By: Ley Calisang
Finding a veterinarian who provides cutting-edge treatment and prioritizes service over profit is difficult nowadays. Even though many people don’t
consider visits to the veterinarian to be essential, regular visits to the veterinarian helps them enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life. That’s why it was such a heartbreaking moment for Dr. Sehaj Grewal, a veterinarian from Los Angeles, also known as “The
Melrose Vet,” when he learned about the alarming news regarding the overcrowding situation in Los Angeles’ local animal shelters.
He is an outspoken supporter of ensuring the health and well-being of all animals. His enthusiasm and love for animals have inspired him to “go
above and beyond what is asked of him” to give high-quality care not just for the animals but also for the fur-parents who take care of them.
His patients affectionately refer to him as Dr. G, and he has a tremendous passion for animal welfare. Dr. G works hard to advocate for it. He discusses
his thoughts on one of the most distressing issues confronting Los Angeles today: the overcrowding of animals in local animal shelters. Read more in the Q&A below:
LA TRIBUNE: Animal abuse has been rampantly growing every year. According to an article from
Pawsomeadvice.com, one animal is being abused every minute. Why do you think this still happens despite having consistent animal protection movements in the country? Is the crisis of overcrowding animal shelters considered animal abuse?
Overcrowding of animal shelters is animal abuse. I believe what is happening is not intentional but more due to the current socioeconomic
conditions left by the COVID pandemic. There are significant staffing shortages at shelters, and volunteers can’t keep up with the demand. There is an extreme dog population, and the work is too strenuous for them. Also, people have become economically deprived,
which prevents them from housing their animals and properly caring for them. I believe people truly care for the animals in this country compared to others.
LAT: What are the negative impacts of dogs not being walked? Will that affect their health?
The impacts are all mental and physical. Dogs can become aggressive and fearful due to the lack of socialization with pets and other people.
Even physically, it impacts them. If they are not getting the exercise, they will become overweight and develop a plethora of health issues.
LAT: With the growing number of animals being brought to the animal shelter, what do you think these shelters can do to be able
to cater to these animals?
I think the big thing shelters need is funding from the city, i.e., use the tax dollars and even donations from people. With the funding,
they can hire the proper staff to care for these animals, buy the necessary resources such as food, and build more shelters to prevent animals from suffering.
LAT: LA has been longing to be a “no-kill” city. On the other hand, some think that keeping animals alive but confined for long
periods is inhuman. What are your thoughts on that?
I think a fine balance needs to be kept. With the way things are going in shelters in LA, I feel it is closer to the inhumane territory.
There is no reason for animals to go through that kind of suffering. I am a firm advocate of humane euthanasia in these situations. People need to step up and start fostering/adopting some of these pets to prevent further animal suffering. I am also an advocate
for sterilizing pets to prevent the overpopulation of pets, so they don’t suffer.
LAT: What are the best practices for kennel operators? Especially for those who are facing an overcrowding crisis?
Hiring more people and purchasing proper resources is the only way to operate the shelters. Ensure dogs are walked 3-4 times a day for at
least 15 minutes, fed/given water, and provided clean bedding twice a day.
LAT: How do you think locals can help?
Locals can help by donating and volunteering. Since there is a staff shortage, people have to volunteer. In addition, this needs to be broadcasted
all over the media as a major issue.
LAT: As a veterinarian, what do you want to advise people thinking about adopting a dog?
I think adopting a dog from the shelter is the best way to tackle this issue rather than getting a pet from a breeder. Adopting a pet saves
a life and frees up room for additional animals in need. This results in a positive feedback loop.
Even though the young veterinarian has only been in practice for the past seven years, he has already garnered the respect of his peers and is considered
an authority in his field. Dr. G has not only established his expertise as a veterinarian, but more importantly, he has effectively elevated the bar of veterinary care worldwide by advocating for voiceless animals. He continuously fights and advocates for
defenseless animals locally in Los Angeles and for everyone as passionately as he can. Dr G volunteers his time with the Underdog Community Project working with the homeless and their animals on skid row.
If you would like to volunteer with the Underdog Community Project please visit https://www.underdogcommunityproject.org/
Also, to know more about Dr. G, visit his website here