In a unanimous vote on April 4th, 2024, the Los Angeles City Council enacted a temporary moratorium on dog breeding permits. This decision comes as a response to a dire situation at the city’s six animal shelters overflowing with abandoned and unwanted animals. Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez introduced the motion and described the shelter conditions as “completely unacceptable.”

The moratorium is an emergency measure to alleviate the pressure on these overwhelmed shelters. It will remain in effect until shelter capacity dips below 75% for three consecutive months. City officials emphasize the temporary nature of this pause, aiming to achieve manageable shelter populations before resuming the issuance of breeding permits.

The roots of the overpopulation crisis are complex. Hernandez explained a confluence of factors contributing to the influx of animals into shelters—a lack of pet-friendly housing options forces some residents to surrender their beloved companions. Additionally, the post-pandemic period has seen a surge in dogs being relinquished, potentially due to changing lifestyles or financial constraints. Furthermore, insufficient spaying and neutering practices allow the pet population to grow unchecked. Sadly, adoption and fostering rates haven’t kept pace with the influx, leaving shelters struggling to care for the ever-growing number of animals.

Animal rights groups, like PETA, applaud the moratorium as a step in the right direction but urge the city to go further. PETA emphasizes the need for stricter enforcement of existing spay/neuter laws and a significant expansion of shelter capacity to accommodate all needy animals.


The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services issued over 1,100 breeding permits in the first half of 2023 alone. Councilwoman Hernandez argues that allowing continued breeding while shelters teeter on the brink is untenable. “This is just a bridge to get us to a place where our shelters are manageable,” she stressed.

The council acknowledges that the moratorium is just one piece of the puzzle. Councilwoman Traci Park emphasizes a multi-pronged approach. This includes a comprehensive review of policies exacerbating the problem, such as restrictive pet ordinances in housing complexes. Additionally, ensuring Animal Services has adequate financial and personnel resources is crucial. Budgetary talks are expected to be a key battleground for securing more funding for animal welfare initiatives.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield heads the budget committee and sees the moratorium as a potential cost-saving measure. “Our shelters are bursting at the seams,” he stated, highlighting the significant financial burden of caring for and, in extreme cases, euthanizing unwanted animals. Blumenfield encourages Angelenos to consider adopting from shelters and forgo breeders when seeking a furry companion.

However, concerns exist about unintended consequences. Animal advocates warn that breeders may use unlicensed, “underground” practices to circumvent the moratorium. Blumenfield suggests a robust public outreach campaign promoting shelter adoption to mitigate this. He emphasizes the wide variety of beautiful animals residing in shelters, purebred and mixed-breed, all deserving of loving homes.

While the moratorium is a temporary measure, it signifies a shift in Los Angeles towards becoming a “no-kill” city where euthanasia is a last resort. The city hopes to achieve a future where all animals find their forever homes, coupled with continued efforts aimed at responsible pet ownership, increased shelter capacity, and exploring financial incentives for fostering programs. This will require collaboration between city officials, animal welfare organizations, and pet owners to ensure a more humane and sustainable future for Los Angeles’ animal population.