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Pet store with shelter animals needs funds to stay open

June 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A rescue pet shop that features dogs and cats from Los Angeles County animal shelters is at risk of closing due to lack of funding. The animals are taken daily from the county's six shelters to the store in the hopes of being adopted.

While shopping for merchandise in the Westside Pavilion in L.A., you can also stop in at L.A. Love and Leashes to adopt a dog or cat. About a dozen of the animals are brought into the store from shelters throughout L.A. every day.

Managers of the nonprofit shelter store say since opening around the first of the year they have been able to find loving homes for 225 animals.

"It's about bringing the shelter to the community," said store manager Karla Fox. "We're trying to catch people that wouldn't go to the shelters, so many of these dogs and cats wouldn't have had a chance to become adopted at all. And we're trying to reduce the euthanization rate."

Managers at L.A. Love and leashes say it cost around $6,000 per month to run the place. They say they are about $15,000 in the red, and if they don't raise the money in the next few weeks they may have to close the doors.

"We sort of relied on people to donate at will if they felt the desire to do so," said Fox. "Meanwhile all of the sudden we had a situation where we were very successful with adoptions but not with covering our overhead. So we actually had to start asking people." The shop is holding a fundraiser Thursday night.

L.A. resident Veronica Holiday stopped by the store and adopted year-and-a-half-year-old "Russell," a terrier mix.

"I have gone to a shelter, but it's kind of a little harder. It's a lot more depressing to know that they're going to the little gas chamber. This was kind of a more mellow way to meet a little doggie," said Holiday.

"It's user-friendly to come here," said Santa Monica resident Abby Kesden. "You're shopping at the mall. It seems like a nice intimate way to have contact to see if maybe it's the right dog for you."

L.A. Love and leashes say for some animals brought to them from shelters it is the last opportunity for them to find loving homes -- or else.

UPDATE: As this news story aired in the 4 p.m. broadcast, a viewer made a donation to the foundation in the amount of $15,000 to keep this rescue shop open.

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