Ask Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass to Stop Illegal Neglect and Abandonment of Animals at LA Animal Services

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On January 22, PETA received a report from a concerned resident who had found a stray dog and brought him to the Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) North Central shelter. Instead of taking the dog in to get him off the street and possibly enable his family to find him, LAAS staff informed her that the shelter was full and stated that her only options were to make an appointment to surrender the dog in March or to release the unneutered animal back onto the street where he had been found. Staff threatened that she would be charged with animal abandonment if she left the dog at the shelter. Eventually, after the woman pushed back, LAAS told her it would make an “exception” and agreed to take in the dog the next day, although when she returned, several employees complained about the exception that was being made. While this dog was lucky to have been found by a persistent resident who pushed LAAS to comply with its duty, the actions here demonstrate that countless animals are being turned away, with shelter staff instructing residents to dump them on the street.

This is not a new issue or a unique occurrence—complaints about LAAS abound online and at commission meetings. In one particularly shocking August 2022 incident, a YouTube video showed what appeared to be the South LA shelter refusing to allow two people to drop off a mother cat and a kitten found on the side of a road, instead directing them to “leave them where you found them” and “leave them on the street.” PETA continues to receive reports of people bringing stray and abandoned animals to LAAS shelters and being turned away. Residents have also made complaints at public meetings of the Board of Animal Services Commissioners about animals being turned away.

Not only is it cruel and negligent to turn animals away from municipal shelters, California state law also makes clear that LAAS is required to accept stray and abandoned animals who are brought into its shelters. Please urge Mayor Karen Bass to take steps to launch an investigation and correct this situation immediately.

Please submit just your five-digit zip code.

Hydee Feldstein-Soto

LA County

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