On Feb. 22, the City Council will be presented with a proposal by Jordan Roberts Diem and Kiza Hilton to open a “no-kill” shelter within the city of Santa Clarita. As a candidate for the upcoming City Council election, I support that proposal and so do the 5,500 local residents who recently signed a petition supporting such a facility. A no-kill shelter within our city means that no animal will be killed for lack of space or time of stay. Animals that are deemed dangerous will still be euthanized and not sent out into the community. Animals that are terminally ill or severely injured, or suffering, will also be euthanized.
The need for a no-kill shelter can be seen by recent statistics from the Castaic shelter run by L.A. County. For the full fiscal year July 2020- June 2021, a 12-month period, the Castaic shelter euthanized 51 cats and 46 dogs. For the time period July 2, 2021, to Dec. 31, six months into this fiscal year, Castaic has already euthanized 36 cats and 50 dogs. In other words, in the past six months, Castaic has euthanized nearly the same number of animals as it did in the prior 12-month period. A second shelter would serve to lighten Castaic’s load and in turn save lives.
A no-kill SCV city shelter would also serve as a location for animals to be safely housed during natural disasters, such as fires. Having a location inside Santa Clarita city limits makes it much easier for residents to get animals to the shelter if they must evacuate and lessens the likelihood that the shelter itself would need to be evacuated, as it will not be located on the outskirts of the valley where there is an imminent fire danger.
A no-kill SCV shelter would provide a safe space for community outreach such as education and assistance. Sometimes a family needs help learning how to care for a new pet. Sometimes a person suffers a financial loss and needs help with pet supplies or medical care for a pet. Sometimes a person walks down the street and sees a deceased or injured animal. Currently, L.A. County can take more than 24 hours to respond to a call and sometimes animal control officers are dispatched for an SCV call all the way from Palmdale or Lancaster.
The proponents of the no-kill SCV shelter have already taken the lead and done the homework when it comes to financing the proposed facility. They convinced L.A. County to agree to waive its contractual fees. The money that would be paid by the city to the county shelter system would instead be allocated to our own city shelter. A nonprofit specific to the SCV city shelter would be founded to raise money for operations. It would organize and execute fundraising events. Additionally, they secured an offer from a private party to obtain the building, which includes space for a veterinary clinic, groomer and retail space for pet supplies.
The resident animals in this city are our joy. They are also our responsibility. It is uncivilized, barbaric and wrong to euthanize happy, safe adoptable dogs or cats simply due to their length of stay at the shelter. We are better than this.