Boks says the live release rate is decreasing under his management, from 54% in fiscal 05-06, to 52% for 2006-2007. No-Kill gurus are supposed to increase the live release rate, especially with a hugely increasing budget and manpower.
He says the spay/neuter programs, vouchers, licensing are not decreasing impound levels. Therefore, he says, more of the same is required (Einstein’s definition of insanity is more of the same with no change in the results. Ed quotes him.): enforcement activity.
What he appears to be saying is that if we get more people out there checking for dog license scofflaws, the feral cat and kitten intake will decrease. (This is humor for those serious people out there.) Maybe he is saying if we catch more hoarders, and LAAS impounds their animals, then the intake will be less. I don’t know what he means by enforcement.
In any event, LAAS-subsidized spay/neuters have nearly doubled since 2003-2004, but the intake is going up.
I have been saying for some time that spay/neuter is not the only way, maybe not even the #1 way. Mackie’s opinion is that 70% of the cat and dog population have to be sterilized before impounds will stabilize.
On page 4 of the report, Boks says 72% of the dogs and 55% of the cats impounded were not altered. If that percentage is representative, and if there are 500,000 feral and roaming housed cats on the streets, then we will need to do 120,000 spay/neuters a year just to stabilize the cat impound numbers.
This leads me to believe that the biggest warehousing of animals is in the streets and that we are seeing only a small, small percentage of them leaking into the shelters where Boks warehouses them even more.
Unless we do basic science and have some grasp on the numbers of feral and homeless cats and dogs are out there, we will have no idea of how much spay/neutering we will need to do. As it is, Ed is poking around with a stick in the dark without a clue. Now he is saying what we are doing is not working, so let’s call out the doggie police, but the doggie impounds are declining, not the cat’s.
So, the big news is things are getting worse at LAAS and Ed doesn’t know what to do..
First Quarter, 2007 Philadelphia
Live Impounds: 5,119 (LAAS: 8,338)
Euthanasia: 1,754 (LAAS: 1,938)
Died in shelter: 22 (LAAS: 180)
Live save Cats: 70%
Live save Dogs: 61%
Live Dog and Cat: 66% (LAAS: Live save, 1st Quarter, 72%)
1st quarter stats are hard to judge by as they are the slowest months. We know Boks is doing it by crowding and it is not sustainable. Tara told me they were doing fine in terms of occupancy until this very day.
It is possible they will end the year with a live save rate of 56% or better. Boks is projecting a decrease in animals leaving LAAS alive from 54% to 51-52% under his reign.
How on earth can he call himself a No-Kill guru? He is taking small steps backward. The longer he is here, the more steps backward we are talking.
Please Mayor, help us!
In any event, given 1/8th the budget and less than 1/6th the employees of LAAS, and given they have been only working on No-Kill for 25 months, the job they did is almost magical.
1st Quarter Died in Shelter, Philly (22): 0.4%
(DIS LAAS (180) : 2.2%)
Eight times more animals died in LAAS of disease/fighting than in Philly, even though Philly did not even have even 2 X the number of animals.
Total budget: ….. $3,278,628 (Boks told Council, LAAS has $25,000,000)
Other: $ 325,000
Total number of employees:
60 FTE (Boks told Council that LAAS had 400)
Total volunteers: 250 Active (LAAS-Unknown; non-transparent)
Total foster homes: 179 (LAAS-Unknown; non-transparent)
The remarkable point is that Philly was 89% kill in 2004, while LAAS was 48% kill and they likely will pull ahead for calendar 2007--with 1/8th the budget!
The number of animals in the shelter now is higher than we have encountered since we started counting, four months ago.
This is a disaster and the main part of kitten sason has not hit yet. Before the new facility opened, we had 236 kennels; this would be 3.6 dogs per kennel. I've never been able to find out how many cat or other cages there are. I don't know how many new cages or kennels have come on line during the past six months.
Man, the shelters need us desperately!
I talked to Tara Derby-Perrin, Executive Director of PAWS/PACCA in Philly.
They went from 88% kill in 2004 to 50% kill two years later, and now they are down to 35% kill--in two years! LAAS is at 40% after 5 years with 1% of that improvement coming under Boks during the last 15 months.
Their save rate on all cat + dog impounds was 66% January-March 2007. They had about 26,000 dog/cat impounds. Deaths for neonatal kittens so far this year, is almost "non-existent."
I asked for more complete stats than posted on their site which I referred to on my blog yesterday, especially disposition. They do not use Chameleon tracking software. They did not have impound stats for neonatal last year but have started this year. She will send all shortly.
They have a budget of $3.2 million and 60 full-times equivalent employees, compared to our $25 million and 400 employees. They have 250 active volunteers, which is 4 volunteers for every employee. They have 60% of LAAS impound load, but only 13% of its budget and 15% of its manpower.
This is comparable to the disparity between LAAS resources and SFACC's under Carl Friedman, who has an even greater success rate than Philadelphia, but who has been at it far longer and has less than half the impounds of Philadelphia.
They have 11 associated private shelters that take some of their animals and another 30 "New Hope" partners. She will send the transfer stats.
She said the save rate for neonatal kittens was 90% during the 1st quarter compared to 60% for LAAS. Just got their bottle foster program off the ground during the past 8 months. Last year their save rate for neonatals was not so good, about 15%, worse than LAAS. Things will get worse fast now. Said it was a warm winter and cats are flying in. The tale will be told by October.
Can you imagine their save rate per employee or dollar?
