From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:

Ten animal care organizations in
Contra Costa County, California, led by
Tony LaRussa’s Animal Foundation, have
formed the Contra Costa Animal Welfare
Coalition, a pilot regional alliance to reduce
shelter killing, formed as recommended by
former San Francisco SPCA president
Richard Avanzino as a step toward obtaining
grants from the $200 million Duffield Family
Foundation. Avanzino on January 1 assumed
administration of the foundation, set up by
software magnates Dave and Cheryl Duffield
to help other locales emulate San Francisco’s
success as the first U.S. no-kill city. Contra
Costa County, across San Francisco Bay, has
almost the same human population as San
Francisco, but shelters in the county kill 16.3
animals per 1,000 human residents, just under
the state norm of 18.0 (also the current U.S.
norm), and nearly triple the San Francisco rate
of 5.8. Avanzino told ANIMAL PEOPLE on
January 5 that he is not yet ready to start
receiving inquiries from organizations wishing
to apply for grants, but said he would release
Duffield contact information in time for our
March 1999 edition. Tony LaRussa was
Avanzino’s choice to figurehead the first
model alliance, Avanzino told A N I M A L
PEOPLE earlier, because as one of the winningest
managers in baseball history he symbolizes
teamwork and innovation––and
LaRussa and his wife Elaine have been working
with distinction to help animals since circa
1972, when LaRussa was still an active player.

The Pet Lending Library, formed
by wildlife rehabilitator Lissa Margetts o f
Rocky Mountain Ark in Telluride, Colorado,
combats impulse acquisition of reptiles,
amphibians, tarantulas, chinchillas, hedgehogs,
and other unusual pets by loaning them
out to interested young people with cage, care
instructions, food, and bedding for seven
days. Holders of a library card costing $5.00
may borrow one animal per week.
Montgomery County, Maryland,
in 1993 introduced the widest pet licensing differential
in the U.S. to encourage neutering: $8
for altered pets, $78 for unaltered. Enforcement,
however, proved unpopular. Elected in
1994 on a promise to cut intrusive government,
county executive Douglas M. Duncan f i r e d
the director of animal control, put animal control
under police administration, and reduced
staffing from 17 to 12, including just six animal
control officers. After pet license sales fell
from 50,000 in 1992 to 25,000 in 1997,
Duncan dropped the fee for licensing unaltered
pets to $45, effective January 1, 1999, but
raised the per day boarding fee for impounded
pets from $5 a day to $10. Duncan is reportedly
also pushing a revised animal control ordinance
which would require cats to be leashed
or kept indoors, and would erase the 1993
requirement that breeders be specially licensed.
The Los Angeles Animal Regulation
Commission on December 21 recommended
at request of Animal Regulation
Department general manager Dan Knapp and
Ark Trust president Gretchen Wyler that the
Los Angeles City Council should raise the
cost of licensing an unaltered dog from the present
$50 to $100. Knapp said only about 20%
of the dogs in Los Angeles are licensed; of
those who are, he said, 42% are unaltered.
Cat breeder Vickie Speir o f
Marshall, Texas, is promoting “Twisty Kats,”
who hop on their hind legs due to an inbred
malformation of their front limbs. Responded
Cat Fanciers’ Association board member
Joan Miller, “Cat fanciers appreciate the fundamental
feline essence, of which the animal’s
ability to move and be catlike is integral. None
of the 37 breeds accepted by CFA involve
physical characteristics that would interfere
with a cat’s ability to move and to act in a normal
way.” But neither CFA nor humane societies
have found a way to keep Speir from
doing more inbreeding.
The Harmony Institute, of
Orlando, Florida, headed by M a r t h a
Eastman Lentz, on December 2, 1998
announced plans to develop a 10,000-acre,
4,000-home pet-friendly planned retirement
community near St. Cloud, Florida. The complex
is to include staff dog-walkers, bathrooms
designed for pet use, and septic tanks which
can accommodate pet waste. Said entertainer
Eartha Kitt, who joined Lentz at the podium,
“I grew up with animals. Nobody wanted me,
but the animals did, so I know what this is all
about.” Purdue University professor of animal
ecology Alan Beck reportedly intends to
do a longterm study of the health of the
Harmony Institute community residents.
Data from a survey of 3,772 pet
owners who surrendered animals at 12 city
shelters, gathered by the National Council of
Pet Population Study and Policy, found few
differences between animals surrendered and
the overall U.S. pet population, as discovered
by other research. The ages of the pets, their
duration in the home, their average acquisition
price, the percentage of indoor cats (two
thirds), neutering rate for dogs (57%), beliefs
about housebreaking, and beliefs about when
animals should be fixed were all close to
reported norms. The biggest difference: about
two-thirds of owned dogs are purebreds, but
only 32% of the surrendered dogs were purebred.
Only 49% of the surrendered cats had
been neutered, which parallels the estimated
rate of neutering (45%) among all cats, including
ferals, rather than among just owned cats
(85%). The top seven reasons for animal surrender
were the same for cats and dogs: owner
moving, landlord not allowing pets, too many
animals, cost of pet care, owner having personal
trouble, inadequate facilities, and no
homes for litters. Three reasons on the dog
list and four on the cat list reflect concern
about mess; three on each list reflect a scarcity
of rental housing for pet owners.

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