San Diego County Animal Service Officer Says Not Having Cat Limit Law Is a Blessing

I talked to Lt. Kalanai Hudson this morning of San Diego County Animal Services.

In her opinion, it was a blessing not to have to enforce a cat limit law. She said she has been to houses where there were 65 indoor cats and you could see no dirt and smell no smell. She said with no limit, the County is not in a position of being forced to settle neighbor disputes where fighting neighbors use animal services as a club.

She stated when there are complaints of an animal nuisance, like too many cats, they inspect, and if necessary intervene based on their animal sanitation codes ( In matters of very poor maintenance, they will impound and treat. She said they also will involve volunteer and non-profits who will come out and help clean or supply food. She said they handle each case on an individual basis, and the term "hoarder" is never used, because its conditions, not the number of animals that is important. She said raids with mass impounds are almost unheard of as they work with people to abate problems.

She points out they have not had a substantial increase in impounds on a year to date basis as has Los Angeles. This points that Wingrad may be right and that the Manditory Spay/Neuter law may be the direct cause of the massive increase in pet turn-ins, from 46,000 to 56,000.


Anonymous said...

I work at a private shelter that takes owner surrenders and we haven't had one person turn in a dog or cat because of mandatory spay/neuter. The increased turn-ins we get are largely due to the economy, people losing their houses, etc., in addition to the same old excuses that boil down to: I don't want the dog or cat anymore.

Frankly, blaming mandatory s/n makes no sense, as everybody knows LAAS is never going to enforce it, except on a complaint-driven basis, which is MAYBE a couple a month, though I doubt it. (How could they spare the manpower from all those four-and-over kitty busts?)

I read Winograd's book and I think he has some points, and I am an advocate of the no-kill philosophy, but his opposition to mandatory s/n is nonsensical. Yes, it needs to be paired with free or low-cost s/n services, but opposing mandatory spay/neuter makes no sense. His numbers simply don't add up -there just AREN'T enough decent homes, probably even with mandatory s/n, but without it the killing is never going to end.

Also, it's absolutely bizarro that he opposes leash laws. I literally could not believe my eyes when I read that in his "Declaration of the No Kill Movement" which, to be honest, is pretty overblown. Winograd didn't invent no-kill and he has no right to declare a manifesto for everyone who believes in the concept.

Ed Muzika said...

Well, Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto in the 1840s, but the concept had been around for a while. Someone has to take the responsibility of ownership.

All the possible leaders have gone the other way, ASPCA, HSUS, PETA.

One real point is no one really knows the extent of the problem.

I read one set of stats that 18% of people got their animals from shelters, maybe 10% from rescues, and 8% from breeders. All the rest were from family, friends and neighbors. I got most of mine off the street from feral colonies over the years.

Mandatory S/N does make sense then as there are fewer animals transferred within the community.

I think it is absolutely wrong to think that the 22,000 adopted out by County and 24,000 by the City is the complete demand. Demand depends on marketing.

If there are an estimated 1,000,000 owned cats in LA, and 800,00 dogs, just the death rate and lost rate for cats opens up room for 100,000 new cats a year.

This has no hard data. Everyone speculates on very limited experience. Resources are not shared, and the ACTF goes after people with four cats or more. Resources are wasted.

Anonymous said...

Demand also doesn't equal a good home. How do we say we're helping animals if we let just anybody take them, for any reason, with zero standards for their care?

Anonymous said...

Could you be so kind as to post an address where we could send a donation to the SD Animal Control? This is what Animal Control is SUPPOSED to be about; not Nazi control of the citizens under their jurisdiction. Thanks for writing this blog

Ed Muzika said...

Their website:

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

Demand depends on marketing only to a certain extent.

I agree with the first poster. There are not enough good homes. Marketing cannot change human selfishness and irresponsibility.
Most people adopt/buy animals to fulfill a need they have, not because the animals need to be saved. Once an animal no longer satifies that need or interferes with other needs, the animal is out the door.

Until this changes, and people no longer consider animals disposable commodities, the killing will not stop.

Ed Muzika said...

Wow, what an attitude to have. You assume defeat and the worst in people.

You are pulling this out of your bum. You have no idea what the demand really is, because we don't know how many new animals are brought into houses each year. We know how many come from shelters and rescues, but that is it.

