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Food for shelter dogs and cats running out; SPCALA seeks emergency donations

Baldwin The 4,000 dogs and cats living at SPCALA shelters are almost out of food, and the animal welfare group is asking for emergency contributions of money and food from individuals.

“Until the bad economy, we fed our animals with donations from pet food firms, big-box stores and corporations," said Madeline Bernstein, president of the 133-year-old nonprofit organization. "Now they've all but stopped donating.”

Donations have dwindled to less than 10% of what they were before the recession, she said.

“We have no budget for food. We never needed one," Bernstein said. "We’re taking in more homeless pets than we can adopt out, and we’re trying to ship smaller animals to other cities where they can be better fed. Many of these animals come from people who’ve lost jobs and homes and are forced to give up their pets. We need help.”

Bernstein asked for gifts of dry dog and cat food of any kind. Also needed: canned food, special diet food for sick animals, formula for babies that must be bottle-fed, and cat litter. Donations can be dropped off at the SPCALA shelters in Long Beach, (562) 570-7722, or Hawthorne, (310) 676-1149; or at the Los Angeles headquarters, (323) 730-5300.

-- Bettijane Levine

Photo: A Chihuahua mix named Baldwin, who was adopted from the SPCALA shelter in Long Beach. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (39)

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It would be nice if there were a line in there about adoption as well, even if you think it's understood, and how to get in touch with the adoption department directly. (I'd adopt, but I already have a dog and a cat whom I'm crazy about, who were found under cars six years apart. They didn't even get into the shelter system.)

I hope that those of us who can afford to will donate. These poor animals are helpless victims and need our help. You can also donate online at http://www.spcala.com/donate/donorinfo.shtml

Thank you for that SPCALA link Mike - I'm donating.

I have already called to find out where & when to drop food. I really hope people help.

Once again this calls into question why, according to CharityNavigator(dot)org, three and a half percent of SPCALA's budget, or $202,038 - as of 2008 - goes into Madeline Bernstein's pocket.

She expects a city with roughly a 12% unemployment rate, in a state with roughly ten percent unemployment, to feed the animals she's tasked with caring for, but how much is she donatng from her six-figure, laughably profitable non-profit salary?

In no way am I suggesting people not donate food. But maybe we should ONLY donate food, or blankets, or toys. Madeline Bernstein knows there's a crisis, she's the one telling us about it. Therefore, until she's willing to stop literally taking food out of homeless pets' mouths with her enormous salary I don't think we should donate one dime she can pocket.

If she took a fifty percent pay cut she'd ONLY be making $101,000 - and again that's according to 2008 figures so it's really going to be more. How many people reading this are making at least 101K? How many donors to SPCALA know that $3.53 out of every hundred dollars goes to support Madeline Bernstein's 202K lifestyle?

My money goes to help starving humans, not animals.

EVERYONE PLEASE HELP!!!!!! A BIG BAG OF FOOD WILL HELP FEED THESE NEEDFUL ANIMALS! go without a latte or two or three or for a whole week. that's all it takes.

Thanks Mike for the link. I just donated a few hundred bucks. People, every little drop helps.

I'm stuggling just to feed my (small) family. Sounds like we have too many dogs. It's probaly about time we put some of them to sleep???

To billyjoe, it's your perogative as to which organization you wish to donate. People have a compassion for animals because they have no choice as to where they go, and cannot help themselves in a domestic environment as opposed to the wild. They also bring companionship & happiness to people all over this country. So maybe some of this perspective can be absorbed in your mind as to why dogs,cats and other pets need to be helped as well. If it doesnt sway you, i take solace that at least you have a heart to donate for a human cuase.Thank You L.A. Times for posting this. I will donate today.

billyjoe, I'll bet you don't send any money to starving people. But we get it, you don't care about animals.

To the person who said "feed the hungry humans". Hungry humans can go to work , animals can not. They are dependent on humans to care for them.

the SPCA and HSUS are two of the richest non-profits in the nation ... if you want to help homeless animals, donate to (AND ADOPT from) your local city or county shelter.

joe, people always make new people they cant afford and feed. So since you can't feed your family, what should we do with them? nighty night?

billyjoe, how do you think many shelter animals end up at the shelter in the first place?Many of them have fallen victim to irresponsible humans. It is the apathetic attitude towards animals that you carry that gets them there.

Donate for Haitian relief.

Animal shelters should look after the responsibilities they have voluntarily assumed.

People --- not animals, are the proper priority for charity.

"It is the apathetic attitude towards animals that you carry that gets them there."

I don't own animals, never have. So how does that make me responsible for this problem? Blame it on the folks who go gaga over cute puppies and who don't realize the work and money and time it actually takes to properly raise them. There's a helluva lot of them out there--as many if not more than abandoned pets.

No-kill shelters do little to help control the HUGE populations of abandoned pets throught the nation, nor do the flaky people who endorse such shelters. That's why Im glad every state humane society conducts properly administered animal euthanasia on a regular basis. If we didnt put a lot of the excess dogs and cats to sleep, the problem would be two, three times as bad as it already is.

Quite humanizing animals.

@L.A. Voter: I agree, Ms. Bernstein makes too much money. But donating more money to SPCALA does not mean she gets more money. As you yourself said, she draws a (fixed) salary; it's not a percentage of revenue. So, those people who want to go buy a bag of dog food and drive it to the shelter, GREAT! But for those people who won't do that (elderly, don't drive, too lazy, whatever), please donate money. You can do it with the click of a mouse. You can also designate how you want that money spent.

