Thursday, September 11, 2008


While walking to my morning law job from the Metro station yesterday morning, I happened to notice a headline on a local newspaper in a row of many other publications in dispenser boxes. This one had a picture of a sad-looking dog, so I had to look it up online when I had a chance.

It was an article in the Daily News, a newspaper that’s published in the San Fernando Valley, and the article was about how employees and others who work with animal control in Los Angeles were calling for the resignation of the current animal shelter manager and his assistant. Why? Because of alleged mismanagement. Apparently animals in city shelters are victims of overcrowding in their confinement, and when there are too many to deal with, they’re euthanized --a euphemism I hate.

The thing is, there are too many animals, too few people adopting them, and too little money to deal with the situation. I’m in no way condoning what’s going on. I’m all for every pet-type animal being well-treated in a loving home. Absent that, they should still be handled in a caring manner.

But what do you do in this kind of an ugly, spiraling situation? Sure, we now have a law here that all pets are to be neutered--at a much-too-young age to be healthy. There are exceptions for qualified breeders, etc. But there are still too many unwanted animals now, and it’s unclear whether the new law will do much to change that in the future.

My heart bleeds for the poor, unwanted animals who could thrive in the right situation, but instead are mistreated, then killed. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. The comments posted on-line near the article are all over the place, some against the shelter management and some against the employees. But none have any real answers for the sad, suffering pets.

Your thoughts on this?



Janie Emaus said...

Hi Linda,
I don't have an answer to this sad situation. I've always gotten my pets from the pound and I think that if a pet owner isn't partial to a specific breed, he should do the same.


Linda O. Johnston said...

That makes sense, Janie. I know I'm a Cavalier person but my heart still aches over those poor abandoned babies.

Gayle Carline said...

I'd like to think that, for the most part, shelters are attempting to do the best they can to corral a set of wicked problems.

One is that breeders, in their neverending quest for the perfect dog, still produce too many puppies. Considering that some breeds may have 10 puppies per litter, if you only get one worth showing, where do the other 9 go?

Another is that there are still people who want their dog to have one litter, just so their kids can witness the miracle of birth. Forget the unwanted pups, what happens when there are complications and the miracle turns into a nightmare?

A third is the people who see a dog in the media and want one just like it, without regard to whether the breed fits in with their lifestyle. My husband loves border collies. He would love to own one. I've seen the breed close at hand and I've never seen a more instinctive working dog. Without a job, they are superbly destructive. Unless I can teach a border collie to clean my house, our family cannot keep one busy enough.

BTW, we own a Corgi. He has been a sweet and adaptable dog, very low key for our very relaxed house. Yes, I bought him from a breeder, but I'd like to rescue the next one.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Education and lobbying--I let folks know about ASPCS's Anti-cruelty resource center:

Linda O. Johnston said...

I agree, Gayle, that most shelters seem to be trying hard to save animals but it's an endless and heartbreaking task. And sometimes people are simply thoughtless in the way they care for--or don't care for--their pets.

And, Kathryn, I hadn't gone to that link before but I think it's great! I do contribute to a number of animal rescue organizations but haven't gotten too deeply into the letter-writing and lobbying aspect. That anti-cruelty center is an excellent resource.


Kathryn Lilley said...

Here's another idea: we can add an ASPCA widget to our websites and blogs. Here's the signup page:

Aileen said...

I read the Craigslist pet postings here in the LA area, and the rescues have run out of room, also. Yet we still see people posting puppy ads, both bred on purpose and by accident.

I don't like to think of the animals being destroyed, but it's not the fault of the animal shelters that it happens. I'd love to slap some pet owners (and dumpers) with a wake-up stick, but I don't think it'd make a difference.

I have added to me zoo in the past couple of weeks. A small dog was abandoned at my sister's place of business. My sister is looking for a home for a kitten who turned up at our property at about the same time. We are maxed out on pets, although I am thinking of squeezing in another caged critter or two.

Linda O. Johnston said...

You're the widget guru, Kathryn. That's something I still have to learn, but I like the idea.

And, Aileen, I like your attitude!


Betty Hechtman said...

The real problem is with people who have no real regard for animals. The leader of my crochet group showed me a photo of the dog she took in because a neighbor got it from the pound and after three days changed their mind.

All my animals have either shown up at my door, or have been rescues of what sort or another as in from shelters or people who suddenly don't want their dog or cat anymore.

Mutts are my favorite breed of dog.