spcaLA in the News
Signal Tribune Newspaper | Long Beach, CA | Friday, May 24th, 2013
Animal shelters in Long Beach continue to be inundated with pets that have been dropped off or abandoned by their owners because of economic hardships, such as the loss of a job, a foreclosure or simply not being able take care of an animal anymore.
The good news is, other pet owners have heeded the call and are more willing to open up their homes– and their hearts– to an extra dog, cat or rabbit in the last year, a trend that has occurred across the country.
“Although more animals are being turned in and abandoned, people are responding to this problem, and we are all seeing an increase in adoption rates,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (SPCALA). “It’s kind of an interesting trend. There’s more coming in but more going out. Overall, the percentage is probably equalized to some extent.”
SPCALA, a nonprofit organization that’s been in existence for 135 years, partners with the Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) Department and takes in the majority of animals that are brought into the pound, providing shelter and pet-adoption services, in addition to a multitude of other programs, through a public-private partnership.
Next door, ACS provides animal-control, field operations, investigation, kennel-care and various other services for Long Beach and four contract cities: Cerritos, Seal Beach, Signal Hill and Los Alamitos. The P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center located at 7700 E. Spring St. in El Dorado Park houses SPCALA’s adoption center in addition to ACS facilities.
Ted Stevens, ACS manager, said last year the city department took in a total of 11,653 live animals. More than 9,500 of those animals were dogs and cats, and about 2,000 were wild animals.
In the last four months, the number of pet adoptions from ACS alone, however, has increased, Stevens said. From January through April there were 152 rescues and adoptions of dogs, while last year during the same time period there were 122, he said. For cats, there were 58 rescues and adoptions during the last four months in 2013, while there were 29 during the same time in 2012, representing an almost 50-percent increase.
In addition, ACS saw a 9-percent increase in cat adoptions last year over 2011, accounting for the highest number of cat adoptions in 24 years, according to the department’s 2012 year-in-review.
A big push for adoptions is expected to be this year’s Pet Adoption Day, which will take place June 8 at the village campus and is being hosted by the Heidi & Frank Show on KLOS 95.5 FM radio. The daylong, annual event will include booths, venders, music and pet-food samples.
Ana Bustilloz, spokesperson for SPCALA, said the event is expected to draw about 200 pet adoptions, adding that it is “kitten season.” She added that SPCALA found homes for about 3,700 animals last year, which was an increase of a few hundred over the prior year.
With help from a pool of more than 500 volunteers and 70 employees, SPCALA provides programs for shelter, law-enforcement, domestic-violence, at-risk-youth, court-appointed juvenile sentencing, disaster response and animal assisted therapy. The primary goal of SPCALA, however, is to prevent cruelty to animals through intervention, enforcement, education and advocacy, Bernstein said. “Through all of the things that we do, in some way we hope we will prevent animal cruelty either by changing future behavior or by intervening when it’s happening,” she said.
Bernstein added that each city has specific requirements in regards to keeping animals as pets. In both Long Beach and Signal Hill, for instance, city code allows each household to have only four animals.
Deborah Turner, outreach coordinator for the Friends of Long Beach Animals, who provides education to schools in Signal Hill and Long Beach, said it’s important to educate people about neutering or spaying their pets, particularly to manage the influx of stray cats. Currently any cats that are adopted from SPCALA are required to be kept inside. She added that cats are often seen as wild animals instead of pets. “We have a lot of problems to solve,” Turner said. “Education is a very big part of it.”
By Sean Belk
Washington Post | Los Angeles | Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
LOS ANGELES — It’s a Super Bowl matchup for the ages: cats vs. dogs.
The Puppy Bowl, a fixture on Animal Planet during the Super Bowl for nearly a decade, will have new competition next year from the Kitten Bowl, the Hallmark Channel announced this month.
“We would like to own the day,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, which is home to the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.
“Copycats,” chided Animal Planet in a statement.
Win or lose in the ratings, all the animals stand to benefit. Hallmark will use between 50 and 100 kittens from animal shelters around the country, and Abbott vowed to place each one in a home.
Animal Planet placed every dog and cat on this year’s show — 63 puppies and 21 kittens. (Cats serve as halftime entertainment for the two-hour Puppy Bowl.)
The annual Puppy Bowl has a football theme, with the dogs scoring “touchdowns” if they cross a goal line with a chew toy.
Kittens in the Kitten Bowl will compete on an agility course set up with hurdles, scratchers, tunnels, hoops and weave poles. Laser pointers and toys on strings will be used to entice the kittens.
Judges will look at each kitten’s ability to cuddle and win the hearts of viewers.
“We had to develop some kind of framework to show what wonderful animals they are. They are their own little souls,” Abbott said. “Many people don’t realize how entertaining cats are and what great companions they are for people.”
Most of the competition will be unscripted. Kittens can’t be expected to figure out a timed course, so not doing it in the cutest way will determine the winner, Abbott said. The Most Valuable Kitten will be the cutest of them all.
The show is part of Hallmark’s Pet Project Initiative and will be done with a partner, the American Humane Association.
Is the showdown between puppies and kitties on different cable channels likely to answer the age-old question about which one is the most popular?
