L.A. County covers Los Angeles, Lancaster, Santa Clarita and the entire city. There is a large animal intake problem. Adoptable cats and dogs are being put down every day because of overcrowding in municipal shelters.
Between July 2020 and June 2021, 6,899 animals had to be euthanized at all L.A. County animal centers. This number represents 30% of all animals brought to L.A. County shelters.
L.A. County shelters have changed their owner surrender procedures in an effort to reduce the number animals being brought to shelters and save lives. This improves animal welfare and the chances that they will find homes. However, critics are concerned about potential adopters and owners.
The “Managed Intake”Approach
The county moved to a “managed intake”Approach early during the pandemic, when shelters were not open to the public People who want to surrender their pet dogs or cats under the new strategy must make an appointment and not just show up during business hours.
Shelter workers will then assess the best way to support the animal’s owner. This could be providing food and shelter, or training or boarding for behavioral problems.
This protocol will only allow the adoption of sick, injured, neglected, or dangerous pets or animals whose owners are in a true emergency situation and have exhausted all other options.
Lanette Montez, who leads the county animal shelters’ outreach team, told L.A. Times:
“If you come to our doors and you say, ‘I’m turning in Fluffy because she has an ear infection, and I can’t afford to fix it,’ or ‘I’m getting put out of my house, and I don’t have anywhere for her to go for two weeks,’ or ‘I don’t have any food,’ we can help you with all of that. You keep Fluffy. We don’t want Fluffy.”
The pros and cons of managed intake
LA County shelters implemented managed intake in 2005, which has resulted in a decrease of owner surrenders by 58% for dogs, and 68% respectively for cats. According to the county, respiratory illnesses in animals have dropped by 53% and 82% respectively since the shelters started offering managed intake.
The changes have made a difference in the lives of cats. The cat euthanasia rates have dropped from 48% and 31% to 31%. Meanwhile, the live release rate (meaning transfers or adoptions to other rescue groups) has increased by 54% to 68%. Only 12% to 11% have been achieved for dogs in Euthanasia, and only 68% have been achieved for live release. Currently, 88%.
In some cases, the appointment requirement can also prove to be a problem. The appointment requirement for shelters is to be made one week in advance. This leads to a 51% no show rate. County officials have increased the number of slots in an effort to decrease wait times.
Critics of managed intake protocols say that owners can choose to leave their animals alone. Some others point out that many animals are being turned away by city shelters to private rescue organizations.
Paw Parent Animal SanctuaryThe Antelope valley now receives four times the number of calls and emails. Dusti Hutchings (adoption specialist for Paw Parent) said:
“We’re just bombarded every day with people trying to give up animals we don’t have room for.”
Volunteers worry that animal control personnel, not animal control professionals, decide whether to adopt a pet. They claim that the public is being forced to find homes and care for animals.
Let’s face it, Overcrowded shelters for animals are an indicator of bigger social problems such as inequality. The future will show if managed intake addresses those problems better and decreases shelter intake.
H/T: LA Times
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