Contributed by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control
As an animal care organization, DACC is committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets sheltered that are not reclaimed by their owners. While we strive for adoption outcomes for all dogs, we also have a responsibility to public safety. In some cases, dogs that find their way to our animal care centers have a documented history of such aggressive tendencies that they pose a threat to public safety.
Eighty-four percent (84%) of the dogs that come into our Los Angeles County Animal Care are adopted to families or placed with our very valued adoption partners (rescues). However, because of our commitment to public safety, DACC will not place dogs—even with our adoption partners—when the dog has a documented history of aggressive behavior, or has exhibited a pattern of threatening or aggressive behavior while in our care.
The reality is that very few dogs in our animal care centers will be deemed to pose a risk to public safety. We want to reassure concerned animal advocates that fears that have recently been conveyed to us - that any dog that shows fear in the stressful kennel environment will be euthanized - is simply not correct. Our policy is limited to dogs whose documented history demonstrates a high likelihood that they will injure or kill another animal or attack a human.
We do not take lightly the decision to euthanize a dog for behavioral reasons and are committed to taking that action only when the dog poses a very strong propensity to do harm if placed in a new home. We will continue to evaluate each dog as an individual, taking into consideration all available information including temperament test, documented history and behavior while in our care.
We continue to collaborate with our adoption partners to place dogs with less serious behavior issues, such as those whose evaluation would suggest special placement that our adoption partners may have the resources to address.
Our policy is supported by state law, including the Hayden mandate that only stray dogs, that are adoptable, be released to 501(c)(3) organizations upon demand prior to euthanasia. The Food and Agriculture Code states in pertinent part:
17005. (a) It is the policy of the state that no adoptable animal should be euthanized if it can be adopted into a suitable home. Adoptable animals include only those animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent to the time the animal is impounded or otherwise taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animal’s health in the future.
We encourage community members to visit our animal care centers to see the many wonderful pets that are ready to part of a family.