Change the “Good Samaritan” Program!
What is the “Good Samaritan” program?
The City of Los Angeles, Department of Animal Control has what they call a “Good Samaritan” program. This is a program whereby an animal is still on a stray hold but needs immediate medical attention and the public is asked to assist so that the animal does not suffer and get assistance. During this time, this “Good Samaritan” cares for the animal, pays for the animal’s care, does everything for the animal, and if the animal’s owner comes forward within the stray hold period, the Good Samaritan, whether it be a person or a rescue, is required to hand over the animal, no questions asked, back to the owner. If the animal is hospitalized, an animal control officer will get the animal and not even inform the Good Samaritan. Many times, this animal has been severely neglected or abused by the owner and the Good Samaritan has not only spent significant expense caring for this animal, but has become emotionally attached in caring for and loving this animal.
The story of Georgie
Such was the case when Beagle Freedom Project immediately stepped in to help Georgie on August 18, 2020, whose temperature at the shelter was that of a dying dog. He weighed 11 pounds. He could barely stand and could not eat. He was shaking uncontrollably. He had been at the shelter for two days with nobody claiming him. We did not actually think a dog in his state even had owners. After 3 days of intensive care, and nearly $6,000 of care, tons of cuddles, kisses and love, Georgie finally started to eat on his own, he started walking, and he even gave a little smile! We were hopeful that Georgie was pulling through! But then, out of nowhere, his “owners” came forward.
Beagle Freedom Project was not even informed of this. We had Georgie at an emergency care center on IV’s when we called just to check up on him and they informed us that a Humane Officer had just called and was on their way to get him to return him back to the shelter where his owners were taking him back. The veterinarian said they were very upset about this and said this was a huge mistake – that Georgie NEEDED TO STAY hospitalized or he could die, and that we saved his life.
Animal control stated that they opened a “Humane Case” against Georgie’s owners and that they would be following up, but is that really justice? Should this have been allowed? Under the Good Sam program, Beagle Freedom Project doesn’t even get reimbursed for the costs either.
The Good Samaritan Program needs to change! Under this new program, entitled “Georgie’s Law,” if an animal like Georgie is under veterinary care and requires ongoing veterinary care, the animal shall not be allowed to be removed whether or not their owner wishes them to be removed; if it is apparent from the condition of the animal upon impound that they have been severely neglected or abused, they shall not be released to the owner if the owner comes forward; the Good Samaritan shall have the option of adopting the animal or fostering the animal until adopted; should it be determined that the animal was not severely neglected or abused, the owner shall be responsible for their medical care expenses once they come forward to claim their animal and animal control shall follow up once weekly for three months once the animal is released to the owner.