‘It’s inhumane’: Dogs at L.A. animal shelters go weeks or months without being walked

L.A.'s animal services agency is understaffed and relies on volunteers. At one overcrowded shelter, dogs sit in kennels for weeks or months without being walked.

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Mommayyll
Mommayyll
434 · 7 months ago · Reddit

I live in Orange County now, and I walk dogs, mainly Pitbulls, at the OCAC shelter. I have been walking dogs, two to three days a week, for eight years. Right now is by far the worst time for shelters. I don’t know as much about LA, but in OC and IE dogs are being put down in record numbers. And it all comes down to walking. The shelters limit volunteers, dogs don’t get out for weeks and weeks, they go crazy, the shelter deems it “kennel stress” then it’s labeled as “extreme stress” and then the dogs are euthanized for “deteriorating in the kennel”.
I see the white boards in five of the six kennel buildings in OC (one buildingis off limits to volunteers), and many dogs don’t get out for weeks. It’s even worse if the dogs have bad manners such as jumping on you or humping, because not as many volunteers will get those dogs out. And, of course, those dogs are the young, healthy, bursting with energy dogs. Some dogs get yard time, so the kennel attendants, will put them in a larger yard so they can run, but that does not include human interaction. and not all dogs can be left alone in a yard or they will literally jump the eight foot fence. I assume this is the same problem in LA since I know it is a problem in OC and IE.

There are only two solutions: more funds to fund kennel staff whose JOB it is to walk dogs. And, spoiler alert, this isn’t going to happen. Or more volunteers to get the dogs out. In my eight years, volunteers who are willing and able to work with super strong dogs are few and far between. First, mostly older people have the time to volunteer during shelter hours (8-5), and older people don’t get out 85 lb. Pitbulls and shepherds, built of solid muscle. Second, walking dogs is very hard and dirty work. It’s not easy. There is extremely high volunteer turnover. People seem to think it’s going to be fun, and it’s hard. And third, only people who really care enough about animals are going to volunteer. These people often have soft hearts. And it is really hard to see what distressed dogs do in shelters, day in and day out. How they go crazy, turn in circles, bam Into the walls. I have trained so many new volunteers who we lose after just a few weeks because they can’t handle the sadness. So the answer is strong, healthy, youngish volunteers, with the right heart softness/​hardness ratio, who are willing to get dirty, work hard, and be physically exhausted. It’s a tall order. At OCAC we have about 8 people who fit that description, but we have over 200 dogs. You do the math.

falingodingo
falingodingo
192 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Does anyone know what the process is to volunteer to walk puppers. Going to be in LA for a week in Sep on vacay. I would love to spend a day or two getting these puppers some exercise. I know it isn't much but it is something.

Edit: Found the volunteer form online after some googling. Answered my own question by not being lazy.

Mel_bear
Mel_bear
144 · 7 months ago · Reddit

I've volunteered at a couple places, shelters are always in industrial, busy areas, and in my experience it was difficult and stressful to walk the dogs. At a shelter in San Diego I had to walk on a busy street with no sidewalk and then past a junkyard type of place that has crazy guard dogs that went insane when we walked by. I volunteered in Burbank and again, it is on a super crowded busy street with no where to walk. They had play areas instead of walks because you couldn't even go anywhere near the shelter.

no_shoes_in_house
no_shoes_in_house
98 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Adopt from your local shelter. Don’t buy and support breeders.

My family (parents, siblings, myself) have adopted 5 dogs from the shelter over our life time. Parents are now regularly fostering.

mangoesmangoes
mangoesmangoes
66 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Dogs spend weeks or months inside their kennels without a break at Chesterfield Square Animal Services Center, the city’s most crowded shelter. Dogs can go more than a week without being walked at other city shelters, according to volunteers.

Dogs involved in legal cases may not leave their kennels for months.

The confinement is the result of longstanding practices at Los Angeles Animal Services, critics say. The department largely relies on unpaid volunteers, rather than city employees, to walk and exercise dogs — a system that’s being stressed as more dogs come in.

Butt-Dickkiss
Butt-Dickkiss
40 · 7 months ago · Reddit

This is a serious problem. What percentage of the dogs on shelters are some sort of pitbull or pitbull mix? Went with a friend who wanted to adopt a cat and it was shocking how many of the dogs were some variety of pit.

