Two Los Angeles Animal Service Centers will close temporarily on Monday, April 13, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, said during a briefing on Thursday.
The West Valley and North Central Animal Service Centers will close and the animals in those centers will be moved to the other four Animal Service Centers in Los Angeles. The East Valley, Harbor, Chesterfield Square and West Los Angeles Animal Service Centers will remain open.
Garcetti said the decision to close the two L.A. Animal Service Centers was made “in order to continue providing excellent care for our city’s animals during the COVID-19 crisis and safety precautions for our employees.”
According to Brenda Barnette, general manager of L.A. Animal Services, 307 animals were placed in foster care, 919 animals found new homes, 254 animals were returned to their owners and 752 were place with L.A. Animal Services rescue partners in March.
L.A. Animal Services will continue to conduct adoptions and fostering by appointments, reunite lost pets with their families, partner with three cat rescue organizations to take the underage kittens who need bottle feeding and take in sick and injured animals that officers pick up, pets of owners who died and pets of owners who live alone and are too sick to care for them.
For those who want to adopt a pet, visit laanimalservices.com/adopt or call 888-452-7381 and have the animal ID number of the pet ready. L.A. Animal Services is accepting applications over the phone and scheduling appointments for pick-ups between 11 a.m. 4 p.m. at one of the open centers.
“This may seem alarming for some community members but know that much thought and consideration were made prior to this decision based on our strong commitment to saving animals’ lives and to keeping our staff as safe as possible,” Barnette said in a release.
Mayor Garcetti said during his briefing that in March, 2,232 animals were placed in foster homes, new homes or reunited with their pet owners.
L.A. Animal Services has participated in weekly online meetings with experts including those from the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program https://www.sheltermedicine.com/library/resources/?r=animal-services-role-in-covid-19-support, the National Animal Control Association https://www.nacanet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/NACA-Statement-on-Animal-Control-Functions-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic.pdf
and American Pet’s Alive https://sites.google.com/americanpetsalive.org/ampa-covid19/home?authuser=0
L.A. Animal Services has 348 employees. Of those, 80 are off because of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related reasons. The L.A. Animals Services administrative staff has 35 employees and 233 staff members are in the field working as officers, canvassers, veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, animal care technicians and supervisors.
The L.A. Animal Services staff members will be assigned to the remaining four open centers and work 12-hour shifts to provide 24-hour a day, seven-day per week coverage.
“This new schedule allows us to efficiently operate our centers and helps ensure the safety and well-being of both our staff and shelter guests,” Bernadette said in a release. “We did not have this flexibly operating all six Centers.”
She added, “This department knows how to stay strong during earthquakes, fires and floods. COVID-19 is our first pandemic. Just as each fire leaves us better prepared for the next incident, what we learn from COVID-19 will better prepare us for another similar crisis. These are unchartered times but we must remain focused and at the ready during COVID-19, just as we would be in any other emergency our city faces. We are all in this together, and together, with our animal companions, we will get through this.”