Emanuel Alberto Pleitez, candidate running for mayor of Los Angeles, believes we should all be a part of not just the human community, but also the wider humane community too. Our animals are our co-workers, or friends, our family members. We should approach our animal policies with the philosophy of "treat others how you want to be treated."
Animal Services Administration
Emanuel will appoint someone to the Animal Services Commission with a lifelong commitment to the ethical and equitable treatment of animals, and empower that person to both monitor the humane treatment of animals in our city while also finding new ways to improve animal quality of life here in LA. That means giving the position greater enforcement and planning authority than it’s ever had before.
In addition to those appointments, Emanuel will create a city behaviorist position, who will specialize in rehabilitating animals and training people to better relate to their pets and animals. There will be a hotline available for people to call in for questions or even request home visits. Emanuel will raise capital through partnerships with private and non-profit entities to expand this position to meet demand. This is critical because animals deemed aggressive or having other behavioral issues are often abandoned and even euthanized because we as people couldn’t address their needs or support their owners.
Emanuel pledges to eliminate euthanasia in Los Angeles by addressing the root causes of animal homelessness and removing euthanasia as an option. We should not be in the business of denying our animals a chance at life.
Los Angeles needs aggressive spay and neuter programs. That means active and passive programs. Emanuel will ensure that there is a free spay and neuter clinic in every council district for low income pet owners. He will also expand our animal services to include an aggressive catch and release program that will find, track, and spay or neuter our homeless animals. Finding homes for abandoned animals is another critical part of the solution.
Ace of Hearts, a program in Beverly Hills, offers a pet matching foster care service for homeless animals. Los Angeles needs a program like this. City Hall will be a resource for people looking for animals. People should be incentivized to take in animals for any amount of time. We could offer small rewards to those who take care of sick or difficult animals. We could create an online database of animals in need, complete with pictures, which would be updated in real time. This resource would also be invaluable in helping reunite owners with lost pets, which would also decrease the number of former pets on our streets.
Microchipping and Lost Pets
Microchipping our pets is another way to ensure lost animals are found and kept off the streets. This is where Emanuel's data and technology background is critical. We need to do a better job of collecting, processing, and using our data to help our animals in real time and ensure lost and abandoned animals find shelter quickly. We also need to create a public-private partnership with technology companies to find a way to make microchipping more cost-effective and available. This will help us better regulate the process of keeping our animals off the street.
Live animal markets
Regulation can’t just stop at our pets. The animals we eat also need to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. The explosion in live animal markets needs to be checked by the city. If the USDA won’t inspect these facilities, then it’s City Hall’s job to ensure animals here are receiving ethical treatment. Emanuel recognizes the solution to this problem isn’t as simple as just taxing or fining the owners of these markets. All actions the city takes with regard to regulating these markets and enforcing penalties for animal abuse must be enacted with the cultural consideration of the owners of these businesses. Emanuel does not want to close the markets that some of our communities depend on. As mayor, it is his job to make sure we are caring for our animals in every situation. Emanuel's goal is to make Los Angeles the world leader in Animal Rights.
Elephants and performance animals
Being the world leader means focusing on wild animals as well. Back in July, L.A Superior Court Judge John Segal ruled in favor of concerned citizens and activists that sued the zoo on behalf of Billy the Elephant. The conditions and treatment Billy was forced to endure was an abomination. Sadly, Billy isn’t the only elephant in captivity who endures these conditions and far worse. If a zoo can’t effectively replicate wildlife conditions, then it shouldn’t have the animal. It’s unfair and cruel.
All captive animals should have accommodations that reflect their lives in the wild and shouldn’t be coerced into performing abnormal actions for human amusement. You can teach a dog to sit without abusing it. Judge Segal’s injunction against the use of bullhooks and electric shock was a good and necessary first step, but we should apply that same protection to all of our animals, wild and domestic, by ensuring things like cattle prods and shock collars remain fair away from our animals. Compliance with these regulations requires trained and dependable handlers that won’t take advantage of our animals’ lack of verbal communication to justify cruelty. The actions and testimony of Billy’s handlers and vet were an embarrassment. Our wild animals deserve compassionate and informed professionals to manage their care and I’ll make sure they get the very best.
As we expand our city, we encroach on animal habitats that already exist. We have to be extremely mindful of this to ensure we don’t harm wild animals. People have a tendency to view animals as the invaders when that’s simply not the case. Emanuel will ensure that a 24-hour hotline exists for people who encounter wild animals. This line will go directly to a city wild life professional with the goal of preventing violent action that could harm the human or the animal. This will be coordinated through the office of the city behaviorist.
A large and important part of our relationship with wildlife is knowing and respecting that there are some places people don’t belong. It’s a reality that we often do more harm than good in nature. The Ballona Wetlands habitats, for example, are critical to our environment and as Mayor, Emanuel will do everything in his power to protect it from plans that threaten its stability. It’s our last wetland and many animals there have adapted and made it their own. The importance of biodiversity, not only for Los Angeles, but the entire country, can’t be ignored. The loss of a keystone species here could be catastrophic for ecosystems everywhere. Humans have vandalized and threatened this and other special habitats like it. Some places need to be left alone, free of machinery, pollution, and human tampering. I will make sure these special places are preserved.