Pit Bull Warning! Tell Council to Vote NO On Dangerous Koretz Motion to Remove Dog/Cat Limits in LA

ANIMAL WATCH-If you heard the KFI AM-640 news report about four adult Pit Bulls escaping in San Diego on Saturday and killing seven Chihuahuas in their own yard, get used to it! 

 If the current motion by Councilmen Paul Koretz/Bob Blumenfield (passed by PAW committee on Jan. 17) is approved by the City Council, it removes all dog and cat limits in Los Angeles. Los Angeles will soon see its own increase in attacks due to owners keeping more dogs than they can properly care for and control. And, since LA Animal Services has less than 50 officers serving 4 million people and their pets in a 469 square-mile area on a 24/7 basis, and a phone system that doesn't work, GM Brenda Barnette probably won't be able to offer much assistance to victims. 

Koretz and Blumenfield, both career politicians, have totally ignored and obviously don't care, about the affects of their convoluted omnibus removal of reasonable standards for limiting dogs and cats. There is no concern about the attacks, hoarding, dog-fighting operations and other dangers to public health and/or safety this invites or enables. 

The surreptitious dismantling of pet limits is buried and distorted in this motion about kennels, "retail-rescue" pet shops and zone changes, with no mention of the simultaneous destruction of household pet limits. 

Where is the media conference on the steps of City Hall which invites the public to participate in such an important discussion? Instead,  CF 17-1237-S1 is being pushed through before opposition can organize to stall or stop it. 

The only clue is in the last paragraph of this almost incomprehensible motion, where Koretz/Blumenfield admit they have knowingly and intentionally removed the long-standing three dog/three cat limit for Los Angeles and now LA Animal Services and the Commission can decide how to restore numbers. (This is the Commission that approved removing breed labels from shelter ID cards and is considering feeding only vegan food to shelter dogs.) 

Removing the limit for private owners was secondary to removing limits for both dogs and cats in order to establish "retail rescue" stores with unlimited adult shelter animals in commercial zones within 500 feet of residences. 

The lethal effect on surrounding businesses was demonstrated by the Lucky Puppy Rescue on Ventura Blvd., whose owners were recently convicted of animal abuse/neglect AFTER the odor from the "pet shop" had reportedly forced an adjacent optical business to move and they were facing eviction. 

Additionally, every home, business or investor in the City of LA could realize a drastic decrease in property or business value if there is no household or per/property limit and a neighbor decides to acquire a large number of noisy and/or dangerous dogs or roaming cats. 

WILL THE PUBLIC ADOPT MORE SHELTER ANIMALS

This entire effort is ostensibly justified by the supposition that the public will adopt more shelter animals. But there is nothing in this irresponsible motion nor anywhere else in this effort that assures this, especially with Craigslist and the internet exploding with ads for puppies and kittens and "rescues" freely importing dogs and cats from all over the U.S. and other countries. 

CF 17-1237-S1 moved one step closer to Council passage last week, when the PAW Committee, consisting only of Koretz and Curren Price, approved it as written, even after learning that it includes a seminal statement about LA County's pet-limit ordinance that is blatantly incorrect. Neither was serious consideration given to objections, including written and verbal opposition by PETA.  

CAN LA RISK WIDESPREAD HOARDING AND/OR ANIMAL FIGHTING? 

GM Brenda Barnette opined when this effort first began, that "dog and cat limits are unrelated to animal hoarding and fighting, which in the former case are the manifestation of mental illness and in the later case deliberate illegal activities." 

Mission Hills attorney Jeffrey Zinder questioned her qualifications to make such blanket determinations and responded to the overall need for animal limits in Los Angeles, “Even those with good intentions may place their devotion to animals above their concern for their own neighbors and neighborhood. It is not the intention of the person that is in question; it is the effect their behavior has upon our city." 

SEND E-MAILS IN OPPOSITION DIRECTLY TO THE COMMITTEE CLERK 

First, read the Motion in CF 17-1237-S1.  There will undoubtedly be no discussion or questioning in Council, since the allotted one-minute public comment occurred in committee. Phone calls or e-mails to offices of Koretz, Blumenfield or the Mayor are customarily ignored. 

LA residents, business owners and other stakeholders should write now to create a permanent record of public opposition in the City Clerk's file. 

(1) Send a brief e-mail opposing removing dog/cat limits addressed to sharon.dickinson@lacity.org  (She is the City Clerk assigned to the Committee) and indicate in the subject line: OPPOSITION to CF 17-1237-S1

(2)  Also write to YOUR councilmember and tell him/her to vote "NO" on CF 17-1237-S1.

You can do this by going to Council Directory and clicking on the envelope by the correct name. You can also write to Mayor Garcetti, [[[   https://www.lamayor.org/  ]]]  (click on the menu at the upper right side for contact icon). 

