Best Friends SoCal shelter transport program comes to an end

The planned phase-out of Best Friends’ shelter transport program of mostly small dogs from Los Angeles County’s Baldwin Park Shelter to adoption-guarantee shelters in northern Utah and the Pacific Northwest is now a fact. The staff and resources that had been focused on that long-standing effort will now be devoted to the final push of Best Friends’ NKLA initiative to make the city of Los Angeles a no-kill community in 2017.

Re-allocating resources in this way is never an easy decision and, coming as a surprise as it did to many of our friends and volunteers who are focused on the problems of the L.A. County system, the decision left some scratching their heads. However, there is a larger context here that includes other transport partners for the county shelters — most notably the ASPCA, which in 2014 announced a multi-year, $25 million commitment to the greater Los Angeles area that includes a well-funded shelter transport piece for L.A. County.

Our L.A. County transport program has been an unqualified success, with more than 14,000 animals relocated to communities where there is a shortage of small dogs rather than a surplus, as there is in Los Angeles County.

It is worth noting, too, that while we have also transported small dogs from the L.A. city shelter system (L.A. Animal Services) in the past, thanks to the combined efforts of our partners in the NKLA Coalition, small dogs in the city shelter system have been reduced to numbers that can be managed locally, which is great news.

Francis Battista