In Effort to Ease Overcrowding at Shelters, L.A. Animal Services Allows People to Care for Found Pets at Home

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A boxer is shown in an undated file photo. (Credit: Elva Etienne via Getty Images)

A boxer is shown in an undated file photo. (Credit: Elva Etienne via Getty Images)

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Los Angeles Animal Services is now allowing people to care for found cats and dogs from home instead of turning them over to a local shelter.

The new “Shelter-at-Home” program is the latest effort for the agency to ease overcrowding at local shelters and officials believe it will help people be reunited with their four-legged furry friends faster.

“Statistically, lost pets are often easier found the closer they are to home,” Brenda Barnette, the agency’s general manager, said in a news release.

The program is an amendment to a previous policy and now allows neighbors to take in lost pets as long as they comply with certain rules within the first few hours that the animal is found.

Within the first four hours, community members must notify the nearest animal shelter that the animal is in their possession, describe the animal, indicate where it was found and explain where it will be housed. Those who find the lost pets also must note the pet’s animal ID number and provide at least two photos of the animal to the agency. The pet must also be taken to a veterinarian or nearest animal shelter if it needs care.

Within the first 24 hours, community members who find lost pets must take the animal to a local city shelter or licensed California vet for a microchip scan and provide the agency with the scan. Community members must also make and distribute posters with the pet’s photo in a two-block radius where it was found and complete and turn in the agency’s foster care agreement.

Community members must notify the agency if the animal is returned to its rightful owner and provide officials with the name, address and contact information of the person it is being released to.

After 30 days, community members can bring the pet to the nearest city shelter to either surrender the animal or complete the process to adopt it. The agency will waive the adoption fee for any animal adopted after it was found.

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