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LA Animal Services Media Contacts: 
Agnes Sibal-von Debschitz, (213) 482-9512 or
Justin Khosrowabadi, (213) 482-9551 or

Wallis Annenberg PetSpace to Partner

with LA Animal Services in New Program to Ensure Dogs Get Daily Enrichment and Exercise in Shelters

Los Angeles, August 26 2022 – In response to the ongoing issue of overcrowding and overall animal wellbeing in Los Angeles city shelters, Wallis Annenberg PetSpace will partner with Los Angeles Animal Services (LA Animal Services) to begin a dual-pronged approach to help ensure the more than 1,000 dogs currently in city shelters are getting enrichment and exercise every day, and that animals are finding homes more quickly. 

First, starting September 1, PetSpace will fund two new Canine Enrichment Coordinator positions within LA Animal Services. Second, also in September, PetSpace will begin a six-month program of hosting weekly spay/neuter surgeries at their Playa Vista facility for LA Animal Services animals. (LA Animal Services animals must be spayed/neutered before they’re adoptable.)

"I’ve been an animal lover all my life. I’ve believed in the power of the human-animal bond all my life. And I believe very deeply that how we care for animals is a test of our own capacity for love and empathy and decency,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chair, President and CEO of Annenberg Foundation, and PetSpace founder. “I was heartbroken to learn of conditions at the city's shelters and I want to be part of the solution, for the long haul. We have so much to learn from the animal world -- so much to gain from the animals in our lives. In return, we must be good stewards, and take the very best care of them that we possibly can."


“We believe that establishing these Canine Enrichment Coordinator positions and increasing the volume of spay/neuter surgeries for Los Angeles Animal Services will create immediate and lasting change for animals in L.A. shelters and help support the efforts of staff and volunteers who are committed to their care,” said Gabrielle Amster, Director, Wallis Annenberg PetSpace. “This support is only a portion of what is needed to move the needle, so we applaud other agencies for joining the collaborative effort to support the homeless pets of the Los Angeles community.”


PetSpace’s support will enable LA Animal Services to engage Dogs Playing for Life (DPFL), one of the nation’s most respected and progressive dog behavior programs in the nation, with a mission to enhance the quality of life of shelter dogs to increase life-saving. DPFL has proven metrics on the life-saving benefits of “playgroups” for kenneled animals, and on the methods for training staff and volunteers in establishing and conducting these ongoing enrichment activities.


"As a municipal shelter, there is always an opportunity to do more for the animals in our care, so we are grateful for partners who share in our mission to help pets thrive while waiting to be adopted," said Annette Ramirez, Interim General Manager for Los Angeles Animal Services. "We are pleased to announce that we are working with Wallis Annenberg PetSpace to take immediate action that will help address the critical issues we are currently facing.”


The Canine Enrichment Coordinators will work directly and collaboratively with current LA Animal Services staff and volunteers across the city’s six shelter facilities to create a structured program to get every dog outside every day, maintain individualized enrichment and training protocols, and attend to the emotional and behavioral well-being of the entire shelter canine population. Funded initially for one year, the positions will be strictly evaluated with the goals of reducing kennel stress, establishing programs that can live on, and ultimately, get more animals adopted out of Los Angeles city shelters.

"DPFL couldn't be more excited to partner with LA Animal Services and PetSpace to improve the quality of life for shelter dogs and those that care for them," said Aimee Sadler, Founder and CEO, Dogs Playing for Life. "These positions will significantly bolster DPFL's ability to support LA Animal Services in achieving and sustaining our ‘Every Dog, Every Day!’ model where all dogs are afforded quality time outside their kennels every day."

Using DPFL’s model, the new Canine Enrichment Coordinators will use playgroups to provide much needed enrichment to LA Animal Services shelter dogs, as well as assess their play style and behavior with other animals and people, in an effort to decrease their length of stay, increase their potential to be adopted, and identify possible training modifications to help dogs have a better quality of life in both the shelter and its future home. Of utmost importance, playgroups reduce the stress and anxiety of dogs living in animal shelters making them easier and safer to handle and reducing the likelihood of behavior euthanasia.

Spaying and neutering are also critical to the safety and wellbeing of animals in Los Angeles. Since 2008, spay/neuter surgeries have been required for all animals leaving L.A. city shelters in an effort to humanely decrease the number of pets abandoned each year. Starting next month, PetSpace will use its state-of-the-art, on-site veterinary care team to perform weekly spay/neuter surgeries for LA Animal Services animals. PetSpace will also continue to take in dogs and cats from LA Animal Services facilities and make them available for adoption.

Between the spay/neuter program and partnership with LA Animal Services and DPFL, PetSpace hopes to help alleviate overcrowding and provide the vital activity and enrichment needed by dogs in L.A. shelters.

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Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is a unique community space featuring an interactive place for pet adoptions, an education center, and a leadership institute. PetSpace focuses squarely on the mutually beneficial and dynamic bond between people and their pets, as well as the origins and science of that relationship. To learn more, please visit

LA Animal Services promotes and protects the health, safety, and welfare of animals and the people who love them, and is one of the largest municipal shelter systems in the United States. With six Centers across the City, LA Animal Services serves approximately 60,000 animals annually and responds to 20,000 emergency calls involving animals or people in danger. LA Animal Services is part of the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) international coalition, joining 38 municipal shelters and animal welfare organizations across the country to reimagine and transform the way shelters care for animals and their families, by offering access to resources to help keep families together; getting lost pets home quickly without having to enter the shelter system; providing food and medical assistance; and continuing to build on a strong adoption and foster program so pets find their permanent homes or are placed in foster care. Visit our link.tree for helpful links to the services and resources available to you and your companion animals. Connect with LA Animal Services and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Founded in 2015, Dogs Playing for Life has been redefining the meaning and importance of quality of life for all sheltered dogs by improving their experience through playgroups and individualized training, resulting in urgent and responsible lifesaving. Since inception, DPFL has introduced playgroups to 329 shelters and counting, who realize an average 6% increase in lifesaving and 38% decrease in length of stay for dogs. Shelters frequently describe DPFL programming as "game changing," "transformational," and "the most important thing to happen for shelter dogs." To find out more, visit

LA Animal Services | 888-452-7381 |