To Top

Conversations with Rande Levine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rande Levine.

Hi Rande, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I founded Karma Rescue in 2003. I have been active in the humane community for 22 years and witnessed animals being relinquished to shelters because families could not keep them or because the pets were sick or had behavioral challenges. These animals deserved another opportunity and I made it my mission to give them a second chance. We ran a robust adoption program, saving over 3500 animals’ lives from 2003-2018. We founded programs to support our work such as an education program, a spay/neuter program, a veterinary assistance program, and we founded and ran a prison/shelter dog program which ran for four years. Three years ago, Karma Rescue refocused its mission on prevention and intervention.

Karma has two core approaches to combat economic euthanasia and shelter overcrowding: 1) we offer free spay/neuter services to individuals/families within targeted, low-income areas of Los Angeles County; and 2) we work with a network of veterinary partners to provide low-/no-cost spay/neuter surgeries, quality pre-/post-operative care, pain management and related medications and re-checks. Spay/neuter is the most effective means by which to limit strays and to reduce shelter overcrowding and needless euthanasia. Rather than working in areas oversaturated with similar programs, Karma has researched and will continue to work in targeted zip codes in high-need areas which don’t receive the same attention or necessary resources as do other neighborhoods. We also provide financial assistance to families and their pets during life-threatening crises, and we help offset costs of emergency vet care, medical imaging, and medications/supplements, so pets can stay in their homes.

This is where Karma Rescue steps up to help. Karma is an invaluable resource because we provide access to much needed spay/neuter services, veterinary care, and pet resources, and we also bring the community together through education to support one another about issues relating to animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of controlling the companion animal population.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
While there has been much success, it has been through struggle that we have gained experience and grown. Over the past 18 years, Karma Rescue has faced its fair share of learning experiences through failed attempts. We have been humbled, but we have learned, which is why we are one of the very few Los Angeles-based animal humane organizations to have been in existence for nearly two decades. Much of our growth has been accomplished by prioritizing engagement, flexibility, openness and transparency, leadership, communication, team alignment, and, always, focus on the mission.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
For 18 years, Karma Rescue has been a champion for the underdogs of Los Angeles. Pit bull-type dogs and other large canines have always had a special place in our hearts. That is why the systemic and disproportionate destruction of these dogs in the overcrowded shelter system is so heartbreaking. Karma was founded to save and improve the lives of these dogs – to not only find them homes but to help change public misconceptions, ensure responsible pet ownership and promote a culture of compassion for animals. Our many years as an active member of L.A.’s animal welfare community​, has afforded us the ability to identify gaps in much-needed services. This is why Karma shifted away from adoption to ending animal overpopulation and became re-focused on keeping animals with their families in times of financial hardship. There is no shortage of reputable rescues with the capacity to pull and place animals in impactful, needed numbers. There is, however, a scarcity of organizations equipped to assist low-income pet owners who want to have their pet spayed/neutered or whose pets desperately need other, unaffordable veterinary care. These people far too often face the heart-wrenching decision of surrendering their pet to the shelter system or having to have their pet put to sleep to avoid suffering. This unfortunate situation is termed “economic euthanasia,” and over half a million companion animals are euthanized each year in ​the United States simply because people cannot afford veterinary bills. Karma wants to do everything we can to help stop this tragic trend.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
• We cannot solve the issues animals face without first looking at the issues communities face outside of the animal welfare system.

• We will focus on the mission and stand up for what is good, even though it may not be popular.

• We will be open and respectful of others’ ideas…they will improve the success of that towards which we are always striving…in fact, it is the only way to succeed!

• The more stakeholders from different systems which are included in a coalition, the more interconnectivity that can be examined and used to further the mission.

• Trust one another. We can accomplish more when we work together.

• Get the local community involved in the movement and the design.

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in