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.

  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.


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