PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES http://losanglesveterinarian.blogspot.com/
Disclaimer for All ADLLA Posts:
All information contained within this post is from anonymous sources who are afraid of retaliation by the City or Ed Boks. No allegation ever posted here will have any supporting evidence whatsoever; no facts are allowed or condoned. All anonymous emails will sound exactly alike in terms of tone and content. Every sentence will include at least one epithet, and a well-crafted sentence will have four. All posts will sound like an angry 15 year old with a seventh grade education. Most accusations are aimed at getting someone fired so a chum can take their place. No male will ever be considered honest or intelligent. All predictions will be wrong. All allegations are lies.
I am not kidding. Talk a look at any of their non-Winograd posts.
Is there any man who is not regarded as a cretin, thief, incompetent or a liar?
Who are the heroes? They are all heroines, from LAAS workers they like, to the brilliant, highly educated, compassionate AGM candidates.
That is, ADL is a raging sexist.
Is there any merit to any accusation about anyone they don't like, such as Boks the Partying Preacher? What are the facts behind this charge?
Who are his drinking buddies? I should know, because we write our blogs from the same computer according to certain sources. What parties? Where? What dates?
There are no facts, just allegations, and I don't know what percentage are true; there is no way to tell without facts.
The sources are always anonymous, unnamed insiders and spies. The anonymous emails all sound alike. They have the same content. They are all on the same message for that post. They all use the same epithets: fat, lazy, liar, Cretin, thug, stupid, corrupt, clueless, foul, etc.
How can anyone believe anything said in their emails? There is nothing there. Nothing!
The last accurate prediction they had was two years ago when they predicted Greenwalt was going to resign.
If the ADL wants to be taken seriously, they have to stop ranting like children and talk convincingly.
PS: I finally figured out how to view comments and post them. Check back where you made comments. Thanks. They were all positive.
Where do we go from here?
So, what am I left with?
The rescue community, or some in the rescue community, claim the drop in the shelter's kill rates was due to the work they do.
As I see it, 1,114 fewer cats and dogs were impounded during the first quarter of 2006 compared to 2005, a drop of 12%. Adoptions were up 12%, meaning 328 more animals were adopted this year. However, the number rescued from the shelter by rescue organization dropped 19%, or 305 animals, which washes out the progress made by increased adoptions. Therefore, almost all of the life saving occurred because euthanasias dropped 37.7%, or 1,266 animals.It could have been only 961 animals if New Hope adoptions matched last year's pace.
It becomes a little tricky to analyze here because we don't know the number on hand at the midpoints of each month compared to the year before; that is, the inventory on hand was reduced, so simple comparisons are not possible. Therefore, much of the life saving is explained by decreased impounds.
We cannot know the effectiveness of the rescue and TNR work vs. that of the shelter by just comparing impound numbers and percentage changes vs. adoption, New Hope and euthanasia outputs, without shelter by shelter figures, types and source of animals (feral cats, owner turn-ins, ill), age of the animals (i.e., kittens and puppies vs geriatric), internal procedures of each shelter (i.e., is there some internal official or unoffical "rules" that make one shelter better than another in terms of figures?) and what resources were used by community groups in each area.
For example, unless we know the number of feral cats coming into the West LA shelter this quarter vs. the first quarter last year, we do not know the effectiveness of that area’s private TNR programs. If the feral cat input is down dramatically, we need to know what the community groups did in that area in terms of programs and resources vs. LAAS programs. What impact did the various LAAS programs and operations have, such as the spaymobile, vouchers, shelter volume of impounds vs. employee levels, vs. holding capacity?
We need to know which shelters have the highest input rate of unweaned kittens and make appropriate resource allocation changes on that basis. Do we shift rescue efforts to the highest kill areas or try to bring the kill rate down even further in the areas of success?
The same with adoptions. Where has LAAS been most successful, where the least? Can animals be transferred from low adoption to high adoption shelters effectively? Adoptions were up almost 13% during the first quarter of this year, and that is almost totally the responsibility of efforts by Ed Boks and LAAS.
