CHARLOTTE LAWS - DREAM AND ACHIEVE TOGETHER
for Making Los Angeles a "No-Kill Animal Shelter City"
(Keep in mind this proposal was written in 2004 - changes may have occurred since then)
__________________Council proposes an end to the killing of the 30,000 –
50,000 dogs and cats annually in Los Angeles animal shelters; the L.A. shelters
taxpayer $14 million per year.
If we can make L.A. "no-kill," we can save
taxpayer money and save animal lives, as well as gain nationwide recognition for
the city as a leader in animal welfare.
(To be implemented as soon as possible):
of Los Angeles has 86 Neighborhood Councils. Each Council should elect
a "Director for Animal Welfare" (DAW). This individual should be a
member of the community and should be well-acquainted with animal needs
in the area. The DAW would have a duty to look out for the animals, with
respect to abuse, vaccinations, wandering pets, spay/neuter, etc.
In other words, this person would work towards solving any pet-related
issues the community faces (with or without other volunteers). Different parts
of Los Angeles have different needs: some areas deal with horse-related problems
while others face illegal dog fights or feral cats.
The DAW serves as the eyes and ears for that neighborhood's animals. He/she could have the following duties: a) to arrange periodic Animal Care Fairs, in which education, spay/neuter, animal training tips, etc. would be offered to the public, b) to provide the Neighborhood Council and stakeholders with a report at meetings about the animals, c) to provide useful tips for the stakeholders via the Neighborhood Council newsletter or handouts, d) to help with adoption-related issues, e) to work on animal-related projects and get the DAWs and other councils involved.
Care Fair is a good idea because residents tend to be more
receptive to local people working on a grassroots level to effect change,
rather than facing outsiders who may be less familiar with the problems of the
funding becomes necessary to supplement the Animal Care Fairs or other
animal-related needs, some Neighborhood Council monies could be used (at the
Council's discretion) or dollars could be obtained from a non-profit
organization called The Maddie's Fund (to be discussed in detail below). It is
unlikely the DAWs would need much money because Spay/Neuter services can be free
and animal assistance is provided often at no charge by animal welfare and
Two (To be
implemented over the next two years. A and B to be done simultaneously):
A. Los Angeles is
spending $154 million in taxpayer bond money to build new shelters and expand
others. These structures and additions will increase the space for dogs and cats
significantly: from 366 to 1253 kennels, which will assist indirectly with a
changeover into a "no kill" shelter city.
will be three vacant shelters at the conclusion of this building process:
the East Valley Shelter with 60 kennels, the Harbor Area Shelter with 21 kennels
and the West L.A. Shelter with 26 kennels. These empty shelters should also
be utilized to help transition the city into "no-kill."
process to deal with "no longer needed," city-owned property, such as
the empty animal shelters, requires a land sale at auction through the
Department of General Services. In order to utilize the empty shelters for the
transition, the taxpayers would have to pass a local measure that would
postpone the sale of these shelters for a few years. Linda Gordon, who is
the Liaison to the Bureau of Engineering for L.A.'s Animal Facilities Bond
Program, believes it is possible to pass such a measure.
B. An L.A. nonprofit
should be established, regardless as to whether L.A. decides to apply for Maddie's Fund money.
Maddie's Fund is a charity with almost $300 million to help cities, counties, and
states become "no-kill" over a ten year period. It will not give money
directly to a government: only to a non-profit established to help the locality.
Utah, New York City, counties in Florida and Arizona, among others, are
currently using Maddie's Fund money to move towards the "no kill"
Avanzino, the head of Maddie's Fund, says that he thinks $20
million would be an appropriate amount to devote to the Los Angeles project, as long as the L.A. nonprofit raises $20
million in matching donations. Avanzino says this should be easy for
Los Angeles: New
York raised $3 million the first day and $16 million in a few months.
Funds could come from corporate donors, such as Petco and Petsmart, or
entertainment industry fundraisers.
