Joel John Roberts at LA’s Homeless Blog recently expressed concern that pet shelters might be receiving more funding than homeless shelters:
I certainly feel that our society should make sure homeless pets are taken care of. Even if it costs $20.2 million per year in operating costs, and an additional $150 million in funds to build “state of the art animal care centers.”
But let’s make sure we also investment much more to build “state of the art homeless care centers” and housing that homeless people can afford. The County of Los Angeles plans to fund and locate five stabilization centers throughout the region. Yet, cities and neighborhoods are balking. If these were pet centers, there would be no objection.
According to Ed Boks of LA Animal Services, they have a “$20.2 million budget serving 3.9 million residents with eight new state of the art animal care centers soon to be opened throughout the City.”
I contacted Scott Ito at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on how this compares to LA’s budget for homeless human shelters:
Based on figures for this previous fiscal year (since we will be entering into a new fiscal year in about one week), our agency receives approximately $16 million from the City, while the County provides almost $11 million. We have a total budget of about $50 million, with the bulk of our funding coming from the Federal government and a small amount from the State of California.
Let me repeat: Shelters for homeless animals, $20.2 million. Shelters for homeless people, $50 million.
I think it would be a shame to spend any less on the animal shelters and services in Los Angeles, but I think our priorities need adjustment. Shouldn’t we regard the quality of human life much more than that of animals? Or am I being too simplistic with these numbers?