From Brenda Barnette:
I’d like to try to alleviate some of the unnecessary concern that is being stirred up about the proposed increase in pet limits by offering you an explanation about the thoughtful process that will ensue regarding the motion that Councilmember Bill Rosendahl introduced that was seconded by Councilmember Paul Koretz to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to raise the number of dogs and cats that a City resident may own from three to five.
Council members kicked off the process by introducing this motion and there will be a thoughtful process before any final vote is taken. That’s why we are seeking public input on September 16 and September 22.
1. There are philosophical elements that some may want to consider such as how much control the government should have over citizens’ personal lives. For example, we do not mandate how many children a family can have even though they may not be able to afford to give their children what they need and deserve. Is it right for us to arbitrarily judge what pet guardians may or may not be able to afford in the way of veterinary and other care for animals? Is it our responsibility to assume that pet guardians are unable to make sound financial decisions about their own budgets and that they need City oversight?
2. Other communities that have higher or no pet limits at all have not reported increases in barking dogs, dog packs, dog bites or the reduction of property values nor do they report any plans to reduce the pet limits in their communities.
3. Currently only about 5% or 6000 of the licensed dogs in Los Angeles are from three dog families. Therefore it is unlikely that there would suddenly be an enormous number of 4 or 5 dog families.However, if 1/3 of the current families who license their dogs added one dog and one dog license, the annual revenue for the City at $20 per license would be $792,000 annually at a time when that additional revenues to the City are critical.
4. People who already break the law whether it is not observing the leash laws, not purchasing dog licenses, not getting their pets spayed or neutered or by becoming hoarders are not likely to change because of or in spite of this motion if passed. For those law breakers, we need to be able to increase our enforcement efforts during a time that LAAS has had significant furloughs and needs revenues to help rebuild the force we need to be able to provide the safety our community deserves. Selling additional dog licenses because of an increased pet limit could provide significant annual income for the Department.
The motion has been wrongly construed to mean five dogs and five cats per resident rather than five dogs and cats per residence. That is not the intent of the motion nor will it be the recommendation of the experts at LAAS. We have not completed our recommendations, but I believe that we will recommend that the cats be indoor cats. We are working on strengthening and clarifying the “terms and conditions” that our hearing officer can impose if there are problems with barking dogs such as reducing the number of dogs allowed in a home up to and including ruling that no dogs can be in the home. This work and these recommendations will be thoughtfully completed after we hear public comment and complete our research.
5. Last year 19,600 companion animals did not leave the Los Angeles Animal Shelters alive. Each year, 120,000 – 160,000 dog licenses are sold. If 16% of the law abiding community members, who currently have one or more licensed dogs, adopt one dog or one cat from one of the Los Angeles City Animal Care Centers, we could end the unnecessary euthanasia of companion animals in the City of Angels while substantially increasing much needed revenues annually for our City.
Please attend one of the Town Hall Meetings and share your thoughts, your hopes and your concerns. With your help we will be able to craft model legislation that will be good for the animals and good for the people. At the Los Angeles Animal Care Centers we take seriously our responsibility to create a safe community for our two and our four legged citizens. Our job is protecting life and providing love. Let’s work together.