Someone is breeding them bc that’s all we saw. I can’t really blame a family for wanting a golden or a lab for buying one instead of going to a shelter.

_Erindera_
_Erindera_
30 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Sounds like we need more volunteers to walk the puppers.

ZK686
ZK686
19 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Then sign up and volunteer to walk them. We had the same complaints in Fresno. Everyone was crying how horrible it was, when the shelters asked for people to volunteer to walk the dogs, no one showed up.

Imperial_Triumphant
Imperial_Triumphant
14 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Some people I work with look like they haven't been walked in years.

Courtlessjester
Courtlessjester
14 · 7 months ago · Reddit

If anything bad happened to people that adopted dogs during the pandemic and then abandoned them after that resulted in their lives changing significantly for the worst, well that’s just too bad thoughts and prayers.

EnormousOrangutan
EnormousOrangutan
12 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Thank you for making this post mangoes!

I applied to be a volunteer at a shelter cause of this post (:

arpus
arpus
10 · 7 months ago · Reddit

If people don't want to adopt these dogs, and there aren't people to walk them, do we just euthanize them out of mercy?

BlueRider57
BlueRider57
9 · 7 months ago · Reddit

I walked dogs at an LA city shelter for 7 years. This article only covered the tip of the problems. One issue that needs to be addressed is the current fallacy of “no kill”. Trying to reach a predetermined live release percentage results in dogs being warehoused for months, sometimes over a year, with little exercise or social interaction.

There aren’t enough homes so we’re not going to adopt our way out of this problem. Government needs to get tough on spay and neuter and assist those who need financial help to keep their pets.

Noxx-OW
Noxx-OW
8 · 7 months ago · Reddit

I remember during the pandemic it was super hard to adopt / foster since everyone seemed to be doing it? Did these people return their dogs now that they're back to work, etc.?

MujerDeMetal
MujerDeMetal
6 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Breaks my heart. My husband and I talk all the time about adopting a second dog or fostering. I'd love to foster but we live with my FIL in his house so it's not really our call.

We read this story this morning over coffee and talked about signing up at the Harbor Shelter to volunteer. Poor sad puppers....

G_P_Jr
G_P_Jr
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

I think more of us owners need to be held responsible. Too many get dogs without caring for basic needs. I seen it personally

geenaleigh
geenaleigh
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Honestly, I hope the city gets embarrassed by this piece and finally ups their budget to hire additional staff. The entire issue stems from poor funding. Volunteering is difficult because the staff is under funded. How can you onboard new volunteers at 7pm after working a whole day to keep the place afloat? The poor workers are managing complex cases and overwhelming amounts of animals. It’s gross that the city can let this happen while also dropping $500 million on a bridge and upping the LAPD budget even further.

Everydayfrwrd
Everydayfrwrd
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Volunteer form submitted. We all understand it could be better and is a band aid, but if we are able for even 2 hours a week- let’s help. If at least 10 people from this thread became volunteers, even that is significant.

xsharmander
xsharmander
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

This sounds like a larger issue. I want a dog, but I live in a small apartment and work for 8+ hours a day to make a living. I think most people work out if the house for most of the day. Then, there are landlords who don’t allow dogs. It appears you can have a dog if you WFH, have a yard, work part-time, or can afford a dog walker.

Hachi707
Hachi707
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

Fostering can make such a difference!! If you have the ability to foster, please try! The rescue will provide you with everything, food, bedding, toys, and pretty much anything else you could need. I fostered for a rescue for 2 years and it was such an incredible experience, and where I met my forever pup! Of course I wanted to keep them all and it is bittersweet when they find their forever homes, lol. I have also walked shelter dogs in the past, mostly evenings after work. It can be tiring but it is so worth it when you can see how happy it makes the dog to just be outside. Thank you for sharing this, I will definitely look in to volunteering at a shelter!!!

ItsYourMotherDear
ItsYourMotherDear
5 · 7 months ago · Reddit

With the entire weight of the world closing in..this is the step I cannot take. I can't read this and think about these puppos. I wish my lifestyle was such that I could either give loads of money or time to help.