Shelter overcrowding is a problem across the country. This is the product of decades of mismanagement of companion animal breeding, but the pause of spay/neuter surgeries that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and current scarcity of veterinarians have brought the situation to new extremes.
Los Angeles shelters are among those most dramatically impacted. Some L.A. shelter staff believe that they are seeing the WORST overcrowding their shelters have EVER experienced. Alley Cat Rescue volunteers have noticed the uptick in pleas coming from shelters for help with orphaned kittens. LA city shelters have lost the “no-kill” designation from Best Friends. L.A. Department of Animal Services Director, Agnes Sibal-von Debschitz, explained that much of the reason for the drop in live outcomes was because, starting in 2021, the shelters began receiving more orphaned kittens who required more care than shelters can provide and the shelters feel the most humane course of action is to euthanize those kittens (De Koos).
Staycee Dains, the recently appointed General Manager of LA Animal Services (LAAS), said at an LAAS Commission meeting: “Our ratio of Animal Control Technicians to animals in the shelter is one to 85. The industry standard is one to 30.” Dains explained that animal care inadequacy is not only in the number of employees, but also in the work being done, saying, “We have a deeply demoralized staff” and that “some staff seem uneducated and frankly uninterested in animal behavior.” (MyNewsLA.com)
Alley Cat Rescue appreciates Dains’ honesty and apparent understanding of the problem. We are also encouraged by her plan to expedite the hiring of “dozens” of vacant positions within the next month (MyNewsLA.com) and call for a moratorium on issuing breeding permits.
Realistically, however, we recognize that many more lives will be lost as solutions are still being formulated. ACR members in Los Angeles, you can help save lives right now by participating in two critical roles!
If you’re not in L.A. City, your local shelter animals still need you! The crisis may be particularly bad in L.A., but it is still a problem everywhere in the U.S.
De Koos, Camila Thur. “LA City Animal Services Loses ‘No-Kill’ Shelter Status.” LAist, 26 Jan. 2022, laist.com/news/la-city-animal-services-loses-no-kill-shelter-status.
“LAAS Considers Halting Breeding Permits to Control Animal Population.” MyNewsLA.com, 12 Sept. 2023, mynewsla.com/life/2023/09/12/laas-considers-halting-breeding-permits-to-control-animal-population.
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.