Proven Strategies

white bully dog modeling grey and pink sweater and they are happy about it

Leveling the Field: How to Remove Barriers for Underrepresented Communities and their Pets

Best Friends Senior Director of National Mission Advancement, Marc Peralta, leads a panel discussion on animal policies and laws which inadvertently create barriers for BIPOC and lower-income communities to adopt, reclaim, and remain in compliance to keep their pets. This discussion will address specific ordinances, how laws and policies create barriers and how to work with your community to have them removed.


  • Scott Giacoppo, director of national shelter outreach, Best Friends
  • Akisha Townsend-Eaton, legislative attorney, Best Friends
  • Larry Gross, executive director, Coalition for Economic Survival and President of LA Board of Animal Services Commissioners
  • Lydia LaSalle, executive director, Best Friends Salt Lake City

  • Welcome- 0:01
  • Intro to Panel - 02:40
  • How laws disproportionately impact low income and BIPOC communities?-  03:22
  • Negative effects of licensing for BIPOC and low-income communities. What are some alternatives?- 7:58
  • How does mandatory spay/neuter disproportionately affect low income and BIPOC communities?- 14:30
  • How do breed-specific policies bring more hardships to low income and BIPOC community members?- 18:30
  • Impoundment Ordinances- 22:30
  • Fines and Fees- 26:00
  • Selective Enforcement- 29:58
  • Negative aspects of anti-tethering laws- 33:08
  • Housing and tenants’ rights- 37:28
  • Opening doors with landlords who have tenants with pets in LA- 46:00
  • What has recently happened in LA to help with housing issues in relation to COVID?- 53:27
  • Implicit bias in areas such as adoptions and how that plays into this affects lifesaving- 57:06
  • How in-person animal welfare events often fall into a biased role and/or location- 59:00
  • How foster practices often disproportionately exclude BIPOC and low-income volunteers- 1:00:25
  • Community outreach- 1:02:35
  • Q&A
    • Are more shelters labeled “Kill Shelters” in under resourced minority communities?- 1:05:30
    • How do Animal Control Officers conduct 24-hour reunite services?- 1:08:02
    • How can we educate municipalities to financially support animal control at a level that allows shelters to waive fees?- 1:08:58
    • Options for people facing homelessness and landlords changing terms of tenancy.- 1:14:35
    • Explain the funding side of not requiring licensing.- 1:18:12
    • Operations side of community-supported sheltering and expanding boundaries.- 1:21:00




If you enjoyed this town hall, you can find our complete catalog of town halls here