How the Long Beach animal shelter is handling being closed to the public

For an indefinite period, the shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services will close to the public. Nonsymptomatic volunteers and staff will socialize the pets and clean the kennels, and only pets who are sick, injured or in immediate danger will be allowed to enter.

The all-volunteer Seal Beach Animal Care Center is also closed to the public until further notice. They’re handling adoptions via their website and are limiting access to include volunteers.

Director Staycee Dains said that the shelter is following directives from the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), a standard-setting organization for animal-welfare and control departments and organizations. NACA’S recommendations and publications reflect an awareness of the continuously changing conditions and uncertainty, but at this time at least, euthanasia as a means to emptying shelters is strongly discouraged. Fostering or adoption is the recommended route.

The constantly changing situations and effects of the virus, health-related and social, are steering shelters across the country to prepare for a possible decrease in shelter personnel and volunteers to the point of not being able to effectively provide care for the animals. According to NACA, “animal control agencies should take active measures to reduce nonessential shelter intake. Measures taken should include returning pets in the field instead of impounding them, suspending non-emergency owner surrender intake and encouraging owners who are ill to keep their pets at home whenever possible.”

Dains said that shelter staff will provide counseling and resources to anyone who finds an animal who appears healthy. The first thing anyone should do in any circumstance before surrendering or deciding to keep an animal is to scan them for a microchip. Because the shelter is closed to the public, this isn’t possible. Many veterinarians are now only taking emergency cases and not doing routine exams or vaccinations, but they might agree to come curbside with their scanner.

Long Beach Animal Hospital (3816 E. Anaheim St.) will be carrying on their usual operations and said that they’d come out to scan for a chip.

If the animal doesn’t have a chip, the following resources were suggested by Dains, and the public, to find a foster:, Nextdoor Lakewood and Long Beach Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, PetHarbor.comPawBoost alertsCraigslist.

Posting flyers in the neighborhood is an old-school method that still works. Be sure to collect the flyers if and when the pet’s home is located. If you believe that your buddy is holed up in the shelter, check the shelter’s Lost and Found page. If you find a matching photo, send an email to [email protected] with the subject “Reunite,” a photo that you took of your pet, and the ID number on the Lost and Found page. This is also a good resource for found pets—attach a photo of the pet, where you found them and your information.

If you live outside the Long Beach shelter’s service area (Long Beach, Seal Beach, Cerritos, Los Alamitos, Signal Hill), contact your area’s shelter for resources.

“If there was ever a situation where social media came in useful, this is it,” said Dains who implores the public to be especially mindful of bringing in newborn kittens. Organizations and individuals involved in trap/spay/neuter have always directed well-meaning people to watch to make sure the mother cat isn’t out for a few hours hunting for food for the family. Surely we can all relate at this point.

Adoption and fostering will help keep animals safe

Dains supports NACA’s immediate objective of emptying the shelter of pets as quickly as possible because of the uncertainty of the future. Long Beach’s animal community is, as always, stepping up.

Adoptions through the shelter will continue through appointment only, but fostering is a far more immediate way to achieve the goal. Live Love Animal Rescue, which spearheads the Foster the Fourth efforts each year, took only a few days to render vacant 70% of Animal Care Services’ dog kennels with its Emergency Temporary Shelter foster dog program. They still need fosters for big dogs; email [email protected].

This is what @lbanimalcare looks like right now. Empty kennel after empty kennel. This is all because of YOU stepping forward to help foster some of these shelter dogs! The shelter is 70% empty! 💕This is amazing and we are so proud that with your help we have achieved this much in just a few days. The dogs that are now safely in foster homes can’t say thank you enough – and the few dogs waiting, don’t worry guys – we’re working on it!! We still need big dog fosters so if you’d like to open up your home to a bigger dog, please fill out an application form here: other volunteering opportunities at this time, please email 💜

Posted by Live Love Animal Rescue on Sunday, March 22, 2020

Video courtesy of Live Love Animal Rescue

Community members can foster cats through Safe-Purr at Home (cat puns rule), a partnership between the shelter and the Little Lion Foundation. Contact [email protected]. You can also sponsor a shelter cat by contacting Little Lion.


✨ SAFE-PURR AT HOME ✨ With dozens of local shelters closing their doors to the public, we’re sending out an SOS for @lbanimalcare cats! In response to this emergency, The Little Lion Foundation is trying to get ALL of them into loving foster homes through our newly launched Safe-Purr At Home Project! Yes – every single one! Shelter staffing has been greatly reduced to protect everyone and volunteers are not able to come in to socialize with the kitties which is causing them to decline even more in the shelter environment. These kitties have NO ONE and they can’t speak up for themselves and ask for the help they so desperately need…. so we will be their voice in these trying times. While you’re all hunkered down under quarantine, bring a little joy to your home and save a life in the process! Fostering is a temporary commitment and we are looking for fosters to provide love and safety to these kitties only until the shelter re-opens to the public again! All supplies and medical needs will be provided to you – all these kitties need from you is your love. Let’s get every shelter kitty out of there now! Check back into our page over the next few days for individual posts for each kitty we need placement for! FOSTER for our Safe-Purr At Home Program now at DONATE: A KITTY by emailing us at #SafePurrAtHome #covid19 #covid19longbeach #catsofinstagram #sheltercats #longbeach #california #fosteringsaveslives

Posted by The Little Lion Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2020

Video courtesy of The Little Lion Foundation.

Running with the L.A. County mayoral triumvirate’s emergency order, pets will be safer at home, too. And according to former shelter adoption-team member Jill Prout, you’ll be happy at home with one. Or more.


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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.”