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Los Angeles Mayoral Candidates Talk Animal Welfare in LA

Los Angeles Mayoral candidates were joined by more than 100 residents to answer questions about issues facing the animal welfare community and pet parents during an hour-long mayoral forum hosted by the Los Angeles Democrats for the Protection of Animals. 

Moderated by Mark Thompson, the range of topics included pet-inclusive housing, spay and neuter programs, access to resources and pet care, and the Los Angeles Animal Services and shelter system.

Citing the Michelson Found Animals and Human Animal Bond Research Institute’s Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative research, Thompson highlighted that it has become increasingly difficult for pet parents to secure pet-friendly rental housing in Los Angeles. The study found that 72% of residents surveyed reported that pet-inclusive housing is hard to find and a quarter of residents say that their pets have been a reason for them needing to move. With the eviction moratorium set to expire later this year, pet parents need a solution. 

“Having the values is one thing, but having the pragmatic ability to implement those values is important. Whether it comes to expanding spay and neuter programs, tackling shelter budget constraints or making sure shelter staff is available so shelters are open to the public. This is the work of a mayor. And I look forward to building on it as your continued teammate.” – Mike Feuer

“Even after the eviction moratorium expires, we can have in place in the city of Los Angeles rules that say that the fact a tenant has an animal, is not in itself a ground for eviction, that would be a step forward,” Feuer said. “What you’re getting with [a pet owning] tenant is a stable tenant who is likely to want to create a space for their companion animal that is safe and secure and landlords want that stability.”

The pandemic has exacerbated inequities in underserved communities, including low-income pet parents across Los Angeles, from access to veterinary services to grooming and even pet food insecurity. Later this month Michelson Found Animals’ Better Neighbor Project is hosting a Pet Wellness Day to combat these issues in the Boyle Heights community.

Feuer noted that the changes since the pandemic have increased innovations and partnerships.

“Mobile outreach becomes incredibly important, and the city has previously used mobile outreach to grapple with the issue of a lack of physical access to facilities. All of these issues require creativity and that cross-jurisdictional collaboration that I want to inspire in City Hall,” Feuer said. 

“There’s a big opportunity for a mayor who was creative and aggressive to engage the private sector,” he continued. “There is a tremendous pent-up interest in the private sector in partnering with private philanthropy and partnering with the animal services system that they believe in. And so as mayor, in addition to prioritizing Animal Services as a key facet of public safety, which it is, I would engage the private sector to join us with philanthropic contributions designed to enhance and support what we have in the city.”

Watch the full Los Angeles Mayoral Forum here:

This virtual event was brought to you by the Los Angeles Democrats for the Protection of Animals, in partnership with Michelson Found Animals, Michelson Center for Public Policy, Greater Los Angeles Animal Spay and Neuter Collaborative, and Social Compassion in Legislation.

Learn more about who is running for Los Angeles Mayor. The primary is June 7 and election day is November 8.