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Cat lovers in Los Angeles may soon be able to legally own up to five felines under a new proposed law. Moving toward Los Angeles’ goal to become a “No Kill” city by 2030, the Los Angeles City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee unanimously approved a proposal to raise the household limit on cats from three to five.
The proposal states that all cats must also be spayed or neutered and requires that a person with five cats must keep them indoors. The proposal, originally made in Nov. 2013, will be sent to the city council for a vote on Sept. 16.
Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, who authored the proposal, said it will encourage people to adopt more cats from shelters.
“This is targeted toward people who already care for three cats and can handle more, who could potentially save the lives of cats that would be otherwise be euthanized in shelters,” Koretz said. “I am not sure that the change will be massive, but every time you take a step in the right direction, you get closer to the goal.”
An audit released by Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin examined the city’s department of animal services and found the number of euthanized animals dropped by 50 percent since 2003. However, one in four animals that entered the system was euthanized last year, including approximately 8,018 cats, 4,664 dogs and 2,346 other animals.
The report detailed that over half of the cats euthanized were newborn kittens because they are particularly susceptible to diseases and need to be fed every two to three hours. Animal services officials said there are not enough foster care options or staff available to care for the kittens.
“A lot of cats in the community are reproducing – and many of them are cats that live on the streets. Because those cats don’t have owners, there aren’t as many resources going to spaying and neutering those cats and their offspring to prevent future unwanted births,” said Marc Peralta, executive director for Best Friends Animal Society of Los Angeles.
For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the overall save rate for Los Angeles Animal Services has increased to an average of 78.4 percent, or 88.4 percent for dogs and 68.7 percent for cats. To be considered “No Kill,” the threshold must be 90 percent.
Last year, 414 cats were euthanized due to lack of space in shelters. The audit calls for a new, attainable plan to make Los Angeles a “No Kill” city and states that a “lack of space” should never be a reason to put an animal to death. Galperin recommended that the city make partnerships with private shelters to deal with overcrowding.
Best Friends Animal Society’s No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative is one of the non-profit animal welfare organizations focusing its efforts on neonatal kittens. Its dedicated nursery for young kittens in Mission Hills has cared for more than 2,000 kittens.
“Once you help them through those critical first two months and they reach the weight to be spayed or neutered, kittens are the most highly adoptable pets in our shelter system,” said Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society and one of the architects of NKLA. “We encourage animal lovers in Los Angeles to help us by donating, fostering, volunteering and adopting. With everyone’s help, L.A. will soon become NKLA and a model for the rest of the country to emulate.”
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