I asked her about their experience with Winograd.
She was extremely enthusiastic. She said his energy, knowledge and pushiness energized the shelter, the public and city gov. She said his style tended to invoke opposition in city government somewhat, but she helped walk the changes through the City hoops. She said his continued support has been wonderful.
When I get the final stats, I will post them. Give me a couple of days.
They have a current save rate for cats of 70%, and 61% for dogs. They don't screw cats in Philly.
Boks and Bickhart will always present reasons why LAAS is harder to improve and why he have to wait longer. But, 8 X the budget and employees?
Tara said the biggest component of change is the leadership of the CEO (Of course she is the CEO and might be biased.) She also said Boks has the big hurdle of civil service although Philly is unionized by the same union as LAAS.
Back when I was a Boks “spokesperson,” whenever I discovered what appeared to be a successful No-Kill shelter, both Boks and the Mayor’s office pooh-poohed that success, either by implying the shelter was falsifying numbers, or that the shelter system, such as Winograd’s Tompkin’s County shelter, was so small that his techniques would never work in LA. Tompkins, Charlottesville and other No-Kill shelters were sarcastically referred to as “boutique” shelters.
On February 7 of this year, Winograd sent me an email stating Philadelphia had gone from 88% kill to a 65% save rate in a little over two years. If true, this would be unimaginable success in such a short time. But no confirming stats from Philly were available at the time. I talked to Philly’s director, Tara Derby-Perrin, who told me in February that the cats were flying out the door and few neonates were dying because of a large cadre of volunteer fosters (200 active).
Well, I just got the Philly stats off of their website. If true, they destroy Boks’ excuse that large shelter systems do not improve quickly. Philly is still impounding about 30,000 cats and dogs a year, or 2/3 the number as LA. Their budget is not 2/3 of LAAS’s $25,000,000, nor did they have 2/3 of LAAS’ 400 employees. I forget what she told me, but it was a small fraction to LAAS’ budget, just as is SFACC. The Philly budget is $3,200,000 with 50 FTE employees, or 1/8th LAAS budget and employees. However, they have 250 active volunteers, or 5 for every full-time employee.
This is a very important point. Boks and his apologists say that the other shelters handle so few animals compared to LAAS that any success anywhere in country is irrelevant to LAAS situation. BUT, LAAS has vastly greater resources in comparison.
This blog will not allow me to post tables and there are a lot of stats here. So go to this site and do your own analysis.
The gist is that they (Winograd and auditors) found out the previous shelter managers had lied about the number of adoptions, RTO and other saves they had claimed in 2004, and that while the shelter claimed a 27% save rate, it most probably was about an 11% save rate for cats and dogs combined.
Winograd began consulting in early 2005 sometime.
At the end of 2005, the combined save rate was 39%, 280% improvement!
At the end of 2006, the save rate was 47%, a 360% improvement over 2004.
The 1st quarter stats for Philly just came out. The the first quarter would have the best results because it is the slowest quarter. Still, the combined save rate is 66%--61% for dogs, 70% for cats.
If these figures are true, Philly went from being far worse than LAAS in 2004, to well surpassing LAAS in about 2 years. Though LAAS has the same save rate for dogs, it has a far worse save rate for cats.
But, as we know from our experience with Boks, statistics don’t mean much without having very detailed and complete statistics and an independent reviewer. I will let you know what I find.
Boks floated his excuse for no improvement, that LA was already “so close to no-kill,” that all the easy successes were accomplished before he came, and that now was the time for the “heavy lifting.”
Has anyone asked him—or the Mayor’s Office—why did all the easy successes stop the day he started?
Did I forget to mention? Both the Philadelphia and Charlottesville shelters are run by women.
From Ed Boks blog:
“267 dogs and 273 cats were euthanized in March 2007. 25% of the cats were orphaned neonate kittens (68). Thanks to LA Animal Services' Baby Bottle Foster Parents and many New Hope Partners 204 neonates were safely placed in loving homes in March 2007 and were spared euthanasia. (Orphaned neonates are kittens too young to survive on their own and require round the clock foster care until they are weaned at eight weeks of age.)”
What does this paragraph say to you? LAAS paced 204 neonate kittens through rescues and bottle feeding fosters in March?
Ed was talking “orphaned neonate kittens,” in the second sentence, and “orphaned neonate kittens” in the last sentence. Since the whole article was about killing thousands of kittens, the context of everything would point to his saying 204 neonate kittens were placed in homes.
Here is what Carla Hall, LA Times reporter wrote:
“The foster program helps, but it has not stopped the killing of kittens. Even as L.A. Animal Services touted a dramatically low euthanasia rate for March, the city put down 68 orphaned kittens. The agency did, however, place 204 neonatal kittens in foster homes.”
As pointed out in my earlier post, 96 New Hope rescues and 37 fosters = 133 placed. Add 6 unmentioned adoptions, and we get 139.
After Carla Hall questioned Ed about the discrepancy, he said what he meant as opposed to what he told her and what he posted in his blog:
267 dogs and 273 cats were euthanized in March 2007. 25% of the cats were orphaned neonate kittens (68). Thanks to LA Animal Services' Baby Bottle Foster Parents and many New Hope Partners 204
Here is the retraction the LA Times ran today:
FOR THE RECORD:Shelter kittens: An article in Thursday's California section about kittens in Los Angeles city and county animal shelters said L.A. Animal Services had placed 204 neonatal kittens in foster homes in March. The actual number placed outside city shelters was 139. —
A commentor to a previous post suggested that Boks misled the public and reporter Hall to make it appear that LAAS was placing 3 times as many kittens as they were killing, instead of twice as many.
