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Local rescue groups launch Operation Safety Net

December 21, 2008 | 10:14 am

With the economy in recession and families struggling to pay household bills, it's  hardly surprising that pets are among the first to suffer.  The Boston Globe reports:

Miniature Pinschers Molly and Ginny are available for adoption at the South L.A. shelter Municipal animal control officers are noticing more pets abandoned to the streets or vacated homes.

"We've gotten calls with pets being left behind. The landlords are calling or the neighbors are calling. Some people have actually left a supply of food," said Hull's animal control officer, Deni Goldman, who is the spokeswoman for the Animal Control Officers Assn. of Massachusetts. "We've also had people who've turned them in to the animal control officers or the Animal Rescue League or MSPCA. We have some that have been turned loose or tied to park benches. We've seen that all over the state."

Here in L.A., rescue groups Downtown Dog Rescue, the Paw'd Squad and Karma Rescue have teamed with  the L.A. Department of Animal Services to create a program designed to enable struggling pet owners to keep their pets when they feel relinquishing them is their only option.  The program, called Operation Safety Net, offers assistance to owners who are unable to pay for food, basic medical care, spaying/neutering or licensing fees and who take their pets to the South L.A. shelter out of desperation.

It works like this: Owners planning to relinquish their pets to the South L.A. shelter because of financial concerns are given a card with Downtown Dog Rescue's phone number and encouraged to call the group.  A rescue volunteer then works with them to provide assistance. 

"Most dogs need to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, licensed and [receive training]," said Downtown Dog Rescue founder Lori Weise.  "Monthly dog food deliveries are also a frequent request."

Operation Safety Net is modeled after Downtown Dog Rescue's Skid Row program, which helps homeless dog owners living in downtown L.A.  For more information on the program and how you can help, call the L.A. Department of Animal Services at 888-4LAPET1.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Miniature pinschers Molly (ID# A0998202) and Ginny (ID# A0998203) are available for adoption at the South L.A. shelter. Molly is a 3-year-old female and Ginny is a 2-year-old female. Meet them in person at 3612 11th Ave. or call 888-4LAPET1 with their ID numbers for more information.

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