We know that one of the reasons adoptions are way up, is that shelter personnel are, by and large, more friendly and helpful. This has increased adoptions. But have they also deterred owner turnins through education and also decreased owner or feral cat turn-ins? Who responsible for that? Was it spontaneous, or did Ed create a change in attitude? Another reason for increased adoptions is the new website that makes all kinds of information more available.
We also need to know the euthanasia policy. Is it based on the time spent in the shelter? Is there temperament testing so that an animal is killed while there still is space at that shelter? What would be the effects of keeping animals alive when the shelters are at full-capacity vs. having some reserve? What is the capacity of each shelter and what is the occupancy rate? 100% occupancy, I am sure, will result in a higher death rate because of lack of manpower to manage the higher numbers. But if the occupancy rate is too low, due to laziness or other institutional reasons, the death rate will be too high vs. at optimal capacity. Then, the moral question is do we sacrifice and animal to obtain the optimal capacity?
Will the increase in capacity with the new shelters dramatically decrease the death rate through increased adoptions, or will the increase in capacity merely increase the number of animals in the shelters, causing a temporary drop in the death rates?
From my point of view, to keep the feral cat impound rate down and the respective euthanasia rate down, TNR is incredibly important. But we don’t know what percentage of all deaths are of feral cats in our shelters; at least I don’t. In some shelters system around the nation, 35% or more of the entire kill is ferals. This is how Winograd made such a dramatic decrease in his kill rate; no ferals were killed. How he did that, I don't know. I'd have to take Winograd's seminar. Beside increasing support of TNR efforts, I think the LAAS should adopt an unofficial policy of looking the other way when there are complaints of feral cats.
What percentage of shelter euthanasias are kittens? What can be done to assist private groups to increase their ability to foster them? How many kittens and cats are in foster vs. last year? According to Dept figures, not a lot compared to adotions or impounds. What is the euthanasia policy regarding notifying rescue groups of a litter of two week-old kittens? Are they given two hours or ten? How are the respective groups notified? Is there a hot line? Is there email notification or assigned callers/callees?
One major problem arises if the above information were made more transparent; LAAS critics will scream that resources should be put elsewhere into other programs.
How do you measure the effect of chipping animals vs putting the same money into TNR, vouchers or fostering? How much should go for medical? How much for field employees? We know that no matter how the money is allocated some reporter or other critic will find something wrong even while the death rate is plummeting.
Some of this information could be estimated by analyzing programs around the country and trying to figure out the impact of those area’s programs here. Some have to be experimented with here, but it may take two years to see the results compared to money spent in other areas.
It is clear that no matter what Boks and LAAS does, the ADL will complain for whatever reason. However, they are beginning to be exposed as obstructionist and contributing to the kill problem vs. helping solve it, and it seems to have had some small impact on their style, which means they may be able to take a future leadership role in effecting change. But that is not likley to happen soon.
LAAS’s budget may be fixed for next year, but the specific allocation of resources is a variable—I think. Why not use some of the new personnel to help TNR efforts, such as transporting animals and free spay/neuters at area shelters? Maybe that is the plan. I don’t know. If anyone knows, tell me.
What about employees? How do we get rid of the bad ones and promote the good ones? Why are vet salaries so low? Was that set way before Ed came aboard? Can we have a merit system? Can we measure complaint rates per 1,000 animals at the each of the various shelters and figure out what to do? We can measure dropped calls and decreased or increase public complaints. We can measure the increase or decrease of volunteer hours. There are many measures of success or failure.
These are complex questions and I am not sure that heightened transparency will do any more than increase the clamor to dismantle LAAS brick by brink, and Ed Boks, bone by bone.
As an alternative to making every detail available to every reporter or critic who wants to use the data to destroy the dept., I suggest weekly strategy meetings by animal community leaders and lead persons from LAAS to target problem areas and to see how the combined resources can best be used.
San Francisco achieves its low kill rate by having the public and private shelters working togther seamlessly. In LA, the private sector is made up of a hundred different groups that are more difficult to coordinate. Weekly or monthly strategy meetings would increase the coordination and create more of a cooperative relationship.
