Starting May 4, spcaLA is opening its doors to the public without appointment necessary, and the city shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services is following suit.

The shelters had been operating on an appointments-only basis to keep the foot traffic down and to make the most efficient use of their limited staff and dedicated volunteers. Recently, they began allowing visitors in without appointments on weekends. Now, they’ll be open five days a week.

“The neighboring agency [spcaLA] is opening, and we felt it important not to turn people away or further cause confusion or frustration for visitors,” shelter manager Staycee Dains said. “We do anticipate that wait times may be increased, as was the case pre-pandemic.”

Visitors to either shelter will enter through the entrance marked with the signage “SpcaLA Adoption Center.” The front desk will offer information and maps to the shelter grounds. Adoptions will be on a walk-in, first-come-first-served basis until the onboarding and training process for the new adoptions coordinator are completed. Potential adopters can limit wait time by submitting an online application for an animal they’d like to meet. Dains said that the application isn’t a commitment to adopt that particular animal, but entering their information into the system will help expedite the process.

Dains also said that positions for behavior, enrichment and training coordinators have been filled, and temporary hires are assisting on weekends to help with adoptions.

The new staff members and updated procedures will hopefully make it easier to navigate shelter visits, particularly adoptions, but cooperation and patience from visitors are equally important. Understandably, folks might want to bring the family to see the animals, but shelters aren’t petting zoos and the employees and volunteers are continually occupied, walking dogs, cleaning litter boxes and, and helping other visitors.

woman in blue cap, green apron, maroontop and jeans gives treats to a brown pit bull mix doggie. Both are standing on grass, with a low wall and dirt plot in background.
LBACS volunteer Jennifer gives a treat to a grateful Big Red, one of the large dogs that form the greater population of the dog side of the shelter.

“The shelter is a place where lost and abandoned animals are recovering from their lost experience,” Dains said. “Any visitors should be respectful of the animals’ need for privacy and should visit the shelter to either adopt, volunteer, or reunite with their lost pet. It is not a healthy experience for animals to be overwhelmed by an audience of people anticipating a performance on behalf of the animals. Kindness and compassion should be the motivation of all visitors.”

One way to help is to add yourself as a volunteer team member. That’s hands-on, and the animals will love it. So will the volunteers who are there now—they’ve been doing double duty both in their assigned capacities and as picker-uppers for the exhausted staff. Visit this web page to see what’s involved and to apply.

Adoption hours for both shelters are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, starting May 4. The shelter is located at 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the El Dorado Park entrance. No parking/entry fees for visitors.