Refugio de la ciudad se niega a acoger a perro sin hogar, amenaza a un residente y aconseja el abandono ilegal; PETA pide investigación

Refugio de la ciudad se niega a acoger a perro sin hogar, amenaza a un residente y aconseja el abandono ilegal; PETA pide investigación

PETA envió una carta a la alcaldesa de Los Ángeles, Karen Bass, y a la fiscal municipal Hydee Feldstein Soto el viernes, pidiéndoles que investigaran las aparentes acciones ilegales del Servicio Animal de Los Ángeles (LAAS, por sus siglas en inglés) después de recibir un informe de que una residente que encontró un perro callejero sin esterilizar y lo llevó al Refugio del Servicio Animal de Los Ángeles del Norte Central, fue rechazada por el personal, le ordenaron que abandonara al perro donde lo había encontrado y la amenazaron con que la acusarían de abandono de animales si dejaba al perro en el refugio.

LAAS está obligado por ley a aceptar animales callejeros y abandonados cuando los llevan a sus refugios. Después de que la residente se resistiera, acordó hacer una “excepción” y acoger al perro al día siguiente, aunque varios empleados se quejaron de que se hacía la excepción.

Perro callejero rechazado por LAAS del Norte Central. Crédito: PETA

“LAAS está empeorando el problema de la crisis de los animales sin hogar al ordenar a los residentes que abandonen a los animales en las calles, donde seguirán reproduciéndose y además, amenazan a quienes recurran a él en busca de la ayuda que legalmente debe brindar”, dice la vicepresidenta sénior de PETA Lisa Lange. “PETA les está pidiendo a los líderes de la ciudad que investiguen y tomen medidas rápidas para garantizar que LAAS deje de darle la espalda a los animales que tiene el deber de proteger”.

PETA, cuyo lema dice, en parte, que “los animales no son nuestros para maltratarlos de ninguna forma”, señala que Cada animal es alguien y ofrece Kits de empatía gratuitos para las personas que necesitan una lección de compasión. Para obtener más información, por favor visite o siga a la agrupación en XFacebookInstagram

A continuación, se incluye la carta de PETA a Bass y Feldstein Soto.

January 26, 2024

Via Email

Karen Bass

Los Angeles Mayor

Hydee Feldstein Soto

Los Angeles City Attorney

Re: Request for Investigation into and Correction of Los Angeles Animal Services’ Unlawful Actions Turning Away Stray Animals

Dear Mayor Bass and Ms. Feldstein Soto,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to request that your office investigate and correct the apparently ongoing illegal actions of Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS), which has reportedly been turning away people bringing in abandoned and stray animals in need of care and directing them to put the animals back on the street. 

On January 22, 2024, PETA received a report from a concerned resident who found a stray dog and brought the dog to the LAAS North Central shelter. After first arriving at the shelter, LAAS staff informed her that the shelter was full and stated that her only options were to make an appointment to surrender the dog in March, or to release the unneutered dog back on the street where he was found. They further threatened that she would be charged with animal abandonment if she left the dog at the shelter. Eventually, after the woman pushed back, LAAS told her they would make an “exception” and agreed to take the dog in the next day, though when she returned several employees complained about the exception being made. While the dog at issue was lucky to have been found by a persistent resident who pushed LAAS to comply with its duty, the actions here demonstrate that countless animals and residents are turned away with no recourse.

This is not a new issue or a unique occurrence. In August 2022, a YouTube video showed what appeared to be the South LA shelter refusing to allow two people to drop off a mother cat and kitten found on the side of the road, instead directing them to “leave them where you found them,” and “leave them on the street.” PETA continues to receive reports of people bringing stray and abandoned animals to LAAS shelters and being turned away. Citizens have also made complaints at public meetings of the Board of Animal Service Commissioners about animals being turned away, asking “why cats are being turned away at the shelters,” stating they had attempted “to drop off dogs” at the South LA shelter “and w[ere] told to take the dogs elsewhere,” reporting that animals “are being dropped off at a residence near the South LA shelter because the shelter is refusing to accept them,” and recounting “an incident where someone was not allowed to drop off kittens at the South Los Angeles shelter.” 

State law makes clear that LAAS is required to accept stray and abandoned animals when they are brought into its shelters. California Civil Code section 1816(c) states, “A public agency or shelter with whom an abandoned animal is deposited in the manner described in Section 1815 is bound to take charge of it, as provided in Section 597.1 of the Penal Code.” In turn, section 1815 provides, “An involuntary deposit is made…[b]y the delivery to, or picking up by, and the holding of, a stray live animal by any person or public or private entity.” Penal Code section 597.1 provides, “Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal control officer shall take possession of [a] stray or abandoned animal and shall provide care and treatment for the animal until the animal is deemed to be in suitable condition to be returned to the owner.” Accordingly, LAAS instructing people to return stray and abandoned animals back to the street where they found them is a clear violation of this legal duty.      

LAAS’s actions are also inconsistent with the duties imposed on it by city ordinance. Los Angeles Municipal Code section 53.05 states, “It shall be the duty of the General Manager [of LAAS] or his authorized representatives to take up and impound in the City pound…those animals…which are found or kept contrary to the provisions of this article.” The animals at issue here are being found contrary to the city’s prohibition of stray animals—and in this particular instance, clearly were abandoned. Furthermore, LAAS and its employees have “the power and authority, and it is declared to be their duty, to go upon unenclosed lots or lands for the purpose of taking up and impounding any animal found running at large…contrary to the provisions of this article.” Clearly, LAAS is not intended to simply leave known stray animals on the street. 

Directing people who bring in stray animals to simply put them back on the street defies reason in light of the extensive regulatory system the city has established for handling stray animals. Any person who finds and “take[s] up” a stray animal is required to notify LAAS within four hours and, within twenty-four hours, take the animal to a city shelter for veterinary care or bring the animal to a veterinarian at the person’s own expense and provide the veterinary information to LAAS. If caring for the animal, the person must also complete a foster care agreement with LAAS and, “[a]fter 30 days, bring the dog or cat into the nearest City animal shelter and either surrender the animal to [LAAS] or complete the process to adopt the animal.” Turning people away who bring in stray and abandoned animals clearly contravenes these obligations.

Importantly, however, not only is LAAS continuing to turn animals away in violation of its state and municipal law duties, but the January 22 reported incident is increasingly alarming because it indicates, in likely more than this single instance, that residents have been or will be threatened with criminal animal abandonment charges for attempting to lawfully surrender stray animals. While it is egregious on its own to threaten such action against law-abiding citizens, it is particularly disconcerting that LAAS’ purported solution is to apparently direct people to actually commit the crime of animal abandonment, Cal. Penal Code § 597s—and possibly animal cruelty—by otherwise leaving the animal back on the street without “necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter,” Cal. Penal Code § 597. It is baffling that LAAS would direct residents to commit these crimes when they lawfully attempt to surrender stray animals to LAAS, which is legally obligated to take those animals into its custody and care. 

PETA respectfully requests that your office investigate this matter thoroughly and rectify the situation immediately. Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.

Very truly yours,

Mary Maerz

Counsel, PETA Foundation