I wish that LAAS, in its next budget, perhaps even by the elimination of some positions, be able to help the most effective organizations financially, or at least lend manpower to the organizations that most need it, or help those that are most cost-effective.
Right now, none of this is possible given the enormous unwarranted hostility being directed towards LAAS and Ed Boks, who basically has to put a lot of his energy into defense.
Regarding the accusation of my brown-nosing for employment by LAAS, let me state this. Yes, my income is way down due to legal changes in the provision of psychiatric services. Yes there was a sense of desperation in my email. Yes, I would like to work for LAAS doing the sort of analysis, coordination and planning as I outline above. Yes, I did ask Ed for a job. Yes, I was doing my blog anyway because I like doing what I do best: rebuttals and analysis of unwarranted attacks. I do this as a living and I am good at it.
Did Ed promise me a job? No, he passed my request to the appropriate channels based on my recommended suggestions for changes for resource allocation analysis as I suggested above. He never responded that he would help me. He never gave my resume to Personnel. I never sent him one.
Every department general manager gets requests by job seekers. They pass on the resumes and requests to the appropriate persons, whether personnel, or perhaps contract services, which. Stark, as I understand it, characterized my email as begging and that there was a tacit promise of a job by Ed for the blog.
I would note that I had already been writing the blog for seven weeks or so before I hit him up for a job or a contract. After he passed my request to an appropriate person, I never heard from that person. The end. Despite this, I continued with the blog because I felt it was right.
Therefore, Ed did nothing out of policy, nothing that other general managers already do.
I do object that my personal information was released in a general email accompanied by mocking. I am astonished that XXXX's editors would allow this. She repeatedly refers to herself as their employee, which means they are o.k. with her methods and opinions, including personal information within private emails.
Everytime I think ADLLA has calmed down, they come out with a new email that reminds of who they are. They don't seem to realize you've detroyed TM's chances of becoming AGM. She may have been a shoe-in three months ago. She had lots of the animal community behind her. I supported her to Ed Boks. Then you tried to force the issue and things went south for you and for her, just like you did with Stuckey in September. We were stuck with him another three months. Your sense of timing, lack of tact and all-around crudeness just does not work.
Where I Stand
More recently I was involved with the ADL trying to get rid of Mr. Greenwalt and later, to a much lesser degree, Mr. Stuckey. I did some research for them, three or four times I was in the street with them, picketing. Part of my reason for participating was the lack of information coming from those general managers about what was happening with kill and adoption figures. I had no idea. The ADL was floating the number of 44,000 killed a year. I did not know what the true number was, but I knew that there was too much death.
About ten years ago I realized how weak and ineffectual I was as a person in making big changes in the world. I drew an imaginary circle around myself and decided I would protect and make a better world for every living creature within it. I created a small world where I could make a difference, but I never lost sight of the animals, within that circle and everywhere.
I met Mr. Boks in February. He had already been under attack by the ADL for weeks. I wondered why. Why the hate? What did the ADL expect to gain by their attempts to smear his reputation and almost infer criminal activity?
The people I had marched with and helped in other ways were not being honest and had no sense of fairness. I felt Ed’s enthusiasm and knew he would do well just through that enthusiasm alone, at least for a time. I thought that when he had his own people in place, things would get even better. If he needed to go, that would come later.
I included Mr. Boks into my circle of protection because I felt he would do the greatest advance in no-kill in the shortest period of time, as opposed to the ADL who wanted to smear him and LAAS now to place their own person as GM a year down the line after another 21,000 animals were killed. The story was that they would place their own person in and be guided by Mr. Winograd to achieve no-kill down the line. This is the substance of one of ADL's recent posts. Well, maybe they could do it, maybe not.
I thought TM would be a good AGM and told Ed so on many occasions. I felt we needed to have someone like her in that position who knew LA and rescuers well. But what are her chances now since the ADL has been promoting her so strongly?
