Best Friends Opens NKLA Adoption Center; No Kill Moves to Next Level in Los Angeles

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LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz, state government officials, celebrities, and the wife of Mayor Eric Garcetti kick off newest push to save lives of LA shelter pets.

City officials, Hollywood celebrities and supporters of Best Friends Animal Society joined together today to celebrate the re-dedication of a privately owned building to the cause of animal welfare – specifically the ongoing effort to stop the loss of life in the City of Los Angeles animal shelters.

The building, made available to Best Friends by Los Angeles real estate developer Ron Gershman and his wife, Catherine, has been renamed the NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) Pet Adoption Center and will become part of Best Friends Animal Society’s campaign to take the entire city of Los Angeles no-kill by 2017.

“We are profoundly thankful to Ron and Catherine Gershman for providing this wonderful building for the use of Best Friends as we continue our life-saving work in the City of Los Angeles,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of the Utah-based national animal welfare organization. Castle joined Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz and other celebrities and guests in cutting a grand-opening ribbon signifying the official celebratory opening of the center.

Located at 1845 Pontius Ave, Los Angeles, the Cape Cod-themed building is part of a trend to bring animals confined in the city’s animal shelters to a more convenient, comfortable retail location where they can be showcased for adoption. Best Friends recently opened a similar facility – the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center – in Salt Lake City.

Paul Koretz, LA City Councilmember said: "We are thrilled to have Best Friends in our district, as partners in the crucial effort to achieve a No Kill LA. We want it to be as easy and inviting as possible for people to visit a friendly, accessible, skilled and compassionate place dedicated to pet adoption. Our transcendent goal is to increase the number of loving animals adopted into responsible and welcoming homes and families."

Also joining in the celebration was Amy Elaine Wakeland, first lady of Los Angeles, who was attending on behalf of her husband, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “(This facility) is beautiful and the children really enjoyed meeting the dogs,” Wakeland said. “It’s wonderful to see the city, public and private sector partner to reduce the loss of animal life. It’s not possible without private partnerships.”

Presenting honorary certificates to Best Friends from the California legislature were Melissa Ramoso, deputy district director, representing State Sen. Ted Lieu (District 28), and Ellen Moy, field supervisor for State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (District 54).

With its bright, open-air design and striking black/white NKLA graphics, the center will also serve as a sophisticated space where NKLA coalition rescue/shelter organizations can host fundraisers and seminars in beautifully appointed reception and meeting areas.

Ron Gershman stresses the importance of adoption in curbing the number of animals being killed in shelters.

“We endure a relentless cycle that leads to more than four million dogs and cats being killed in our public shelters every year -- simply because too few people are willing to adopt,” he said. “The new center provides an entirely new type of adoption experience designed to reach out to those with willing hearts, but reluctant minds. By providing professional service in an inviting and homelike setting, our hope is that centers like this will one day be the norm and the tragic legacy of euthanasia will one day be just a footnote in the history of our love affair with of these wonderful companions.”

A number of Hollywood personalities attended the event: Lisa Edelstein (“Castle,” “House”), Rachelle Lefevre (“Under the Dome”), Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”), Seamus Dever (“Castle”), Julie Marie Berman (“General Hospital”), Hawk Koch (co-president, Producer’s Guild of America, former president Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), drummer Mark Pontius of Foster the People, and fitness expert/celebrity trainer Ashley Borden.

The building has received a number of architectural awards in publications such as “Tile” and “Interior Design.” The building, which features soundproof animal areas, also includes an elaborate air exchange system that contributes to the health of the animals by reducing the possibility of disease transmission.

Castle said this new effort should enable Best Friends to facilitate as many as 1,000 more adoptions each year in Los Angeles.

“We believe that a concentrated effort to get shelter animals adopted in retail-type locations, combined with a proactive spay-neuter program and more awareness about how wonderful shelter pets are, should reduce the need for shelter pets to be killed because there is no safe place,” Castle said.

“The amazing animals at the NKLA Adoption Center are going to prove once and for all that shelter pets are the best option when it comes to adding a four-legged member to your family,” says Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles, which operates the new facility. “Plus, every time a pet is adopted from our center, it’s like saving two, because we immediately pull another dog or cat from the shelter.”

About NKLA
NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) is a coalition of animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals, led by Best Friends Animal Society. NKLA is dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. shelters by providing spay/neuter services where they are needed most so fewer animals go into shelters, and increasing adoptions through the combined efforts of the NKLA coalition so more animals come out of the shelters and go into new homes. In 2012, the coalition's first year of existence, L.A. shelter deaths decreased 12 months in a row, culminating in 4,200 fewer animals killed than in the year prior. Also in 2012, the NKLA Coalition facilitated 23,421 adoptions and 4,458 spay/neuter surgeries were performed.

About Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles
Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles is working collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals who are all dedicated to the mission of making Los Angeles a no-kill city. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, runs the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center in Mission Hills, and leads the NKLA initiative.

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