BENEFITING: Downtown Dog Rescue
EVENT DATE: Jun 11, 2016
Around twenty years ago, Lori Weise started working at Modernica Inc., a furniture factory near L.A.’s Skid Row. On her drive to work she saw countless homeless people and their dogs — many being abused, suffering, and starving. An animal lover at heart, as well as a calm, strong advocate for justice, this reality led to her creation of Downtown Dog Rescue, which she began at the back of the Modernica factory.
Lori started by trapping strays dogs and talking to the homeless community she encountered. Walking right up to them and treating them with respect, she was consistent with her contact and friendship. She was even able to convince many that their dogs would be better off spayed/neutered. Lori was savvy about her efforts; she posted fliers in alleys and doorways offering free food for people and free surgeries for dogs via a mobile clinic, which she arranged. Her first clinic had a line two blocks long, and she soon developed a positive reputation on the streets. Furthermore, because homeless people cannot get a dog license without an address, Lori went so far as to allow Modernica’s address to be used to license as many as three hundred dogs. She became a true friend and pioneer to people who had no one.
Since then, Downtown Dog Rescue has paid for thousands of spay/neuter surgeries, has placed or fostered thousands of dogs, and has provided meals for many animals and the people who love them, whether they be homeless or just need a helping hand. After many years of working on Skid Row, Downtown Dog Rescue expanded to offer services in Compton, where living can be a challenge for residents, crime is eminent, and the euthanasia rate among pets is among the highest in Los Angeles. Regular spay and neuter clinics are held in Compton Park, for example, and in 2011 alone the clinic sterilized close to eight hundred dogs. The euthanasia rate for Pitbulls at the county shelter dropped thirty percent that year, proving that free-to-low-cost services are a solution to the problem. If not for DDR, this is an area that would otherwise go underserved, resulting in many animals suffering.