May 23, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

L.A. City Council votes to stop issuing new dog breeding licenses

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to temporarily stop issuing new dog breeding licenses because of overcrowding at city-run animal shelters.

The city’s six shelters have 737 kennels, but more than 1,500 dogs were living at the shelters in February, according to the most recent available data. The shelters are more than 200% over capacity, which has led to dogs tripled up in kennels or being housed in crates in hallways for months on end.

Euthanasia of dogs by the city are up 22% so far this year compared with the same period last year.

The Times has chronicled poor conditions at shelters, including a lack of dogwalking and inadequate food supplies for small animals.

“It is unacceptable for the city to continue issuing breeding permits while thousands of animals are suffering from overcrowded conditions in our shelters,” Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who chairs the committee that oversees the city’s Animal Services Department, said Tuesday.

The American Kennel Club, which bills itself as the world’s largest not-for-profit all-breed registry, opposes the ban. It said in a statement this week that “blaming registered, responsible breeders” for the shelter crisis won’t improve conditions for those dogs.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the majority of people who purchase licenses from the city aren’t breeding their dogs, said Staycee Dains, the Animal Services Department’s general manager, at a hearing last year.

Rather, many dog owners buy a city breeder permit, which costs $235, so they don’t have to spay or neuter their pets as required under city law.

The city doesn’t regulate breeders, and unlicensed backyard breeders remain a problem.

Dains said at last year’s hearing that she is seeing more and more purebred dogs coming into the shelters.

The ban applies only to new dog breeding permits. It will lift when the three-month average of the daily inventory count of dogs at the city-run animal shelters is “equal to or less than 75 percent of the department’s total dog kennel capacity.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Senior Vice President Lisa Lange praised council members for the vote Tuesday but said in a statement that more needs to be done, including enforcing the existing spay and neuter law.

Hernandez said the ban is “far from the only action” needed by the city. She said she hopes to discuss “current conditions in the shelters during our budget conversations” in the coming months.