Recently, the website NerdWallet ranked Long Beach as the 10th best city to be a dog guardian in. We respectfully disagree with this characterization. Why? Because the writer of the article, Sreekar Jasthi, did not take into account the kill rate of dogs at the Long Beach city animal shelter, which reached 29% last year for dogs generally, and according to ACS's own Facebook page, is a whopping and troubling 50% for pitbulls. He also didn't take into account the cost of getting one's dog back out of the shelter if he or she is unfortunate enough to be impounded there - that fee ranges $169 - $269 and up, and there is no reduced fee structure for people who have difficulty paying that fee, leaving them with the very real possibility that their canine companion will be killed.
We sent a letter to Mr. Jasthi at Nerd Wallet explaining that Long Beach is a great place for dog guardians -- unless they lose their dog. At that point, a 29-50% kill rate for dogs is a serious problem for the well-being of Long Beach's dog guardians and their animals. We would argue that it's a serious problem for all of Long Beach. You can read our letter to Nerd Wallet here and Mr. Jasthi's article here.
Once again, we are compelled to say: Please don't forget the shelter dogs, cats and other animals. Tell Long Beach City Council you want a comprehensive adoption program, foster program and the programs of the No Kill Equation in the Long Beach city shelter.
A Cat Owner's Plea for Help
Let's talk about cats for a moment. In 2013, 72% of the cats that entered Long Beach ACS lost their lives. Since Stayin' Alive Long Beach started advocating for a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program for community cats (some call them feral cats), ACS has started one. We're pleased to see that Stayin' Alive's drawing attention to their programs and policies is resulting in positive changes. We expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of cats saved this year as a result of ACS's taking this step.
However, not all cats that enter our shelter are feral. Cats like Chiyo, whose guardian dropped her off at a church in Long Beach to avoid what she knew would be a virtual death sentence at the Long Beach shelter, will not benefit from a TNR program. They are not equipped to live on the streets in the way that feral cats are. They need an adoption program -- a comprehensive adoption program -- to make sure that they are placed into homes and are not put to death or inappropriately returned to the street where they never lived.
Chiyo's guardian's note speaks for itself:
Unfortunately, Chiyo DID end up at the Long Beach shelter, and because rescue and advocacy groups mobilized and got her out, she was saved. Not all cats are so lucky. In fact, last year, more than 3200 cats and kittens were killed at the Long Beach shelter. An adoption program would dramatically decrease this number. We'll continue to advocate for an adoption program, foster program and the programs of the No Kill Equation at the Long Beach shelter. Things are changing as a result of our work - as a result of YOUR work. Please continue to support the No Kill Equation at the Long Beach animal shelter. The killing will only be replaced by positive programs when you, the public demand it. We can do better, Long Beach. But your voice is needed to make sure it happens.
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.