Reducing Unwanted Animals in Los Angeles

Paul Koretz

Paul Koretz

This is about taking action to reduce the growing number of unwanted companion animals in Los Angeles, United States of America.

Thank God for Paul Koretz who is the Los Angeles city councilman for District Five. He appears to be one of us – people who care about companion animals and want to see something actually done to improve animal welfare. Let’s talk less and see more action in relation to stopping the killing of unwanted cats and dogs at shelters. That is what concerned people want to see. Paul Koretz apparently learnt about the truth of cat welfare the hard way. Kathleen, a visitor to PoC made the following comment about Paul Koretz in relation to cat declawing some time ago…

It may interest you to know that the gentleman who started the first legislation to ban declawing in West Hollywood, CA, Paul Koretz, did so because he was in your exact same position. He, too, was misled by his veterinarian into believing that declawing was OK, and did not realize until it was too late what he had actually done to his beloved cat.

Clearly his experience has helped him to see the light and to fight for what is right. That can only be to take real, meaningful steps, hard as they are, to improve companion animal welfare. The biggest problem, bigger than all the others including declawing is to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs that are being killed nationwide and at Los Angeles shelters.

Stray Cat Los Angeles

Stray Cat Los Angeles. Original picture.

The economic downturn has focused the minds of some politicians. Perhaps this is a silver lining to the financial pain suffered by many pet owning people in the United States. We are told that in Los Angeles a lot of people are giving up their pets to shelters. When the shelters become full they simply kick them out. This disturbs the status quo, the comfortable underground harmony of the daily killing of thousands of cats and dogs at shelters in Los Angeles.

I have always said that the balance between over production of cats and dogs and their euthanasia has to be disturbed if something is to actually change.

So, on to the nitty-gritty. The law – what Paul proposes. There are quite a few articles on the internet about this story but none look at the actual proposed law and it is not complicated. It is straightforward.

The first part of the “draft ordinance” (proposed law) explains why Paul has proposed it. It says:

WHEREAS, the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits contributes to the proliferation of homeless or unwanted animals that end up in public animal shelters; and

WHEREAS, prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, retail businesses or other commercial establishments may lower the City’s shelter animal euthanasia rate and lead to a greater adoption rate of shelter animals.

“Whereas” means “bearing in mind that…”

The reasons are all there. Paul wants to stop the breeding of cats, dogs and rabbits that are sold at pet stores for a limited time – in fact until June 30, 2016. Also the proposal is that it is….”operative six months after its effective date”.

It could (and should, as far as I am concerned) be extended after that date. It is not clear to me if this proposal affects breeders of purebred cats, dogs and rabbits who are nearly always hobby workers. They do it from their home. I would need clarification on that and they are probably concerned about this proposed law. There is an argument that the proposal should extend to them because, purebred or not, they contribute the number of companion animals at a time when there are too many. Also what about internet dealers? They are international but can serve Los Angeles residents. The LA council can’t stop them.

The proposed law then states as follows…

It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the City of Los Angeles, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from an animal shelter or a humane society located in the City of Los Angeles, or a non-profit rescue and humane organization registered with the Department of Animal Services.

So, Paul wants people to adopt a companion animal that is either a cat, dog or rabbit from a shelter rather than a pet store. Great. About time surely?

The proposed law goes on to say that it is a minor crime (a misdemeanor) to be in breach of it (to ignore it and sell pets in a store). A fine up to $1,000 for a third violation is applied.

There it is. A real change to reduce the number of unwanted pets. Personally, I support it big time. I would also support some sort of law which deals with irresponsible pet ownership. That must be the next step if Paul’s proposal becomes active law. Dealing with irresponsible pet ownership through the law is difficult. Paul’s proposal in designed,  I believe, to be simple and therefore acceptable under the current situation of the excessive number of unwanted companion animals.

I think it is very clever for that reason. Let’s hope that it becomes law and works. Los Angeles is a major American city. A change there may have an impact on other cities. Wouldn’t it be good if something happened elsewhere?

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Reducing Unwanted Animals in Los Angeles — 1 Comment

  1. Great stuff! There is hope – California is usually the progressive state with regard to many things – or so i am told, and this story seems to display that pretty clearly. If it helps the shelter situation maybe other states will see it and want to do it as well. I doubt there is enough money in breeding to buy off politicians so that’s a major plus. Usually these things get crushed by money interests. I think breeds of cats are all beautiful and unique and should be appreciated (well except maybe the unhealthy ones) and yet I still think no single cat should be bred purposefully until there is space for that cat. It’s the only way.

    I’m not saying hobby breeders constitute any major impact on the situation but what they do is create the idea and the existence of breeds and then people like that idea – god forbid it even becomes fashionable to have a certain breed – so in that sense there is no room for breeders in an area where there are too many existing cats. People should not have the choice of deciding what breed they want. Actually there is so much variety in the shelters what is the point of this deluxe ability to choose a cat which basically has papers to prove itself rather than a very similar or same kind of cat who has no papers. If there’s a kind of cat you like, go searching around the shelters and you will find one. You can always leave a note to be contacted when one comes in. One shouldnt be able to shop for cats of certain breeds out of catalogs, its just not right in a place where there are so many suffering animals already.

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