Someone in the Mayor’s office who had warned Ed about the poster in the Hooter’s event, told me that Ed said, “Go ahead with the poster; it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”
These two examples reveal a person whose fundamental nature is to deceive and who only requires truth from his detractors. As a matter of fact, I have seen many employees in government bureaucracies who are like this, they lie not because they have to, but because it is convenient and prevents trouble for them.
This brings up issues ADL and others have raised, such as:
1. Did Boks say on his application for the LAAS GM position that he had a B.A?
2. Was he fired after all from NYC?
3. Was he forced to leave town in Phoenix in “a hurry?” (I have heard this from many sources at very high levels outside of LA.)
4. Did he lie (YES) when he denied that he supplied the LA Animal Lover blogger and I with insider information in order to counteract what he called false charges leveled by ADL, Dan Guss and others? Was much of the information he gave us a “spin” on the truth such as neonates?
5. Is Boks now lying and saying that former supporters who are now critics, just jilted lovers with an axe to grind? I think this might be labeled slander if true and something to be tacked onto a potential lawsuit.
6. Is he lying when he denied sending porno emails to female rescuers?
7.Was he lying to me when he said he worked 18 hour days, or did he “really” mean he was conscious for 18 hours a day?
8. Was he lying to me when he said LAAS would be doing 120,000 spay/neuters a year? (Of course, he could have meant during 2045 A.D.)
9. Was he lying when he said he'd present his 2006 annual report to the Commissioners during April? 10.Did Villaraigosa really offer Winograd an opportunity to consult with LAAS before Boks started?
Last, but not least, was he lying when he said:
"LA made a great leap towards No-Kill in 2006," and, "March was a No-Kill month."
The last GM report we had was last August's; we have not had one for 7 months. The annual GM report is three months late. I heard from Jim Bickhart that there would be a No-Spin annual report in April. I think that is not going to happen either.
Instead of a GM report, we did get a March 2007 blogspot post about a March N0-Kill month where over 650 animals were killed.
Just for a refresher, the "real" March figures are:
REGARDING “PROGRESS” MADE DURING MARCH 2007
Boks stated "March 2007 - A No-Kill Month! March 2007 is the lowest monthly euthanasia rate since LA Animal Services began collecting this data! Not only were no healthy dogs or cats killed in the month of March, but also only nine treatable animals were euthanized and only after three regimens of treatment failed to produce any improvement in the health of the animals."
He killed 675 animals in March 2007.
He said 18% of all animals that entered the shelter had irremediable suffering, contagious diseases, were feral or aggressive so he had to kill them.
In other words, they deserved to die so the shelter was really No-Kill.
In review of the March 2007 statistics I see:
One, animals actually leaving the shelter alive has decreased.
Two, animals dying in the shelter has increased dramatically.
Three, animals being held in the shelter has increased dramatically. Boks is holding onto the animals so he doesn't have to euthanize them. He is not juggling the numbers, he is juggling the animals in order to improve his numbers. Had he not held those animals much longer, his euth rate and numbers would have been up.
To see what's really happening in the shelter we need to look at the out-alive rate. How many were adopted, returned to owner, fostered or taken by New Hope.
The number of animals that left the shelter alive in March 2007 was down in number and percentage. Fewer animals made it out alive. This is for cats, dogs, bunnies and others.
Out alive numbers for March 2007, 2328 or 63% of intake.
March 2006, 2356 out alive, or 67%.
March 2005, 2543 out alive, or 54%.
The point of a nokill director is to get the animals out alive, not to warehouse them in cramped, stressful and unhealthy conditions.
More animals are now dying in the shelter than ever before:
One, because there are more animals in the shelter.
Two, because he's holding them longer and they are getting sick and dying.
Three, because the vets are overtaxed and can't treat them all as well.
Here is the total dying in the shelter. Almost four times as many animals are dying in the shelter than before he got here.
2007, 247 died, or 11%.
2006, 167 died, or 7%.
2005, 70 died, or 3%
That is, the number of animals that died in the shelters during March 2007 because of disease, fighting, etc., is 352% of the March, 2005 figures..
Combined cat and dog adoptions are only up by two animals in March.
New Hopes rescues were up over 2006, but down over 2005.
Cat adoptions way down from last March, down 30%. Cat euth is down because he's holding onto them. Cat intake is the same.
Died in shelter the same as 2006, which was way up from 2005.
Cats out alive is way down. He failed cats.
Rabbit adoptions down 50%, euth almost 300% over 2006; dying in shelter up, intake is down. He failed rabbits.
Other adoptions only up by two animals. New Hope is way down, 50% down. Dying in shelter 2007 was 9 times 2005, or an 800% increase, 166 died in shelter 2007, 18 died in shelter in 2005 (9.2 times) for an 820% increase.
Euth is up over 2006. Intake is up. He failed "others."
Notice, he is keeping more animals longer but adopting way fewer.
Cats adopted in March 2006, 367
Cats adopted in March 2007, 259, down 30%.
Holding the animals longer is not improving their chance of adoption. In fact, it seems to be making the adoptions go down. Maybe because they look sick, are frightened, stressed out from being kept longer? Maybe because the shelters are full which overwhelms potential adopters?
Maybe the annual report will be about February or March of 2006 instead of the entire year. I think though the will be no 2006 annual report.
