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‘Live Save’ Rates: How Animals Pay the Price

Written by Michelle Kretzer | January 29, 2013

Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) recently announced that its shelters had a “no-kill December,” a month during which the department reportedly “did not euthanize any treatable or healthy animals in its care.” While this certainly sounds wonderful and is what every animal shelter strives to achieve, one blogger explains what the numbers really translate into and how the welfare of animals is disregarded when statistics become more of a focus than the animals themselves.

Longtime friend to animals, Phyllis Daugherty, examined what “no-kill December” really meant for animals who found refuge at LAAS last month and asked, “Are we really to believe that with no other changes but a change of mind, suddenly all the least desirable animals were swept from the shelter into ‘forever’ homes, or even just to somewhere that they can be assured a humane life?”

While LAAS announced a 90 percent “live-save” rate for December, this does not mean a 90 percent adoption rate. The term “live-save” means only that the animals left the shelter, not that they went to qualified, screened homes. As Daugherty explains, “Often the pet is merely taken to another shelter by ‘transport,’ and possibly transported many times to different shelters in different areas in the country if [he or she] is not adopted. Once the animal has left the L.A. shelter, [his or her] impound (ID) number may be changed many times, so we really don’t know what ultimately happens to [him or her].”

Just days after Daugherty’s article was posted, humane and sheriff’s officials in Oregon raided a self-purported “rescue” where more than 140 dogs were found starving, stuffed into tiny stacked travel carriers amid their own waste and without access to water, after being “saved” from euthanasia at an open-admission animal shelter in California. Many were found with their eyes sealed shut with mucus and pus, and urine and excrement were dripping onto them from the cages above. One dog was found in a carrier so small that “he was unable to lie down, sit or stand up.” The Oregonian reported, “Some of the dogs were in such an advanced state of starvation that technicians will have to use a ‘refeeding program’ to reintroduce small amounts of easily digestible food.”

Regarding LAAS, Daugherty rightfully asks, “Is this a sustainable or desirable solution?” When the focus shifts from protecting animals to playing a numbers game, animals pay the price, bounced around like rubber balls and often ending up in situations so cruel and harsh that being “saved” becomes a fate far worse than a painless exit from a world that has already betrayed them once.

And unlike rubber balls, animals become confused and distressed when bounced around, often developing severe separation anxiety and other behavioral symptoms as they are moved from place to place. PETA has investigated and exposed many hoarder “rescue” facilities—places such as Caboodle RanchAngel’s Gate, All Creatures Great and Small, and other hellholes—where animals end up languishing in criminally cruel conditions after they have been “saved” from open-admission shelters that are desperately trying to fend off criticism from an ill-informed public misled by the “no-kill” movement.

LAAS reports on its Facebook page that during the December effort, compassionate “volunteers complained that [LAAS was] keeping too many animals. And it did get crowded.” We have to ask why the humane community is so quick to tolerate the suffering and danger inflicted on animals who are the victims of the “no-kill” fantasy.


As PETA has stressed for decades—and put its money where its mouth is by spaying and neutering nearly 90,000 animals at low or no cost in the past 10 years—the only way that we can truly hope to become a “no-kill” nation is to work at the roots, not at the “feel good” treetops. We must first become a no-birth nation through aggressive spay/neuter initiatives—only then we can truly save lives.

Commenting is closed.
  • doglover says:

    a new law should be placed that everyone should have their animal spayed or neutered. only a certain amount of breeders should be able to slide by this, but ONLY with the states permission and some sort of certificate verifying their animal can produce legally. There is ALOT of people that are either too lazy or irresponsible to have their dog or cat fixed. Noone can have excuses anymore, because organizations now make it affordable.. like $15 affordable! Also, certain cities give you a special in getting your animals fixed for free! Animals should NOT have to pay the price for this.. it is us humans to blame for most of these irresponsible and lazy owners! Another thing to address, if you’re going to have an animal.. BE COMMITED.. animals are NOT a 2 year thing and then “oh.. they’re too big” or “oh he won’t learn” JUST STOP. Literally, when I hear an excuse like this I want to tell them, so if you’re child gets expensive you’re going to throw them in foster care?! It’s the same thing people! Don’t sugar coat it! You plan before you get a puppy, they’re not a come home after work, or just a cute thing.. they breathe, they have a heart, they eat, they love, and they trust, and they RELY. you get it? You may be able to forget, but that poor animal will have to live with your lazy excuse. So if you’re wanting an animal, PLAN. repeat, PLAN. Do you buy all of your stuff for the baby after you have it? didn’t think so! So before making a decision about getting an animal do research! it’s not hard, and puppy stuff is not expensive. These poor animals are suffering because of us! We need to take a stand for those who don’t care. They’re just like 24/7 human babies.. no difference (except they can walk). Anyways, PETA can only do so much! It’s us everyday citizens that can only help. This world will be a bitter place without animals.. after all, GOD put them here for us to TAKE CARE OF AND LOVE. So think about this every time you drive by a lost dog.. or even a pound. Take a day in their paws…

  • Lilybug says:

    It is clear to me that shelters need to recruite more staff who should be placed with animals supervising them for their whole shift, for fights, and when animal is need of treatment. Also there should be a veterinarian working on site all the time, and over night staff to supervise them during the night! New rules should be implemented on the cleanliness of these shelters and dogs taken out and fed a couple at a time. I think this would improve no kill facilities greatly. I’m against kill shelters and as much as I support PETA they euthanasia many animals who aren’t adopted

  • Rita says:

    It’s so sad…It breaks my heart :((( If a could have the chance to rescue all of them :(((

  • Anna says:

    Los Angeles Animal Services is run by a breeder who lobbied FOR puppy mills for the AKC. She and her assistants are routinely shipping off LA animals to hoarders and people they haven’t even checked out, where the animals are dying but they aren’t counted. The breeders want to try to pretend there is no overpopulation so they just are dumping these poor pets like garbage to die where no one can see, then lying to the public. I know because I am involved with rescues there. No Kill is a FRAUD. It is creating situations that are worse than puppy mills now. Please investigate any No Kill near you. Look behind the scenes and please report overcrowding and neglect. There is so much suffering now because of No Kill.

  • morera says:

    L’humain est immonde !

  • Christine says:

    So true…sad, but true, the “no-kill” fantasy. Spay and neuter your pets, and go vegan–now that’s a positive reality for all living beings!