New animal shelter a roaring success

first_imgThe facility has a synthetic grass enclosure with a yin-yang shape, where prospective dog adopters can get a good look at the charges they may be taking home. It has a water fountain. It has spray mists to freshen up the dogs in their kennels. It has an aviary with blindingly colorful tropical birds. It has officials going as gaga as the slobbering dog in one of the kennels. C&aacuterdenas said principles of Feng Shui, the Chinese art form of harmoniously arranging physical spaces, were taken into account for the building. “I think Feng Shui works, even for our four-legged creatures,” he said. On Saturday, a couple hundred two-legged creatures strolled around the animal shelter, which housed more than 500 of their four-legged counterparts. Some of the human visitors were looking to adopt. Others just wanted in on the party. VAN NUYS – Call it an animal shelter for a kinder, gentler era. At least that was the description officials gave the new East Valley Animal Care Center in Van Nuys as they unveiled it on Saturday. City Councilman Tony C&aacuterdenas was reluctant to even call it a shelter – a term that he felt isn’t good enough for this $12.3 million, state-of-the-art animal pound, which actually opened in May. “In the old days we used to call these shelters, and as you can see we’ve built a sanctuary,” C&aacuterdenas said. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stopped by to help with the official unveiling, posing for a group picture with C&aacuterdenas’ dog Coco at his feet. Villaraigosa voiced his hope that one day, the city can reach its “no kill” goal and not euthanize any animals for lack of adopters. Residents have adopted more animals recently, the mayor said. “Guess what? It’s still not enough, and we know it,” he said. From last July to the end of this past June, the city put to sleep 17,000 animals, compared to 35,000 five years ago. The kill rate has been reduced because of more adoptions and initiatives like the city’s spay and neutering program. Before anyone can adopt a dog at the shelter, it has to be fixed. A stray turtle that the shelter has in an aquarium has an easier time of it – it gets to leave the shelter completely intact. The old East Valley Animal Shelter was a converted dairy farm a few blocks away, general manager for Los Angeles Animal Services Ed Boks said. There was no yard for the animals in the older, smaller facility – just pens. The new facility has an open design, with a spacious yard for walking and training the dogs, and a garden with pinwheels. Architecht Erik Mar took Feng Shui principles into account because they make for good architecture, but didn’t hire an expert in the art. The project could have been even better, he said, but plans to put solar panels on a roof were scrapped to save money. Still, C&aacuterdenas insisted the facility is the best in the country. “We don’t have cages here, we have sanctuaries,” he said. In fact, the shelter does have what look very much like cages for rabbits and animals either recovering from injuries or being quarantined. Still, the facility is definitely an improvement over the old one, said Edward White, 32, a telephone splicer from Reseda. He adopted a dog last year from the old East Valley shelter. He likes the dog, but he didn’t like that shelter. “It just looked old, it looked less sanitary,” he said. “This looks a lot more organized, more sanitary, a lot more inviting.” But Assemblyman Lloyd Levine(D-Van Nuys) said there’s a better way to deal with stray animals than shelters. He proposed a bill in the Assembly to mandate spaying and neutering of nearly all dogs and cats in the state, but it failed to pass the Senate. He said pet owners need to get their animals fixed. “Until we get that message out and reduce the number of animals coming into the shelters, we’re really going to be fighting an uphill battle,” he said. [email protected] (818) 546-3304 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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