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Dept. of Animal Regulation

March 29, 1992

The March 16 article "Animal Care--Underfunded, Under Fire" is the finest example of objective reporting that I have seen. While animal activists are correct in their arguments that problems exist in the city's shelters, the article clearly documents the difficulties that result when departments are seriously underfunded for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the motion placed before the L.A. City Council for a grand jury investigation of the Department of Animal Regulation and its general manager will do nothing to mitigate this situation.

The increase in shelter animals is not a problem peculiar to Los Angeles. Throughout the country, the rise in the number of pet abandonments has resulted in a decrease in the number of days pets can be maintained before being destroyed. Most public shelters destroy between 60% and 80% of the animals under their care. If the recession worsens, the destruction rate might well move much closer to 100%.

In the city of Los Angeles' animal shelters, approximately 68% of all animals impounded are destroyed because they are not adopted.

Asking the citizens to pay as much as $150,000 for a grand jury study when the city has a revenue shortage of nearly $200 million is not good management.

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter also called for a November ballot measure to amend the City Charter to elevate the board of commissioners for the Department of Animal Regulation from an advisory board to a board with control and management authority. Attempting to manage the Department of Animal Regulation with a "committee" system will only seriously delay decisions; and without additional funding, will not reduce animal death rates. Nevertheless, the City Council supported Galanter's motion while admitting that the council itself, by not funding the department's spay and neuter programs, is responsible for part of the problem.

E.D. HUNTINGTON, President, Board of Animal Regulation Commissioners, Los Angeles, Department of Animal Regulation

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