Boks gets confused by his own numbers--again.
Ed Boks has a penchant for telling reporters what he wants them to hear vs. the facts, such as telling Dana Bartholomew that new vets make $92,000, when in fact they make $83,500 and the LAAS website says they make $81,000.
Yesterday he told Times reporter Carla Hall that LAAS placed 204 neonatal kittens in foster homes in March. He says the same thing on one of his previous blog posts.
If you look at the official statistics on the LAAS, only 37 unweaned kittens were placed in foster homes during March. Well, I guess a disparity of 167 kittens is conceivable using Boks-style mathematics.
I tried to see how he arrived at the number 204. Was it from a dream? Did he include San Francisco’s fostered kittens as his own? Did he accidentally add the fosters of the last three years and then multiply by 2? Did he include kittens fostered during February who were still in foster homes?
During February, 6 kittens were placed in foster homes and zero in January according the LAAS website. Altogether during the entire first quarter, 43 kittens were placed in foster homes by LAAS. The mystery deepened.
Maybe he included kittens rescued by New Hope partners, I wondered. There were 96 New Hope rescues in March. 96 + 37 = 133. Humm, that's not it.
There were also 39 New Hope placements in February and 18 in January.
Adding up all the neonatal fostered and rescued for the entire first quarter, we get 196, still short of the 204 Boks said LAAS fostered.
Maybe Ed, I speculated, was referring to "All Cats" fostered in January through March of this year.
So, I looked at the department statistics, which said of "All Cats," 37 were fostered in March and 6 in February, the same number of neonatals fostered. I thought maybe he double counted cats and neonatals, not recognizing that neonatals were also cats. But that only adds up to 74.
Also, I thought, Ed cannot be including New Hope rescues as his accomplishment, because New Hope placements have little to do with the department efforts to save neonatals except to supply the kittens.
So, I looked back at his blog entry, where he says:
267 dogs and 273 cats were euthanized in March 2007. 25% of the cats were orphaned neonate kittens (68). Thanks to LA Animal Services' Baby Bottle Foster Parents and many New Hope Partners 204 neonates were safely placed in loving homes in March 2007 and were spared euthanasia. (Orphaned neonates are kittens too young to survive on their own and require round the clock foster care until they are weaned at eight weeks of age.)
To me, it is absolutley clear he is talking about neonate kittens (He defined neonates as kittens too young to srvive on their own), and he talked about euthnaizing 68 neonate kittens. Then he said 204 neonates were placed in fosters and New Hope rescues.
So, I felt mystified.
Then I thought to myself, “Oh, I got it, Boks lied again.” With that explanation, I felt satisfied, complete, everything fell into place. Ed lied--again.
Readers may know that Boks has steadfastly refused to anesthetize animals before killing them with sodium pentabarbital much to the dismay of the humane community. Mike Bell has led the charge to change this situation.
Boks has had an about face on the issue, and a new three phased protocol for anesthetizing animals will be announced soon.
Apparently Boks asked his new Acting Chief Veterinarian, Steven Feldman, DVM, his thoughts on Bell's demand that animal be anesthetized prior to euthanasia. Feldman strongly supported anesthetizing all animals prior to being killed.
The anesthesia protocol will be administered in three phases.
According to an email addressed at Dr. Laws and forwarded to me:
Charlotte, et al,
As promised in earlier communications, LA Animal Services has been reviewing its euthanasia protocol under the able leadership of our new lead veterinarian. We have been specifically working on the issue of pre-sedation.
Although many veterinarians have advised us that our past/current practices are appropriate and humane, we agree with the community that they should actually be exemplary.
With that goal in mind, we have developed a three phased plan for the implementation of sedation as appropriate prior to euthanasia. Our goal is to attain Phase 3 euthanasia practice by August 31, 2007.
PHASE 1: Sedation will be used for felines that are unsocialized to humans (feral) or those showing even a small amount of fearful behavior. (In process)
PHASE 2: All cats and wildlife/exotics; and dogs exhibiting fearful and or/anxious behavior will be sedated prior to euthanasia. We are presently evaluating various "cocktails" that can be utilized for animals over 10-20 lbs. So we will specify later the recommended agent to use prior to sodium pentobartbital. (In process)
PHASE 3: Every animal that is conscious and aware will receive sedation prior to euthanasia with sodium pentobarbital.
Target Date for implementation:August 31, 2007.
We are also reviewing all of our euthanasia rooms to enhance them into more respectful areas for administering euthanasia. The rooms are abominable, and much work has to be done, but we don't want to wait for the new centers to implement this.
I want to thank Dr. Feldman for the breath of fresh air he has brought to the department as evidenced by this progressive approach to this practice. I also want to thank Mike Bell for not relaxing his indomitable spirit during this debate. We're even thinking of naming one of the rooms in his honor...
Chinese Melamine Now Found in Corn Gluten Products Were Deliberately Spiked. Chinese Government Says Screw You
LA Times and NBC today:
Chinese manufacturers may have intentionally added a chemical linked to pet deaths and illnesses into a protein-powder ingredient in pet foods, federal regulators said Thursday.Stephen Sundlof, chief veterinarian for the Food and Drug Administration, said melamine, which has turned up in more than 100 brands of cat and dog food, may have been used to falsely boost the apparent nutritional content of rice protein.