I wanted to help Ed help the animals. I had my eye on the prize as the ADL put it, which was saving the animals. I felt their way might save them way down the line, but Ed was here now. I volunteered to write a newsletter, but for reasons beyond my control that never happened. So I started a blog—this blog. I was told not to do this as the ADL and their followers would try to destroy me.
Recently a group of people did decide to shut me down. They have threatened me in my attempt to publish truth as I see it. This is o.k., they have their views and I have mine. Now they are engaged in activities to smear me to discredit me so that I cannot help Ed or the animals. That is o.k. too. What is a reputation? Words and ideas in other's minds.
I don’t care about my reputation at all, they can take that from me, but still, I will help the animals. Those who attack me are revealed to everyone as to who they really are inside. Everyone sees it. They expose themselves as ugly people with distressed minds and absolutely no sense of fairness. The ADL has turned its back on me and wants to destroy me and force me to take my blog down as a sheer expression of their power, for, how many actually read my blog or are influenced by it? They are doing so through their proxies as they do not want to be identified as the real source. Recently strangers have been seen in my neighborhood walking around my house. I know what to expect next.
They want to show everyone their power to destroy and intimidate others.
Now, with the new GM in place and an anticipated $7,000,000 increase in the budget, everyone wants a job at LAAS. Everyone wants to help the animals and find personal salvation there. Ed Boks wants a job and he has it. Some want Ed’s job, some want the AGM’s job, some want to do publicity, some want to work with the end product—live animals. Some just need to make a living and do so in their true place in the world, helping animals.
As I said before, although Ed’s and the Mayor’s circles of protection is larger than mine, they cannot help everyone and many will fall through the cracks. This is life.
The point of all this is that what is important are the animals and saving the animals, not our own personal well-being. If we fall through the cracks, so be it; but we must not let the animals fall through the cracks.
I made a personal decision to help and protect Ed as he was under fire—unfairly. I want to help the Mayor in the same way. I’d love to see him as governor. Look what he has done in such a short time. They have the power to help, the ADL and their media spokespersons, and behind them, ALF, have only the ability to cause fear and destroy.
Above all, I understand and share the ADL’s and ALF’s mission and concur with their goals and even some of their methods at times. If they want to use those methods on me, in a sense I asked for it. But this will not deter me from helping Ed help the animals. They should know though, that in the meanwhile, they are killing the animals.
They had, past tense, a great reputation that they could have used in a positive way to unify the LA animal community behind a common effort to help the animals and continue the dramatic drop in the kill rate in the shelters. But they do not. They continue on their old trajectory of hate and destruction and in the process, they destroy themselves. Too bad. What a waste.
Yet Another Pleased Customer
Dear Mr. Boks,
On March 18th of this year I went to the North Central shelter in the hope of adopting an adult cat that I could take home and spoil rotten. I was looking for one that was already altered and that I could take home that day because I work in Irvine and couldn't come in the middle of the week to pick up a cat would have to have a vet visit to be altered. I was getting frustrated because of the several cats that really caught my eye, not one of them was altered yet.
I asked one of the shelter staff if they could find out which cats were already altered so I wouldn't be so frustrated. While he was searching the computer, a man came in carrying a box with two little 4 day old Russian Blue kittens that he had found in his garage. I was having a conversation with the girls behind the counter and holding one of the babies to warm it while my husband held the other.
The girls were very upset because they said that if they couldn't find someone to take
the babies right away that they would have to euthanize them since they didn't have the staff or resources to care for kittens this young. Well, being the overwhelming softie that I am, I immediately told them that I would take these two little creatures and raise them. They gave me kitten formula, bottles and some toweling to use to get them home along with advice on
what was needed to properly care for them.
Everyone there seemed so happy and relieved that they wouldn't have to put them to sleep.
Today those babies, Precious (girl) and Teddy (boy), are just a few days shy of 6 weeks old and are beautiful, healthy, super active kittens who are loved to distraction and spoiled rotten (can supply pictures if wanted).
They will be going for their first shots in a couple of days and will be getting spayed/neutered and micro-chipped as soon as they are old enough to have it done. I can't say enough good things about your staff. Their genuine and heartfelt emotions for the animals in their care is more than apparent and they will always have a special place in my heart for providing me with the two little Tasmanian devils that are the joys of my life.
