“They’re back! We’re finally doing animal adoptions!” exhorted Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson at the April 4 City Council meeting. His huzzah was met with great applause.

“This is something that was done at the old city hall,” District 4 Councilman Daryl Supernaw said during an interview. “It was great. Pets would come in and would be shown off, and adoptions followed.”

Supernaw had supported several free spay/neuter events with former District 3 Councilwoman Suzie Price, which earned him the moniker Superpaw. Since redistricting, his precinct now includes LBACS, and he expects to extend his pawprint in a positive direction.

“I’ve been very involved in these issues, but now I have even more opportunities,” he said. “And I want to give the mayor and city manager credit for making this happen.”

The program was halted before the new city hall opened. Supernaw said that COVID might have been a big factor in not having the pet events, but he’s glad to have them back. Showing off shelter pets for a short time at public meetings has been an effective way to get them adopted, and since LBACS launched its foster program, even more of them can get a safe harbor that isn’t a kennel. With the much-publicized overcrowding at our shelter, the City Council adoption events make for fewer straws on the camel’s back—not that you’ll find camels in the kennels.

After a couple of announcements, Long Beach Animal Care Services manager Staycee Dains and community outreach coordinator Megan Ignacio trotted out a dog for public oogling and ahgling. Her name was Mrs. Howell—or Mrs. Howl—and she was present, tail awag during the extent of her appearance that kicked off the renaissance of the LBACS Pet Adoption. Mrs. H had been rescued from an encampment during the winter rainstorms, and five other dogs came with her. The shelter staff named them after characters on “Gilligan’s Island.” (See Virtually Pets below for more details.)

Dains and Ignacio delivered a PowerPoint presentation that detailed shelter numbers, events and Mrs. Howell’s resume, which Richardson said should have included “behaves well at council meetings.” To be fair, it was early in the meeting, and Mrs. Howell might have known that she wouldn’t have had to sit and stay through a list of announcements and 25-some consent calendar items.

At the meeting, City Manager Tom Modica credited the shelter staff and volunteers for their creativity in getting animals adopted in the face of a continual intake in pets.

“We adopted over 2,000 pets last year, but we are over capacity and we have a lot of people bringing animals (into the shelter),” he said.

April Walker, the administrative deputy for the city manager’s office, said that the city management team worked with the mayor’s office to bring the adoption events back specifically to address the overcapacity issues.

“From there, we coordinated with the ACS team on frequency, which we have now determined to be every first and third Tuesday of the month.”

The return of the pet-adoption events had immediate success—Mrs. Howell was adopted immediately afterward. She’s now living the life that every good dog—and they’re all good dogs—deserves.

When Richardson said of Mrs. Howell, “Let’s get her off the island!” he was speaking for getting them all off the island. Hopefully we can work together as a community to minimize the marooning.

More information on live streaming the meetings is available here. LBTV access is available here.

Postscript about grain-free pet diets

 Last week’s Scratching Post attempted to sort the wheat from the chaff regarding research that indicated a connection between a pet contracting the potentially fatal heart disease DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy, and feeding them grain-free and legume-rich diets. A couple of readers, as expected, took issue and provided a couple of bones to chew on. One person posted an article by veterinarian and pet nutritionist Dr. Judy Morgan, who literally called bulls**t. While she seemed to fly with overmuch velocity in the face of the studies, she provided legitimate resources that suggested that the samples of cats and dogs in the study were too small to draw any conclusion.

A friend who knows their oats about what to feed pets and who keeps up with studies sent a recent American Veterinary Medical Association journal article that said pretty much the same thing—the veterinary community is divided, and research has been put on hold because of insufficient data.

The veterinarians I interviewed for the article are trusted professionals and experts in their field. If you trust your own vet, do what they tell you to do about feeding, and take your pet in if they show signs of disease.

We can live and let our pets live by what veterinary cardiologist Steven Rosenthal said in the AVMA article: “A diet should be individualized per pet by age and by health status. A vet can help advise through that, and working with a veterinary nutritionist is helpful to help choose or formulate a diet best for the specific pet’s needs.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Or a breadbox.

