Letters to the Editor: Why are volunteers at L.A.’s squalid animal shelters doing the work of staff?

A dog puts its front paws in the bars of a cage door and looks out.
One of dozens of dogs available for adoption or foster care at the Chesterfield Square Animal Services Center in South Los Angeles on July 16.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thank you for exposing the substandard conditions at the city of Los Angeles’ animal shelters. This discussion is long overdue. Although dogs may be man’s best friend, the shelters also have in their care cats, rabbits, hamsters and other helpless animals.

My daughter has volunteered at our local shelter for years and does what she can to deal with matters that would normally be staff work. Assuring the cleanliness of food, water and habitat is too often delayed, and with alarming results.

Our city must find the will and the funds to drastically improve the care of these creatures in their charge.


Linda Alexander, Los Angeles


To the editor: Recently I went to the city of Los Angeles’ North Central animal shelter to see if my lost cat was there. It wasn’t, but I hadn’t been there in years and was totally impressed at the way it is now.

The shelter was clean, bright and had areas to meet and play with animals. There were lots of helpful employees, even in the small animal room. Every animal had food, water and was clean. There was no smell anywhere.

Sadly, there seemed to be row after row of caged dogs. That no one has enough time to take them all out routinely to walk is not surprising.

Instead of tearing the shelters down, The Times should focus on whose fault this is: people who abandon their animals because they are inconvenient in some way, and people who pay $2,000 for a “pure bred” dog instead of adopting.

Lore Spangler, Los Angeles



To the editor: A barrier to shelter dogs being adopted that I rarely see mentioned is insurance companies’ breed restrictions.

I am looking to adopt a rescue dog. A large percentage of shelter and rescue dogs are all or part pit bull, Rottweiler, chow chow or Doberman. My homeowner insurance policy with Safeco does not cover a residence with a dog that is all or part any of these breeds.

I’ve looked into alternative insurance. All of the companies that don’t have dog breed restrictions offer inferior coverage for a higher price.

Ellen Nadel, Los Angeles


To the editor: Thanks for exposing the disaster in animal shelters.

Stop breeding animals, folks. Get pets at a shelter. And while you’re at it, stop breeding humans. Eight billion people on the planet — insane.

Ann Bradley, Los Angeles



To the editor: If you are as disgusted as I am with the city over the condition of our animal shelters, please call and write your council member and the mayor about this.

More money, more personnel and improved facilities are needed now.

William Majors, Woodland Hills