Thursday night two Riverside County residents made the trek to Van Nuys to support the proposed increase in pet limits for the City of Los Angeles, under the new Director of LA Animal Services Brenda Barnett.
The room was packed with pet owners, rescue group volunteers and a few show dog people. Representatives from CarPOC and CDOC were there too. Channel 7 News and Channel 4 News were in attendance with filming the story for the 11:00 O’ Clock news.
The majority of the speakers, about 45, supported the increase in pet limits. About 4-5 people did not support the increase, stating they had problems with barking dogs or that increasing pet limits would lead to more problems. This included Laura Beth Hiesen the former commissioner and former candidate for director.
The rescue volunteers spoke of how increasing the pet limits would allow for more foster homes to help with dogs and cats in need. Many of the rescue volunteers expressed fear of LA Animal Services knocking on their door because they are over the legal limit of animals from time to time. The rescuers told how they cannot just turn away or send to the shelter an extra dog or cat knowing it has a pretty good chance of being euthanized. Rather, they will risk being over the legal limit to rehabilitate sick animals, train animals with behavior problems, or just keep extra dogs or cats until suitable homes become available.
The rescue volunteers spoke about the process to adopt a dog or cat. They spoke of interviews, applications and doing home checks before placing rescued animals into the right home. The rescue volunteers explained that placing rescued animals is a process that takes time and can lead to being over the legal limits until the right home is found.
Cathie Turner of CDOC, and a resident of LA, spoke about the increased revenue the city would receive from licensing the additional dogs from the people who desired more dogs than the current limit of three. She also pointed out that not everyone who owns three dogs would increase their dogs to five (the proposed new limit). However families willing to add one more dog to their household would save more animals and the city money. Cathy also noted that there were responsible breeders in the audience, but they were afraid to come forward.
According to Brenda Barnett in a letter sent out over the Internet:
“Other communities that have higher or no pet limits at all have not reported increases in barking dogs, dog packs, dog bites or the reduction of property values nor do they report any plans to reduce the pet limits in their communities. Currently only about 5% or 6000 of the licensed dogs in Los Angeles are from three dog families. Therefore it is unlikely that there would suddenly be an enormous number of 4 or 5 dog families. However, if 1/3 of the current families who license their dogs added one dog and one dog license, the annual revenue for the City at $20 per license would be $792,000 annually at a time when that additional revenues to the City are critical. People who already break the law whether it is not observing the leash laws, not purchasing dog licenses, not getting their pets spayed or neutered or by becoming hoarders are not likely to change because of or in spite of this motion if passed.”
LA Animals Services is very fortunate to have Brenda Barnett. She seems ready to work with the entire pet owning community to reduce the shelter numbers in Los Angeles.
If it works in Los Angeles, maybe it could happen in Riverside too.