SEIU 721 Members, Community Win Big for LA’s Animals

Animal shelter workers and concerned community members just won a big victory for LA’s homeless animals. They stopped Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette from imposing a “no night care at shelters policy.” It would have removed Animal Care Technicians from working the graveyard shift at all six LA city animal shelters and replaced them with security guards.
Barnett announced that she would implement the change as of March 31. Once word got out, SEIU 721 members organized a vigil of over 100 people at the East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys to oppose the plan. TV and print news media covered the event.
Two days later, Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion to halt Barnette’s policy change. SEIU 721 member and Animal Care Technician Jacob Miller spoke to the City Council in support of the motion:
“Right now, we staff shelters at all hours to make sure animals get the care they deserve. This plan would put thousands of animals at risk. If trained Animal Care Technicians aren’t at city shelters, no one will be there to respond to emergencies or prevent animal deaths. No one will be there to supervise night time drop-offs. No one will be there to keep the facilities clean and sanitary.”
Animal advocates also spoke for the motion, which will be referred to the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee soon. Councilman Tom LaBonge questioned the legality of Barnette’s idea.
What’s Next?
It’s not over yet. There are two important upcoming events that will help put this policy to rest. The City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee Meeting will hear testimony on the policy next week.
Tuesday, April 2, 3 p.m.
LA City Hall, Room 1050
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles 90012

Even more important is the Town Hall where the public can give input about the plan. All members and animal lovers are encouraged to attend and be heard.
Monday, April 8, 7 p.m.
East Valley Animal Care Center
14409 Vanowen Street
Van Nuys 91405

Here’s some of the media coverage highlighting SEIU 721 members’ work:
LA Times, 3.23: ‘L.A. animal shelters to keep nighttime staffing for now’

LA Daily News, 3.23: ‘
Plan to end graveyard shift at city animal shelters put on hold to allow public comment’
LA Weekly, 3.22: ‘Pets To Be Left Unsupervised Overnight At L.A. Animal Shelters?’
LA Daily News, 3.20: ‘Animal-shelter workers rallying at East Valley Shelter to oppose end of overnight duty’
Opposing Views, 3.19: Los Angeles Animal Services’ Brenda Barnette: ‘No Night Care for Animals in City Shelters’