News 21 – check it out.

It’s been a shameful while since I’ve blogged, but I have been living on a technological island (by choice) for the past few days, discussing our future fellowship at Harvard. The website for the project is up, so take a look. We’ll be writing about the campaign and related issues for the summer with reporters from Columbia, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern. One of the best aspects is that because all of the reporters are relatively young and fresh, there should be some innovative ideas on the site, and underreported stories. So keep an eye on it.


In other news, I came home to my orange cat, Kodak, who I got at the pound about a year ago. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Animal Shelters in Los Angeles.


It’s a big city, with lots of people who struggle. And yet, I’ve always had a soft spot for animals—the victims who can’t speak for themselves. I’m one of those people who cries for the animals that die in war movies. I’ve never made it through Homeward Bound.


Los Angeles’ record with animals is abysmal. In just the first quarter of 2008, 2,391 cats and dogs were euthanized, up 24 percent since last year.


This past February, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the Spay/Neuter Ordinance, a law that requires all pet owners to neuter or spay their pets. Any person who violates the law is subject to a $500 fine or 40 hours of community service. The law took affect in March.


While this would seem a respectable effort by the mayor, I doubt that those who really cause the problem—the backyard breeders, puppy mill pet shops, or owners who simply ignore the pet laws—will take this effort to heart. And really, how regulated can it be?


I doubt that all the blame can be put on the pet shelters. While several have been accused of cruel treatment of animals, they are overburdened and underfunded.


What’s worse is that this city is infested with lack-luster pet owners. So many pets are returned when they get old, and aren’t “cute” anymore. And getting an older pet readopted is often a near-impossibility. People have no dedication to their pets. They’ll throw them away as quickly as yesterday’s trash.


I know cats and dogs aren’t the most pressing issue out there right now. But the tragedy that faces these defenseless animals is still sad. Some never even get a chance. So, if you are considering adopting, please go to your local pound and relieve some stress for them and find yourself a best friend at the same time.

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