Practical Issues > Things To Do > Activism

The overpopulation of homeless cats and dogs, puppies and kittens in the city of Los Angeles, along with a cesspool of mismanagement and incompetence within the Department of Animal Services (DAS), has brought on a crisis of conscience. The public is more aware than ever of the horror inside the City’s Shelter system. The false promise a year ago by Mayor Hahn and ex-General Manager Jerry Greenwalt to make Los Angeles a “No Kill” city was a scam, perpetrated on the public to “take the heat off” and allow them to keep their high-paying jobs. Their plan was to use “unfair, subjective and inhumane protocols” to falsely declare more than three-quarters of shelter animals “un-adoptable” thus allowing the city to kill them without counting them.

Overpopulation is not a one-time event; there is a constant influx of homeless, lost and owner-surrendered companion animals into the City’s shelter system. Any long-term solution requires that the supply dry up, while adopting must increase. It also requires a sweeping reorganization of the DAS and new leadership. We must face this crisis by implementing sound, creative and proven methods to stop the killing and change the paradigm from “pets” as disposable accessories, to companion animals who have feelings, needs and unique personalities; individuals whose lives are important to them and to us. The Department of Animal Services is truly an embarrassment to the citizens of LA as innocent cats, dogs, puppies, kittens, bunny rabbits as well as wildlife like Pelicans and songbirds are being murdered by the tens of thousands every single year.

The DAS, due to a lack of competence, dedication, creativity and accountability, is implementing NONE of the progressive solutions below. Not one of these solutions would require more money than the DAS was allotted last year. Some do, however, require a redistribution of funds into high priority areas; which would not only save the taxpayers millions of dollars, but also save the lives of shelter animals. The DAS, city council and Mayor must begin to work cooperatively and openly with the humane community in Los Angeles. While Animal Defense League-LA will continue to expose the truth of what goes on currently inside these modern day Death Camps, it’s time for the department ofanimal services and the city to implement these solutions to . . . . . . . STOP THE KILLING.

Low cost, easily accessible and truly mandatory spay/neuter laws for every resident residing in the city of Los Angeles
Free spay/neuter services to all low income residents
A city-wide policy allowing free trap, neuter and return (TNR) programs for feral cats
Open all shelter spay/neuter clinics sitting idle immediately and enlist veterinarians to volunteer and “give back” to their community by doing a certain amount of free spay/neuters every month at these clinics (physician/surgeons are expected to do this by operating and then following up on the patients who don’t have health insurance; why shouldn’t veterinarians?)
Higher fees imposed on owners who “dump” their companion animals at a city shelter
Require pet shops to offer animals for “adoption” rather than selling puppies from puppy mills resulting in the death of thousands of innocent animals every year.
LA City to outlaw the purposeful breeding of animals for profit; it’s a disgrace and results in thousands of healthy, loving animals (many of whom are purebreds) being executed in our shelters every week.
Require a complete, outside volunteer peer-review audit of DAS finances, policies and practices
Clearly outline and have an independent volunteer council witness the DAS policies and procedures, then publish the TRUE number of animals taken into the shelters every month and all adoption, rescues and number of executions; including holding periods and the reasons for execution. (This will prevent the DAS from lying about the true number of animals being killed and why.)
Investigations regarding animal cruelty and neglect inside and outside the city shelters to be done by an independent, competent committee who, unlike Commander David Diliberto, do not involve his friends, fellow union employees or drinking buddies who are allegedly perpetrating the crimes.
The General Manager and the commissioners who sit on the board are to be appointed by an outside committee made up of several 501c3 rescue groups in Los Angeles (this will prevent the power to appoint to rest in the hands of a corrupt, uncompassionate and inept Mayor like the current James K. Hahn (see Hahn page on
Change city code to allow more than three animals per household (if an LA city resident is allowed to have more than three children, they ought to have the right by law to have more than three dogs or cats. Human over population is far more devastating to our natural resources, our living conditions and the spread of disease, than having four, five or even more dogs/cats living in a household
Landlord and builders be required to allow tenants to have a pet(s). Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants with children, (and children do MUCH more property damage than pets!) So they should NOT be allowed to discriminate against tenants who live with a companion animal.
Establish policies and programs to actively place companion animals in retirement and HUD housing

Increase DAS staff and shelter employees knowledge base, professionalism and outreach
Mandatory training of shelter employees (including supervisors) to require they be courteous, knowledgeable and to meet a minimum set of standards for aiding the public in adopting a pet. (This will prevent the staff, many of which are unprofessional and nasty to the public, from sitting on their butts, drinking a 7-11 Big Gulp and chatting with fellow kennel workers, instead of doing the jobs they are being paid the highest in the Nation, to do.)
Require that shelter employees allow all animals up for adoption to be seen by the public; this includes but is not limited to those with treatable conditions like sprains, sniffles, fleas, etc. Furthermore, every single employee is to be required to inform the public about Shelter Care insurance policy, which covers the treatment of these conditions for free; and to offer every adopter an application form.
Shelter employees are required to allow all animals to be seen and photographed by volunteers and rescuers seeking to help them get adopted by advertising them on web sites, etc.
Volunteers must be allowed to counsel people who are “turning in their pet” or seeking to adopt a pet
The six LA city shelters must be educational and helpful environments, where volunteers and the public can come in and interact with the animals outside their desolate, filthy cages. Currently the shelter staff don’t even allow the volunteers, who take a training course, to walk the dogs around the block giving them the exercise they so desperately need; and the staff NEVER takes the time to do this. So our shelters currently feel like depressing, unfriendly and disorganized “pounds”, where the smell of fear, misery and “death” permeates the air.
The Public Relations officer is to be required to have previous experience in adoption and rescue of shelter animals and to have expertise in advertising, public relations and be bilingual
Replace the current “paid” volunteer staff with enthusiastic, caring animal people, who will establish an aggressive volunteer recruitment program and increase the mobile pet adoption venues, to reach out to the millions of residents who want a companion animal.
The entire LA City Department of Animal Services web site and any educational information available at the shelters be bilingual. A ten minute educational and welcome “loop” video in both Spanish and English is required to be watched by potential adopters and those “giving up” their pets, before they speak to a volunteer or employee.
Part of the requirement of the paid “volunteer” staff and Public Relations officer is to give at least one school assembly lecture per week or neighborhood council lecture per week, talking about the importance of spay/neuter, adoption, caring for and respecting companion animals, including feral cats and wildlife. They should also be required to go on local news shows (both Spanish and English) at least once per week to advertise the shelters and encourage the viewers to adopt.
Require that some of the departments budget be spent on bilingual TV and radio advertising to encourage adoption, give the locations, hours open for adoption and information on spay/neuter.