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To the editor: Thank you for your thorough report on crowded Los Angeles County shelters having to euthanize so many dogs. So many of us in animal rescue have tried and tried to bring this tragedy to light.
I have three suggestions that cost virtually nothing but can mean everything:
- Before a shelter labels an animal “feral,” it should spend more time on assessment. Many cats and dogs are just plain terrified, and they simply need quiet time and love. Volunteers and shelter staff should ask their rescue partners how they should approach these terrified animals.
- Ask rescue partners to take better pictures of the animals to post for adoption. Add a word or two under the picture to describe the animal, such as “friendly” or “shy but sweet.” While they’re at it, why not give the animal a cute name instead of merely listing an intake number?
- Ease up a bit on the requirements for rescue partners. The paperwork hurdles are so off-putting. If more rescues can partner with county shelters, more animals can be saved.
These ideas are not cure-alls, but they would be a good start.
Darlene Papa, Sierra Madre
To the editor: Those who are upset about dogs being euthanized in shelters run by Los Angeles County should place the blame where it belongs — on people who fail to commit to and responsibly care for the animals they acquire, and on anyone who breeds or buys an animal.
Shelters don’t create the animal overpopulation and homelessness crises or the resulting need for euthanasia. People who thoughtlessly obtain animals only to abandon them once their novelty wears off do. So do people who discard animals like old furniture when they move or go on vacation, and so do people who don’t spay or neuter.
Anyone who buys an animal from a breeder or a pet shop also denies a wonderful dog or cat sitting in a shelter cage a chance at adoption.
People who care must work to address these root causes. Until then, no matter how many cages Los Angeles County has, they will perpetually be filled.
Teresa Chagrin , Norfolk, Va.
The writer is animal care and control issues manager at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
To the editor: It seems like ancient history to recall the days when the city would go door to door to inquire if you had a license for your dog, and if not, required an owner to get one.
Several dogs later, I still receive my notice in the mail each year and renew with each new dog. I don’t know if or how licensing is now enforced. No one has come to my door in years.
Nancy Goodman Lawrence, Mar Vista
To the editor: I was moved by your article to foster a dog or cat, having recently lost my rescue companion of 15 years.
But I was very disappointed to find a convoluted job application when I looked into it. I have a bed and food and love to give.
Andrew Kirk, Sherman Oaks