Melamine, an ingredient in plastics and fertilizers that could lead to kidney failure in animals, has contaminated rice protein and wheat gluten in pet foods made in Canada and the U.S.The chemical compound reportedly also has tainted corn gluten added to pet food sold in South Africa, the FDA said.FDA officials said they were investigating whether the melamine might have been added intentionally as a way to charge more for an inferior product. The fact that three protein sources from China contained melamine adds credibility to that theory.
The Chinese government has said that the contaminated wheat gluten was not meant for pet foods and therefore was not its regulatory responsibility.
The FDA said the North American manufacturers shared some responsibility for ensuring the safety of their pet foods.
Pacoima-based Natural Balance Pet Foods, which this week voluntarily recalled four types of dog food containing rice protein, said it would be wary of using any Chinese-made ingredients."I can't imagine we'll be using Chinese ingredients again."
The FDA and Agriculture Department also were investigating whether some pet food made by one of the five companies supplied by Wilbur-Ellis was diverted for use as hog feed after it was found unsuitable for pet consumption.
"We understand it did make it into some hog feed and we are following up on that as well," Sundlof said.
Later Thursday, California officials said they believe the melamine at the quarantined hog farm came from rice protein concentrate imported from China by Diamond Pet Food's Lathrop facility, which produces products under the Natural Balance brand and sold salvage pet food to the farm for pig feed.
"Although all animals appear healthy, we are taking this action out of an abundance of caution," State Veterinarian Richard Breitmeyer said in a statement. "It is unknown if the chemical will be detected in meat."
(Comment: Royal Canin also recalls several of its general and prescription pet food lines. http://www.royalcanin.us:80/)
According to CNN, the food recall now includes several Natural Balance products after reports that pets using them have developed symptoms of kidney failure. This recall expands the food element from wheat gluten to rice concentrate used in some of the New Balance foods. There is no info as to where the rice came from.
How many cases of organ failure have there been over the past 10 years before a manufacturer voluntarily recalled foods it knew caused kidney failure? What percentage of cats and dogs that have died over the decade due to bad pet food? Want to eat in a Chinese restaurant now?
The recall now affects everything from junk brands to the so-called elite brands. How universal is this problem? The FDA is still not sure that any of the substances identified caused the kidney failures; the mechanism of injury is still unknown.
Folks, I spent several months in South Korea. I will never go there again or eat any of their foods because of what I learned about their eating habits (dogs and cats). I have heard much worse--as have we all--about the Chinese attitude towards cats as hoer derv's, as well as manufacturing pet toys and garments out of cat skins.
I have boycotted every Chinese and Korean import since 1997 after I returned from Korea. I had been there studying and teaching Zen Buddhism at Chogyesa Temple in Soule. I renounced my teaching certificate as the First American International Teacher of Zen Buddhism to the Chogye administration as well as sent a letter of condemnation to the the Korean Consulate in Washington.
There is something desperately wrong with a world where baby seals, whales, cats and dogs as well as farm animals are eaten and skinned. Many Buddhists eat meat and in many countries even the monks eat meat, such as Sri Lanka.
Therefore, I don't think "spiritual evolution" ever will lead to ending animal killing for food and products. Well, maybe it could about the same time as LAAS goes No-Kill.
Today the City just endorsed ab1634. It was a long City Council session but it passed 12 for, none against. Marie Atake, Ed Boks, Teri Austin, Mary Catalano, Daniel Guss, Judie Mancuso, Cheri Shankar and others were there to support the bill. It was a wonderful positive discussion.
Alarcon said "why don't we just make this mandatory in LA City? Why do we have to wait for the State?" They promised to write a motion to do it in the City immediately. Rosendahl said he's not a breeder though he did let his dog have three litters. He gave the puppies to friends. He said the City must enforce licensing. There is revenue there.
Garcetti was upset because he didn't know that the canvassing program was no longer active. Cardenas said we need more money for more vouchers.Boks stated that LA leads the country in spayneuter. He said 1,000 neonates a month come into the shelter. He said $18 million of the $25 million budget goes to euthanize unwanted animals. He said they did 39,000 vouchers in 2006 and will do 44,000 in 2007. Previously he said he'd do 59,000, another time he ME 20,000 a month in 2008. He said all the spay neuter clinics will be open early next year. He said two will be open in a month. I really doubt that. 35 speakers for it, 4 against. The ones against had very weak arguments.
UC Davis has a webcast series on shelter medicine. The lectures are live at 8:00 Friday evening. They are available afterwards indefinitely. I heard # 2. Very interesting, but the sound breaks up. The first two are on vaccines used in shelters, when to use them, etc. There is a simultaneous visual presentation as well as a video of the instructor. You'll find it all very interesting.
Interesting to note, that there is a high correlation between budget and live save levels. LAAS' budget is about $500 per dog and cat impounded. San Francisco is about $400. The difference is the number of volunteers that make up for lack of budget in San Francisco. Typically, $500 per cat/dog is considered a low figure, and more like $1,000 per would be required to reach No-Kill. But the definition of No-Kill varies. The UC Davis series mentions one shelter that spends about $1,800 per animal and has about 96.5% save. To be comparable, LAAS would need $75,000,000.
Since it does not have the money, it needs to build a volunteer staff. This should be a crash priority.
