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Howling in the Streets: Who Needs Libraries When We’ve Got Millions of Dogs and Cats

Isn’t it about time we paid a little attention to what’s going on in our city with a leadership that increasingly looks like it is drawn from the homeless mentally denizens of Skid Row?

For a measly $10 million out of a city budget of nearly $7 billion not counting the billions taken in by the Harbor, Airport and DWP, we became the only big city in America to close our libraries two days a week and virtually stopped by new books — a crime against the people that is brilliantly documented in a devastating article in today’s LA Weekly by writer Patrick Range MacDonald..

I suppose there’s no point in having books and libraries when the schools are a miserable failure, half the kids drop out without a diploma and so many people are semi-literate.

Some believe the mayor made libraries the target of budget-cutting because he never a book and it didn’t stand in the way of his success in politics.library1.jpg

Maybe we should just burn the books that are left at LA Live in a giant bonfire celebrating our status as a competitor with Detroit for having the highest ranking for poverty and unemployment in the nation.

“We’re No.1. We’re No.1.” You can almost hear the chants of the riotous throng aroused to a frenzy by the glittering sex-crazed commercial messages flashing ceaselessly on the two dozen giant digital billboards surrounding them.

Let’s just empty all those beautiful new libraries we will be paying so dearly for over the next 20 years and convert them into more retraining centers for violent gang members — something we are spending tens of millions of dollars on without any proof that they actually achieve anything positive.

We can always take solace with the five dogs and five cats that the Lords of the Westside, Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl, want us to have in every home — men who look favorably on Kevorkianizing human beings but oppose euthanasia for vicious unwanted pit bulls.

It was just 360 days ago that we banned under threat of fines and prosecution anyone from owning more than one rooster in their yard because they make so much noise and so often are used for the blood sport of cockfighting.roosters.jpg

“We think this will make for a safer, more livable city for all of us,
and hopefully will prevent some of these roosters from being involved in
some very, very cruel, ugly, criminal activity,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the anti-crowing activist.H

Her desire to require cocks to be licensed like dogs ran afoul of the Animal Services Department experts who pointed out that half the city’s canines aren’t registered now and control officers spend 75 percent of their time on “leash-law
violations, stray animals, animal cruelty and animals that are hurt.”

“We are already in a
significant uphill battle with diminishing resources to improve our dog
licensing program, which is crucial because of the tie with rabies,” said.Linda Barth, assistant General Manager, who warned that the biggest problems were “animal cruelty … (and) huge stray animals running about endangering
people and hurt(ing) animals.”

So why not allow people to have five dogs and five cats in their home, more dogfighting, more feral felines, more strays?

Not at all, says Brenda Barnette, the dog-breeding new head of Animal Services.dogpack.jpg

Despite what the troublemakers claim, Barnette says the goal is to make more money from licensing to fill the empty city treasury and empty the animal shelters, which presumes everybody who expands the pet population in their homes will adopt an unwanted pet and license it.

She sent out an email blast on Wednesday to “alleviate
some of the unnecessary concern that is being stirred up about the proposed
increase in pet limits by offering you an explanation about the thoughtful
process that will ensue.”

Her “thoughtful process” allows for public input at town hall meetings tonight (Van Nuys Animal Shelter, 14409 Vanowen St., 6:30 p.m.) and next Wednesday before the experts like her and the politicians she serves decide what’s best for all of us — yet another example of City Hall’s mad rush to destruction like short-circuiting the entire planning process with rules that allow developers to do whatever they wherever they want.

“There are philosophical
elements that some may want to consider such as how much control the government
should have over citizens’ personal lives,,” Barnette says.

“For example, we do not mandate
how many children a family can have even though they may not be able to afford
to give their children what they need and deserve.  Is it right for us to
arbitrarily judge what pet guardians may or may not be able to afford in
the way of veterinary and other care for animals? Is it our responsibility to
assume that pet guardians are unable to make sound financial decisions about
their own budgets and that they need City oversight?”

No, LA may be Chinatown but it isn’t China.

People got rights to have as many pets as they want no matter whether they can afford them or not, no matter how trouble they make for others. After all, people have kids when the can’t afford to care for them, kids who all too often wind up gangs like packs for roaming dogs and make a lot of trouble.

