Animal activists concerned with LA’s ability to care for shelter pets – NBC Los Angeles

Volunteers with Los Angeles Animal Services and rescue groups are hopeful a free statewide adoption event will reduce the overcrowding at local shelters, but they say that’s only part of the solution for solving the crisis.

As of Friday afternoon, LA Animal Services was at 205% capacity, with more than 1,500 dogs spread across their six city-run shelters. In an effort to help with the overpopulation, California shelters will be participating in a first-ever statewide free Adoption Day Event on June 1. This includes LA City, LA County, Orange County and San Bernardino County shelters.

There is an overwhelming number of unwanted animals entering the shelters at a rate higher than they’re coming out. It’s a critical issue that animal rescue groups and shelters are working to address, with the resources available.

Inside the North Central LA Animal Shelter, many kennels are doubled up with dogs due to the limited space and resources.

“We’re probably one of the more underfunded departments but we have to care for all these animals,” said LA Animal Services Public Information Director, Agnes Sibal.

Sibal explained how their six shelters are doing their best to keep up with the demand.

“They are having to kill a lot of dogs for space and we should be open and honest about that because that will only help people want to do better by their dogs. That will only help people want to rescue these animals,” said Animal Rescue Mission Founder, Shira Scott Astrof.

Astrof is concerned the city-run shelters are unable to properly handle the overcrowding crisis and claims they’re putting adoptable dogs on a “Red List,” which gives the animals a two-week window until they’re scheduled to be euthanized. However, LA Animal Services strongly denies they put down any animals for space.

“A lot of the animals that are on the red list are there because they have medical issues or a safety or behavior concern,” said Sibal.

The stress of overcrowded shelters is a problem across the country, which is why the California Animal Welfare Association, also known as CalAnimals, and ASPCA are hosting a free adoption event at more than 170 California shelters.

“People are struggling with lack of access to veterinary care or pet-friendly housing. And so, animal shelters and what’s going on in animal shelters is really always just a symptom of what’s going on in a general community,” said CalAnimals CEO Jill Tucker.

NBC4 reached out to LA Animal Services General Manager Staycee Dains about the concerns from volunteers and rescue groups.

Dains provided a written response saying she was focused on saving the lives of animals and working to address the overcrowding crisis and would be happy to do an interview. However, Dains has not been available when NBC4 requested interviews, and recently canceled two scheduled in-person interviews.

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