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L.A. Animal Services faces $1.8-million budget cut [Updated]

No doubt many Los Angeles city agency managers have written letters to council members beseeching them to spare their departments deep cuts during this budget crisis.

But few start with a story about police officers in a standoff with three strapping Cane Corso dogs. Police shot several rounds, killing one of the dogs, but it was an animal control officer who arrived on the scene that day in South L.A. and impounded the other two dogs without anyone getting hurt.

“The reason L.A. Animal Services exists is to provide for public safety,” wrote Kathy Davis, interim general manager of L.A. Animal Services in an April 21 letter to the council's Budget and Finance Committee. “Safe streets are those in which trained Animal Control Officers are available to respond to dangerous animals and handle situations without injury to the public. …”

The department runs a shelter system that takes in thousands of stray or surrendered animals each year, but it faces a proposed $1.8-million cutback. Davis said such a substantial loss in funding could not only compromise public safety but result in a significant increase in animal euthanasia.

The city has been under pressure for years from animal welfare advocates to move toward “no-kill” sheltering. The cuts could compel Davis’ agency to shutter one of six animal-care centers open to the public.

Officials have already proposed closing a seventh center -- not open to the public -- that houses quarantined and evidence animals.

Closing them both will drop the shelter system’s total holding capacity by 15%, said Davis, “and pet euthanasia will rise by 4,000 to 11,000 more pets, depending on intake. …”

Davis argues that impounding animals, adopting them out and euthanizing them are not discretionary services “for which city residents can find temporary alternatives. ... We must accept animals found or brought to us, 24/7.”

The Budget and Finance Committee will discuss possible cuts to Animal Services -- as well as several other departments -- and hear from the public on these issues Tuesday afternoon.

[Updated at 3:19 p.m.: Animal welfare advocates will have to wait at least another day to hear the Budget and Finance Committee weigh in on the proposed cuts. The funeral of former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates put council members behind schedule.

People who showed up at the meeting Tuesday to make public comments on the issue were allowed to do so.

The committee will discuss the budgets of several agencies Wednesday before taking on the proposed cuts to Animal Services. It meets from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Budget committee hearings will continue for roughly two weeks before the budget is sent to the full council with recommended changes.]

-- Carla Hall

Photo: A chihuahua at the East Valley Animal Care Center in Van Nuys in December. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (4)

The fact that thousands of animals are left abandoned on the streets each year for the city to deal with, the fact that most of these animals will be euthanized, the fact that the city is about to increase these numbers....all of these elements combined reinforce the staggering disgrace that is the city of Los Angeles. Granted, there are people doing their part. I for one have taken in four stray cats and raised them, alone mind you, on a pittance of a Special Education Assistants salary. And, of course, there are many many more people who care and love an animal companion every day. But these numbers do not lie. There is a subset of human beings in this wasteland of a metropolis who do not deserve to be here, who have abnegated their right to citizenship, if they ever had it to begin with. I think we all know who we are talking about. If the Times has the guts to publish THAT, more power to them. However, I think not.

Somehow their should be an incentive to spay and neuter. That would go a long way in lowering the amount of dogs entering the shelter system.

The animal control could make money by arresting all the lawbreakers im my parent's North Hollywood neighborhood who let their dogs run around loose in the street. These people have no regard for our laws, let alone laws that deal with their pets. Their animals, dogs, chickens, roosters and pet rabbits are biting, pooping and threatning the other neighbors. It seems as though they are trying to make the neighborhood like the trash-bin country they left.

I agree with the 3 posted comments. The personnel that work in the department do not take care of business. I am still waiting on my paper work on my 2 dogs. I am tired of sending in old paper work because they do not send it out anymore. Not sending out the paper work these people are losing money, and getting a check for nothing. The animal shelter near Jefferon needs to retrain their staff, and give them a course in customer service 101. I stopped getting my pets from there for these two reasons: pets are not in the right cages, and I was sold a sick cat. My vet to me to return the cat, and they did not refund my money. The county 's Carson is better, and the staff is professional. Start collecting the money because that would help your budget.


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