Relying on wild assumptions and flawed logic, Barnette argues law-abiding citizens will increase the number of pets in their household by saving unwanted animals at the shelters, raising $792,000 for her department that can be used to crack down on the tens of thousands of scofflaws. 

“People who already break the
law whether it is not observing the leash laws, not purchasing dog licenses,
not getting their pets spayed or neutered or by becoming hoarders are
not likely to change because of or in spite of this motion if passed.”

You can only wonder what’s the point of any law if they have no effect on behavior. What we need is more cops, more jails to suppress the lawbreakers while the law-abiding save two million cats from the animal shelters and every man, woman and child in town has their own cuddly feline.

It only makes so much sense it’s hard to understand how the Daily News found critics of what is proposed.

The Apartment Association warned there are “serious issues of increased dog barking and other
animal noises, fleas, parasites and rodents, sanitation, odor and
animals escaping yards and causing dangers/nuisance to tenants.”

Added Phyllis Daughherty,
director of the Animal Issues Movement:

“This will set us back 20 years.It’s cruel to the animals. It’s cruel to
people who will have dog packs in the streets. L.A. will be known as the Barking City. There will be howling
in the streets – by dogs. (And) everyone will be howling at this to
City Hall.”

Nothing hasty or even absurd about any of this thoughtless process except the Koretz-Rosendahl motion would allow up to 10
dogs and cats per “resident” — something Barnette who already has made up her mind will be changed to “residence.”

Clearly, the inmates really are running this CIty Hall asylum.

Here’s Barnett’e entire email:



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From: Brenda Barnette
[mailto:brenda.barnette@lacity.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:05 PM
To: Brenda Barnette
Subject: Pet Limits

Hello,

I’d like to try to alleviate
some of the unnecessary concern that is being stirred up about the proposed
increase in pet limits by offering you an explanation about the thoughtful
process that will ensue regarding the motion that Councilmember Bill Rosendahl
introduced that was seconded by Councilmember Paul Koretz to amend the Los
Angeles Municipal Code to raise the number of dogs and cats that a City
resident may own from three to five. 

Council members kicked off the
process by introducing this motion and there will be a thoughtful process
before any final vote is taken.  That’s why we are seeking public input on
September 16 and September 22.  The Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS or
Department) is comprised of animal experts. It is our job to research what has
worked and what has not worked in other communities, to hear from our own
community and then to present our findings and recommendations to our Board of
Animal Services Commissioners (The Board).

After hearing additional public
comment, The Board will discuss the Department’s recommendations.  Then The
Board will send their recommendation to the Safely Committee of the City
Council where there will be additional public comment and consideration. If the
motion passes through the Safety Committee, it will then go to the full City
Council where there will be additional public comment and consideration.

There is plenty of time for
everyone to be heard. Nothing is being rushed through.

There are philosophical
elements that some may want to consider such as how much control the government
should have over citizens’ personal lives.  For example, we do not mandate
how many children a family can have even though they may not be able to afford
to give their children what they need and deserve.  Is it right for us to
arbitrarily judge what pet guardians may or may not be able to afford in
the way of veterinary and other care for animals? Is it our responsibility to
assume that pet guardians are unable to make sound financial decisions about
their own budgets and that they need City oversight?

Other communities that have
higher or no pet limits at all have not reported increases in barking dogs, dog
packs, dog bites or the reduction of property values nor do they report any
plans to reduce the pet limits in their communities.

Currently
only about 5% or 6000 of the licensed dogs in Los Angeles are from three dog
families. Therefore it is unlikely that there would suddenly be an enormous
number of 4 or 5 dog families.
However, if 1/3 of the current families who
license their dogs added one dog and one dog license, the annual revenue for
the City at $20 per license would be $792,000 annually at a time when that
additional revenues to the City are critical.

People who already break the
law whether it is not observing the leash laws, not purchasing dog licenses,
not getting their pets spayed or neutered or by becoming hoarders are
not likely to change because of or in spite of this motion if passed.
For those law breakers, we need to be able to increase our enforcement efforts
during a time that LAAS has had significant furloughs and needs revenues to
help rebuild the force we need to be able to provide the safety our community
deserves. Selling additional dog licenses because of an increased pet limit
could provide significant annual income for the Department.