Fund project requires a two-pronged attack on the problem: it requires an
aggressive spay/neuter plan and a pet adoption plan. Both are
detailed at the Maddie's Fund website (http://www.maddies.org). Detailed
accounting is crucial, and the locality must demonstrate that the program is
person/organization must agree to take responsibility for each prong. Nathan
Winograd might agree to move to Los Angeles and head up the adoption side of this
nonprofit project. He is the perfect choice because he worked with Maddie's
Fund successfully in San Francisco, has incorporated a no-kill strategy in
Ithica, New York and is endorsed by and respected by Avanzino. He is also an
independent thinker with a strong personality who can likely combat the myriad
of opposing and contentious views in Los Angeles over this issue. As an
alternative, Francis Battista of Best Friends says he might agree to undertake the adoption side of the
vacant shelters (mentioned in Section A above) would then be leased to
the L.A. "no kill" nonprofit for a small monthly fee until
conclusion of the Maddie's Fund program. The nonprofit would run the vacant
shelters with volunteers and money acquired through Maddie's Fund or other
At a Los
Angeles Animal Commission meeting in 2002, Sue Freeman of People and Cats
Together offered to head a spay/neuter program for the city.
A licensed veterinarian must be in charge of this part of the
Maddie's Fund process, but numerous vets and volunteers, such as Freeman,
can help coordinate and implement the program. Maddie's Fund pays the
veterinarians directly to cover the cost of the spaying/neutering of any animal;
the public pays no more than $20 per dog or cat.
*It should be noted that if Maddie's Fund
money is used, the 2000 ordinance (# 173168
passed by the L.A. City Council which deals with the increased animal
license fees) would have to be overturned or "put on hold." Many say
that this ordinance has not proved successful; only 25% of L.A. pets are
licensed. L.A. could seek to acquire full approval for the Maddie's
Fund money before considering a temporary reversal of the ordinance.
If the City and the L.A. nonprofit prefer
to execute a plan, similar to that
which is outlined in this letter but without the use of Maddie's Fund money, it
could be equally successful. Additional nonprofit funds would have to be raised,
but the ordinance could stay in place.
Strategies for Making Part Two a Success:
following ideas largely stem from the techniques advanced by Maddie's Fund and
"No Kill Solutions" (an organization developed by the nation's
"no kill" expert Nathan Winograd, based in his successes in San
Francicsco and Ithica, New York).
Create Community Partnerships. Utilize foster care and rescue
groups to a greater extent. Businesses could be encouraged to adopt homeless
wasteful programs that do not save lives. Animal Services should be
proactive rather than passively counting the animals killed.
Change mindset: reward compassion in the community.
Implement an aggressive, free or very low cost spay/neuter plan.
(Maddie's Fund money can be used for this purpose). According to Winograd,
if all cities and counties in the U.S. had municipally funded spay/neuter, the
country would be "no kill."
for the newly-formed nonprofit. Appoint a Board of Directors who can raise money
or give something of value to the nonprofit (i.e. free advertising or free
Adoptions are crucial. Animals must be taken to where people live, work and
7) Creative PR and advertising. Satellites should be placed at local malls, displaying pictures of adoptable animals. This strategy has been successful in Oregon.
Establish partnerships with pet shops. Some pet stores are moving towards
offering shelter animals for sale or displaying them for adoption in their store
Establish a huge volunteer program at the shelter.
the animals happy. Aim to walk the dogs four times per day and give cats
time outside of the cages twice a day. Happy animals are less
rambunctious and more easily adopted.
11) There should be longer or different shelter hours to accommodate the public.
Animal Services should never pay retail. Some companies provide free
products (i.e. food and flea items) to public shelters.
should be asked to volunteer to assist the shelter periodically (this has
been successful elsewhere). They can be given PR in return for their services.
There should be free animal education and behavioral training for the
community. San Francisco shelters have free spay/neuter, free or low cost
behavioral counseling, free "pets ok" rental referrals, free
feral cat assistance program. Maddie's Fund money can be used for these
and volunteers must learn to work together. Animal lives
should not be in direct conflict with union jobs.
should be placed in shelters to reduce cruelty.
18) L.A. should provide incentive to adopt shelter animals, such as free shots for two years, free medical exams, free spay/neuter, etc.
Animal Services should always give animals the benefit of the doubt with respect
to aggressive behavior. The "dog whisperer" believes all aggressive
dogs can be reformed. According to "No Kill Solutions," if more than 2
– 4% of the dogs are found aggressive, the testing is not being done properly.
not use words, such as adoptable or treatable, when arriving at shelter
statistics. These words can be manipulated to justify deaths. Only use the
total number received vs. the number killed.
general, legislation should be directed towards the shelters rather than
Implement a trap, neuter, release feral cat program.
In conclusion, I hope you will find this cost-free, life-saving proposal to be of assistance. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Charlotte Laws of the Greater Valley Glen Council at 818-781-5280. She has contact data and further details about the proposal drafted in this letter.
Name of your Council or Organization