About Katya Friedman

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So far Katya Friedman has created 22 blog entries.

Data on evictions and how it effects pets

We see first hand through our SIP program and even at the Pet Resource Center how evictions hurt families and their pets. Countless animals are in the shelter now due to eviction, as we see it as one of the biggest reasons for surrendering an animal time and time again.

With a less affordable housing market and higher rents and mortgages across the country, people are finding it harder and harder to keep up with their payments. The numbers are even higher among foreign born citizens, which makes many believe that immigrants are being especially targeted. As this article with plenty of data on evictions states, “The lack of a right to counsel in housing court by tenants facing eviction has led to an imbalance of legal representation in favor of landlords paving the way for abuse of the court system through eviction proceedings.”

This is why we teamed up with Inner City Law Center – in order to try and help prevent families with pets from being forced out of their homes. Since our program started in July, 36 of our cases were referred to ICLC’s attorney Diane Prado. She has then represented pet owners facing eviction in order to defend their rights and their homes as much as possible. Because the amount of stress families endure on a daily basis when they’re home life is threatened – not knowing where they will move to, or if they will become homeless, or how they will ever be able to keep their pet – is a terrifying reality. Basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter are a necessary foundation, and without one of them it becomes increasingly difficult to be stable, to move up, to get a better job, to go back to school, or even to dream.

Until one is facing an eviction or cannot pay their rent, one will never know how they would respond. We hope you will support us as we support those who are unfortunately dealing with these circumstances and trying desperately to keep their two and four legged family members together. There’s a fairer, juster way to keep people in their homes…we hope to be a part of figuring it out.

 

The 2016 numbers for our Shelter Intervention Program are in!

Transparency is important to us. We want you to know where your dollars go when you support our work, and we want you to feel good about it! So let us tell you about how our Shelter Intervention Program (SIP) took on more cases in 2016 than ever before. In 2015 we helped 1272 families, but last year we assisted 1467! Comparing statistics year by year, we noticed that there was an increase in the number of people unable to pay for medical care and other services for their pets, including pet food and supplies. Despite news about a rise in employment and the growing economy, the South Los Angeles pet owners we met and dealt with were largely unemployed, under-employed, receiving government assistance, or experiencing homelessness. Many pet owners came to see us at the South LA Animal Shelter or visited us during Pet Resource Center office hours, depending on where they were living that week or month.

Because we were able to spend less on spay and neuter surgeries, we were able to allocate that money to people who had pets with other needs. Thanks to the ASPCA spay and neuter clinic which opened at the South LA Shelter in 2014, we’ve been enabled to use our funds for other medical issues, of which there are no programs for. In 2014 we paid for 1110 spay/neuter surgeries; in 2015 we covered 300 spay/neuter surgeries; and in 2016, we paid for only 248 surgeries. Of those 248 surgeries, many pets required bloodwork for being a senior pet, had seizures to contend with, or needed a tangential medical procedure such as dental work, making it cost effective to perform both the spay/ neuter while attending to the other issue. Of course we still support spay and neuter, but our focus has moved further out into the community through offering three mobile clinics which happen the first Sunday of the month in Compton, the second Sunday of the month in South LA, and the 3rd Sunday of the month at our newest location in Lynwood. That means three out of four weeks of every month are reserved for spay/neuter mobile clinics, and we fill those clinics by mailing out vouchers to cat and dog owners in the areas every day. This draws people out of their homes, into the community, and engaging with us. We’re excited to report that we see firsthand how encouraging proper care and a personal investment in their pets is changing perspectives and lives!

So as you can see, SIP does a lot. And we’ll continue to do more! We’re honing down, responding to greatest needs, and meeting people where they’re at. Our mission for 2017 is to increase the number of cats we help, which has always been a smaller percentage than dogs. We don’t meet as many cat owners, but we’re hoping that will change this year. We’re also increasing the number of home visits we do, sending our handyman to fix fences and gates, as well as build dog runs to keep more dogs safe in their yards. By working with animal control officers to keep more pets in their first home, which we […]

2016 Wrap up of our Pet Resource Center!

We’re so proud of the work we do at the Pet Resource Center. Not only did we open PRC in 2016, here’s our end of the year wrap up where you can see how many people and pets we helped in the first year alone.

Over 50% of the clients we served came to us for spay/neuter services, and almost 50% were experiencing homelessness. Only 38%  had a case manager working with them, most of the people we served were between the age of 30 – 69, and 65% were unemployed. Six out of ten clients were women, as well as receiving public assistance. In terms of education, 35% had some college experience or a degree and the rest completed high school or up to 8th grade. Almost half the population we worked with was African American, 27% were Hispanic, and roughly 19% were caucasian. A few of those we helped had cars or were driven to us, but about 60% walked to our office. Three out of four people needed assistance with dogs, and half of them got their pet from a friend or family member.