The motion has been wrongly
construed to mean five dogs and five cats per resident rather than five dogs
and cats per residence.  That is not the intent of the motion nor will it
be the recommendation of the experts at LAAS.  We have not completed our
recommendations, but I believe that we will recommend that the cats be indoor
cats. We are working on strengthening and clarifying the “terms and conditions”
that our hearing officer can impose if there are problems with barking dogs
such as reducing the number of dogs allowed in a home up to and including
ruling that no dogs can be in the home. This work and these recommendations
will be thoughtfully completed after we hear public comment and complete our
research.

Last year 19,600 companion
animals
did not leave the Los Angeles Animal Shelters alive. Each year,
120,000 – 160,000 dog licenses are sold. If 16% of the law abiding community
members, who currently have one or more licensed dogs, adopt one dog or one cat
from one of the Los Angeles City Animal Care Centers, we could end the
unnecessary euthanasia of companion animals in the City of Angels while
substantially increasing much needed revenues annually for our City.

Please attend one of the Town
Hall Meetings and share your thoughts, your hopes and your concerns.  With
your help we will be able to craft model legislation that will be good for the
animals and good for the people.  At the Los Angeles Animal Care Centers
we take seriously our responsibility to create a safe community for our two and
our four legged citizens. Our job is protecting life and providing love
Let’s work together.

Sincerely,

Brenda

Brenda
F. Barnette

General
Manager

LA
Animal Services

Administrative
Office

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15 Responses to Howling in the Streets: Who Needs Libraries When We’ve Got Millions of Dogs and Cats

  1. Say No To Barnette says:

    Animal control can’t even keep up with licensing now, and Barnette wants to put more out there? Doesn’t make sense. Her figures are there only if people adopt from shelters and not buying more from breeders and rescues. If you think rescues are taking animals from the shelters think again. They get plenty of calls from owners wanting to surrender their pets, and usually with a donation. They don’t get a donation when they take a shelter animal so which ones do you think they want? Plus rescues complain all the time that shelter animals are sick which would cost them money. And note that Rosendahl has stated he wants to add more cats to his household. Could this be nothing more than a way for him to become a cat hoarder. This ordinance is nothing more than a personal one to satisfy his desires. Barnette states she has more than allowable limits too. Why make the rest of us suffer so they can stink up their households?

  2. Walter Moore says:

    I support letting people have the freedom and responsibility to save five cats and/or dogs, rather than just three, from being killed in our animal “shelters.”
    Numbers and noise are two different animals, so to speak. One dog might bark all day. Five might bark only at intruders.
    Ditto with liter boxes. If you don’t change it frequently enough, one cat can create a massive stink. If you change it early and often, you’ll never know there are five cats in a big house.
    Saving innocent animals is always a good thing.

  3. In Eagle Rock says:

    I think your view is somewhat on the harsh side, approaching the worst case scenario here. As for a city, I think we might already have a worst case scenario, but that’s a separate matter.
    The thing that is most wrong here, like what you find more and more with enactments, is that the goal revolves around getting more “REVENUES” into the city coffers.
    All the rest of the prognostications with the doom and gloom that will happen when houses are stacked with pets (dogs and cats) seem unlikely. I don’t think you can make people wnat to have more dogs, for example, when they don’t want to have any at all.
    The negative side here focuses on a view that people, many or all, will go out and get animals up to the limit, knowing little or nothing of the responsibilities involved. Not every home has dogs or cats and not all have the 3 dog limit when they legally have the right.
    Also, apartment owners or any landlord can restrict pets other than service animals on their property by the pet restrictions or conditions in their rental agreements, so I don’t think that is a major reason for opposition.
    The real distasteful part of all this is that it’s put forth with the idea of some benevolent motive directed to the pets when it’s the same money grubbing motive that’s kicked up parking meter rates threefold, increases in any tickets, shifting sidewalk repair responsibility to property owners, another $5 added to tickets, and of course, the already raised dog license fee from $10 to $15 a few years back.
    Raising the fees made the voluntary compliance done less willingly. Collecting fees might be a useful task to put city workers onto. But the idea still seems to be that the City is gouging us all.
    The claim that they have deficits not met is correct. The idea that much of the reason for the deficit- over spending, uneconomical choices and and poor or no accountability for the uses of funds spent is a factor.
    Other reasons for coming up short on money: Poor level of negotiating contracts and allowing favored groups widely disproportionate and illogical contract terms, i.e., DWP’s IBEW union obtaining on-premises lactation classes when it would be covered under their already-existing health plans.
    The need for money is very much what’s been created by choices made at city management level. They don’t admit that, Garcetti’s infamous statement that L.A. was tax-starved demonstrative of the attitudes of the spenders.
    No, this set up is objectionble not because it’s bad by it’s terms, but that it’s only a pretext to enable the city to squeeze more money from people and using false or unsupportable projections at that.
    Trying to create a future of some kind of runaway animal world in L.A. is just as deceitful as the reasons that the proposal came to be made.
    There’s a lot here that’s put dollar signs in the eyes of council members, I’m afraid. Like the comment that’s been attributed to CM Rosendahl about parking meters, “There’s gold in the gutters.” The big mess with the hazardous waste cleanup in Venice showed there other things there, too, and that might be what we need to think about before jumping into a new set of rules.
    Remember that all this comes from poor management and the conseqeunt CYA attitude, with the ever-present attitude of their entitlement to your money to pay for whatever ails the city. After all, they do it for you, don’t they? I don’t think so.