Just because the shelters and rescues are not adopting all animals out now does not mean they can't if they knew how better to distribute and market. You are assuming there is no market for the 23,000 animals they killed in 2008 and you just can't make that assumption without evidence. This is just your opinion, and an opinion that absolutely stops research or new marketing techniques.

If your opinion were true, then Reno would not be almost at no kill for cats and at no kill for dogs.

I know, I know, you are one of those who doubts anyones' figures of success.

Yes people bring animals in because of need, but they also bond. Some people would die first to protect one of their own animals from death. Some not to much. But jeez....

thatswhenireachformyrevolver said...

"I know, I know, you are one of those who doubts anyones' figures of success."

You don't know anything about me.

My feeling is that you and Nathan are pulling the "there is no overpopulation crisis; shelters are just doing a bad job of marketing" argument out of YOUR bums.

You can get a pretty good sense of the LACK of demand and "the extent of the problem" by looking at relinquishment and intake rates at shelters around the country, the endless ads on craig's list and similar forums posted by people who don't want their animals anymore, and by the number of free-roaming cats living in our communities. People do not take commitments to animals seriously. "No kill" won't work unless we can change the way people think about animals. This must be part of the "no kill mandate."

It is very naive to argue that "better marketing" is the solution. It must be coupled with aggressive s/n efforts and education: encouraging a paradigm shift in the way people relate to and view companion animals.

New York City Animal Control killed approx. 1,400 kittens and cats in July alone. The rescue groups that pull animals from the city shelters advertise consistently and hold adoption fairs non-stop. They can't get cats adopted: this is not a marketing failure. If the NY shelter workers stood on the street corner handing out kittens and cats like cookies, I doubt they would be able to "get rid" of 1,400 of them. If they were actually able to, would you consider this good marketing and a successful "no kill" project, even if there was no way of knowing how many of those animals were cared for properly by the people who grabbed them or how long they survived?

Ed Muzika said...

I repeat, no one knows even the most basic figures around which to even speculate.

To begin to get a grasp, we'd need to know for 3 or 4 big cities: number of households with cats, cats and dogs per household, calculate just the replacement rates for animals that died, approximate number of cats/dogs that are abandoned into the streets each year, how many are lost, where a household got their animals from (store/relatives/neighbors/pound/rescue group) in the past, only then would we have a clue.

Nobody collects that info from rescue groups, and LAAS, County, etc. do not publish their own info.

You might "get a pretty goo sense" from taking the "intake" and "relinquishment rates" around the country, but I cannot.

Would cannot know the relinquishment "rate" without knowing the total number of animals in the community. Rate is a percentage. If 34% of the total animals impounded (46,000 in 2008) are owner turn-ins (15,640), that means the "rate" of relinquishments is about 15,000 out of 1,800,000 housed animals, not even 1%. The other 30,000 are "strays." Even if all 46,000 animals impounded were turn ins, that is still only 2.5% of the total number of owned animals.

If 10% of the owned animals die or are lost each year, that is 180,000 "openings" for new animals. 46,000 were impounded in 2008. The pounds could impound 180,000 and hypothetically find homes for all of them just on the basis of openings.

You see. We don't know and no one seems to think knowing is important. Everyone would rather speculate, pontificate.

It just astounds me no one is doing this research or sees how important it is in order to develop strategies and solutions.

But to say things would improve until mankind changes really is defeatist and presumes this basic research is not only unnecessary, but useless.

Anonymous said...


Can you give me a way to get in touch with this officer?

Some people in my area need to be schooled.

Nathan is always right:)

Ed Muzika said...

Try tis number: 619.243.3466.

It has been a long time since I called so I don't have their contatc numbers.

Also, go to their website for more contact numbers and info.

Anonymous said...


Have you read anything about no-kill? It DOES include a focus on spay/neuter, including paying people to spay/neuter their animals, as well, of course, as TNR of feral cats.

The thing that people don't understand about "demand" is that if someone wants an animal, they are GOING TO GET an animal from somewhere, whether that be free on CL, from a breeder, from their neighbor's "oops" litter, probably other sources I can't think of at the moment, or from a rescue group or shelter. A rescue group or shelter can provide follow up that the other options I mentioned probably will not. Just because a person is only able to jump through 9,999 of the 10,000 flaming hoops High Horse Rescue wants a person to jump through in order to adopt an animal, does NOT mean they aren't going to get an animal. If they get one from my group, that animal is altered and vaccinated (unlike, most likely, one from craigslist) and then we can save another one.