ATTENTION East Valley Emergency
Well, it is Friday afternoon and East Valley currently has 95 cats, 192 dogs, and 46 rabbits. With the weekend approaching, I am sure the numbers will definitely rise. I do not have specific impound numbers, nor pictures, nor bios, because we have been so busy trying to get things together here for the move. However, I am reaching out for the help of you guys because I have nowhere else to turn. I NEED YOUR HELP. Please if you or anybody you know wants a new member for their family, please refer them to us. We have plenty to choose from. If any of you have room out there for any...... please come by and rescue from us. We would greatly appreciate your help in any way. I know some of you guys are networking, but I am letting you know that we are at extreme levels beyond our capacity. Please call 818/756-9324 for any info leading to a possible rescue or adoption of one of our furry friends here at East Valley.
During Boks "March No-Kill" month, he saved fewer cats than any of the previous years under Stuckey or Greenwalt.
Cats saved under Stuckey, March 2005.......................................552
Cats saved under Greenwalt, March 2003..................................561
Cats saved under Boks, March 2007..............................426
Boks euthanized "Fewer cats than ever," but he also "saved fewer cats than ever," because he is "warehousing more cats than ever." They are coming in alive, but fewer are leaving, either euthanized or alive.
Because of overcrowding and less vet time per animal, the numbers of cats dying this year and last is double that under Greenwalt.
We also need to understand he only holds 1/3 the number of cats than he does dogs, which means he holds them a shorter period of time than dogs and kills them quicker. This becomes dramatically more evident during kitten season where he killed about 6,000 last year. Very few cages for a lot of cats. Unfair discrimination!!
I guess in March too many kittens were fractious, dangerous, untreatable or sick/injured--they deserved to die, legally, Hayden-wise.
According to an American Veterinary Medical Association bulleting today, 26 foods have been added to the recall list, including more Science Diet, Iams and Eukanuba. Some of the new recalls do not list wheat gluten as a component.
The complete list:
A lot of well-informed, educated and apparently intelligent rescuers are submitting really insightful observations and comments. There are so many good ones I'd like to make a compilation and post them in the near future.
There is one commenter who consistently thinks I am a jerk. Probably Phyllis.
Analyzing the March No-Kill month by Anonymous, we find:
In review of the March 2007 statistics I see a few main problems. One, animals actually leaving the shelter alive have decreased. Two, animals dying in the shelter have increased dramatically. Three, animals being held in the shelter have increased dramatically.
Boks is holding onto the animals so he doesn't have to euthanize them. He is juggling the animals in order to improve his numbers. Had he not held those animals much longer, his euth rate and numbers would have been up.
To see what's really happening in the shelter we need to look at the out-alive rate. How many were adopted, returned to owner, fostered or taken by New Hope.
The number of animals that left the shelter alive in March 2007 was down in number and percentage. Fewer animals made it out alive. This is for cats, dogs, bunnies and others. The point of a No-kill director is to get the animals out alive, not to warehouse them in cramped, stressful and unhealthy conditions.
More animals are now dying in the shelter than ever before. One, because there are more animals in the shelter. Two, because he's holding them longer and they are getting sick and dying. Three, because the vets are overtaxed and can't treat them all as well. Here is the total dying in the shelter. Over three times as many animals are dying in the shelter than before he got here.
2007 247 11%
2006 167 7%
2005 70 3%
CATS: Cat adoptions way down from last March, down 30%. Cat euth is down because he's holding onto them. Cat intake is the same. Died in shelter the same as 2006, which was way up from 2005. New Hope is up over 2006 but still down over 2005. If Boks hadn't held all those cats, the euth rate would be up.
Cats out alive is way down. He failed cats.
RABBITS: Rabbit adoptions down 50%, euth up over 2006, dying in shelter up, intake is down. He failed rabbits.
OTHER: Other adoptions only up by two animals. New Hope is way down, 50% down.
Dying in shelter up 100% over 2006. 2006 was 8x 2005 so this is pretty bad. Euth is up over 2006. Intake is up. He failed "others."
In order to try to improve the cat numbers, he kept more cats in March 2007 than before, same with dogs. If Boks had euth'd those animals, his euth rate and numbers would be up overall.
As it is his left-alive rate is down from last year. Notice, he is keeping more animals longer but adopting way fewer. Cats 2006 adopted 367, 2007 adopted 259, down 30%.
Holding the animals longer is not improving their chance of adoption. In fact, it seems to be making the adoptions go down. Maybe because they look sick, are frightened, stressed out from being kept longer? Maybe because the shelters are full which overwhelms potential adopters? Maybe he's just not doing a good job getting cats adopted. Adopting out cats is very different than adopting out dogs. Dogs are good at mobiles, cats aren't as good.
The below numbers show that Boks is holding onto the cats so he won't have to euth them. He did not increase adoptions so the shelters just filled up.
--CATSMarch 2007, 1,022 came in, 576 left alive 56%+102 net cats, kept in the shelter.
--March 2006, 1,021 came in, 644 left alive 63%-54 cats.
--March 2005, 1,199 came in, 552 left alive 46%+74 cats.
Since it is a big deal, I’d like to ask a few more questions about the Western University partnership. When I envisioned a partnership with a vet school, I had in mind a partnership of LA’s vet staff with an externaship/research institution, not a total abandonment of an in-house staff.
Before we even consider this partnership, we need to do a cost-benefit analysis.
How much would it cost to hire ten new vets , outfit their offices, and provide medical supplies and surgeries? If we don’t know that, how can we even talk about a partnership where the school is going to run everything?
Will the school provide 10 FTE services? How much will that cost vs. LAAS doing it themselves? Who is going to pay for the infrastructure, how much is budgeted now for LAAS vet services, and how much will Western charge?
