“She is amazing! So sweet!” exclaimed animal-shelter volunteer Patty Mysior as Angel, the Dog of the Moment, pranced around the dais during this week’s City Council meeting.

Video by Laura Amaya-Morga

Angel’s appearance marked the second Long Beach Animal Care Services Pet Adoption event at a City Council meeting. The first one took place at the April 4 meeting—it featured a pit bull named Mrs. Howell, who was adopted immediately by a member of the city manager’s staff. She also took home Mrs. H.’s daughter Mary Ann.

The events had been staples of the council meetings before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Megan Ignacio, LBACS’ community outreach coordinator, praised the events and their contribution to high adoption rates and said that the shelter plans to continue them on a regular basis.

Shelter director Staycee Dains said that the focus for the foreseeable future will be on big dogs. They comprise the largest population in the city’s overflowing animal shelter and face a higher danger of euthanasia for space than cats and smaller dogs. The publicity about shelter overcrowding combined with events like the council appearances, Dains said, have saved the lives of big, healthy dogs who would have been otherwise put to sleep.

“Right now, we’re doing it every other Tuesday, but we’re hoping to do it every Tuesday,” Dains said. “We ‘re just trying to get the flow going with the council. And it’s fun. Everybody loves the dogs!”

man in suit pats brown pit bull with
And the dogs love everyone. Angel, the 6-year-old pit bull at the April 18 meeting, could barely contain herself as she worked the room, snuggling and head-butting everyone present. She took extended face time with Mayor Rex Richardson and appeared to be lobbying him for a key position in his office, mainly on the carpet near the snack cooler. The applause from the audience fazed her not in the least. Photo by Laura Anaya-Morga.

Like every pet in the shelter, Angel has a backstory. She was brought in as a stray, and her microchip scan revealed that the person who had brought her in was actually her owner. Dains said that people in dire situations often relinquish their dogs to the shelter, which can be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

“When people are struggling with their pets, instead of giving them up, contact us for resources,” Dains advised. “We might know the veterinarians who fit into somebody’s price range. We can get them connected with dog trainers, litter supplies.”

Long Beach Animal Care Services has a resources tab at the far right on the newly designed shelter home page. She also encouraged fostering pets such as newborn kittens and dogs like Angel, who could go home with someone for a weekend “shelter break.”

“Lots of research has been done that shows that fostering lowers their cortisol levels—stress hormones—and that they never go back up to the level that they were before,” Dains said.

Of course, there’s the off-chance of not wanting to give the pet back after fostering. Sneaky? Sure, but so what? Fostering, Dains added, is the pathway to adoption.

Mysior also stressed the need for volunteers for the many programs that the shelter offers.

tan dog wearing a colorful lei licks volunteer's face
Volunteers like Patty Mysior are what make pets like Angel happy. And vice versa. “We can use a lot of help because we have so many pets,” she said. “The more hands we have on deck, the easier it makes their life while they’re in the shelter.”Photo by Laura Anaya-Morga.

“I’ve worked in a lot of shelters all over the country, and Long Beach has one of the most amazing communities,” Dains said. “We can only do what we do because our community is so great. I want to say thank you—what city brings dogs into the council chamber?”

Well, ours does, anyway!

Long Beach Animal Care Services is located at 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at the entrance to El Dorado Park. There’s no parking fee for shelter visitors. Visit their website to see the pets and learn about the process of adoption and fostering.

Virtually pets

brown pit bull with unicorn toy and a sly facial expression looks sideways at camera
Luca (ID#A677511) is a sweet, sweet guy, too. He doesn’t get the cameras snapping when he’s in his kennel, but you oughta see him on a walk, carrying his “baby” with him. Then, he’ll curl up on a bench to happily chomp on his toy while the volunteers pet him. He’s only a year old and is ready to have a good life ahead.
German shepherd with extraordinarily long tongue looks at camera.
Handsome Hans (ID#A690348) is a 2-year-old German shepherd who’s been kenneled up for too long—longer than that tongue of his! He’s another fellow who blossoms outside the kennel—he’s a lovebug and has a good time running with the volunteers. If you bond with German shepherds and can handle a guy who pulls on his leash, you two will roll with each other.

