By Mary O’KEEFE
During the fiscal year 2015-16, 26,350 animals were adopted in Los Angeles County, which is good news; however, there were also 25,683 euthanized, according to County of L.A. Animal Care and Control.
“During my first term on the Los Angeles City Commission, that was with Mayor [Sam] Yorty (in the 1960s and 70s),” said Erika Brunson, president of SPAY4LA, “[animals] were just killed. [There were] too many animals and there were no services.”
So she started raising money and was able to fund a mobile dog and cat spay and neuter trailer that has been active in the city of L.A. The program has grown in the city but Brunson wanted to it to travel throughout the L.A. County. She continued her outreach and fundraising and as of Wednesday has two trailers for the L.A. County area.
“It would not have happened without the [support] of Michael Antonovich,” she said.
L.A. Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Brunson were joined by Marcia Mayeda with the Dept. of Animal Care and Control on Wednesday at a ribbon cutting event at Crescenta Valley Park, near the CV dog park.
The converted RV is outfitted with cages and a medical section at the back of the vehicle. Faces of dogs decorate the outside of the RV. The mobile units will be driven throughout Los Angeles County to provide free or reduced cost spay and neuter surgery for cats and dogs.
“This is an example of a strong public and private partnership,” Antonovich said. “Erika Brunson came forward and pointed out the need because of the thousands of animals that are destroyed each year and because of the homeless and abandoned stray animals. We need to do a better job than we have been and can through [Brunson’s] leadership and her generously.”
He added the mobile pet program costs about $1.2 million and that amount has been cut to about half due to Brunson’s fundraising efforts.
“Erika Brunson has been a tireless advocate for animals,” he stated. “Without her none of this would have been possible.”
Brunson credited Antonovich for the county’s involvement, adding her organization had been attempting to reach into the county for years but it was through Antonovich’s support that they were able to offer this mobile, no/low cost service.
“We have two [mobile] units in the city and two in the county – one in this district and one in Antelope Valley and Lancaster/Palmdale,” she said.
Brunson collected funds from individuals and corporations including a $150,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to help the county to provide low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. The county matched the additional funding.
Brunson is president of SPAY4LA and is vice president for the Coalition For Pets and Public Safety.
SPAY4LA also offers low-cost vaccines and microchips to spayed and neutered pets.
For information contact SPAY4LA at (800) 772-9452.