public to adopt pets from city shelters this holiday season. Until Dec. 23, people can receive a discount — $30 for cats, $40 for dogs — through an adoption promotion, “12 Pets of Christmas”.

Best Friends leases a city facility in Mission Hills that it uses as an adoption center, which eases the amount of animals in city shelters. Peralta said the center has taken in more than 3,000 animals from the city, and it has strived to get a good mix of potential pets.

“That runs the gamut from poodles to pit bulls,” he said. “The quicker we can [have the pets adopted], the quicker we can go get more animals. Right now, you have healthy animals dying at animal services because of space.”

Peralta said Best Friends has been traveling the city, showcasing its animals. He said many coalition partners are making a similar push to get animals adopted for the holidays.

No-Kill Los Angeles is attempting to make L.A. a no-kill city by 2017, with no animals being euthanized aside from those with behavioral or quality of life issues, Peralta said. However, people are needed to adopt and foster pets, volunteer and donate.

“Obviously, we want to continue to push the envelope,” Peralta added. “It’s been a great year, and we’re looking for an even better one in 2013.”

Brenda Barnette, general manager Los Angeles Animal Services, said the partnership between the city and the coalition seems to be helping, but with L.A. being such a large city, progress takes time.

“This is something we’ve been working toward for awhile,” she said. “The city of Los Angeles has wanted to be no-kill for years and years and years. …It looks like we’re doing a good job. The groups are helping us; we’re doing more adoptions.”

Barnette invited the public to visit a shelter and bring home a pet for the holidays, even though some people criticize others for purchasing animals during the holidays, calling them “impulse buys.” Regardless, more animals end up in homes in December than any other month of the year, she said.

“And they’re great pets anyway,” Barnette added.

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