Long Beach will present its proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 for adoption at the Sept. 6 City Council meeting. The community at large had been invited to give input to the plan’s development through feedback during detailed Zoom meetings and by completing a budget priority survey consisting of a list of services for participants to prioritize.

The city’s proposed budget amounts to $3.2 billion All Funds and $669.7 million in the General Fund. The Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine, of which Animal Care Services is a bureau, has a General Fund budget of $45.16 million, with Animal Care Services at $2.81 million.  This means that Animal Care Services is 6.22% of the total General Fund Parks, Recreation, and Marine budget, according to Grace Yoon, the city’s budget manager. When compared to the total General Fund budget, Animal Care Services is, if my own math is right (and please correct me if it isn’t), less than 1%.

Long Beach reveals its budget for the coming year; here are 5 key takeaways


On the one hand, there’s an entire city to run and (darn) it isn’t all about the animals. On the other hand, animal advocates consider Long Beach Animal Care Services’ share as paltry to address the shelter’s many needs. That said, the shelter’s funding was increased; two clerk positions converted to three typist positions—sorely needed for a quicker distribution of spay/neuter vouchers and logging of data; a public-health associate position became an assistant administrative analyst; and four general assistant positions will strengthen volunteer management and recruitment, support field and licensing operations, and help implement the Compassion Saves Program. Most of these positions have been filled.

Further, the budget listed an increase of $499,258 for veterinary services for treatment, surgery and spay/neuter. Additionally, LBACS is partnering with Platt College to provide clinical training for future veterinarians.

I was curious about how people in the animal welfare community felt about the budget, so I asked a few of them. Aostara Kaye, who’s volunteered and fostered everywhere, sent me what was essentially a desiderata for needy animals: promote foster engagement to improve positive outcome, especially for large dogs and timid cats; start accepting the surrender of healthy cats (“Stop telling people to leave abandoned pets on the street!”); create more satellite adoption centers like the one at Pet Food Express in Bixby Knolls (“not as good as a foster home, but many cats do better in that environment than at the shelter”); post an intake/outcomes dashboard on the shelter’s website; and finally—a common call by advocates—low-cost spay/neuter for the community, “especially the TNR folks.”

In fairness, a couple of these suggestions are proceeding, and shelter manager Staycee Dains had stated that healthy cats will be welcome when there’s room (and with the shelter at population crisis, therein lies the belly rub, as I frequently say). But they all have merit, particularly regarding spay/neuter. There wouldn’t be as many animals, healthy or otherwise and cats especially, to overrun the shelter if there were fewer of them.

“I realize it’s really late to get budget items rearranged, and I’m happy with a $500,000 medical bump,” said John Crouch, a local TNR supporter and volunteer. “But my biggest focus is reducing intake in a humane way through TNR and community cat colony management. We have thousands of homeless cats—the budget doesn’t seem to address this specifically.” TNR, to clarify, is spaying and neutering adult stray cats and returning them to their location unless they’re docile enough for adoption.

Long Beach’s animal-welfare community generally suggested that proactive spending will save money in the long run and will certainly save lives. Friends of Long Beach Animals president Lauren Campbell said she hoped that the medical funding will spur hiring adequate staff to run the veterinary clinic that the organization donated to the shelter in 2015.

“Local rescues, nonprofits and volunteers simply cannot sustain the responsibility of taking in all the animals with extreme medical needs that can’t be treated on-site, and nonprofits such as us do not have the funding to continue absorbing these types of costs for our shelter animals,” Campbell said. “The population of our city is 500,000 people, with approximately two pets each. With the high cost of veterinary care, many of our citizens are releasing their animals onto the streets or relinquishing to the shelter. This is a growing problem and needs to be addressed.”

During public comment at one of the Zoom budget webinars, Crouch asked whether LBACS planned to increase low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter availability and to continue TNR support. Brent Dennis, department director of Parks, Recreation and Marine, didn’t directly answer the TNR question but mentioned getting a mobile spay/neuter clinic. Spay/neuter beyond the $100 vouchers would be a bonus.

Long Beach residents can still address budget priorities at the Budget Oversight Hearing at 2 p.m. Sept. 6 or at the budget hearing that evening at the Sept. 6 City Council meeting, which will be held in person. This is also the first potential budget adoption night; the council can also adopt the budget the following Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Virtually pets

Long Beach Animal Care Services has some very good news—they’ve again expanded adoption hours! Adoptions will be conducted Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guests are still welcome to browse until 5:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, adoptions will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and guests are welcome to browse until 4 p.m. The following pets represent all of them waiting in kennels and foster homes, waiting to go to a real home forever. To speed up the adoption process, email [email protected]. To foster, email [email protected].


black pit bull with white muzzle and huge, upright, pointed ears lies on grass holding toy and looking directly at camera
Chocolito (ID#A538675) is listening with his big ears for the footsteps of a forever-lovin’ human who won’t buy a summer house in a faraway place and dump him at a shelter on the way to the airport. Really, that’s what his owner did— he was 9 years old! Chocolito’s a great, mid-energy fellow, happy to walk several miles a day, and loves to play, yet with the mild-mannered, calm demeanor of a mature adult. He’s a perfect mid-size at about 65 pounds, with spectacular ears and a bit of gray fur that gives him a wise, distinguished look. He’s currently with a loving foster family, and they report that he walks well on a leash and warms up quickly to new friends, both human and canine. He’s smart, knows some commands, and is treat motivated. He’s crate trained but is also housebroken and stays loose in the house just fine. Being abandoned by his longtime family must have been devastating, but while his foster family adores him, they would love nothing more than to find his happily ever after family so that they can help another shelter dog in need. Apply to meet him!