As for services provided, we gave 80% of people food, almost 30% a collar and leash, vaccines for 31% and microchips for 25%, 10% needed medical help for their animal, and 36% were given flea meds. ESA assistance was requested by 30% of our clients.

So as you can see we were busy at PRC this year! We look forward to 2017 and to doing much, much more to support the Skid Row community. We believe in the love of family, and hope we can continue to support pets and people who need an extra hand staying together. Without judgement and with a whole lot of compassion, along with your generosity and encouragement, we are certain anything is possible. Last but not least, a special thank you goes out to Inner City Law Center and LA Animal Services for their support and partnership. Together we are making a difference.

DDR is featured in the Harvard Business Review!

We’ve been featured in the latest Harvard Business Review, and we’re excited to tell you all about it! In an article titled, “Are You Solving the Right Problems?” author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg reveals that most companies and organizations are good at solving problems, but not necessarily good at figuring out what the real problems actually are. He goes on to explain that reframing problems often brings about unexpected, creative solutions.

Using dog adoption as an example, DDR is highlighted for the way in which we reframe the issue. Instead of focusing on promoting pet adoption or marketing the sad realities, we employ our Shelter Intervention Program (SIP). Of course we want to see more animals get adopted and of course we hurt for those at risk of euthanasia, but we come at it by trying to keep pets with their original families in the first place. If these animals don’t come into the shelter system at all, we can help everybody – the families, the shelter staff, and most of all the animals.
Wedell-Wedellsborg explains how whenever a family comes into the shelter to hand over a pet, one of our staff asks without judgment if the family would prefer to keep the pet. If the answer is yes, we try to help resolve the situation, instead of waiting for the animal to come into the system and then trying to get the dog rescued or adopted. Instead of demonizing the family or casting blame.
We are very grateful to be singled out for our approach, compassion, and hard work. The author goes so far as to say that thanks to our reframing, overcrowded shelters may someday be a thing of the past. Here’s to hoping that dream comes true!

Christmas in Compton toy drive was a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who donated toys or time to making our annual Christimas in Compton Toy Drive another HUGE SUCCESS! Every child who came to our event went home with at least one new toy and book, as well as lots of goodies. For many of these children, this was their only special toy. For all of these children, it was fun family time, with their mom dad, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers and cousins, too. Whole families waited in line as early as 8:00AM despite our event starting at 11:00AM! The arts and crafts station was a hit, as were other activities such as dancing, cookie decorating, and the BARK therapy dogs to read with. Plenty of cookies and candies were eaten and prizes were won, but the highlight of our event was none other than Santa Claus. He arrived just before noon, eager to bring more holiday cheer.

Approximately 200 children attended our family event. So why do we, a dog rescue, host a toy giveaway?
Because our work does not stop at the dog. It includes the entire family. And this drive was not about the toys. It was about promoting reading and compassion for others, especially for animals. We were able to provide children an opportunity to pet well-mannered dogs and spend time with people who love and rescue animals, an experience very different than what many of them know.

We wrapped up at 2:00PM tired and happy, however while we were getting ready to leave, we learned from one of the kids that a kitten had gotten stuck in a tire! Thanks to Amanda who got under the car and was able to get the injured, scared kitty out of an engine, he was saved from further harm. And thanks to Aura, he now has a loving foster home. It was the perfect way to end our event, watching the kids see compassion for animals in action. To give them presents was incredibly nice; to give them an animal rescue experience they could be proud of was priceless.

Donate to our annual toy drive!

We’re an animal organization. So why do we organize a toy drive and give away countless gifts every year at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton? Because the truth is we’re not just a group of animal lovers who sweep into the community a couple times a month to sterilize some pets. We are part of the community. We share the same needs, the same hurts, and the same wishes. We are deeply rooted in the success of Compton’s animals, and also in Compton’s people. In its families and its children.

For a decade now, DDR has provided free spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchips for all dogs living in Compton. Over the yeartoy-drives we have expanded our services to include other cities bordering the City of Compton proper, along with expanding the types of services we offer. To date, more than 10,000 dogs and cats have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped since that crisp December morning back in 2006 when we held our first mobile clinic at Tower of Faith Church. Then about three years ago, the park director approached us about helping to collect toys to brighten the holiday for a child in need living in Compton. One thing led to another, and next thing we knew we were organizing a toy drive for not just that one child, but for many children whose holiday we could brighten.

The tradition has continued and grown. This year’s giveaway is scheduled for Sunday, December 18th. Per usual, we will start the day early at 8 am, setting up tables and placing toys by age group. BARK reading dogs (trained therapy dogs who children can read out loud to in order to increase their confidence) will be part of the day, as will plenty of books, an arts and crafts station, and Santa Claus. Our goal is to send every child home with a new book as a way to encourage literacy, one of the keys to a brighter future. We love to watch fun being had at this event, but can’t put into words the expression on these kids’ faces when they’re given their presents. Most of us know that look of true joy and how fulfilling it is to witness. It’s like they’re being reminded of their spot on the planet, and of how unique and important and valued they are.

