Don’t Euthanize Animals Seeking Adoption

Target: Brenda F. Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services

Goal: Protect against negative repercussions of the proposed temperament testing of animals in shelters

Los Angeles animal shelters are currently contemplating whether or not temperament testing should be incorporated into the adoption process. This testing will screen animals for aggression in order to determine if they are capable of being adopted. While this testing sounds excellent in theory, it is likely to be detrimental to several shelter animals once put into practice. Many animals will be at risk of being wrongfully euthanized based on their test results. Ask Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, to reconsider this dangerous testing.

Shelters are considering temperament testing in order to develop a way of predicting the behavior of animals once they leave the shelter. This would help protect the safety of the residents looking to adopt the animals, as well as other animals that will be living with the adopted animals. Temperament testing will also be able to “match” a shelter animal with a compatible owner; results from the testing will help assess the qualities of the animal and match the animal with an owner with similar qualities.

While temperament testing will be implemented with the benefit of potential owners and shelter animals in mind, there are some dangers associated with temperament testing. Ultimately, temperament testing poses the risk of wrongfully condemning adoptable pets to death. Friendly pets are in danger of being euthanized based on isolated incidents; the tests will not be fair to frightened and distressed animals because the results of the tests will not accurately reflect the animal’s personality.

Also, some animals who are deemed “aggressive” by the temperament tests may just be animals who require extra care and attention. Patience and understanding can go a long way with shelter animals who have already been through so much. There is no need to condemn an animal to death based on a few test results when the animal can always be rehabilitated.

Temperament testing in animals shelters has both its benefits and downfalls. Instead of immediately euthanizing “aggressive” animals, additional steps should be taken to rehabilitate the animal in question and assess its true nature. Sign the petition below to urge Los Angeles animal shelters to consider adding this extra step if they decide to implement temperament testing in the adoption process.


Dear Ms. Barnette,

While the inclusion of temperament testing in the adoption process sounds like an excellent idea for both potential owners and shelter animals, I fear that the testing will put several shelter animals at risk. If not implemented correctly, several animals will be sentenced to death based on isolated incidents of “aggression.” This is extremely unfair to shelter animals because most of them are either frightened or distressed from being in the shelter in the first place. Also, some animals who are deemed “aggressive” are just animals who need extra love and care; they need to be given attention, not a death sentence.

I am urging you to give these animals the best chance of finding a loving home. If added to the adoption process, please take the action to add an extra step to temperament testing in order to ensure that animals will not be wrongfully euthanized.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: spotreporting via Flickr

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  1. We must realize that animals are warm blooded, feeling, living beings with emotions too. They suffer from stress and have to be allowed to adjust to new situations, especially abandonment. Many of them feel threatened by the abrupt changes they are forced to endure.

    • City, State & FDA Gov. Officials can not be trusted. They are involved in poisoning – killing and grinding of millions of Dogs & Cats every yr. Unclaimed Dogs & Cats r ground up for Pet Foods as unnamed Pet Food Ingredients. Trust Plant Protein Pet Foods like EVOLUTION, AMI and V-DOG. Meat Poultry Fish Based Pet Food INGREDIENT LABELS LIE & DECEIVE. Do not trust the Meat Poutlry Fish Slaughter Industry or Gov. Enforcement because the Government is controlled by Industry & not the Public. Use safer cleaner Plant Proetien Foods for Your Pets & Yourself.

      • NOT for cats or they will die….cats are “obligate carnivores”, meaning they must have high quality protein, generally meat or fish, to survive…….NO cat should be forced to be vegan because its’ owners are!

        Dogs can tolerate it IF the owners knows how to combine high quality plant proteins to make a fully nutritious protein intake, but WHY? Why make a predator animal like a dog into a vegan?

        NOT all canned or dry cat or dog food is made up of ground bodies of euthanized dogs and cats though SOME is……how about outlawing this, as opposed to forcing animals to live as if they were humans and could make a “choice” about what they are eating, and would choose to be vegan?

  2. gggrrrmmm, can’t edit letter…we long for the day when NO animals are euthanised in shelters for other than deathbed mercy – seeking excuses to destroy otherwise healthy, adoptable pets is criminal indeed.

    • I’m all for adopting out healthy pets….but, for instance, Miami Dade animal shelter which takes in 34,000 dogs per year, and NO there are NOT 34,000 homes willing to take in these dogs……just what do you want done with these animals?

      Most no kill shelters have 200-500 animals that they have carefully picked out to save…..county shelters MUST, by law, take in every animal brought to them.

      MEANWHILE puppy mills add 500,000+ new dogs to our society every year, and well meaning people go to third world countries and BRING BACK hundreds of dogs to “save them”…….there are NOT ENOUGH HOMES FOR ALL THE DOGS AND CATS HERE NOW!


  4. Some rescued animals would take a slightly longer time to accept and respond to new environment especially those that have been subjected to long period of abuse by their previous owners. However it does not mean that they deserve the death penalty. Over time, they will learn to trust and most adopters would come to realize that when given the chance, every dog is capable of displaying love and the bonding eventually becomes so special and precious that money just cant buy. A close friend and my sister who have adopted 3 mistreated dogs 2 Jack Russel and a Schnauzer can attest that this is true. Where there is LOVE, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Therefore temperament testing is totally inaccurate and unfair so please, show mercy to these amazing and naturally kind living beings and do not judge them for what they are.

  5. Liz Thompson says:

    You’d be upset and scared, Ms Barnette, if you were suddenly grabbed and caged amoung total strangers too…it may even look like agression…you try trading places with a scared dog in a cage for several days, and see if you feel the least bit agressive!

  6. The law should be forced that Owners must desex and micro chiped there animals and only reg breeders can sell stop backyard breeders this will stop so many unwanted animals and strays.

    • Puppy mills add 500,000+ new dogs to our society yearly………in the form of “cute” little puppies sold in high end pet shops.


  7. Carol Comstock says:

    So heartbreaking to think that some of my rescues would have been euthanized if this temperament test had been done on them. This test does not accurately depict what the animal is really like.

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