BACKGROUND - FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW MORE 

Following is a further description of what happened at the Jan. 17 meeting and before. Many readers may not want to take the time to read this, but there may also be those who will realize a direct negative impact (now or later) and this background could be important. 

BROWN ACT VIOLATION 

In California, the Brown Act (CA Govt. Code Sec. 54950, et seq.) protects the public’s right to transparency in public meetings and guarantees the right to a clear description of proposed legislation on official meeting agenda. Omission is not acceptable when it conceals the intent of an item to be discussed. 

I am not an attorney, so this is just a personal observation. The agenda description of Koretz-Blumenfield's second-grade-level motion fails to disclose that passage will result in the automatic removal of household dog and cat limits. The fact that existing limits are mentioned does not contain that information and properly advise pet owners/stakeholders they will no longer exist at all. 

Item No. 1 (Council File 17-1237-S1) description on the PAW 1/17 agenda: 

Motion (Koretz - Blumenfield) relative to initiating an Ordinance to amend the definition of "kennel" in Section 12.03 of the Los Angeles Planning and Zoning Code to specify its application only to kennels maintained for business purposes, with the exception of pet shops, and also to resolve any differences in language that exist with the dog and cat kennel definition in Section 53, including adding "cats" if deemed appropriate; and instructing the Department of Animal Services and the Board of Animal Services Commissioners to undertake a public process to make recommendations for the initiation of an Ordinance regarding per household pet limits. 

FOUR WORDS REMOVED ALL HOUSEHOLD ANIMAL LIMITS 

Enforcing the number of animals allowed per household in the city of Los Angeles (which follows the best-practice standard for the country) is done by the need to obtain a "kennel permit" if the legal limit of three (3) adult dogs and three (3) adult cats is exceeded. If the zoning does not allow a kennel, or the surrounding community would be negatively impacted, the "kennel permit" is denied by the Planning Dept. or may be requested through a Conditional Use Permit, which involves community notification and input. 

Koretz/Blumenfield's motion to change the definition of a "kennel" by adding, "maintained for business purposes" removes private homes/properties and, thus, the current legal limits no longer exist. 

KORETZ’ MOTION CONTAINS AN INACCURATE STATEMENT ABOUT LA COUNTY 

The inaccurate statement that "kennel definition" is NOT used as a mechanism to determine the number of dogs (and/or cats) in other jurisdictions in Los Angeles County (Para. 3 of the 12/17 motion) is totally inaccurate and misleading. And it appears to be included to influence the decision.

Following is the explanation by a representative of LA County when asked about this statement in CF 17-1237-S1. (Note:  "kennels" are called "animal facilities" in County code): 

All 47 contract cities in LA County are required to agree to the enforcement of County code; however, we do allow them to substitute their own number of dogs and cats. But that doesn’t change the format of the applicable law.  

For us, even commercial “kennels” are licensed as “animal facilities.”  That is our name for kennels.  

Here is the applicable code:  

10.20.038 - Residential Dogs and Cats -- Limitations 

  1. Dogs. It is unlawful to keep more than four dogs at any residence without an animal facility license. Each dog must be licensed. For purposes of this section, a service dog licensed under Section 10.20.090 and serving a person who is disabled within the meaning of Government Code section 12926 subsection (i) or (j) is not counted toward the number of dogs kept or maintained.
  2.  Cats. It is unlawful to keep more than five cats at any residence without an animal facility license. Each cat must be licensed and kept primarily indoors.
  3.  A Community Standards District may set a higher limit on the number of dogs and cats allowed at a residence without an animal facility license.

Ord. 2017-0043 § 2, 2017: Ord. 2016-0040 § 80, 2016: Ord. 2009-0043 § 10, 2009 

THE ‘PET SHOP’ EXEMPTION IN CF 17-1237-S1 ALLOWS UNLIMITED ANIMALS IN C-2 (AND OTHER) ZONES 

In addition, the “pet shop” exemption (in the motion) will allow “retail-rescue pet shops” to maintain unlimited animals in C-2 and other commercial zones, and within 500 feet of residences. Local, state, and environmental safety mandates are imposed by the Planning Dept. and enforced by Code Enforcement to protect public health/safety from the disposal of tons of toxic waste citywide (which is prohibited from being washed directly into local streets and sewers), excessive noise, odors, or other negative environmental effects. 

A parallel file (Case CPC-2017-4075; ENV-2017-4076) is moving through the Planning Dept. to shift responsibility for developing environmental standards for "retail/rescue" (adult dog/cat) pet shops and enforcement to LA Animal Services. However, LAAS does not have authority under federal or state code to do such enforcement. Animal Control Officers can only enforce laws related to animal protection, care, or behavior.) 

PLEASE WRITE YOUR OPPOSITION TO CF-17-1237-S1 NOW.

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

 

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