So I’m asking you, will you help us reach our goal of collecting 300 toys for the children of Compton? Will you help more kids feel seen and heard this holiday season ? Will you take a look at our Amazon Wish List and give with a full heart? Toys for children ages 8-10 years, specifically boys, are especially needed. We are thrilled to be of service to families living in some of the most undeserved areas of Los Angeles again this year, and to spread more holiday cheer. Please consider being a part of those smiles and know it also makes you part of the solution. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

A little time, a whole lot of compassion.

We come at our work with limited time (there is always more to do for animals and the people who love them!), but with unlimited compassion. Once in a while we wonder if it’s enough, if it’s making a difference. And we always realize that it is, that in fact this is all we need to do to make a difference. Lives are changed for the better, proving to us that big results are born out of consistent care and hard work.

Gregory and troubleFor example, recently at the weekly Woof Wednesday at our Pet Resource Center, a man named Gregory brought in his dog Trouble to see our counselors. Gregory wanted to make sure that Trouble was healing properly after being neutered almost two weeks ago in one of our mobile clinics for the Skid Row community. After speaking with us for a bit, Gregory began feeling ill and ended up passing out in our lobby at the Inner City Law Center (ICLC). It was scary to say the least, not knowing Gregory very well, or whom to call on his behalf, or even where he lived. We knew he might have to go to the hospital, and that Trouble would need to go somewhere to be kept safe.

The caring staff at ICLC stepped up and offered to let Gregory sleep at the office for a bit. After some time, he slowly woke up from what we now know was a bad reaction to medicine, something that could happen to anybody. It became apparent that Gregory really needed help. So we sent Trouble to the North Central Animal Shelter with Dominque, a LAAS staff member who is at our center every week, in order to keep him safe. Some of you may not agree with taking a dog to the shelter, but in this case the shelter was a secure place to keep Trouble until we were able to figure out what would happen to Gregory. And we could keep an eye on him there.

The next day, Gregory returned to Inner City Law Center. Two of their staff members drove him up to the shelter to redeem Trouble. Our dear friends at Home Dog LA were set up as they regularly are, ready to help navigate Gregory through the paperwork process for redeeming Trouble as well as paying for the  fees to bail him out, something Gregory could not afford. Trouble went home less than 24 hours after he had come in to the shelter!

Now imagine for a minute that the Pet Resource Center did not exist. That there was no caring ICLC staff or DDR counselors to look at Gregory’s situation as a medical crisis, not as just another person on Skid Row passed out in public. What would have happened had he been walking on the street and crashed out suddenly? What would have become of Trouble? Imagine this duo with nobody to care about them and nowhere to turn. The Pet Resource Center is more than just a weekly spot to pick up pet food; it’s a place to connect with people who care. People who will act to help others. People who […]

Our first successful Pet Resource Center clinic!

Pet Resource Center clinic 1This past Saturday we had our first Pet Resource Center mobile spay and neuter clinic, which focused on serving Skid Row Community pets. By partnering with Spay4LA and LA Animal Services, the wonderful Dr. Anderson performed 13 spay and neuter surgeries on various cats and dogs. We were happy to see a lot of familiar faces, as well as meet new pet owners who needed to get a kitten or puppy vaccinated, microchipped, and dewormed. There were also pets already spayed and neutered who were in need of basic wellness exams or a thorough check of their skin and ears. All of the dogs we treated were licensed, many for the first time, and a few updated for up to three years.

How would we ever be able to carry out such a smooth, successful event without the support of so many? Our amazing volunteers passed out pet food, dog beds, pet carriers, collars and leashes. Everybody enjoyed lunch and snacks, then went home with a Little Pine hoody Pet Resource Center clinic 2sweatshirt thanks to a donation from Moby. We especially want to thank Inner City Law employee, Neri, who was in the office and ready to help us during the day, all day. Inner City Law Center allowed us to set up our clinic in the back of their parking lot, and the city of LA created a street closure for us! On top of it all, LA Animal Services provided us with an officer to issue licenses and vouchers, and Spay4LA staff made it possible to serve this community which lacks necessary services. We could not do it without these compassionate hearts.

A special thank you goes out to volunteers Burt and Sandy Dragotis who picked up and dropped off many of our pets and pet owners, going the extra mile (figuratively and literally!) to help families and pets in need. And finally, a special thanks to all of YOU. You, our friends and fans and core. You, who purchased items off our Amazon Wish List, allowing the Skid Row community to feel just a little more kindness. Every item we received from you was passed on to them. You, who keep us going and keep us strong. We look forward to many more Pet Resource Center clinics in 2017!