My article in The Pet Press
Also, just received a cc of an email sent to Ed Boks:
I'm with So CSR. I also write about cats. I do a lot of writing for The Pet Press and have written for Cat Fancy and other publications.
I've pulled several cats and kittens from E. Valley and W. Valley, and it's amazing how much more rescue friendly they are compared to how they used to be. I don't know how you've done it, but something's changed since you've come.
I'm looking forward to meeting you at the New Hope meeting on Tuesday. The program sounds fantastic. We already have a great relationship withTracey at East Valley (She's wonderful!)
Thanks again for the great work you're doing. I know it's not an easy job.
So.CA. Siamese Rescue
Professional member of Cat Writers' Association
www.ShelterPetsInk.com Changing animals' lives through writing
I notice that the ADL once again is playing nice. Hope there isn't an abrupt turn-around again. Thinking about it, I thought maybe all the positive news and numbers coming out of LAAS might be giving them second thoughts about changing their "venue." I certainly hope so.
Thinking about it a second time, brought out the good ole' cynical Ed. Cynical Ed figures they are just laying low until the new Assistant General Manager is appointed. If it is someone that the ADL wants, then they will shift to attacking specific problems as they arise at each shelter and make demands for other changes, for example, that Ed Boks should go on a long vacation while they run the shelters.
If someone the ADL doesn't like is appointed, the good ole' ADL we have grown to love and hate, will re-emerge. If the latter happens, we know they were just playing a cynical gambit and nothing will make them happy until Ed is gone, even if he accomplished 97% no-kill in a year.
Guess we'll see after Ed makes the choice.
I wanted to make a special mention of an ace reporter, who, in repeated emails to Ed Boks, me, and many others in the animal community, claimed that Ed Boks and I were writing our separate blogs on the same computer. She showed that the Internet IP address of our separate blogs were the same. Ergo, we must use the same computer, right?
Well, Ed Boks sent her an email to end the "confusion." He told her that the IP address she said was of our "conspiracy" computer, was really that of the Google server that hosted our separate blogs. Maybe she thinks that the millions of blogs hosted on Blogger.com are all done on Ed's computer.
Since I have received up to 9 emails a day from her and as many as 35 in a week, pumping me to answer questions such as where was the mysterious computer located that Ed Boks and Ed Muzika were using to publish their blogs, my suspicion is that she is engaged in a personal vendatta against me to smear me and my reputation.
She will do anything, say anything and find the smallest bit of evidence, that could be construed to support the most outlandish theories. What is she going to accuse me of next? Being a Republican?
Ooops, I spoke too soon. Just as I thought the ADL was going positive and was welcoming them back into the fold of sanity, I had the below forwarded to me today.
From the ADLLA:
Why the Mayor keeps Jim Bickhart on his staff is beyond ADL-LA. First, Bickhart gets rid of the best Commissioner on the LAAS board –
Let us be clear, this is the mantra the ADL keeps repeating as if repetition made it true. Brunson—and I assume that is the “who” to which the ADL allegation refers—was not fired. Erika's resignation letter was posted on the Internet. I assume they mean Erika, but even the need to nail down this one fact takes too much effort.
Of course, a letter of resignation is many times a sign of being tossed, but does the ADL cite any secondary, non-anonymous source that would confirm that Brunson was fired?
Let us assume for a moment she was fired, does that mean her replacement was incompetent and the other commissioners were lesser than Brunson? Which Commissioners are you claiming are incompetent or unworthy?
and now he and Ed Boks have teamed up. From what our inside sources are telling us, they are doing some very underhanded things.
What do you mean, "teamed up?" I would hope as City employees they would work together. What inside sources and what underhanded things? Lies got your tongue?
Personally, I think both ought to sue the ADL for defamation, slander, libel and being poor writers, but this is exactly what they want: goad the victim into suing, or sending them to jail, and then play the poor victim of demonic forces that the clever and righteous ADL can so easily defeat.
