How Neighborhood Councils Help Animals
January 10, 2012 at 12:32:45 pm | Posted by Jennifer B. in Pet Care, Pet Identification, Pet Microchipping, Spay & NeuterTweet
Our External Relations Manager tells us a bit about what she does here at Found Animals and answers the most common questions people have about pets in their neighborhood.
My job at the Found Animals Foundation involves me visiting Neighborhood Councils across Los Angeles. Before I started, I had no idea what a neighborhood council actually does— I’ve learned quickly that these are passionate people who are deeply involved in the day-to-day running of your area. There are over 90 Neighborhood Councils (NCs) across LA and they have a general meeting once a month.
The NCs cover everything from zoning and licensing for new businesses to beautification, emergency preparedness, donations to local groups, and much more. The NCs are comprised of dedicated volunteers and community activists who care about what happens in their neighborhood. Instead of complaining about their neighborhood, they’re doing something to improve it!
So what do I do at these meetings, other than sit in amazement at the level of commitment that these people have? I talk about what we do here at Found Animals. I cover our major programs and initiatives and hopefully inspire stakeholders and board members to consider humane treatment of animals and caring for the companion animals in their districts.
At the end of my presentation, I usually have a few minutes for questions. While there are some unique ones, there are some recurring themes that I’d like to address here:
My neighbor/mother/friend feeds the feral cats in their neighborhood, but there seem to be more every day—what can I do about it?
If they are determined to feed these cats, then we ask that they also be responsible about getting the cats spayed or neutered. Cats can reproduce at incredibly fast rates and while it might seem manageable to feed the 4-5 cats you started with, once they start to have kittens, you can have 20-40 in a matter of months—and that number will just continue to grow. Feral cats, which are also known as community cats/alley cats are not able to be picked up and popped in a carrier to be taken to the vet to be fixed. There are a variety of humane traps that you can use to catch the cats. You can look up directions on how to use the traps online. Once trapped, you can take them to a clinic or vet (SNP-LA in Van Nuys/San Pedro/Pico Rivera is having a great special on cat sterilization now—and FixNation focuses just on feral felines), who will sterilize them. They can then be re-released into their former home. There is much more information available online about feral cat caretaking that can assist with trapping and sterilizing. Once you’ve trapped and sterilized all of the cats in the colony, they will need to keep a keen eye out for newcomers and trap & sterilize them too.
My neighbor lets their dog run around the neighborhood, what can I do?
Loose dogs in the neighborhood can be a danger—not just to the dog, who might easily be run over or picked up, but also to the drivers who swerve to avoid the animal and children who might be afraid of dogs and not know how to react. You can call animal control, who might be able to find that dog and bring it to the shelter for the owner to hopefully pick up their animal. You can also try talking to that neighbor. Find out if the dog is getting loose, if they are not providing adequate containment for them, or if they didn’t realize. It’s always better to approach the neighbor in a friendly fashion, giving them the benefit of the doubt. If this is an ongoing problem, then perhaps it means getting other neighbors involved. If the neighbor genuinely cannot seem to get their dog under control, then it might be time to ask them if they’d like your help in re-homing their dog.
Where can I get my cat/dog spayed or neutered?
While your vet can do a great job at sterilization, know that there are many low cost and free spay & neuter providers in Los Angeles. If you live elsewhere, use our zip code tool to look up low cost spay & neuter resources in your area.
How many animals can I own?
If you live within the City of Los Angeles, the limit is 3 dogs/cats. That means 2 cats and 1 dog, 2 dogs and 1 cat, 3 dogs or 3 cats. If you live in the County but NOT the City of Los Angeles, the limit is 3 dogs and 5 cats.
I found a dog without tags. Now what do I do?
If you find a dog and it doesn’t have any identification tags, you should take it to the closest animal shelter. When an animal is lost, the first place an owner knows to look is the shelter—not your garage. Animal shelters are also able to scan your pet to see if they have a pet microchip. If you can, take photos of the dog and post them with your information around where you found the dog. Concerned that the dog might be euthanized and their owner might not find it? You can leave your name and information with the shelter and they will contact you if five days elapse and the owner doesn’t come forward and the animal is at risk for euthanasia.
Even though I’ve answered some of the most common questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com or join one of our Pet Clubs to find out more information about dogs or cats in your neighborhood.
I strongly encourage you to get involved in your Neighborhood Council. They are informative and empowering. 2012 is an election year–start by having a voice in your community.