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Achievements, Looking Ahead


50 YearsIt was in 1971 that Actors and Others began its commitment to caring for animals in need and shifting societal attitudes towards them. We recognized that pet overpopulation was rooted in a lack of education and availability of services resulting in unwanted animals being surrendered to City and County shelters or living on the streets causing public safety issues. As one of the first spay/neuter organizations in Southern California, our significant impact on reducing the number of unwanted animals and the awareness and acceptance of spay/neuter is and remains our greatest achievement.

Over the years we have seen the overwhelming embrace of pet adoptions from shelters and rescues. One factor that is obscured by the emphasis on getting animals out of shelters and into homes however is that pet guardians don’t anticipate that their pets may get ill or injured and need veterinary care. But it will happen. Today more than ever, many pet guardians are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. A great number live only on social security or disability payments and find themselves financially unable to provide needed veterinary care when something happens. Recognizing this need, we began our Emergency Medical program in the mid-1990’s. Getting animals out of the shelters is only one part of the equation. Keeping them safe and healthy is another. The inability to get veterinary care is one of, if not the greatest, hurdles for keeping pets in the homes. L.A. County Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda noted in early 2020: “The most common reason people surrender pets to our care centers is because the animal has a medical condition they cannot afford to treat, or the pet owner has lost their housing.” We are very gratified that because of our veterinary intervention lives are saved, families reunited and euthanasia and heartbreak averted.

AchievementsIn simple terms, the measurements for success can be gauged in the number of spay/neuter surgeries and medical procedures achieved. And in our nearly 50 year history, that number is in the hundreds of thousands. However, long-term attainment must also look at the decrease in animals being euthanized in shelters, the proliferation of spay/neuter services and animal welfare organizations, the changing view of how animals are treated and the acceptance of pets as part of the family.

Social media is also a good indicator of this success. In the 1970’s, pets on television were seldom represented and usually not as family members, and those working for their protection were seldom heard. Today, all of the airwaves and all of social media are filled with stories and videos of dogs and cats enjoying life with their human families, and of all the individuals and organizations working on their behalf. We like to think that we have had a little something to do with that change.

2009 to 2019 AOA funded 101,727 Spay & Neuter Surgeries, and 8,149 Veterinary Medical Treatments


Looking ForwardAs the saying goes, success is a journey and not a destination. We still have a long way to go to plug the pet overpopulation problem and stop the killing of unwanted animals. Hurdles continues to exist, one of which remains the rising cost of veterinary medicine. Actors and Others’ objective has not changed. We want to be able to sustain and hopefully increase our resources to keep on helping pets and their guardians in need.

We will continue on our journey to offer vitally needed support to make it possible for guardians to keep their companions by helping to get their pets spayed/neutered or subsidize emergency veterinary procedures. That is our mission.

With regard to the future in general, we must not become complacent with regard to the protection and care of animals. The need will always be there. We must face the tough choices that are sometimes needed not only with our hearts but with reason as well, and we must always put the animals’ wellbeing above our own.