A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Sep 29, 2015

Enter the Flexitarian

Courtesy Google Images
Food issues are a thing. People eat with a purpose which can be ideological, health based, weight loss related or simply trendy. One can be vegan for heart health reasons, environmental concerns or because of a philosophical belief that it is wrong to eat animals. There are conscientious omnivores, pescatarians, fruitarians, an entire panoply of diets from Zone to Paleo and of course endless food allergies real and imagined.

Planning menus for organizational events is just as challenging as hosting a dinner party at home where everyone attending has very particular food issues. As a toddler my son would only eat food that was green, my friend won't eat beige food, another is kosher and so on and so forth. 

I thought that I dealt with it all until a guest pronounced himself a flexitarian! In case you are wondering - a flexitarian is a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat. Is that even a thing? Is it different than a carnivore who sometimes eats vegetables or someone on the wagon who occasionally drinks? What is the purpose of this? How is it not just a varied and balanced diet?

I thought I had seen it all, but frankly, this takes the cake - gluten free of course.

Sep 25, 2015

Man Caught on Video Beating His Dog Pleads Guilty

 A 22-year-old Huntington Park man who was caught on video repeatedly striking his 2 year old German Shepherd, “Sam” in the head, pled guilty today to animal cruelty charges. 

2 year old German Shepherd, Sam

Victor Almendariz (DOB: 06-19-1992) was convicted on one count misdemeano r animal cruelty in case #5FF00619 before Judge Gustavo Sztraicher at the Metropolitan Court House.  Deputy District Attorney Kelly Sakir prosecuted the case. Charges were brought against Mr. Almendariz as a result of an animal cruelty investigation by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA). 

Video shot by an anonymous tipster was sent to spcaLA Humane Officers in January of 2015.  Upon investigation of Mr. Almendariz, three German Shepherds including Sam were found, removed, and brought to spcaLA for medical care.

Mr. Almendariz was sentenced to 500 hours of community labor; 5 years probation; Level II animal abuse counseling (48 week program); and m ay own no animals for five years.  Mr. Alemndariz must also undergo a psychological evaluation and pay restitution.  As a condition of probation, he waived his 4th amendment right and is subject to search and seizure at all times.  Any violation of these terms of probation could result in 180 days jail time.

Click here for video.


Since 1877, spcaLA has been the premiere independen t, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California.  There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA.  Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services. 

Sep 8, 2015

LA City Council poised to fail cats again

UPDATE: City attorney directed to draft a regulation allowing the maximum number of cats one can have to go from 3 to 5   BUT- it must include "any required analysis required by the California Environmental Quality Act as part of said ordinance".

This would be easier if the amendment required that all cats must be indoor only, sterilized and wearing visible identification. At lease they listened to us and abandoned the idea of clowders of 20 or more cats!

The PAWS committee of Los Angeles city council has once again come up with an ill-conceived scheme and will ask the entire council to support it.

They want to raise the cat limit per household to 5.  We have no issue with 5. As you know, there are those who should not be allowed to have even one cat and those who can keep many more than that in a safe humane environment. There is no magic number! The devil is in the details, and the details here are nuts.

As always, demagoguery to special interest groups and ignorance of this complex issue, appear to inform the internal logic of this proposed regulation and ultimately defeats its stated purpose to reduce euthanasia and provide homes for cats.  What on earth does it mean that households with 3 cats can allow the cats outdoors while those with 4 or 5 must remain in? How can an enforcement officer know the difference between a cat who is legally out and one who is not?  Perhaps a scarlet 4 or 5 emblazoned on the cats would help identify law breakers.

The solution is simple. All cats must be sterilized, must wear a visible identification tag and must be kept indoors or in protected outdoor areas. Doing so would accomplish several things. It would extend the lifespan of the pet as indoor cats live longer free from outdoor perils. It would help shelters find homes for cats who need them rather than recycling lost cats who already have homes. It would protect cats from predators and save animals who are prey to cats. The visible tag would both assist in the return of the cat home to allowing animal control personnel to differentiate stray, community and feral cats from a lost owned cat. (Invisible microchips are useful but not for these purposes.) 

All of the above would in fact help reduce euthanasia and improve animal control efficiency as more cats would have homes, stay in their homes and animal control would have clear tools and a means of enforcement. Finally, the visible tag will help neighbors, who do not have scanning devices, return a lost cat who accidentally escaped thereby also freeing animal control personnel from that task.

Honestly, it is just tiring and trying to see our ill informed elected officials just put anything on paper that appears to do something but either doesn't or makes things worse. There is no evidence of critical thinking or an attempt to study the issues. They are just creating feel good captions to vote on. There is a lot of evidence that this city is sinking while the band plays campaign tunes. Elected officials seem to think their job is running for office and it seems that deals and regulations are achieved for those who contribute, endorse or otherwise help the officials stay in office. Beyond the animal welfare issues look at the increase in crime, traffic and weird construction projects. 

As far as cats go - this can be fixed easily. The question is will the full council do so. I guess it depends on who asks them to.....