  4. Anonymous says:

    While the new head might be a dog breeder, she surely doesn’t know dogs. Put more than two together and you have a pack. The dynamics change considerably when alpha dogs take the lead. And, I don’t mean with a collar and license either.
    Most people aren’t equipped mentally, physically and financially to take on the cost of more pets just to try and help lessen the burden on the city. This is not the solution. I hate to see any animal destroyed, but encouraging more pets in this economy is going to have some consequence to society at large. After all, part of the reason why there are so many animals in the shelters is because people are losing their homes at record numbers. Which often means Fluffy and Fido are left behind.
    Why not start licensing cats as an alternative? As a dog owner, I don’t get it. Cats run free. They poop and pee where ever they want. They run in front of cars. They get eaten by coyotes. They make noise – true they don’t bark, but they do fight! True, they don’t attack people, have rabies, but they do bite and carry pathogens in their salvia too. (By the way, when did you last hear about a dog having rabies?).

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a dog lover, I’ve always adopted dogs from LA shelters. My latest dog was from the NE LA Shelter, where I made several donations in kind. Last winter, as based on their wish list, I bought several new dog beds and 25 blankets for those poor shivering animals. Don’t know where they went. I found the staff quite uncaring about the animals’ welfare.

  6. The Pasadena Pound on Raymond Street, just off Arroyo, is a great example of how to run an animal shelter. We adopted two dogs, but only after we passed the interview. Pasadena and its dedicated volunteers could teach LA a thing or two or three. http://www.pasadenahumane.org

  7. Say No To Barnette says:

    Look at who would benefit the most from higher pet limits, BREEDERS. They come out in droves to support higher pet limits. Also the myth of no kill in LA gives them credibility as far as creating more animals. No kill says there is no pet overpopulation, all the shelters have to do is adopt, adopt, adopt. Well, Animal People News reported last year that a decade of focusing on adoptions has resulted in high impound numbers and more euthanization. Keep in mind that higher pet limits will result also in more possibilities of bites, strays as well as breeders creating more with their increased ability to have more breeding stock. It’s a mistake, LA, a big one that will cost you a lot of money.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ban pit bulls.

  9. Scratch says:

    This is the ONE campaign promise Mayor Villaraigosa KEPT. I remembered and took note during his initial run for mayor, he promised to make Los Angeles “The most dog-friendly” city in the country. That’s when I started alternative city-shopping, because I knew the city was going to the dogs. WOOF!

  10. Anonymous says:

    San Diego and San Francisco do not have dog limits at all, and you don’t hear of problems with excessive barking, sanitation issues, or the like. Responsible pet owners will always adopt only the animals they can actually care for. Hoarders are going to do what they want no matter what. Perhaps the fourth and fifth “legal” dog or cat should be charged a premium for a license? Maybe the city should get rid of the limits altogether. Dog owners can already be fined $100 for excessive barking or having their animals off leash off their property. If THOSE regulations are enforced, does it really matter how many dogs people have?

  11. Where's the Money? says:

    Barnette is using the old verbage that it will increase revenue. When it is estimated that only 10% of the dogs in LA are licensed, it would make better sense to collect the other 90% rather than put more out there to be unlicensed. This just doesn’t make sense unless you are a breeder, a hoarder or a so called “rescue”. It certainly doesn’t make sense for the rest of us. Walking down the street is a chore with the strays and now this Barnette breeder woman wants more?? Of course she wants more, she is a breeder despite her lying about it. She was breeding in Seatttle and she will continue to breed here.

