spcaLA in the News
An East Hollywood resident says a local shelter denied her plans to give a pup a forever home because its founder didn't like her neighborhood.
An East Hollywood woman said she is devastated after a rescue organization declined her application to adopt a dog because its founder didn't like where she lives.
An East Hollywood woman says she’s heartbroken after her application to adopt a dog she’d fallen in love with was denied because rescue organization deemed her neighborhood unsuitable, a practice the group’s founder says is completely within its rights.
Criss Keeler was searching for a companion for her 10 year old dog, Finnegan, when she came across the website for Saving K9 Lives Plus, a rescue organization based in the San Fernando Valley. She arranged to meet the Yorkshire terrier, Eloise, at the home of her foster mom.
"As soon as we met Eloise … we just absolutely fell in love, she is a total sweetheart," Keeler said.
She filled out the adoption papers online, sent photos of her home and of Finnegan, and was initially approved to adopt. The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her "forever home."
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
"She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything," Keeler recalled. "She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process."
Gabay left, taking the terrier with her. An hour or so later, Keeler says a new post about Eloise appeared on Saving K9 Lives Plus website, saying the dog was still in need of a home. Keeler emailed Gabay immediately.
"[She wrote back, saying] ‘I think you’d be good adopters, but I won’t adopt to the neighborhood.’"
"It was literally just that the area that we live in is not good enough for her," Keeler continued. She said she absolutely feels discriminated against.
Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group's adoption standards.
"Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process," the statement said.
"If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won't know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It's our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter's work schedule."
Unlike city-run shelters, privately funded rescue groups like Saving K9 Lives Plus are free to set their own standards for pet adoptions. The president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) says the income level of a neighborhood shouldn’t be a factor in choosing where a dog should be placed.
"We try to focus on whether the person is going to be a good parent companion for the pet," said spca-LA President Madeline Bernstein. "If the adopter is willing to provide a loving home and care for a pet, it doesn’t really matter if they live in East Hollywood or East Beverly Hills."
Bernstein also said her office has investigated animal abuse cases in some of the poorest, and some of the most affluent, neighborhoods in greater Los Angeles.
Keeler said it’s the first time she’s ever felt she was being treated differently, not because of who she is, or what she’s done, but because of where she’s chosen to live.
"It’s not a mansion up in the hills, and we don’t have an enormous fenced yard, but I know that we could take good care of a small, apartment-dwelling dog."
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By Randy Mac and Amy Corral
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIF. — Two peafowl have been found dead in a Southern California coastal community where dozens of the birds have been killed or injured.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles asked the public's help Wednesday in finding the killer, who could face animal cruelty charges.
The organization says the birds were shot with pellets. They were found recently near the area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula where a man in a Mercedes Benz was seen shooting a peacock last year.
He remains at large.
Peacocks roam the area of luxury homes south of Los Angeles. Some residents love their beauty but others hate their noise and mess.
More than 50 birds have been shot by guns or bows, poisoned or hit by car.
By The Associated Press
Police released this sketch of the suspect in the peafowl killings.
By Donna Littlejohn, The Daily Breeze
POSTED: 02/04/15, 7:27 PM PST |
After a spate of peafowl killings abruptly ended when a suspect’s sketch was released last summer, two more birds were found shot dead recently, the spcaLA announced Wednesday.
Since the killings began in June 2012, 53 peafowl have been found dead or injured in Rolling Hills Estates, which prompted an ongoing investigation by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.
The latest birds were the first reported killings in several months. They were found dead near Eastvale Road and Bolan Lane on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The killings and maimings alarmed residents and animal activists when they began occurring with regularity. One witness told investigators that a silver, four-door Mercedes-Benz was in the vicinity of one of the killings last year. The motorist was described as white, 50 to 60 years old and wearing aviator-style sunglasses.
The most recently killed birds were found in roughly the same area where the suspect fired an unknown type pellet gun, killing a peacock in July 2014.
If convicted, the perpetrator faces possible felony animal cruelty charges and up to three years in prison, along with up to $20,000 in fines.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the director of spcaLA Animal Protection Services, Lt. Cesar Perea, at 323-730-5300, Ext. 272.
Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call the spcaLA Animal Cruelty Tipline at 1-800-540-7722 or report online at www.spcaLA.com.
Peafowl have long been an attractive nuisance on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, with recent census results indicating that the peafowl in four Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhoods more than doubled from June to October 2014.
Trapping in that city is set to begin later this month.
While the birds are beautiful and have legions of fans, they also can become an annoyance to homeowners with their loud cries and damage they cause to roofs.
By Donna Littlejohn
Hawthorne police officers are receiving specialized training on dealing with dogs after an officer fatally shoots a dog during the owner's arrest.
HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KABC) --
The video of Hawthorne police officer shooting and killing Max the Rottweiler during his owner's arrest in 2013 sparked outrage and mistrust of the department. As a result of that incident, Hawthorne police officers are now receiving specialized training on dealing with dogs.
The course, developed by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, teaches officers how to read dog behavior.
For example, yawning is actually a signal of stress. The best way to handle that situation is to give the animal space.
Kissing sounds also let the dog know you're in his territory.
"We have to balance what we have learned about dealing with potentially vicious animals so we don't escalate to a point where we actually end up harming an animal," Hawthorne Police Lt. Gary Tomatani said.
The spcaLA says it's received calls from other law enforcement departments statewide interested in the class.
By Sid Garcia