Longtime Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Debbie Knaan and her husband, Eli, became first-time pet owners in 1998. Their first two dogs, Ziggy and Spice, immediately captured Debbie’s heart and eventually transformed her life. Over time her house became a loving home to a steady stream of rescue dogs, and her compassion toward dogs expanded to include all species of animals. As Debbie’s love for animals grew, so too did her awareness of the widespread problem of animal abuse and neglect.

Awareness became action.

In 2004 Debbie was appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles to serve as a Los Angeles City commissioner on the Board that manages and sets policy for the Department of Animal Services.  The Department operates the six public animal shelters within the city of L.A..  Debbie continued to serve on the board until she was recruited to work full time for the Department as its Assistant General Manager of Operations. Granted a leave of absence by the District Attorney’s Office to serve in this capacity, Debbie’s duties included supervising the shelter staff, as well as the the field officers who enforce all animal-related laws in the city of L.A. and investigate cases of animal cruelty and neglect.

In 2007 Debbie returned to the D.A.’s Office to create a new unit dedicated to prosecuting animal cruelty crimes.  Since then Debbie has supervised a unit which is comprised of 28 specially assigned and trained prosecutors who review and prosecute all of the serious felony, and many of the misdemeanor, cases in L.A. County, in which an animal has been mistreated and abused.

Her efforts were successful: