There are some persistent issues in Southern California that draw both extensive coverage in the Times and outrage from our readers in response. One of them is the heart-wrenching abuse and death of young children even though local authorities were alerted in advance by concerned tipsters. Over the years, these letters expressed the most outrage I can remember. Anthony Avelos And Gabriel Fernandez.
Recently — and especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — the crisis of overcrowded animal shelters run by the city and county of LA has drawn similarly apathetic lines, especially From readers who have volunteered at these shelters.
We have already published some. Letters in response to Investigating by Times reporters Elaine Checkmedian and Alexandra E. Petrie Animal euthanasia rates are high in Antelope Valley despite the opening of a new sanctuary meant to relieve overcrowding. Since then, we’ve received more letters from volunteers and advocates asking pet guardians and shelter managers to make changes.
To the Editor: Kudos to The Times for investigating local animal shelters struggling to handle the daily influx of abandoned pets. Also, thanks to LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger for recognizing the shelter organizers More accountability is needed For the death of many innocent pets.
As a shelter volunteer, I witness animals being surrendered to the shelter due to a lack of suitable pet housing. Many pet owners have lost their jobs or homes and need to find an affordable place to live. Often, these places don’t allow pets, or management discriminates based on breeds and sizes.
Often, the landlord allows the pet, but then a new company takes over and adds a monthly pet fee that makes the rent unaffordable. So please, include the landlords in the causes of the overcrowding crisis.
Also, please stop using the word “euthanasia,” which is defined as the act of killing or allowing a hopelessly sick animal to die, to describe shelter deaths. . When healthy, friendly and adoptable pets are losing their lives in shelters, they are being killed.
Sherry Brewer, Sherman Oaks
To the editor: I read with interest your investigation of LA County animal shelters. Sadly, too many animals are euthanized at all county-run shelters.
As a 15-year volunteer at the Lancaster shelter, I blame this tragic situation on two things.
First, I blame the public. All family pets must be spayed and neutered. Many people adopt their pets as dogs, and these dogs are often surrendered to shelters. Additionally, many people adopt a “cute” dog and later drop it off at a shelter when they get bored with the responsibility of caring for the dog.
Second, I blame upper management. I don’t think the executives realize how badly understaffed the shelters are. Keeping up with the workload is an impossible task for the few shelter employees. And, these employees care – over the years I have seen them work so hard for the welfare of these animals.
I hope this shows how much of a problem all shelters in LA County have, not just Lancaster and Palmdale. I know how hard it is to struggle between understaffing and overcrowding issues. They deserve better.
Patricia Acad, Acton
To the editor: Alarmingly, but not surprisingly, euthanasia rates at the Palmdale and Lancaster shelters are sky high, as they are statewide.
While shelters can improve their operations — for example, by increasing public access and prioritizing interactions with rescue groups — such measures only lead to overbreeding, animal lives and owners dumping shelters. Treats symptoms of underlying problems to use as grounds.
I started my organization, Social Compassion in Legislation, to help solve the pet overpopulation crisis. The epidemic did not progress for years.
It’s more important than ever for people to understand that adopting (vs. buying from a breeder) is the only ethical choice when looking for a companion animal. We need enforcement of breeding restrictions, and resources should go to spay and neuter programs.
We cannot buy our way out of the crisis. All of these unnecessary deaths will only stop if Californians stop breeding and abandoning pets.
Judy Mancuso, Laguna Beach
To the Editor: My husband and I adopted two dogs from the Lancaster Animal Shelter in 2008. Today, it is likely that none of them survive in this shelter.
The first dog, Joy, developed a respiratory illness at the shelter that made her a candidate for euthanasia. We brought him home and enjoyed 13 years of canine companionship and vigilance.
Even more vulnerable was Mel, a big, friendly dog who was skin and bones when we saw him. He had been at the shelter for over two weeks when we adopted him. He and I became a therapy dog team, visiting hospitals, schools and senior facilities.
It’s sad to know that so many dogs with Mail’s potential don’t get the chance to offer comfort and companionship to thousands of people.
Mary Hall, Vancouver, Wash.