Unless we know this, it is like building a huge condo complex without an EIR and an admission that LAAS can’t do it themselves-which they probably can’t. This relieves Boks of both responsibilities and accountability.
Regarding Boks No-Kill March, he killed 540 cats and dogs, but also another 135 other animals, for an 18% kill rate with respect to that month's impounded numbers, which is lower than SF’s yearly average.
But Boks is bumping the figures up be juggling the animals for a good March month, which he can announce before his three-month-late 2006 report. Adoptions are down as well as euthanasias, meaning the shelters are crowded. There are over 800 dogs in the shelters and the in-shelter deaths are three times what they were last year. The 18% figure is not sustainable. March is a slow month, wait until May, when his numbers turned South big-time last year.
On January 6 next year, he'll issue another No-Kill December report announcing a decreased euthanasia rate of -12%--saving animals that were not even impounded. There will be no annual report.
Why couldn't Boks admit from the beginning that LAAS and he had major problems and humbly ask for help? Now is too late; everyone has branded him as truth challenged in every way, taking personal credit for anything positive coming out of LAAS, and denying facts like not having taken even a small step to No-Kill in 2006.
Boks told me to admit to any problem was to play into ADL’s hands, but being obsessed by what they, and other said about him, robbed him of credibility and many animals of their lives. During March through June, Boks must have spent 40% of his time defending himself against ADL, 40% chasing women, and 20% running the shelters. If he had spent 50% of his time in, analyzing and managing the shelters, his numbers MIGHT have been much better, and much of the animal community might still be behind him.
But he blew it. I can’t imagine he has any support outside of Phyllis and the media until they catch him in his ever more grandiose lies.
Ed Boks claimed today that he took LAAS to No-Kill in March. He killed 540 animals but he said they all deserved it. We all know the shelters are stuffed to the brim to carry off a 540 animal kill, No-Kill month, and a thousand will die this month to prepare the way for the 5,000 kittens he will kill before the end of the year.
As a friend of mine said:
Check out his new blog; totally insane. Why not say he also created world peace and found the cure for cancer and Aids? How can the department let him spew these whopper lies? It's like Chief Bratton saying there was no crime in March or the LAFD to say there were no fires.
Ed Boks is the Truth-Challenged General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services. Ed is a master spin-master. He can make Armageddon feel like a cooling summer breeze. He squeezes Animal Shelter statistics until they confess to his distortions. He is a side-show ringmaster, orchestrating fiascos such as the Hooters for Neuters event that netted LAAS nothing, but him, notoriety.
Recently the Daily News published an article about Boks and the veterinarian shortage. Boks made it seem that the problem will be fixed this fall using students and faculty of the vet program at Western University.
The Western University veterinarian program does not have any buildings. The University itself does have several buildings, but the vet program does not. Their website has a "rendition" of the vet school building, which means it does not exist. It has not graduated any students. It is not accredited. They have no shelter medicine program.
I am not knocking the school, and agree it is a great idea for the future, but I am knocking Boks' claim they will rescue LAAS this fall. We need ten more vets now--desperately.
The whole article is PR fiction, a pipe dream, typical Boks’ wishful thinking. He cannot distinguish between his fantasizing and reality. I really think he believes what he says could happen, will happen.
Boks says LAAS starting vet salary is $92,000. This is a lie. Current vet salaries are listed on the LAAS website. A Veterinarian I’s starting salary is $80,868 and a Vet II is $83,352. Even the Chief Vet starts at $87,499. Boks must not look at his own website.
A week ago Zine and Alarcon moved that Personnel should do a study on what it would take to bring 10 new vets here. This, of course, involves fixing salaries at a competitive level. I think Boks knows it will be $92,000, so that is what he told Bartholemew. This is Boks’ wishful thinking, confusing future possibilities with present reality.
The first quarter shelter numbers, like last year, APPEAR to look good until the second quarter, when the mass murders begin. Boks holds animals as long as he can, massively overcrowding the shelters, so that the first quarter stats look good and can fool simple minded people like me into believing that all is rosy and No-Kill happened last Thursday.
The 2007 first quarter stats look only microscopically better than last year’s. After 15 months, 1.25 years, the self-proclaimed No-Kill guru has brought the euthanasia rate down from 41% to 40%. If we set No-Kill at a 10% euthanasia rate, we'll be there in 2045.
The shelters are overcrowded with animals that have little chance of being adopted, creating a catastrophe in the making. Crowding can magnify any disease outbreak and could result in hundreds of animals being killed, as in Reno a few months ago, where 1,000 animals were killed over a weekend.
The in-shelter death rates under Boks have been climbing ever since he came aboard and we can expect them to climb much higher. The major killing will begin in May. Like last year, he will blame it on a horrendous kitten season, even though the kitten season, the year before under the previous General Manager, Guerdon Stuckey, was much worse.
Every month since Boks became GM, cats are getting screwed. In No-Kill or even low-kill shelters, many fewer cats, including ferals, are killed and most unweaned kittens are saved. Not in LA. Last year 5,889 of all cats impounded were killed their first day in the shelter, and 5,622 out of 7,341 unweaned kittens were killed during the past 12 months.
Philadelphia, San Francisco and Charlottesville save most of their unweaned kittens because they have extraordinary bottle-feeding foster volunteers who later adopt, or find homes for the kittens. LAAS’ bottle-baby program is almost non-existent. LAAS has shown no ability to enroll or keep its volunteers in any area.
After 15 months, even under strong pressure from the Animal Services Commission and the humane community, Boks still not prepared a plan for a No-Kill LA. We have no idea where he is taking LAAS, and apparently he does not either.
