The Long Beach Animal shelter wants your input for its new strategic plan. And shelter pets need new homes.

The City Council approved a recommendation to receive and confirm the proposed Long Beach Animal Care Services’ strategic plan on March 2. The item was originally placed on the Dec. 8, 2020 council agenda but was moved forward 90 days after several community members and one councilwoman asked for more time for the community to read up on it and familiarize themselves with the details.

City Council adopts vision plan for Long Beach animal care services

A motion was made by Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce and was seconded and passed by the council. The delay turned out to be a very good idea because by the time the item came up on the December docket, it was 12:30 a.m. As it was, shelter manager Staycee Dains’ PowerPoint overview took about an hour to present the plan on March 2, and both she and the virtual attendees needed to be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as a Pomeranian.

The strategic plan was born out of the shelter’s Compassion Saves Model and a two-phase audit of shelter practices requested by Mayor Robert Garcia, which was conducted from 2017 to 2018. The Mayor’s Long Beach Animal Care Vision Task Force members—shelter volunteers, rescuers and area residents with an intense interest in animal welfare—spent nearly two years in often painful labor to create a plan that addressed each finding and recommendation from the audit. The plan can be read in its entirety here.

“You should know that each task force member deserves a great deal of time spent in their efforts in the community in addition to their work on the task force,” Dains said during the presentation. “They remained engaged in agonizing conversations about what kind of shelter their community deserved, and they faced harsh criticism on all sides and persevered to help bring this plan to life.”

Not everyone was overjoyed about the birth announcement. After the presentation ended, commenters expressed anger over the perceived finality of the motion to receive and confirm the plan. There were also calls for officially designating the shelter as no-kill—defined as saving every shelter pet that can be saved—and implementing its programs and philosophy, despite evidence that many of them are in place and in motion. Dains’ presentation depicted the steadily declining animal intake and euthanasia numbers and a 2020 save rate of 97% of cats and 98% of dogs (Best Friends Save Them All benchmark for no-kill is 90%). This was accomplished during a year crippled by the pandemic and was made possible through the diligence of partnerships between Long Beach Animal Care Services and local rescue groups, not to mention increased “pandemic pet” adoptions.

There were also callouts regarding the controversial role of the spcaLA as a shelter partner and calls for Long Beach Animal Care Services having its own adoption program instead of filtering it through spcaLA; problems with limited admissions, meaning that anyone wanting to turn a stray animal in to the shelter would have to make an appointment and possibly be obliged to keep the pet for several days—inconvenient and likely impossible for many people; and that the two public meetings for the plan that took place in February didn’t offer enough opportunity for review.

Despite the 90 days between the original scheduling of the agenda item, the virtual nature of meetings during the pandemic may have hampered input from a greater number of residents. Live attendance was very good during the prepandemic Task Force public meetings, and auditoriums and City Council meetings were packed during sessions that concerned the shelter, even before the conception of the strategic plan.

So, this is where you, the public, can help.

The strategic plan isn’t set in stone. The City Council approved the agenda item so that the work at hand can officially move forward.

“This is a living document, and there’s clearly more work to do,” Councilman Rex Richardson said at the council meeting.

You love your pet, so you likely love them all. Read the plan—it’s a detailed document, but it’s no “Finnegans Wake.” Then, help it grow and develop. Complete the survey here, and send comments and suggestions to [email protected]. Pass it forward—share the survey link on Facebook, Nextdoor, and community pages and meetings. Shelter practice has changed hugely since the old dog-pound and-put-’em-to-sleep mentality that began a century and a half ago. It still exists, but to a far lesser extent, thanks to vocal animal proponents and shelter and rescue volunteers.

“Animal welfare has always been a quickly evolving field, and now, more so than ever,” Dains said. “The challenges we face today could be vastly different two or three years from now. Only three years ago, nearly every unweaned kitten in our shelter lost its life. Today, nearly every pet is saved. The evergreen nature of our strategic plan will allow us to incorporate the latest and greatest practices in our field to meet the changing demands of our diverse community.”

