LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, in a controversial move which has come under fire from City Hall, ordered all cages at the City's six Animal Care Centers opened and all animals set free. Citing desperation in its failure to manage, care for and adopt out the thousands of homeless pets impounded each year, the Department said it was forced to take this unprecedented action early Saturday morning.
At 8 am, residents were awakened by barking, caterwauling, and braying as over 1,500 cats, dogs and rabbits, together with hundreds of reptiles, 2 donkeys, 7 horses, and assorted livestock ran out of the six facilities and into the streets of Los Angeles.
Council offices and City Hall were immediately flooded with calls. While many expressed outrage, some animal activists praised the move. "I guess we're no-kill now!" proclaimed a representative of ADL-LA, a group which has criticized the department for killing shelter animals, and organized protests at the homes of various officials.
The move wreaked havoc on busy intersections throughout the City, as animals
darted in and out of traffic. In Van Nuys, the sudden appearance of hundreds of cats and dogs bounding joyfully down Vanowen Street caused 6 separate collisions, injuring 12 people.
Elsewhere, residents experienced memorable encounters with the newly-freed pets. In Lincoln Heights, three exotic dancers from a local strip club were initially frightened when a pack of pit bulls and rottweilers ran up to them as they were leaving work. Surprisingly, the young women were ultimately greeted with kisses and tail wags from the happy pooches finally released from their prison.
A spokesman cited the Department's inability to manage the thousands of animals in their care. "We just didn't know what to do. We're completely overwhelmed. If someone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it so we can write a blog to refute it."
The doors of each facility were closed as soon as the last animal passed safely through. Department officials said that barring a court order, they would not reopen.
Many employees expressed relief that they would no longer have to see animals killed every day. "I think it's a good move," said one shelter worker. "Look, if the General Manager doesn't know what to do, and he makes a six-figure salary, how am I supposed to figure this out for $13.75 an hour."
The president of the union that represents most of the shelter staff reassured members via email that regardless of the shelter closings, employees would be paid indefinitely their full salaries.
The Mayor, who sources say spent the night at a hotel with "a good friend," was unavailable for comment.