LA County

Council Committee to Discuss Concerns at LA City Animal Shelters

LA City Council's Animal Welfare Committee will discuss concerns at LA City animal shelters after LA Times released a report on the conditions of animal shelters.

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Conditions at Los Angeles animal shelters will be discussed by the city's Personnel, Audits and Animal Welfare Committee at a special meeting Tuesday in response to a Los Angeles Times story about the shelters.

Councilman Paul Koretz, the committee chair, called the emergency meeting after what his office described as "disturbing and unacceptable'' revelations in the story, published last week.

The Times found that animal shelters are overcrowded, and that some dogs spend weeks or months inside their kennels without being walked. Los Angeles Animal Services relies mostly on unpaid volunteers to walk and exercise
dogs, according to the Times.

Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Bob Blumenfield also voiced concerns to the Times after the story was published.

In a statement last week, Koretz said he meets with the animal services department every month to discuss "every aspect of the department's operations, including complaints I've received from members of the public about
problems.''

"My position as the committee chair does not empower me to boss the general manager around, but I'm not shy about making suggestions and recommendations,'' Koretz said.

The committee consists of Koretz, Harris-Dawson and Councilman Mike Bonin. Harris-Dawson serves as the vice chair.

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The interim general manager of the city’s Animal Services, Annette Ramirez, acknowledged the problems, which included staff vacancies and workers out sick due to covid.

"We definitely have a lot of areas for improvement and I think that with additional resources and support from the city we can do better," she said.

Tuesday's included discussion on animal intake and care, adoption programs, shelter maintenance and staffing, according to the agenda.

Also present at Tuesday's meeting was Larry Gross, president of the Animal Services Commission and representatives from the city attorney's office and SEIU Local 721, who agreed funding was needed.

Animal services spokesperson, Agnes Sibel, declined to respond, according to the LA Times report.

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