Our shelter’s volunteers, whose only skin in the game is fur, are busy socializing cats, training the dogs, writing clever little bios of the pets and sharing them on social media, and weeping with joy when one goes home. They’re the paws-on-the-ground champions of shelter pets.

Meet John, head cat volunteer and the coolest cat in town, as he introduces his groupies leaping and lounging at the shelter’s catio. Video courtesy of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

If you want to make a difference as a volunteer, email Long Beach Animal Care Services at [email protected]. And of course, if you want to make a shelter volunteer cry in the best way possible, here are a few you can bring home, posing with their dedicated shelter mentors. To adopt any of them, email [email protected] with the best phone number to reach you.

Woman in sunglasses, visor and light-blue jacked holds small brown dog against a background of grass.


This is D.O.G. (ID#A644665), pronounced “dee-oh-jee,” of course. He’s a 15-year-old darling little Chi guy. If you want a sweet, quiet fellow to spend calm days and evenings with, he’s ready to curl up on your bed!

 

woman in pink shirt and mask kneels on the grass next to a white pit bull with black spot on back

Darling Bubs (ID#A653333)! This fellow is 13 years old and so loving. He has some medical issues and will need to go home to someone who’s willing to give him his truly golden years.

white dog with black ears and eye masks sits in front of a kneeling man with a gray mustache and hair, and wearing a blue sweater.

Bernie (ID#A649912), age 8, is a kick in the pants! He loves toys and can catch just about anything that you throw in the air! He’s a bit choosy with his canine friends and would be best suited as a household’s one and only pet.

 

orange tabby on white knit blankie stares outward

I’ve said it before: Orange cats are special! Most of them are male, but Clementine (ID#A654562) is a shy little lady violet, albeit an orange one. At 6 months old, she has plenty of time to come out of her shell and be the playful kitty she was born to be.

 

Virtually pets

Just fur fun and fur-ther education

Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp: Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m. online event, register here.

Following two successful virtual events in 2020, Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp, the acclaimed event for animal enthusiasts of all stripes, patches and solid colors is back for a springtime celebration to engage and inspire cat lovers around the world, thanks to a generous investment by Petco Foundation. Reinvented as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cat Camp’s mission is to educate, entertain and empower by providing the right tools to every individual interested in helping kitties. It’s a lot of fun! Camp activities will feature interactive content, both entertaining and educational, that includes harness and clicker training—including how to teach cats to high-five, caring for kittens, fundraising ideas, how to best serve community cats and so much more, followed by an “After Pawty” full of cat-themed activities, games and prizes. Meet “My Cat from Hell’s” Jackson Galaxy along with Christina Ha, co-owner of NYC’s first Cat Café, Meow Parlour and its affiliates; and Hannah Shaw (aka “Kitten Lady”), who will focus on inspiring attendees to “level up” their skills on their journey to helping cats in the home and the community.

Help wanted, help given

Get lucky this month with a lower-cost Fix Long Beach spay or neuter!

It’s St. Paddypaws day all March! The first 300 to email will get pot o’gold in the form of a special discount rate because we love your pets! Book online at Fix Long Beach’s website with the code on the flyer, and mention the flyer in the comments section!

Feline Good Social Club needs willing subjects for its bewhiskered nobility

Feline Good Social Club has opened and is running and knocking things off shelves. The cat curators would love some volunteers for their furry residents. Want to be part of a kowtowing staff to cats because everyone knows that cats expect it? Email [email protected].

Fix Long Beach now open: Wednesday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., 1749 Magnolia Ave., Long Beach, services available by appointment at www.fixlongbeachpets.com.

Fix Long Beach has reopened and is taking appointments for low-cost spay/neuter, dental, vaccines and other vet needs for cats and dogs. Visit their webpage or Facebook page for details.

DIY Kitten Care Kits available free at Long Beach Animal Care Services

Kitten season has begun, and soon, shelters and rescues will be scrambling to save their lives, get them fixed, get them adopted. It isn’t unusual to find nests of young, seemingly abandoned kittens during kitten season. It is a natural reaction to want to help. If you are interested in obtaining a Kitten Care Kit made possible by Helen Sanders CatPAWS, please email [email protected].