Well, there are cat people and there are dog people. And then there are people like Ana Bustilloz at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. “I love dogs and cats equally. I like to have everything. Puppies are a lot of fun, and kittens are wildly amusing,” she said.
“I will channel surf, for sure.”
For the past two years, the spcaLA has sponsored a dog in the Puppy Bowl. The first one, Fumble, was even named Most Valuable Puppy. Bustilloz said she hopes to get an animal from the shelter in each bowl this year.
Animal Planet and Hallmark have a good relationship.
“We’re just happy that pet adoption is being promoted and more animals are finding their fur-ever homes,” Animal Planet’s statement said.
Abbott said there will be little competition between the networks, and neither expects to overshadow Super Bowl XLVIII, which airs on Fox Sports. The three bowls will be televised around the same time on Feb. 2, 2014.
“There is no way anybody will beat the Super Bowl ratings,” Abbott said. “We are all playing for a little bit of a different share.”
This year, a record 12.4 million people watched during the 12-hour Puppy Bowl X broadcast. By comparison, the Super Bowl was watched by 108.4 million people to become the third most watched show in TV history.
The National Football League also supports the efforts to raise awareness about animals and shelters.
“The Super Bowl brings families together, and we love the idea that it includes the adoption of dogs and cats on Super Bowl Sunday,” spokesman Greg Aiello said.
“We love animals here at the NFL, including cats and dogs,” spokesman Brian McCarthy added. “We also love Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals, Colts, Jaguars, Broncos, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks.”
Hallmark Channel www.hallmarkchannel.com
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles www.spcala.com
Animal Planet www.animal.discovery.com
By Associated Press
Associated Press | Los Angeles | Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The daughter of former astronaut Mark Kelly was walking her dog Shiner on Goff Island Beach when the dog bolted, ripping the leash from her hand and fatally attacking a beached baby sea lion.
Video showed the owner and two other women struggling several minutes in vain to pull the dog off the sea lion. As his daughter screamed and cried, Kelly arrived and grabbed the collar. He shook the dog's head until it released the bloodied mammal, which later died.
Kelly is married to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011. His daughters, Claudia and Claire, are from a previous marriage.
Laguna Beach police said they did not plan to press charges because it did not appear the owner was at fault in the attack Saturday, Capt. Jason Kravetz said Tuesday. The bulldog mix was leashed and legally on the beach below the exclusive Montage Resort.
A necropsy was performed at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and results were turned over to the National Marine Fish Services, a spokeswoman for the marine mammal center said late Tuesday. Attempts to contact a spokeswoman at that agency did not succeed because her voicemail was full.
In addition, Laguna Beach police checked with Texas authorities, where the dog and his owner live, and found Shiner had a clean record. Kravetz said there were no prior attacks or even any nuisance calls.
If there had been a history of aggression, authorities could have taken action against the dog.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also does not expect to take legal action, spokesman Jim Milbury said.
"We will have to wait for all the facts to come in, but it appears to be an unfortunate accident," he said.
Federal law protects marine animals. The state has no jurisdiction, a spokeswoman said.
Earlier in the day Saturday, officers had removed the same sea lion from a storm drain, Kravetz said.
"This is a regrettable and traumatic incident for the animals and the people involved," said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. "Perhaps this will lead to more research and recommendations for peaceful coexistence between domestic animals and local wildlife."
Chasing, hunting or attacking animals like cats and squirrels comes naturally to some dogs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in a statement. In this case it was a vulnerable sea lion.
If the dog has not shown any other signs of aggression, the family should take new precautions and do all they can to make sure no future incidents occur. "But they should not punish the dog," the statement said.
Giffords was not present during the attack, according to a spokeswoman for the gun control advocacy group the couple recently started.
"Mark was alerted to the situation and came to the beach himself," said Jen Bluestein of Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Gun advocates seized on the incident to criticize Kelly, who has called for background checks for gun buyers.
Several people suggested on his Facebook page Tuesday that background checks might also be considered for dogs whose owners can't control them or those that are a threat to the public. Kravetz said he had gotten several similar calls throughout the day.
By Sue Manning
SFGate | Los Angeles | Thursday, March 14th, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 5-foot-long shark died after being put in an above-ground pool at a Los Angeles home where a Kmart commercial was being filmed, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The white-tipped shark died March 6 after being shipped from New York to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times said.
The shark was injected with adrenaline and received oxygen after it showed signs of stress. It was later removed from the pool and died that afternoon.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had sent a letter to Kmart asking it to stop using wild animals in ads, and a letter to the American Humane Association detailing an unnamed whistleblower's account of the death.
The whistleblower worked on the commercial, PETA said.
The signs of stress were observed when actors jumped in and out of the pool with the shark, said Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president.
The humane association, which is in charge of protecting animals during filming, shut down production an hour after the distress signs were seen.
Messages left by The Associated Press for the association and Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings Corp., were not immediately returned. A Kmart spokesman told the Times the incident was being investigated.
"Again, it appears that no one on set is protecting animals from exploitation, suffering, and death," Lange said.
Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, said the system needs to be changed.
"Instead of entrusting the safety of animal actors to a private agency whose services are paid for by the very industry that would exploit them, let us simply call for an end of using animals as living, breathing props for our entertainment," she said.
By Associated Press