I'm donating food because I want to help animals that can't help themselves. Frankly, humans should be able to take care of themselves and there families and stop looking for handouts.

Thanks for the article. I had 2 opened bags of dog food my pet wouldn't eat. I didn't know what to do with it. I called my local shelter in Pasadena and they're more than happy to take it.

@ billyjoe:
As a frequent donor to both person and animal causes (we're all human, when you think about it) I find your comments extremely ignorant and egotistic.
These animals are in this situation because we (as people) put them there through thousands of years of domestication. It is our need, our desire, for control over these animals that placed them in the position of being discarded away like trash in ways that happens over and over again every day.
No Kill shelters help adopt out pets and give a smart option to greedy pet stores.
Look, if you don't believe in helping animals then there is nothing I can do about that. But to place people in front of them simply because they are "human" makes no sense.
And no, I'm not "humanizing" animals. They are already living, breathing, highly intelligent creatures. They don't need me to make them human.

Obviously the supply of cats and dogs is far exceeding the demand for them. The surplus animals need to be euthanized, and the money being donated should go to much more pressing needs.

"I'm stuggling just to feed my (small) family. Sounds like we have too many dogs. It's probaly about time we put some of them to sleep???"

Posted by: joe | 01/22/2010 at 11:41 AM

Humans are also VERY(!!!!) over-populated. It can be theorized that humans are in the exponential phase of the bacterial life cycle.

Wait, Bernstein says: "Now they've all but stopped donating.” So does that mean they are still donating? Her statement leads me to believe that the big box stores, pet food store have done everything BUT stop donating so what's the problem? That and L.A. voters post about her salary, something doesn't smell right.

@billyjoe I never stated that shelters should be non-kill and I actually do believe in what you say in that shelters do need to euthanize animals to control the animal population. However if, as humans, we did more on our end to control the animal population in the first place with easy solutions such as spaying/neutering our animals or keeping them under control, these problems could be mitigated. Many animals that end up at shelters are the result of, like you said, people who obsess over cute animals without knowing the responsibilities and also unwanted breeding. There is no absolute resolution to human hunger or animal hunger, but animals do not cause human hunger. I just don't see how people can turn their backs to either one.

I make a trip once a month give a food donation to my local animal shelter. It's pathetic to see that they are not given enough to eat - truly inhumane. I go and I see that people take plenty of newspapers (to line the cage) but they can't eat paper. It's hard times for everyone, me included, but if you have a willigness to do something for someone else then you will find a way. I don't mind one bit giving up something for me if it will help an animal - or human. All life has value.

there is an obvious solution here, but no one wants to talk about it. they should feed the kittens and bunnies to the dogs! or, send the extra animals to be eaten in haiti. face it. that's what you're all thinking.


okay, who cares? I really doubt you are helping the homeless folks in downtown Los Angeles? You are probably one of those people that run the other way.

donating today.


I do agree with you that sometimes people can go overboard and humanize animals. However, I am always saddened and angered when I see people abuse the widespread humanitarian charity that is offered in this country. I have lived in poverty for most of my young life and used education to climb up. Most people in this country end up in trouble because they spent recklessly or are too lazy to make a better life for themselves. On the other hand, animals in this country are bred for the amusement of people. They have no means to "better themselves" and are subjected to a life of misery, torment, or death when their owners cast them aside.

The information about Madeline Bernstein in a previous comment is disconcerting to say the least and for that reason, I'm donating food rather than money to my local SPCA. I'd also like to add that while it's generous to donate anything, Iams is one brand to avoid due to their continued cruelty to animals: http://www.iamscruelty.com/index.asp

"On the other hand, animals in this country are bred for the amusement of people. They have no means to "better themselves" and are subjected to a life of misery, torment, or death when their owners cast them aside."

Which is the large majority of stray and abandoned animals should be euthanized. It's certainly better than trying to survive on their own, or to end up being hoarded with 900 other dogs, 300 cats, 70 birds, 20 ferrets by some mentally-off recluse.

It's hard to donate, the site is not clear.

When you hurt every animal owner in Los Angeles, don't expect anyone to give you money.

Must be Haitians don't keep house pets the way Americans do. After Katrina there were animals rescued all the time. I haven't even seen a stray dog in Haiti.

@ billyjoe

Don't forget all those animals out there in the wild who are consuming our god given resources. And what about the tens of thousands of starving children in the US who don't contribute a lick to our economy and are simply a drain on our finances. Don't forget all the starving folks in other parts of the world who are obviously slacking off.

What say we euthanize them as well? That should definitely make things much more convenient for those who remain. Everyone for himself, right?

Perhaps you'd be interested in Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". Now there's a great business opportunity.

A slippery slope indeed.

Don't expect any sympathy from anyone when the bell tolls for you.

Have a nice day.

I volunteer to put down Billy Joe for an eternal rest. Ignorant piece of Los Angeles crap. I donate to animals...I vote we put people out to pasture...after all...they are next to useless, self egotistical and always have their ignorant mouths open and needy hands out.

As far as feeding families...try not having them if you can't afford them.

@Billy Joe...get off our dime loser.

To WILL who said: People --- not animals, are the proper priority for charity.

Will - I think most would agree that ALL charities in need are worthy of our support. YOU personally should support whatever charities you feel are appropriate and WE will support the one's we find appropriate. In fact - most people that support ANIMAL charities ALSO SUPPORT HUMAN charities!!! So....having said that.....I hope you are doubling up your donations to your HUMAN charities to keep up with those of us that are supporting multiple charities!!!

Why wasn't this on LA Unleashed???


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