tan pit bull looks coyly at the camera as he stands in front of a green vehicle.
Sweet Coco (ID#A564888), a 7-year-old male pit bull was left behind with his buddy, precious Diamond (ID#A564889), an 8-year-old female of the same breed,  when their owner moved. Both doggies visited Benny the Cat’s birthday party event last week and were wonderful—well behaved and friendly to all the human guests (they didn’t meet the cats!).


smiling gray and white pit bull wearing an orange bandanna sits in front of an adoption vehicle
But poor Diamond was so disconsolate when she returned to the kennel that she curled up with her back to the world. She and Coco need to lead a normal life so badly! How we wish that there were a way to convince or help people keep their pets when their situations change, but the best we can do is to tell you about how great they are and how they don’t deserve the situations they’ve been placed in.


three newborn kittens with black spots lie on an orange warmer.
Kiiiitttenz! The shelter sometimes gets kittens in, sometimes with nursing mothers and other times alone. —with the weather, it looks as if it’ll be kitten season forever. These three little ones are being kept warm and are with a foster. They require certain care at only days and weeks old, and the shelter isn’t equipped for the amount of the time and care they need. I’m putting in another plea for fosters, not only for kittens but also for adult cats and dogs. It won’t be a forever deal (chortles slyly) in the best sense possible! Email [email protected] for information. I know I’m repeating myself, but fostering is one of the ways to ease overcrowding and at the same time get abandoned pets some loving.


Great furballs of fun!

Pets Ahoy! wine-tasting fundraiser for Seal Beach Animal Care Center: Sunday, Sept. 18, noon–3 p.m., Seal Beach Yacht Club, 255 North Marina Drive., $60 prepaid, $70 at the door.

Hail ye, doggie paddlers and moggie maties! Enjoy a scrumptious luncheon, enticing wines (non-alcoholic beverages included), and chances at a treasure chest of cash prizes and fabulous auction items. An  opportunity drawing offers three lucky seafarers the chance to win Visa gift cards for $1,000, $500 and $250. Tickets are limited so be sure to sign up soon at this link! Donations are tax deductible and help us feed, house and care for our animals.

Pet Food Express-district manager Jim Zayac stands with his dog, Lou, between shelves of good-smelling food. Lou, however, seems more enchanted with his human. Photo courtesy of Pet Food Express


Pet Food Express Pet Fair, online at this link through Sept. 30, with in-store live weekend Sept. 24–25

The pet-supply store that carries only food with high-quality ingredients and every accessory your best buddy needs has announced the dates for this year’s Pet Food Express Pet Fair. The Fair will follow a hybrid model, with virtual adoptions online through September and the big Live Weekend, featuring pets from local rescues, taking place Sept 24 and 25. The weekend event will also include live streams and informative seminars both online and in person on the weekend. Food samples will be available at all stores the entire month. Stay tuned for more information about the new location opening in Belmont Shore.

Strut Your Mutt

Best Friends Strut Your Mutt: Saturday, Oct. 22, 9–11 a.m., Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, or virtually at this link from 8 a.m.–4 p.m., $20 registration fee.

Put on your walking shoes or strap on a virtual pair, and get ready to step up, step out and save lives! Strut Your Mutt, the fundraising walk that saves lives of dogs and cats across the country—is back in the flesh and fur in select cities after an interruption by COVID-19 last year. Although live events were canceled virtual Strut Your Mutt participants raised $1.45 million for homeless pets. Your participation helps to reach Best Friends’ goal of becoming no-kill nationwide by 2025. Registration includes an official 2022 Strut Your Mutt event T-shirt, and the money you raise, including your registration fee, goes directly to Best Friends’ adoption candidates—cats and dogs, of course, and also horses, birds, rabbits and pigs—or to your favorite local participating animal welfare organization. Fundraising runs through Oct. 31. Access this link for details.

12 months of pets!

 The pet calendars are getting an early start! Enter your own calendar grrrls or purrrrls and help fund rescues and their good works!

Show Us Your Kitties!, Helen Sanders CatPAWS, votes $5 each, reserved days $15 each, closes Sept. 2

 Help Helen Sanders CatPAWS raise money to save cats from public shelters! Submit a photo of your kitty, or vote for your favorite feline in the contest. You can also submit a kitty photo for a special day on the calendar. The top vote winner at the conclusion of the contest will have their choice of month to feature their cat as a pinup pm on the calendar. The next 12 top-vote recipients will become Helen Sanders CatPAWS Calendar Cats for each of the remaining calendar months between January 2023 and January 2024. Up to six runner-up photos after the top 13 vote recipients will be featured with larger photos and name on the front cover! Enter now at this link!

woman in denim jacket holds little white cat with tabby ears. kennels with kittens are in the background.

Foster for awhile—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.