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Stars align for grand opening of Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in L.A.

Today, February 16th, is the grand opening of Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles, and what a great day it is!

In fact, it is a year to the day since we submitted our proposal to the city’s chief accounting officer, Miguel Santana, to operate the never-opened Mission Hills Animal Care Center as an adoption outlet for city shelter animals, along with a low-cost and free spay/neuter center for an underserved community.

While a year may seem like a long time, in municipal bureaucracy terms, it is merely the blink of an eye. Today, after two and a half weeks of a shakedown run, we gathered with friends, supporters and stakeholders to officially open this exciting new enterprise.

On hand was City Council Member Richard Alarcón, in whose district our new operation is located; Council Member Tony Cardenas, an avid animal supporter from a neighboring district; and representatives of Mayor Antonio Villairagosa. The mayor unfortunately had to bow out to host the vice-president of China and U.S. vice-president Joe Biden. Yes, we did encourage the mayor to bring his guests along as well, but to no avail. Mayor Villaraigosa has been a four square support of this project, and we are grateful for his confidence in Best Friends and his belief in a no-kill vision for Los Angeles. Also in attendance were actors Hilary Swank, Eric Roberts, Lisa Edelstein, Kristin Bauer, Rachelle Lefevre, Amy Smart, and local hero Danny Trejo, among others.

To match the occasion, the adoption center itself was dressed to the hilt, with a new interior design scheme, compliments of design and fashion trendsetter Kelly Wearstler, who donated her services to make the place that much more inviting for the animal-loving public to come and meet their new best friends.

That’s a lot of star power and for good reason. Best Friends’ contract with the city represents a first of its kind — a public/private partnership in a major city to use a city shelter for a strictly lifesaving agenda.

All the animals offered for adoption at the new center are pulled from one of the other six L.A. Animal Services shelters. Our goal for year one is to find adoptive homes for a minimum of 3,000 city shelter animals and provide 6,000 spay/neuter procedures through the clinic.

And, as if that is not exciting enough, all of this is just part of a larger citywide campaign that Best Friends has pulled together with the support and participation of a coalition of 40 (and counting) local rescue groups and spay/neuter providers, along with L.A. Animal Services. The campaign, No More Homeless Pets Los Angeles, is a comprehensive approach to ending the needless killing of shelter animals through ramped-up adoptions and highly targeted spay/neuter services for low-income residents of the city. Best Friends has committed to fund the campaign that includes subsidies for increased coalition adoption numbers and spay/neuter project grants for targeted zip codes.

There is lot more to the picture — and a lot of good in store for L.A. shelter animals. I will fill you in as the story unfolds.

Francis Battista, Co-founder, Best Friends Animal Society Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society