All of LAAS’ improvements are in Boks’ mind or the distant future.
Los Angeles deserves a real No-Kill General Manager, someone, unlike Boks, who actually spends time at the shelters, analyzes the operations, then makes things work.
Ed Boks tends to lie a lot, or present an impossibly rosy present that is contradicted by fact.
From LAAS site, Fact vs. Rumor #6 posted by Boks a few days ago:
Boks then: The Daily News has printed a couple of ill-informed letters to the editor in recent months exaggerating the veterinarian shortage in LA Animal Services. A recent piece claimed LA Animal Services’ veterinary vacancy rate is at a “cruel 84 percent”.
A significant fact omitted from this dire description is that the twelve veterinarians budgeted are to staff our six new spay/neuter clinics, five of which are still under construction.
Council motion April 3, 2006 by Zine and Alarcon:
The Department of animal Services (DAS) is currently experiencing a severe shortage of veterinarians. Currently, 10 out of 12 veterinarian positions, including that of Chief Veterinarian, are vacant. These vacancies have resulted in only two veterinarians absorbing the responsibilities to oversee the City's six shelters which handle approximately 46,000 animals per year. Consequently, the two veterinarians have been forced to work overtime to ensure that the City's animal shelter needs are met. As a result, the veterinarians have become exhausted and less efficient.
The shortage of veterinarians has raised concerns about the Department's ability to provide adequate services in City shelters. It is urgent that the City implement the necessary steps to increase veterinarian hiring and retention. Immediate action is needed to ensure that the quality of animal care does not continue to suffer.
NOTICE THE COUNCIL MOTION IS TALKING ABOUT CURRENT NEEDS, NOT FUTURE NEEDS AS S/N CLINICS ARE BUILT.
From Fact vs. Rumor #6:
Boks then: A significant fact omitted from this dire description is that the twelve veterinarians budgeted are to staff our six new spay/neuter clinics, five of which are still under construction.
A seventh Spay/Neuter Clinic in South LA will soon be staffed. While we await the opening of our six additional clinics we now contract with over 25 local private veterinarians to provide this important service.
In addition to our staff veterinarians, LA Animal Services has over 20 medical staff members who are licensed veterinarians in other countries. This allows them to perform in LA as very highly skilled Registered Veterinary Technicians.
LA Animal Services has 149 private veterinarians available to provide care to animals in need. We routinely use 30 of these veterinarians as needed.
Which is it Ed, do we need 12 vets now because our current two vets are overwhelmed providing health care for animals currently in the shelters, or are the 12 vets needed in the future when the spay neuter clinics are opened?
According to Boks, LAAS has: 2 staff vets; 20 foreign trained vets; 25 private vets performing spay neuter, and 149 private vets on tap to provide health care, which total 194 veterinarians. Hell, I did not know there were that many veterinarians in LA (of course I did).
Boks states that the 12 vets are to be utilized to man six spay/neuter clinics, five under construction. Does this mean the actual vet diagnosis and treatment are left to 20 vet techs and 149 on-call private vets?
Is Boks saying that currently LAAS has no budgeted staff to handle the health needs of the animals in the shelters? The budget for 12 vets is for facilities that have not yet been built? Why are the two vets overloaded when they should be doing spay/neuters in clinics that have not been built?
You see things and you say Why? But I dream things that never were and I say Why not?
George Bernard Shaw, 1921
Readers should look at some comments recently left by "Yea-Sayers." Someone is suggesting programs that may save lives. Much more importantly, this person articulates the need not just to give up when a problem is perceived; you think of solutions, or even better, you reframe the situation so that the problem is an opportunity.
Nay-Sayer will say, "You can't do that, the numbers are against you." The Yea-Sayer will see the numbers as a challenge, and will say something like, "How do I bring in more foster parents at the West Valley shelter? How do I enlist Margaret or Tim to foster?" Or, will say, "How do we keep the moms with their babies longer?"
On the other hand, there are those who might reframe the problem and regard it as an opportunity, saying, "Let's set up an LAAS pediatrics program to train vet students on summer vacation, or a neonatal care unit as part of a shelter management program." Or, "Let's make LAAS a teaching shelter system, like a teaching hospital. Use the overabundance as an opportunity to practice and build a world-class center for vet training and animal ethics. After all, isn't LAAS where the patients are?"
Another might saw, "Boy, I bet an ecology or biostatistics department at UCLA would love to do a project on pet and urban animal populations. We'll add that to a LAAS teaching program. I'll bet FAF would fund it."
Or, "Let's talk Donald Trump into making LAAS the focus of two, not one, projects. The first would be to live-save as many kittens as possible, and another would focus on adopting "ordinary" pets."
You see, having lots of animals can be an opportunity, not a problem. The solutions are as big as minds can think and a community can rally round.
This kind of thinking is entirely beyond Boks. He has shown an unparalleled ability not to listen to anyone. He perceives listening to advice or even accepting free help offered the same as admitting he doesn't know everything, which destabilizes his guru-hood.
An animal shelter director from Northern California has offered to consult for free--several times. Boks never returned his calls. I offered to do statistical analyses of animal numbers, sources, dispositions, etc., for free, and despite being one of his bloggers, never heard a word from him. I think Ed is a loser because he wants to do it all by himself. He does not want to share the spotlight of success with anyone, but he doesn't have the ability to do it alone. Therefore, he shares the spotlight of failure with no one.