Surge In Abandoned Pets Fuels Crackdown On LA ‘Puppy Mills’

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — As the number of abandoned dogs and cats in the Southland hits a record high, animal activists and lawmakers are launching an effort to eliminate the source of all those unwanted pets.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports 56,000 dogs and cats passed through local animal shelters during the last year alone, while one-fourth of all those dogs and half the cats were put to death.

“Cruel treatment of pets solely for profit has no place in our city,” said Judy Mancuso, president of Social Compassion and Legislation at the East Valley Animal Shelter, just one of the many facilities overflowing with abandoned dogs and cats.

City Councilman Paul Koretz says puppy mills and kitten mills are a source that can — and should — be cut off.

“We want to be part of the solution, so we want to make it more difficult to sell ‘puppy mill’ animals, and easier to adopt our wonderful animals out of the shelters,” said Koretz.

Koretz plans to introduce a motion that would ultimately strengthen the laws against such mass breeding, while at the same time relocate shelter animals to pet stores where they can be adopted.

Puppy and kitten mills are only the latest chapter in the pet overpopulation story.

The city of Los Angeles requires spay and neutering for those pets house in animal shelters, but Jan Selder, director of field operations for L.A. Animal Services said more people are looking to make a quick buck with illegal kennels.

“I think a lot of what we see is the economy is in bad shape,” said Selder. “It doesn’t usually work out profitable, and what it ends up is more puppies are in the shelters.”

For more info on the wide variety of pure and mixed breed animals available for adoption, visit the L.A. Animal Services website.

  • Candace B.

    I also think the blame should be put on pet owners who think its ok to drop their pets off at shelters without consequence. It’s not only breeders who are responsible for the pet overpopulation problem, its irresponsible pet owners to.

    • michelleB

      you said it!

    • vero_v

      Many of the dogs that end up in shelters come from pet stores that buy from puppy mills. Many of these customers end up frustrated with their dogs/cats because of expensive veterinary bills, antisocial behavior, or chronic health problems. Puppies bred in puppy mills often lack proper veterinary care and early socialization. The breeders also breed dogs regardless of genetic issues that later on show up in the litter. This could all be avoided if more people adopted instead of buying dogs/cats- buying in pet shops, even because of pity, feeds the endless cycle.
      For more information about puppy mills and pet shops, visit the Companion Animal Protection Society website at

    • i See!


      I strongly agree!

      Although, it sounds to me as if you are a breeder.

    • Vicki

      Heartless abandonment happens all too often in our neighborhood, which is very pet-friendly, and therefore amps up what I suspect is the perp’s common rationalization: “If we drop Buster here, surely someone will find and adopt him.”

  • lisa d.

    Candace-I agree with you in theory, but in today’s horrific economy, I think there are people whose lives take a HUGE turn for the worst and they lose their homes. However, as a teacher, I often hear stories from my kids about “why” they got rid of their dog or cat and, frankly, I’m appalled. They message they are sending their children about pet ownership is one of devaluing life and abdicating responsibility. As to breeders, I think that depends. I have two pure bred dogs and I was asked to sign and agreement that stated that—at any point in their lives–and for any reason–if I could not keep my dogs–they would go back to the breeder and she would see to their care. In fact, our breed club insists on such an agreement and if a breeder is found in violation they are fined and face possibly expulsion from the club.

    • Jennifer bird

      @ Lisa d. – the author is commenting on puppy mills, not pure bred dogs. I personally don’t think there’s a huge difference in buying from a puppy mill or breeder when there are countless amounts of young dogs entering the shelter on four legs and leaving it in a barrel on the way to a rendering facility. But, to get back to the point, perhaps the breeder of your dogs is responsible. If so, that’s great. It’s the puppy mills who are turning out copious amounts of animals who ultimately end up in the shelter that I think this is trying to address.

  • judo-cide

    get rid of the puppy mills!!!!

    stop this over population of unwanted dogs and cats…it’s really sad…

    everyone wants a dog or cat…but not everyone has the capability to take care of them. Worse yet is people who just flat out don’t even take care of them…it’s just wrong to mess with these animals who do tend to get attatched to thier owners.

  • George

    This is really a no-brainer. More effort and stronger laws HAVE to implemented NOW to stop these cruel puppy mills! Dogs aren’t toys or merchandise, they’re intelligent, sensitive and loyal beings that suffer emotional and physical pain. We domesticated them, bred out their ability to fend for themselves and they’re now our responsibility to protect from the barbaric and sadistic among us who hurt them. If you agree, take a moment right now to let your elected officials know how you feel.

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  • My Kitties Mama

    I cant imagine what goes through people’s heads when they surrender their dog/cat to shelters or abandon them on the street. As for purchasing a dog…..why pay $$$$$ for a dog when there are perfectly good dogs waiting to be adopted at your local shelter?

    I have two beautiful cats one girl and one boy. The girl was a feral I caught when I was staying at a Hotel in Malibu, the hotel has seen been taken down and she has been with us for 10 years. The boy’s story is more tragic, he was thrown from a vehicle on the Santa Monica 10 Freeway when he was a little kitten. By the grace of God no cars hit him and he was able to make his way to the shoulder of the freeway where a wonderful woman stopped to grab him. She was not able to get the vehicle LIC plate but was able to take him to the vet and get him medical care, we cringe at the thought of what may have happened to his siblings. He has been with us for about four years now.

    Our two cats have health insurance, get regular visits to the vet, get groomed every 3 months, have their own beds and have a small box full of toys. And no, we are not well off. We just understand that we need to be responsible for and to our pets.

    We consider our kitties part of our family and couldn’t ever give them up no matter whatever the financial situation, I understand that not everyone maybe able to do this. That is why anyone who is considering taking on the responsibility of a pet understand that you are taking on a life long commitment….their life long.

    • Alice Ramirez

      Brava! I admire you, Kitty-Mama!

  • Alice Ramirez

    There is an abundance of stray and feral cats in my neighborhood. Because I love cats and feel sorry for them because their lives are so hard, I feed them. I also trap them to be spayed/neutered, and have spent a lot of my personal funds to do this. As a result, the stray/feral cat population in my neighborhood numbers in the tens rather than the hundreds, but still WAY too many!

    I wish people would (a) get their animals spayed/neutered so that I (and the city) don’t have to, and (b) would please stop treating these poor creatures as disposables! I think there should be very harsh penalties for illegal animal breeders!

    Probably can’t do the same for the heartless animal-owners who just get rid of their pets at the pound, because if such a law were passed, those wretches would just DUMP the poor things in a strange neighborhood or worse.

  • carole davis

    Such great news! It is unconscionable to breed, sell or buy an animal while we are killing 5 million/year in our nation’s shelter system. Bravo to all the orgs and activists involved in the fight against pet factory cruelty. Pet mills only exist because people continue to buy animals and the ethical choice is to RESCUE an animal that is sterilized. That’s the smart solution! Bravo to Paul Koretz for bringing this problem into the light.
    Carole Davis, Companion Animal Protection Society

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