Animal shelter marks 75 years

DOWNEY - The Laker Girls will be at the county animal shelter in Downey this Saturday from 12-1:30 p.m. as the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) celebrates its 75th year of operation.That's 525 years in dog years. In honor of the anniversary, pet adoptions will be discounted to $19.37. There will also be animal control displays, music, free refreshments and a history of the department. Los Angeles County's first animal shelter - called the Pound Department - was opened in September 1937 by the Board of Supervisors during the height of a statewide rabies epidemic. There were no housing facilities, animal control equipment and very little staffing. The department would contract with humane societies to house impounded animals but by 1945 it was apparent that the humane societies could no longer meet the growing animal care needs of the county. The first county shelter opened in Downey in 1946. Additional county shelters were opened in the 1950s, 1960s and the last facility in 1976. "The department has evolved into a critical service provider since its inception in 1937. We've gone from rabies control to a modern day, full-service animal care and control agency," said department director Marcia Mayeda. "To better address some contemporary animal issues, we've been able to implement much needed ordinances, such as the mandatory spay and neuter/microchip ordinance and the Commercial Breeding ordinance. Both ordinances are unprecedented and serve as model ordinances for other jurisdictions to adopt. "DACC has come a long way since 1937, but the early departmental mission has remained intact: to protect the safety of the public and the animals of Los Angeles County," Mayeda added. Today, the county operates six animal shelters (with a seventh in the works) and services all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and 52 contract cities. Animal control officers respond to several hundred requests for service each day, including animal rescues, cruelty and abuse complaints, and various health and safety matters. The DACC also maintains a 24/7 communications center which serves as the hub for information and dispatching; a medical team responsible for the health of all shelter pets; animal care personnel who provide the day-to-day care of animals; and support staff who serve as the link to the public. The entire event Saturday runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Downey animal shelter is at 11258 S. Garfield Ave.

********** Published: September 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 24