Virtually pets

The cats and dogs in the photos below are the ones whom the City Council Runway pets represent. They’re just as glorious as Mrs. Howell, who got to go home. To adopt or foster any of them, email [email protected] or [email protected], or call (562) 570-4925. Even better, stop by during walk-in hours every Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Check out the adopt page on the refurry-bished shelter website and see all the furbabies who need out badly.

small gray-and-white cat with spot on white muxxles stands on an orange blanket and looks to the right
Kit (ID#696029) is a gray-and-white tabby-patch fellow. He’s 10 years old and 17 pounds, so he’ll surely keep someone’s feet warm. Kit’s story is yet another sad one—his human was evicted and moved to transitional housing. Guess who wasn’t allowed to come along. Like a good many of the shelter pets whose people are forced to leave them, Kit seems to have received loving care—he’s the sweetest, most affectionate boy with an extremely loud purr. He’s healthy and ready to spend the rest of his nine lives in a forever home.
scruffy orange cat sits tall in a kennel.
Opie (ID#695745) came in as a stray with medical issues. He was found on March 30 weighing under 6 pounds and with lacerations and a terrible cold. He’s also FIV positive, which is a feline immune-system disorder that isn’t life threatening given the proper care. He’s a sweet fellow and affectionate, even with all the street strikes against him. He has a euthanasia date for April 18, and shelter staff and volunteers are pulling out all the stops to get a foster or adopter for Opie. The Scratching Post is appealing as well. Opie’s 8 years old and deserves a chance at a full life. Please consider him—contact Anna Wong at the shelter at (562) 570-4933 or Anna.[email protected] if you can give this loving boy a safe haven.
six smiling brown-and-white pit bulls on a leash
“The worst was a multi-truck load that was LOADED UP with pits
It included a FURRY FAMILY OF SIX to set sail that day
And since the shelter was now overloaded with homeless dogs …
They all lived in crates, they all lived in crates …” 
That ditty was thunk up by a shelter staff member. It describes one of the best photos ever of shelter rescues and, at the same time, one of the crummiest, saddest situations. The family of six pitties was picked up at an encampment during the storms, abandoned and marooned as part of 20 abandoned pets entering the shelter from such situations. They had to live in crates for two weeks but now have their own kennels and, hopefully, safe harbor at the shelter. The group was dubbed The Castaways—they included Mrs. Howell (or was it Howl?), Gilligan (#A694322), Ginger (#A694324), the Skipper (#A694326), the Professor (#A694327) and, of course, Mary Ann. They were pretty shipworn when they came in, but they’re slick and shiny now and were probably treated well because they’re friendly, some to a fault. A couple have already gone home—Mrs. Howell, who launched her debut at the council meeting, and—Mary Ann. Each remaining castaway is 4 years old. Check them out on the shelter adoption page.

This is seriously no way to celebrate an anniversary. Or more accurately, this is no anniversary to celebrate. Steadman (ID#A674834) has been at LBACS since last May, and it’s going to be a year next month. No one can figure out why he hasn’t gone home yet—he’s gorgeous, active, fun loving and friendly. He’d be a terrific companion for anyone familiar with huskies—strong, adventurous dogs. Steadman’s held it together mentally and physically, and everyone wants him to make it out in the only good way possible. 

Great furballs of fun!

 This week’s Scratching Post features events put together by Long Beach Animal Care Services, which is literally overflowing with pets, dogs in particular. Events at the shelter and in the community have increased in frequency and creativity—they boost community education and, of course, finding homes for the pets.

The shelter website is now a work of art, especially when you compare it to what it used to look like. The combined effort of Dains, Ignacio, the city’s web designers, and what had to be a whole lot of input from the community, have made it easier to find anything than it is for the dog to grab your sandwich. You’ll probably still have trouble figuring out which part of the complex belongs to LBACS and which part is spcaLA, but navigating the shelter’s website isn’t a problem anymore.

Proper LBC adoption event: Saturday, April 15, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., Proper LBC, 5209 E. Second St., Long Beach. Adoption fees are waived.

A proper, worthy event! Long Beach Animal Care Services’ Adoption Waggin’ will be rolling down Second Street and actually finding a place to park—this is a VIP (very irresistible pets) vehicle, and arrangements have been made. Proper LBC carries neat streetwear and shoes to go with them, but the staff there know, as we all do, that pets aren’t accessories to complete an outfit. But they will complete a life, and you’ll be giving them a life if you take them home forever.

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

This event occurs monthly, usually on the third Saturday of the month, but this month, it’s on the fourth Saturday because April has an extra Saturday. Thanks to the events calendar on the aforementioned newly designed shelter website, you can dispense with any confusion and just click on the events link. 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.

 Foster for a while—or furever!

smiling woman holds a baby rabbit, who is white with tan ears
Long Beach Animal Care Services foster coordinator Tabare Depaep cuddles Albert. Courtesy Long Beach Animal Care Services

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