Shelters often handle sensitive and, at times, tragic situations. The two cats featured below are from a hoarding situation. Long Beach Animal Care Services recently took in and cared for 14 cats after their elderly human passed away and there was no responsible person or relative to claim them. The initial flea infestations and URIs have been taken care of, and they’re now doing well and are ripe for the picking—each cat was named for a fruit, so … Check out the whole crop on the shelter’s cat page—you’ll recognize them by their names—and apply to take home one, or maybe a pair—or as cat volunteer John said, a pear. They may have had a seedy beginning, but we see a lush future.

one-eyed gray cat curls up in a gray-walled kennel
Here’s lookin’ atcha! Blueberry (ID#A695640) is a big, 5-year-old gray fellow. He has a missing eye but is a sweet old dude.
orange-and-white cat, a little scruffy, stands on towel.
Strawberry (ID#A695634), also 5 years old, charges the kennel door for as much loving and petting as she can get. Then, she purrs to show her appreciation.

Great furballs of fun!

a cat, a dog, and a rabbit saying "Looking for my furrever home" for Pet Supplies Plus.

Pet Supplies Plus adoption events: Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 N. Bellflower Blvd. Adoption fees apply.

Long Beach Animal Care Services usually presents this event on the third Saturday of each month, but this month, it’s on the fourth Saturday because April has an extra Saturday. Thanks to the events calendar on the newly designed shelter website, you can dispense with any confusion and just click on the events link, with which we’ve cheerfully provided you. You can also dispense with the schlep to get food, toys, leashes or litter for your new furever friend because Pet Supplies Plus will have everything they could possibly need or want.

a number of dog photos advertising an adoption event

Same time, same place, same perks for the pets, and with different dogs. Check out the pooches from Sparky, too. Maybe you can take one home from each rescue. If you’re looking for someone furry to take home, chances are good that you’ll find them.

sign reading Cinco de Meow held at the Long Beach animal shelter.

Cinco de Meow festival: Saturday, May 6, 3 p.m.–5 p.m., Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7500 E. Spring St. It’s a free event, and there’s no parking fee for shelter guests.

How do you like kitty personalities? Mild? Spicy? Through the ceiling? Our shelter has them all. Celebrate the spicy cats program and Mexican heritage with music, taco trucks and all the felinos y felinas you could want to see! ¡Andale, orale, hijole, gatitole!

poster for trivia contest that gives Hide and Scratch contest and two other rescues.

Tap 24 Trivia Time: Sunday, May 7, noon, Tap 24 Bar & Grill, 4750 E. Los Coyotes Blvd. Free event.

Enjoy an epic pub quiz and support kitties from The Little Lion Foundation and The Cat Cove. You can win free drinks or products from Hide & Scratch, but the definite winners will be the cats in the rescues. No reservations required—everyone is welcome.

 Foster for a while—or furever!

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list. Keep in mind that the rescues are self-supporting and need donations and volunteer help. Most of them cannot accept found or unwanted pets. Contact Long Beach Animal Care Services for options.

Rescue list

Ally’s Animal Network

Bunny Bunch

Cat Cove

Friends of Long Beach Animals

Fix Long Beach

Feline Good Social Club

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County

Helen Sanders CatPAWS

Ho’ola Dog Rescue

House of Broken Cookies

Jellicle Cats Foundation

K-9 Kismet

Little Lion Foundation

Live Love Animal Rescue

Long Beach Animal Care Services

Long Beach Spay and Neuter Foundation

Newborn Feline Rescue

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center

Pug Rescue of Korea

SAFE Rescue Team

Seal Beach Animal Care Center

Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue


Stray Cat Alliance

Wrigley Kittens

Zazzy Cats