After adopting his first dog last year, a pit bull named Trooper, Emmy-nominated television producer, Michael Levitt, felt compelled to go further, and added animal rescue — specifically pit bulls — to his slate of productions. Now he’s known in animal rescue circles as L.A. Mike Rescue. and has successfully rescued and saved at least 50 dogs this year.
Thanks to alerts on social media networks like Facebook, independent animal rescuers like Levitt save dogs sometimes mere hours before they’re euthanized in kill shelters. Animal rescue is a nationwide movement on the rise, serving a vital role in giving homeless dogs a second chance on life, but greater Los Angeles’ canine crisis is, as Levitt describes it, “an epidemic.”
The epidemic’s causes are numerous with backyard breeding being one major problem. Shelters in San Bernardino and Lancaster receive up to 90 animals a day. Many rescuers cite a disconnect among pet owners in poor white, Latin, and African American communities who fail to treat their animals like family members, raising dogs for the wrong reasons, avoiding spaying/neutering, or just letting them loose on the streets to fend for themselves.
Levitt says, “It boggles my mind that a pet owner would turn their dog into a shelter, especially a senior dog who they raised, knowing the animal’s probably not going to be adopted and then, within days, euthanized. It makes me embarrassed for humanity.”