Could All L.A. City Shelters Be No Kill by Next Year?

Back when he was the mayor of Los Angeles in 2003, James Hahn promised to make the city no-kill by 2008, sparing most of the city’s shelter animals from being euthanized.

Well, 2008 came and went. Almost a decade later, Los Angeles is still not a no-kill city, but fortunately that is likely going to change very soon.

The city council is now determined to make all shelters operated by the L.A. City Department of Animal Services (LAAS) no-kill by Dec. 31 this year. This time around, the council is working with the No Kill Los Angeles coalition as well as rescue organizations and the public to develop a “comprehensive strategy” to reach this goal, KPCC reports.

If all goes as planned, on Jan. 1, 2018, Los Angeles will become the largest no-kill city in the United States.

“We try to make it as reasonable as possible for people to adopt,” Councilmember Paul Koretz, who’s sponsoring the motion, told KPCC. “We also only save money by not having to euthanize animals, which is a costly process as well.” (Koretz is also sponsoring a motion to move a distressed elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo to a sanctuary.)

In 2012, 42 percent of animals in city shelters were euthanized, but that number has dropped to 10.6 percent, NBC4 reports.

Although “no-kill shelter” sounds like no animals at all will be euthanized, unfortunately that’s not the case. To qualify as no-kill, a shelter can still euthanize 10 percent of its animals – usually only those that are terminally ill or considered dangerous to public safety.

Controversy Over L.A. City Euthanization Statistics

“We’ve done a lot of creative things to hit the numbers and we’re very excited,” Koretz told NBC4. He was probably referring to things like adoption events and free spay/neuter clinics, but some say the statistics reported by LAAS are inaccurate and misleading.

The LAAS website says the department calculates its no-kill statistics “with a simple and completely transparent approach based on total noses in and total noses out.” Those statistics are “completely bogus,” journalist and animal advocate Daniel Guss told KPCC. “They’ve watered down the meaning of ‘kill.’”

In an October 2016 story for CityWatch Los Angeles, Guss wrote that the numbers included animals that had been transferred to other city shelters rather than adopted out.

The numbers have also been inconsistent. In one report, LAAS claimed it adopted out 97,757 dogs and cats from July 2009 through January 2014. Yet in the next report, which included dogs and cats adopted through April 2014, that number mysteriously dropped to 92,530. According to Guss, there has been acknowledgment of the difference in numbers, but no official explanation for it.

To lower the kill rate, city shelters have also been taking in fewer strays, Laura Jones, CEO of the L.A. nonprofit All About the Animals, told KPCC.

Despite the controversies with LAAS, animal advocates support L.A.’s goal to become a no-kill city. “L.A. city shelters are making great progress!” says a May 5 status update on the All About the Animals Facebook page.

Here’s hoping Los Angeles does finally become a no-kill city in 2018, and serves as a model for how every U.S. city, no matter how large or small, can do the same. Please sign and share this petition calling for animal shelters to be made no kill in all 50 states.

Photo credit: Dave Parker

61 comments

Telica R
Telica R1 years ago

I sure hope so

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Melania P
Melania P1 years ago

This would be great! But this is not only about laws, people need to do the change. Always adopt, never buy!

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Virginia Abreu de Paula

"Although “no-kill shelter” sounds like no animals at all will be euthanized, unfortunately that’s not the case. To qualify as no-kill, a shelter can still euthanize 10 percent of its animals – usually only those that are terminally ill or considered dangerous to public safety". What a surprise! I am being sarcastic here. Because it is amazing even reporters doesn't know the meaning of euthanasia. It is only for those animals that are really sick with no hope of recovering. It is killing out of mercy! So, it's natural no kill shelters will practice euthasia. What they do, usually, and they call euthansia, is not euthasia. It is extermination!

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william Miller
william Miller2 years ago

Thanks

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Kathleen E
Kathleen England2 years ago

No kill would be wonderful.

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heather g
heather g2 years ago

How do you educate people to be responsible, when all they think about is themselves.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 years ago

NOTED

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Winn A
Winn A2 years ago

Adopt, never shop, and please don’t breed or buy while shelter animals die. Please support your local shelters and rescue groups. Won't you open up your Responsible, Healthy, Loving and Forever home to a deserving animal? You’ll be saving a life. Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A2 years ago

Always spay or neuter and microchip your pets. 

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