The Scratching Post is a weekly newsletter from pets columnist Kate Karp, bringing you all the latest news on pet adoptions, animal welfare and ways to get involved.

The city’s Animal Care Services Department got a bit of extra funding during budget deliberations last week, which animal advocates say will help ease overcrowding in local shelters. 

LBACS this year got an extra $400,000 to help with overcrowding issues, and another $400,000 to help pay for spay and neutering of animals adopted through the shelter. 

LBACS shelter volunteers appear often in The Scratching Post because of their above-and-beyond commitment to the animals. Before the enhancements were announced at the council meeting, shelter volunteers Nici Daniels and Laura Sellmer spoke during public comment on the budget. They were impressive—you can tune in here. (Scroll to 23-0996.)

Among the long-term needs that Daniels and Sellmer saw were additional staff members as described in the 2018 shelter audit, continuing the dog foster program and a dedicated spay/neuter team. 

Interim shelter director Melanie Wagner agreed that the shelter is short staffed and also underpositioned. She said that they’re in the process of hiring and filling positions. 

Wagner plans to use some one-time funding to bring in contracted services for the dog-foster program.

“In five months, our dog foster has fostered out 90 dogs, and that’s a big thing,” she said. “As long as we’re over capacity, we have to have someone do it.”

Wagner said that the shelter will also use the funding to handle the backlog of unaltered pets not only in the shelter but also that went out during the pandemic-related Home First program, implemented to get the animals into homes quickly before they had been spayed or neutered. Even though the additional funds are one-time only, she isn’t worried yet because it buys time to improve upon management and challenges of overcrowding and spay/neuter.

Wagner expressed pride in Daniels and Sellmer. In the short time she’s been at the shelter, she’s amazed at the entire team of staff and volunteers and by the animal-advocacy community as well.

“Our forward momentum  is a combination of all voices: community, volunteers, staff, people on the ground day in and day out,” she said. “They’re full of fabulous ideas. What we do here cannot operate as an island—we need this whole community.”

Pets to adopt

The three dogs in this section have been in the shelter a very long time. They’re good dogs who don’t deserve to die there, if it comes to that. If you or someone you know wants to adopt or foster a pet and save some lives (including maybe yours), ask them to consider one of these three, or check LBACS adoption page to see all the pets and learn about the adoption process. LBACS is located at 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, at entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter guests) and is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (3 p.m. weekends). Please come to the adoption event Saturday, Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pet Supplies Plus, 2086 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach.

Alonzo (#A690707) came in as a stray in December and has been neutered. He’s about a year and a half old, and has as of now spent half his life in our shelter. Alonzo’s dream day would be a long walk adventure with his new human, then a nap, and finally, playtime with lots of tough toys to try to destroy! With his high energy and athleticism, he would make a perfect jogging, walking or hiking companion for an active owner. Alonzo’s at risk of euthanasia for space, which would be a loss of a giant smile and the greatest tippy-toe-dance if a treat or a toy is in the offing.

Brownie (#A693980) is a 2-year-old sweetheart of a gal who was surrendered to the shelter in February by an unhoused person who was no longer able to care for her. She’s spayed, weighs 53 pounds, is very friendly, and has a smile that will brighten your day. Playing with toys and galloping around the play yard are two of her favorite things, although she’s not insanely hyper. She’s a bit long and low to the ground as if she has a touch of basset or corgi. That would make her a basbull or maybe a pitgi!

Venus (#A694824) is a very loving, spayed female that’s about 3 years old. She’s calmer than most young huskies and is very gentle. She’s smart and treat motivated—she knows “sit” and “shake.” Her lovely coat varies from gray to tan to white, and her tail has an awesome curl. Venus arrived to us as a stray in March with her sister Neptune, who was adopted in May. She’s dog friendly and has participated in play groups at the shelter. She loves human attention and is quite the extrovert. As a long-stay dog, this wonderful girl needs help now to find her forever family.

Pet events

As the leaves fall in certain parts of the country, the leaves of our calendars are down to about two and a half months. A few of our local rescues are putting together their annual compendia of their pinup pups and kitties to adorn you wall and make the day a little more palatable. Proceeds from the calendars will help fund all the good things that each rescue does, which you can read about on their websites. You can find details on the following links:

Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s Pets Ahoy! Sunday, Oct. 1, Seal Beach Yacht Club, 255 Marina Drive, Seal Beach, tickets $75 online and $85 at the door.

SBACC’S 15th annual wine-tasting event includes lunch from Finbar’s Italian Kitchen, wines from Riboli Family Wines, and live music by Tiffany Dennis. Fabulous auction items are there for the bidding! All proceeds go to the cats and dogs at the center.

The event takes place Sunday, Oct. 1, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Seal Beach Yacht Club, 255 Marina Drive, Long Beach. All donations are tax deductible.

To see a list of local animal rescue groups, click here.