Tue, Jun

Lori Golden, an LA Treasure, Helped Save Scores of Homeless Animals


@TheGussReport – Of the many titles people wear during their life, the one for which Lori Golden will most widely be remembered is that of Founder, Chief Editor and Publisher of the widely distributed, San Fernando Valley-based, The Pet Press, the ubiquitous Pennysaver-like newspaper found in every veterinary office, pet adoption center and high-kill pound* across Southern California.

I will get to that asterisk in a moment, as it is a reminder of Lori’s courage, generosity and integrity.

Lori passed away on April 10th due to an ailment that is believed to not be related to the Corona Virus outbreak.

A roll through her social media pages reveals that Lori, born in 1951, had a broad and diverse group of friends, including many dating back to her New Jersey roots, through her years in the LA entertainment industry where she worked on The Merv Griffin Show and a variety of game shows but especially over the past several decades in the Southern California animal rescue community. The primary focus of today’s column is to memorialize her unparalleled efforts to help bring attention to the plight of homeless dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals by helping connect rescuers and charities who save them and need to raise funds to heal them with people seeking to donate and adopt.

Lori Golden’s likability, lovability and acceptance of people who held different points of view made her a natural connector of people, problems and solutions.  You would be hard-pressed to find anyone among the thousands of people who work at all levels of animal rescue in Southern California who didn’t know Lori, hear of her or who was at some point helped by her and The Pet Press.

Eileen Smulson, who along with her husband Brad Smulson co-founded another one-of-a-kind humane connector charity, Operation Blankets of Love, emailed me to say that Lori “had a caring heart, was a great writer and was outspoken when it came to the welfare of animals in the deadly pounds.  The Pet Press is indispensable to animal lovers and animal organizations. Because of her paper, thousands and thousands of homeless animals lives were saved!”

That is no understatement. Lori’s entertainment industry roots also became an invaluable resource for The Pet Press, which featured cover stories with animal-loving celebrities. 

Smulson adds that Lori also helped others looking to develop bold new ways to help homeless animals.  “I had adopted my first pet and knew nothing about the animal rescue world.  Lori was my guiding light when we created OBOL in 2008 and mentored me through the years.  She also helped me raise funds by telling me what foundations donate to animal welfare.”

Now for that asterisk…..

One place where you could no longer find The Pet Press is in L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s LA Animal Services, LAAS, because Lori dared to speak up about dubious practices like its transporting animals from LAAS to other high-kill entities with no accountability for their whereabouts or what happens to them outside of LA.  Her concern was that Garcetti had thousands of animals shipped out of LA where their deaths wouldn’t count toward his patently untruthful claim that LA is “No Kill.”  

As a result, LAAS GM Brenda Barnette booted The Pet Press from the City’s deadly pounds.  That wasn’t the only time such retaliation happened in LA, as the City had also attempted to coerce Lori into publishing content that reflected only positively on LAAS, which she often did.  But she would not stay silent on darker humane policies that needed to be told.

Lori had asked me to share her appeal to return The Pet Press to LAAS that she made to Barnette, Garcetti and his appointees.  There is no better tribute to her kindness, generosity and bravery than to close out this column about the struggle she shared with animal rescuers in dealing with unfair governments in rescuers’ continuous effort to help homeless animals.  

Lori Golden was fair, kind to all and a friend to many but didn’t lack the determination to speak up for those without opposable thumbs and the ability to ask for help. One friend posted, “The animals lost a great voice. If there is a Rainbow Bridge, I have no doubt Lori was mobbed by thousands of thankful dogs, cats and animals of every species once she got to the other side. Thank you, Lori Golden, for making the world a better place.”

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatchLA, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion and Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, among other publishers. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)



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