Spay/neuter vouchers available at shelter

Long Beach Animal Care Services has spay/neuter vouchers available. They’ll take a healthy nip out of the cost of a procedure. Residents of any of the five cities served by the shelter can telephone the general number at 562-570–7387 to request a voucher.

 Spay/neuter appointments are available at SNP/LA

The Spay/Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP/LA) is back in business for free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and they’re extending the hours of their vaccination clinics. The San Pedro clinic, located at 957 N. Gaffey St., will give shots every third Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Call 310-574–5555 to see if you qualify for services.

If you can see the bottom of the kibble bag

a pile of pet food and pet accessories

Residents in need will benefit from the generosity of the community members that provided all this pet food. It will be distributed June 20. Photo courtesy of Friends of Long Beach Animals.

 

The Little Lion Foundation’s Free Pet Care Day: Saturday, March 13, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Long Beach Masonic Lodge, 3610 Locust Ave., free.

“One of the most heartbreaking parts of this pandemic is that although people love their furry companions, the pandemic has made it very difficult for them to provide proper care,” said Claudia Otis, founder and owner of The Little Lion Foundation. “With the public’s help, The Little Lion Foundation will facilitate the care of people’s pets during this perilous time.” The organization is hosting a drive-thru food-and-supply giveaway on a first-come, first served basis. Free vaccines, microchips and flea medication for cats and dogs will be conducted by appointment only. Long Beach residents will be prioritized for available appointments. Additionally, the foundation is calling for help from donors and supporters to help purchase and provide food and supplies. If you can offer help, contact The Little Lion Foundation at [email protected].

Pets of the Homeless home page gives a self-description as the only organization focusing only on providing food and care for pets belonging to homeless people. Businesses and other organizations across the country receive in-kind donations of food and other needs that the dogs and cats’ human families can pick up at outreach locations. The following Long Beach businesses will accept your donations:

Trendi Pawz, 3726 E. Seventh St.

Belmont Heights Animal Hospital, 255 Redondo Ave.

Paw Shoppe Pet Center, Inc., 6416 E. Spring St.

Food and supplies are available at Beacon for Him Ministries, 1535 Gundry Ave. Long Beach, Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m.; and at Christian Outreach in Action, 515 E. Third St., Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Donations will be gratefully accepted at these locations as well.

Adopt, adopt, adopt

 

Long Beach Animal Care Services outdoor adoption event: Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, March 13, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., adoption fees apply.

The shelter’s Adoption Waggin’ is finally leaving the building and coming to the parking lot for an outdoor adoption event! Cats and dogs will be ready to go home with you, and you can get anything they want at Pet Supplies Plus. Masks are required!

CATastic adoption opportunity!

Adopters who march forth and take home the first 10 cats from The Little Lion Foundation throughout the actual month of March will pay no adoption fee! The generous volunteers at Friends of Long Beach Animals will pick up the tab—all you have to do is pick up the cat! Click Little Lion’s link to see the cats waiting to go home.

Pet Food Express Cat Adoption Center: weekdays and Saturday 10 a.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Pet Food Express, 4220 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

This adoption center is a much-needed satellite operation of Long Beach Animal Care Services. Julie and her team pull adoptable cats—”adoptable,” to these guys, means any cat in a shelter kennel! The team socializes the kitties until they’re adopted, which takes less time than you could imagine!

Helen Sanders CatPAWS adoption center: viewable daily during store hours, PetSmart, 12341 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, adoption fees apply.

Window-shopping’s a neat pastime and likely has become more common during the pandemic. Helen Sanders CatPAWS has applied window-shopping to cat adoption; you can peer at several of the fine felines through the windows of the PetSmart adoption center in Seal Beach. Sadly, no ear scratching or chin rubs at this time, but volunteers can answer questions and provide you with adoption information. Be sure to wear a mask. You can find adoption applications and all the kitties here.

Links to loveables

The following pet-related businesses regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions, but 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.

 

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”
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