California’s animal shelters are in a state of emergency and one local organization is hoping to be a catalyst for change. Anthony Robles, CEO and Founder of Animal Welfare Data Center (AWDC), has made it his mission to establish a national database that acts as a central place for anyone to share their experiences, anonymously. It serves as a way to log and help investigate incidents that affect quality of care in our public animal shelters. That data is then used to show the impact of these deficiencies and create a direct source of trusted information for the animal welfare community.

Robles says that his target is set on our state legislators. He hopes to use the information collected by the AWDC to push our leaders to craft a set of standards for quality of care that all shelters must follow. The same as with human healthcare, the animal healthcare industry requires regular reporting, monitoring, and corrective action to ensure that community resources are being used properly.

Some of the changes ADWC hopes to see:

  • Ban backyard breeding entirely with absolutely no exceptions.
  • Establish limitations on breeding permits and implement regular monitoring for abusers of the system.
  • Require prior notification and coordination to the rescue partners they depend on for “RESCUE-ONLY” animals to produce positive outcomes.
  • Require policies for triaging emergency care for all animals at all shelters in California.
  • Require that all animals are spayed/neutered safely before adoption.
  • Prohibit public shelters from retaliating against volunteers and public visitors for expressing concerns.
  • Require a minimum set of physical conditions that must be met in all shelter buildings in the state:
    • Safe and thorough sanitation
    • Complete protection from the weather and outside elements
    • Source of heating and cooling
    • Adequate air ventilation
    • Adequate exercise space
    • Dedicated spaces for training that will not create risk to other animals or visitors

If you’d like to learn more or report something you’ve seen or experienced, just visit Animal Welfare Data Center and click the “Report an Incident” link on the home page.

This segment aired on KTLA’s Off The Clock on May 4, 2023.