Feb 3, 2020

Long Beach & Beyond!

Major Garcia with the 1st Kitty Hall Adopter 3/19
Major Garcia with the 1st Kitty Hall Adopter 3/19

Recently, the City of Long Beach gathered to hear about the city’s accomplishments over the past year, during the State of the City address by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

So many of the positive, laudable achievements in animal welfare in the Long Beach community are because of the support of people like you, as well as the amazing work of spcaLA and city staff and volunteers - thank you!

In the late 1990s, forward-thinking Long Beach Mayor, Beverly O’Neill, and a like-minded council recognized the need for a new approach to animal welfare. At the time, the city was impounding over 14,000 animals a year and had outgrown their Willow Street shelter. The city asked spcaLA - a charity, not a government agency or bureau - for help.

Because of people like you, we helped! spcaLA fundraised an excess of $6 million for initial construction and opened Phase I of the spcaLA P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center in 2001.

Your support helped spcaLA find homes for over 40,000 Long Beach animals since the Village opened. And today, the animal impound rate for the city of Long Beach is down to 5,195! These amazing numbers can be accredited to our aggressive adoption programs, robust humane education initiatives, as well as building - and expanding - the Village.

Thank you,

Madeline Bernstein
President, spcaLA
Stay in step with animal welfare issues, read my blog or order my book.

Village Milestones

2001: Together with the City of Long Beach leaders, spcaLA brought forward Southern California’s first public-private partnership in animal welfare: the PD Pitchford Companion Animal Village and Education Center situated on 6.5 acres in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park. Now often duplicated, the Village fully integrates spcaLA, Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS), and all major program functions into one complex. It revolutionized the way shelters are designed and managed, setting a replicable benchmark in cost-effective, life-preserving care for abandoned and abused animals.

2004: spcaLA begins offering Friends for Life Camp, a summer day camp for youth who wish to participate in animal-related games and activities while learning about helping shelter pets. Additionally, spcaLA offers violence prevention and humane education initiatives like Pet Care Patch Workshops and Teaching Love & Compassion (TLC) at the Village.

2006: spcaLA partners with 95.5 KLOS to host the first Pet Adoption Day - an annual adoption festival drawing crowds from all over Southern California. Celebrating the 15th annual Pet Adoption Day in June 2020, the event has helped over 4,000 shelter pets find new families.

2007: spcaLA opens Phase II of the Village. spcaLA fundraised for and built catteries for stray and feral cats in the care of LBACS. The catteries help to make the transition to adoptions less stressful for the cats. Additionally, phase two boasts an expanded spcaLA Marketplace and the spcaLA Pet Hotel and Grooming Salon.

2009: spcaLA launches the inaugural Air Chihuahua™ flight. Air Chihuahua matches Southern California’s overwhelming supply of Chihuahuas and other small dogs with the demand for them in other parts of North America, thus putting “puppy mills” out of business for lack of clients. The first flyers leave from Long Beach.

2011: spcaLA launches an offshoot of our award-winning TLC program: spcaLA Court Diversion Program for Youth, an animal-assisted intervention program specifically made for justice system-involved youth referred by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and other juvenile justice professionals. The first sessions are piloted in Long Beach.

2017: spcaLA launches an educationbased component of Animal Safety Net (ASN) in order to expand its reach and deepen its impact within domestic violence (DV) support services. ASN Youth and Families offers animal-assisted programming for DV-affected families, in partnership with local domestic violence agencies. Further, for the first time since the program’s inception in 1998, spcaLA offers ASN to humane organizations, prosecuting attorneys, and domestic violence professionals as a free, downloadable manual. The first ASN Youth & Families Program is piloted in Long Beach.

Mayor O'Neill speaking at the Village Opening 2001
Mayor O'Neill speaking at the Village Opening 2001
Champ, who's up for adoption!
Champ, who's up for adoption!
Oct 30, 2019

2019 In Review


Dear Friends,

This year will be loud.

Political candidates will demand your attention. Wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disaster will devastate. Wrongs will need righting.

And, you will respond.

You are compassionate and impassioned. After all, you support spcaLA – an agency whose mission is to prevent cruelty to animals through Education, Law Enforcement, Intervention, and Advocacy. The generosity of caring people like you allows spcaLA to:

  • Engage youth and children in empathy-based animal welfare education and social-emotional learning; and offer violence intervention and support services for adults and families;
  • Investigate animal cruelty; provide continuing education for fellow law enforcement professionals; and deploy our Disaster Animal Response Team (DART)™;
  • Provide behavior enrichment and training, veterinary care, safe shelter, nourishing food, and much more to thousands of abused and abandoned animals annually.

As we march into 2020, please continue to hear the call of local abused and abandoned animals.

Please, support your spcaLA.

Thank you,


Obedience Training
Obedience Training
Jul 15, 2019

Sick Puppy Peddler: Felony Animal Cruelty

spcaLA investigates
spcaLA investigates

The following is a press release detailing an investigation by spcaLA Animal Cruelty Investigators.

Downey Man Charged with Felony Counts for Selling Sick Puppies

A 26-year-old man has been charged with 52 criminal counts for selling puppies that became very ill soon after they were sold to more than two dozen victims, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced. The charges are the result of an investigation by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

Gustavo Gonzalez of Downey faces 28 felony counts of cruelty to an animal, one felony count each of first-degree residential burglary and grand theft as well as 22 misdemeanor counts of petty theft.

The case is being tried by Deputy District Attorneys Kimberly Abourezk, Animal Cruelty Coordinator, and Duke Chau of the Consumer Protection Division.

The criminal complaint charges Gonzalez with selling 28 sick puppies to 25 families throughout Southern California from February 2018 to April 2019. Most of the puppies died after the victims brought them to their homes, the prosecutors said.

Bail is set at $740,000. If convicted as charged, the defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 36 years in custody.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim is encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.

spcaLA is the only private animal welfare organization in Los Angeles that is also Law Enforcement. spcaLA Humane Officers hold the same powers of Peace Officers in the state of California when investigating animal cruelty. spcaLA is a non-profit agency that relies on donations for its programs and services, including animal cruelty investigations. 

The case remains under investigation by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, DCBA, the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation and the Downey Police Department.

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