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L.A. moratorium on pet euthanasia is still in effect

February 15, 2007|Carla Hall | Times Staff Writer

The city shelters didn't empty out all of their 1,000 or so animals during last weekend's big adoption promotion, but business was brisk enough to extend a moratorium on the euthanasia of healthy animals through today.

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services said that from Friday through Sunday, the city adopted out 323 animals -- cats, dogs, rabbits and a few other creatures, including a snake. That's dramatically better than the total of 184 animals adopted during the comparable three-day weekend last year (Feb. 10-12, 2006), said Deborah Knaan, assistant general manager of operations for Animal Services.

Knaan added that the average weekend adoption rate over the last year was 183 animals.

The promotion at the six city shelters, timed to coincide with Valentine's Day, featured volunteer pet counselors sporting holiday red and a profusion of hearts and balloons.

Cesar Millan, the famed "Dog Whisperer," set up a booth in front of the South L.A. shelter Saturday and offered autographs and advice on dog behavior.

Officials also publicized the weekend as a guaranteed hiatus from the euthanasia of otherwise healthy and adoptable pets simply for lack of space -- the most gruesome and controversial task of the city shelters.

Ed Boks, general manager of Animal Services, promised that if the adoptions were successful, the moratorium would be extended beyond Monday. At the beginning of this week, that extension was granted through today.

Scott Sorrentino, president of the Rescue & Humane Alliance-Los Angeles, a private group that helped the city produce the event, said the real success went beyond adoptions.

"Thousands of people came through the shelters, many of them for the first time," Sorrentino said.

"Our goal wasn't a one-time surge in adoptions. If the event proves to be the beginning of an increase in daily visitors to the shelters, we will have succeeded in a much more significant way than just how many animals were adopted during a single weekend event."

It's unclear if the moratorium will continue past today.

"We have to see what our situation is regarding space," Knaan said Wednesday. "The Department of Animal Services is obviously going to extend it for as long as we possibly can."

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carla.hall@latimes.com

Times staff writer Tony Barboza contributed to this report.

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