Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) is treating shelter dogs abysmally

This is a further report thanks to Nathan Winograd who keeps an eye on the state of play regarding animal shelters in America. Thank God for that. It needs to happen. He says, in general terms, that “animal shelters are returning to old practices, including more killing, despite declining intakes”. He believes that the management of animal shelters in America is currently deteriorating with less of a concern for protecting life.

He cites Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) and how they manage their six shelters (pounds). He focuses on dogs and how the volunteer coordinator, Jake Miller, pressured volunteers (yes, volunteers) in an email to find a solution to an overcrowding problem in order to avoid the killing of 800 dogs euphemistically called euthanasia. He put pressure on the volunteers when the pressure should be on Animal Services as they receive a $31 million fund from the city.

LAAS animal pound showing dogs in distress through neglect
LAAS animal pound showing dogs in distress through neglect. Infographic by MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

RELATED: Los Angeles house buyer digs up 70 cat corpses in his garden and animal control picked them up

According to Winograd, Miller does not want to explore new methods to save lives such as off-site adoption events, improving the foster care program, improving behaviour through socialisation and training and holding abusive staff to account et cetera.

Winograd paints a terrible picture of the mistreatment of dogs, it has to be said, at the Los Angeles Animal Services pounds.

Alleged neglectful mismanagement

He reports on a volunteer who said that LAAS holds the dogs in a “Hunger Games situation”. There seems to be a plethora of mismanagement and mishandling of dogs such as, for example:

  • Placing random dogs together and marking them as aggressive if they don’t get along even when they have a positive history with their next kennel mate.
  • Dogs being sprayed with a hose according to this volunteer by staff and if the dogs react badly, they are assessed as being unfit for adoption.
  • At the South Los Angeles pound, the volunteer said that she/he “observed over 100 dogs without beds, some lacking water or have green [algae-covered] water, while others were confined in cubbies for extended periods without access to water. The conditions were distressing, with soaked floors, cages and beds covered in feces, and an overwhelming odor that prompted people to cover their nose and mouth.”
  • The Los Angeles Times, in an investigation, found that “dogs spend weeks or months inside their kennels without a walk”. This creates stress which gives LAAS an excuse to kill them because they are deemed unadoptable.
  • In respect of other animals such as guinea pigs, they found them without food. They found rabbits with gouged eyes. And hamsters in urine and faeces-soaked cages.
  • They pointed out that a volunteer whistleblower who exposed an employee who abused dogs by striking them was punished. This is typical of many defensive organisations where whistleblowers who want to improve the situation are criticised and ostracised often forcing them out of the organisation.

Poor presentation of dogs

The question is how can dogs be presented to adopters under these circumstances? Adopters have to pinch their noses to deal with the odours. The general picture painted seems to be deplorable.


Winograd also criticises LAAS for being duplicitous. The Miller email I mention above sent to volunteers was reviewed and approved at the highest level before going out and yet the LAAS general manager said that the email was “shocking” and “a hundred percent untrue”.

Best Friends and ASPCA

Winograd goes on to blame Best Friends Animal Society as well. He says that the charity “fraudulently claims Los Angeles is a no kill community”. And he says that Best Friends encourages the pound to fire volunteers who complain.

He criticises the ASPCA and Best Friends for practices such as silencing whistleblowers and shutting the public which fosters malpractice leading to neglect and abuse of the shelter animals.

He is fearful of the tremendous gains made by the no kill movement over the last decade being lost. His No Kill Advocacy Center is receiving a growing number of complaints from I presume whistleblowing shelter staff. And there’s more neglect and abuse shelters he claims.

I have reached out to LAS for a comment on their Facebook page.

RELATED: Cat still in Halloween costume ends up at Los Angeles shelter after biting his owner

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo