The “Rats” at Los Angeles City Hall

Los Angeles City Hall is infested with rats. The four-legged furry ones to be clear.

Rats, opossums, and cats carry the fleas that spread typhus, which is a zoonotic illness. Typhus has manifested itself all over Los Angeles County and has been ignored for years. Pleas by vector control, health officials and even your spcaLA were ignored.

When a city attorney contracted typhus, City Hall officials began scurrying around to find blame in carpets, the homeless population, cats, opossums, and anything that could be blamed besides City Hall itself.

It is interesting that cats are often blamed for the spread of typhus. Because, we also have a homeless cat problem. . . exacerbated by City Hall.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, chair of the Personnel and Animal Welfare council committee, and some of his cronies, for years, have been systematically loosening restrictions that have contributed to the problem, including, increasing the number of cats permitted as pets, zoning restrictions where animals can be “stored” en masse, turning a blind eye on animal hoarders, and accepting the fairy tale that cats are better off on the street-all for the sake of pretending that the shelter population has decreased and L.A. is no-kill. These neglected cats, unsupervised colonies, and hoarding populations are often infested with fleas, rodents, and other predatory bugs and animal opportunists. Basic treatments for flea control, ear mites, skin conditions, and other diseases are lacking, and unavailable to such cats. Despite his rhetoric as an animal welfare champion, I have yet to see Koretz do something that was in the best interests of animals.

Now that the rats have found the big cheese, so to speak, let me say this:

I see a correlation between homeless cats and homeless people in Los Angeles, and it’s not typhus. Both groups are vulnerable, in need of real solutions, and, as yet, have been failed. Neither cats nor people can be cared for in convenient soundbites.

The problem of the Downtown Los Angeles Typhus outbreak must be dealt with at its roots. Specifically, by providing real aid to our homeless neighbors and not treating cats like wildlife.

What is the mayor doing to help the homeless population? They are susceptible to disease and are at risk because the rodent, feces, trash or flea problem on the streets has not been addressed. Where are the funds to help them and, if funds exists, why are they not being spent for their designated purpose? If trash is a problem, what can be done about that?

When our government not only condones but also contributes to companion animals and people living in the streets, something is wrong. People must fight to stay alive while enduring weather, disease, hunger, heartbreak and other indignities. Animals are suffering. Blaming them, does not address the original sin of this problem, which is – we are careless about caring for our vulnerable populations.

While they change their carpets at City Hall, they should take the opportunity to see what was swept under the rugs and fix it.

“If the solution to a problem creates another problem, then it is better to call it a ‘Circular Problem’! Say, the pied piper of Hamelin has freed the city from the rats, but he has caused serious water pollution by leaving the rats into the river where they have died, rotten and mixed up with the water! Apparently, the problem of the city is solved but water gets polluted and another problem arises. So, it is a ‘Circular Problem’!”
― Md. Ziaul Haque