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%.
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.
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].
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 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.
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!
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.
- Ally’s Animal Network
- Bunny Bunch
- Cat Cove
- Friends of Long Beach Animals
- Fix Long Beach
- Feline Good Social Club
- Helen Sanders CatPAWS
- 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
- SAFE Rescue Team
- Seal Beach Animal Care Center
- Sparky and the Gang Animal Rescue
- Stray Cat Alliance
- Wrigley Kittens
- Zazzy Cats