  12. Going to the Dogs says:

    Anonymous 5:51, you need to read up on San Francisco and San Diego because you are so wrong.
    According to this article http://www.californiainjuryblog.com/dog_bites/
    of the 19 dog attacks picked up by the media for the entire state of California, four were in San Diego while only one was in LA. This link, http://www.legalpad.com/dog_bites/, is titled “Dog Bites a Major Problem in San Diego County.”
    And as for hoarding in San Diego, check out this link, http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local-beat/County-Struggling-With-Animal-Hoarders-97981194.html
    San Francisco animal control only handles about 3-5000 animals a year. Compare that to LA, no comparison. Everyone thinks when they hear San Francisco, they have a picture of a city as big as LA, not quite, so they have fewer problems than LA. You’re comparing apples to oranges here.

  13. Animal lover, not a breeder says:

    12:40 PM, LA had more than one dog bite, so whoever did the media coverage wasn’t that thorough. Assuming your point is that more dogs equates to more bites, I’d be curious how many of those four San Diego bites came from a more than three dog household. Of the bites I’m familiar with in LA, they came from one dog in a one dog household. No doubt bites can happen with one or more, but those stats would be more worth noting given the argument at hand. Partial reports (like one bite in LA versus four in SD and no mention of the dog number present) just don’t cut it.
    As for hoarding, that happens in cities with 3, 4, 5 and 6 dog limits. Hoarders do not abide by any limit given, so attributing it to limit increases is a stretch. As for their mental illness, let ‘em get therapy in jail.
    While Ms Barnette’s arguing points aren’t the best, your opposing points aren’t much better.
    One telling point she failed to mention is that of the homeowner associations and apartment associations. Why they take issue with this doesn’t make sense. Both HOA’s and apartment owners can impose their own limits.
    Also, I don’t see this bringing in a heck of a lot more revenue for the City (not that I care if the city gets anymore revenue), but I do see the increase as a plus. I know of many who already have three cats or dogs and, at some point, take in strays or a deceased relative’s dog or cat. While it might not be a shelter animal, it is a life saved. Things like that happen and decriminalizing a decent act is a decent move on the part of our law makers who usually make crappy laws that only take away from Angelenos.
    It’s insulting to the residents of LA to suggest the majority lacks the ability to judge what they can or cannot responsibly take on. For that minority who do not act responsibly, there are laws to address that.
    So, I’m with Walter on this one.

  14. Yeah Right says:

    When I see a guarantee that that 66% increase will only come from shelters, I’ll go along with the increase. When I see that the 66% increase will only save lives insteading of lining someone’s pocket, then I’ll go along with the increase. When I see that animal control collects the 90% unlicensed dog fees, then I will go along with the 66% increase. Collect what is out there, it is much more than you will get from the 66% increase. As for insulting the residents of LA, they do that quite nicely for themselves with something as stupid as this increase. It speaks loudly about their stupidity.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Department of Zoning/planning defines a dog kennel or a cat kennel as 4 or more dogs or cats. Therefore in order to have a dog/cat kennel you must be in the proper Zone. Kennels (dog or cat) must be in a MR1,M1,or M2 zone. These are manufacturing zones. Not residental. By increasing the number of pets, Barnett wants to change our residental neighborhood to one of a manufacturing neighborhood. Hell, why not, with child day care, and adult daycare and neighbors dismantling cars in residental areas let’s add dog/cat kennels as well! Dog and cat kennels permitted by the city in the correct zone are strictly regulated my animal control via inspections to ensure that all the animals are kept in accordance to state health laws as well as city laws. Sanitation, waste removal and confinement of animals all come into play. Even for the cats. Imagine a crazy cat person trying to confine their precious free roaming cat colony. As one commmenter noted, dogs of 2 or more form a pack. Most people can not deal with properly training one dog, add to it 4 more and it will lead to more serious bite injuries because instead of one bite you now have the pack attacking. Fido will turn into Cujo if he feels one of his pack is threatened. I have seen many dog bites, and when 2 or more dogs are involved the injuries are substantial and have lead to death. Phillis D. was loudly booed when she tried to voice her concerns about this at the Sept 16 town hall meeting. If you truly care about keeping your neighborhood “residental” you will speak up and oppose this.

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