ASPCA Opens L.A. Spay-Neuter Clinic
New treatment clinic is centerpiece of a $25 million, multi-year push, working with local animal-welfare organizations to combat the homeless pet problem.
Ernie Slone |
Posted: May 6, 2014, 4 p.m. PST
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced today that it is making a major investment of $25 million in Los Angeles, partnering with public and private animal-welfare organizations to curb the homeless pet population.
The centerpiece of the ASPCA initiative was unveiled today with the dedication of the first West Coast ASPCA Spay / Neuter Clinic, located at the city’s newest and largest shelter, the South Los Angeles Animal Care Center.
Cutting the ribbon on the new spay and neuter clinic was Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, joined by Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services.
"Homelessness is the biggest challenge to the lives of animals and we know that spay and neuter is the most effective tool we have in combatting this problem,’’ says Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, at the dedication, surrounded by L.A. city and county animal services, private animal-care charities and local political leaders.
"We chose this location in South Central Los Angeles because it serves a population that previously had too little support for animal-care services, they were too remote or too costly,’’ Bershadker notes. "The clinic will perform an estimated 4,000 spay and neuters in the first year, and we anticipate it will eventually do 6,000 annually after that,’’ Bershadker says.
The ASPCA’s multi-pronged effort includes five key programs:
- The spay/neuter facility operated by the ASPCA for animals owned by South Los Angeles residents, as well as animals sheltered at the South Los Angeles Animal Care Center – Chesterfield Square facility. Procedures performed at the facility, including vaccinations, micro-chip implantations and flea-control treatment will be the only fully-subsidized option for South LA-area residents.
- $1 million to subsidize fees incurred by local rescue groups when transferring animals from the Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City shelter system into their facilities or networks.
- A relocation program to move animals from shelters in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to communities where they will have better chances of being adopted. The first transport will occur this Thursday, taking about 20 animals from the Downey shelter in Los Angeles to the San Diego Humane Society.
- Safety net programs designed to keep animals in their homes by addressing the needs of those at the highest risk of relinquishment due to scarce resources and hindered access to critical services.
- More than $250,000 annually in grants to local partners, including funding for intervention programs, spay/neuter programs and medical care for animals in low income areas. Intervention specialists at two Los Angeles shelters will help to educate pet caregivers, seeking ways to help them to keep their pets rather than surrender them.
Previously the ASPCA has focused much of its spay and neuter initiative in the New York City metropolitan area, with clinics and mobile services. In New York City, the ASPCA has provided partially and fully-subsidized spay/neuter services to residents and the rescue community since 1997. In the past decade, the ASPCA has administered nearly 250,000 spay/neuter surgeries in NY
The ASPCA is funding a new, custom-built vehicle that will transport animals from high-population areas of Los Angeles to partner shelters and rescue groups that have space available and a higher demand for adoptable animals, both in California and out of state.
Bershadker says the timing and opportunity was ideal for helping to build on existing efforts to make a difference in Los Angeles, and this may become a model for similar ASPCA initiatives around the country.
"Like many communities, Los Angeles faces intense challenges when it comes to homeless animals - roughly half of the animals that enter L.A. area facilities never come out,” says Bershadker. "But local organizations have been working hard and strategically to save lives, and we’re proud to help them with this unprecedented large-scale investment customized to the unique needs and specific obstacles of each community.”
LA presented a unique opportunity, Bershadker explains.
"We came here because of the numbers, 170,000 animals a year entering the city and county shelters,’’ Bershadker says. "So there is a huge need but there also is a great group of organizations here in Los Angeles working together, having success working together, people who wanted us to come in and be a part of that.’’
In addition to Los Angeles City Animal Services and Los Angeles County Animal Control, the ASPCA is collaborating with Best Friends Animal Society in support of their No-Kill Los Angeles initiative and local animal welfare organizations including Downtown Dog Rescue, The Amanda Foundation, Stray Cat Alliance, Fix Nation, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, Found Animals Foundation, Bark Avenue, and others.
"We have learned that we have to work together and we have to have partnerships,’’ says Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services. "The spay/neuter clinic is a critical service not currently available in South Los Angeles that will help ensure the safety and well-being of local pets, and will prevent unwanted births, reducing the dogs and cats entering the shelter. It is an important component of our strategy to get pets off of the streets and into loving homes of their own.”
"Working together we have reduced our intake of pets by 9,000 a year in just a few years, and we have our best live release rates ever,’’ says Marcia Mayeda, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.
It was an exciting moment for LA’s animal-care leaders.
"This is such a great day for LA because there is such a great need,’’ says Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of The Found Animal Foundation, which funds major spay and neuter efforts in LA, including SNP LA. "There is much being done, but we need more, we need this so much, and it is going to make a major difference.’’
Every year across the U.S. an estimated 2.7 million healthy and otherwise adoptable dogs and cats are killed in our shelters because there are not enough good homes for them. Only one in 10 animals received by shelters has been spayed or neutered.
One way to prevent this tragedy is by spaying or neutering dogs. Just a few unaltered animals can produce huge numbers of offspring. By some estimates, one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years, and a single female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years.
Not only does it save pet lives, it also saves money. Research indicates that for every $1 invested in spay/neuter efforts, $10 to $20 is saved in housing and dealing with pet overpopulation.
As of 2006, all dogs four months of age or older in the city of Los Angeles and in unincorporated areas of the county must be spayed or neutered, with a few exceptions. In Los Angeles County and its unincorporated area, they must also be microchipped.
The ASPCA clinic joins a number of other private and public organizations trying to combat pet overpopulation, including the Spay Neuter Project Los Angeles (SNP LA), FixNation, and mobile clinics such as the Lucy Pet Foundation, the Amanda Foundation and Angeldogs.The Found Animal Foundation, which helps fund spay and neuter programs such as SNP LA and research into new spay and neuter options offers a searchable list of free or low cost spay and neuter programs in the Los Angeles area at Foundanimals.org
-More from Ernie Slone's Editor Off Leash-
Give us your opinion on ASPCA Opens L.A. Spay-Neuter Clinic
Login to get points for commenting or write your comment below
Get New Captcha