Not only are they breaking promises made to the animals, but they are writing false press releases to cover up mistakes that Boks has made.
What mistakes that Ed made? What false press releases? To what media? To what reporter? Please tell us what the hell you are talking about so that the charges can be examined and the truth found.
Bickhart may have even turned over private Mayoral documents to those who are being paid on behalf of the City - while at the same time defaming individuals critical of Ed Boks.
Bickhart "may have" turned over private Mayoral documents? What is a "private Mayoral document?" The results of the Mayor's last physical? His laundry list? The "public document" resignation letter of Erica Brunson? You throw garbage accusations, one after another in an effort to see what sticks. The Big Lie ADL, the Big Lie.
A source is quoted as saying "Boks and Bickhart - the two 'boobs' - are treading water, trying their hardest to surround Ed Boks with individuals who are too stupid and incompetent to show Boks up for the liar and fraud he is."
“A source is quoted.” What source would that be, the voices in your head?
What lies and what sort of fraud?
Imagine the irrationality and hatred of someone who puts the words, “stupid,” “incompetent,” “liar,” and "fraud" together in one sentence. You are appealing to the lowest common denominator of psychologically handicapped people imaginable.
Boks and Bickhart LIE - the Animals DIE.
Lie about what-exactly? What is the content of this new charge? You stink ADL, and the animals also die. Now some crazy will email me that I am defaming those who tell the truth; but what is your truth? The same voices in your head? There is no truth here, only empty allegations from anonymous sources.
Many believe that Boks and Bickhart are afraid to appoint anyone who is really brilliant as Assistant General Manager, a position that has been vacant for a very long time, because he/she may over shadow the "Ed Boks Show."
Who are those many us who so believe? Again, anonymous?
The AGM candidates that we have heard were being considered from within the humane community are apparently, all competent capable individuals. Three of these are female attorneys. One is a smart and sincere past LAAS commissioner Laura Beth Heisen--who apparently has her own no kill plan. Another may even be an animal rights attorney!
(Yes, and another may be the King of France. You won’t tell us, will you?)
The third Terri Macellaro, is an esteemed trial attorney who has run her own humane organization.
All three women have a higher educational background than does Boks, and from what we are told by leaders in the humane community, have more dedication to humane no kill and the passion to implement it, then Boks could ever have.
What leaders in the humane community? Yes, any of the three may make an excellent choice as AGM. I agree. But how would you like to have a new VP of ADL rammed down your throat against your will? Will the employees ignore the new AGM, supported by the ADL, who has been bad mouthing them for years? Will they do everything possible to undermine and destroy that AGM, rendering her totally ineffectual? Or, are you stating that if, for example, Terri or Laura Beth Heisen were made AGM, the ADL will stand by their shoulders and force changes down LAAS’s collective throat?
May I also point out that you, or the esteemed leaders in the community, did not name even one male candidate? In fact, at the so-called meeting where the “LA animal Community” chose a candidate, not one man was interviewed. I know, I was there.
I do know that two qualified men, one the head of a fairly large County shelter system, were not even invited for a final interview, because Pam termed him a “red-neck.” The other was destroyed by anonymous rumors of sexual harassment in the past, launched by a female friend of one of the female candidates you suggested above, who offered no proof whatsoever. When I asked for specifics, I was told, "You know yourself Ed, that where there are allegations, there is always some truth." Geeze, no I didn't know that.
So maybe, that's the EXACT reason why none of them have been appointed so far!
Maybe not. Wish you had some proof one way or another to support your charges. The Big Lie; the Big Lie, perfected by Adolph Hitler, and which he wrote about as part of his propaganda strategy. Repeat a big lie often enough and it becomes accepted truth. Look at Bush.
But Boks is so busy trying to do damage control and not let anyone find out about his past failures that no decent vets have been hired. The clinics sit there, fully equipped and unused.
Yes, he is doing damage control from the damage the ADL is causing. What other damage are you talking about? Would this be alleged anonymous damage according to alleged anonymous sources other than your own internal voices?
ADL-LA Disclaimer: Many of the reports contained in our Action Alerts have been received anonymously and the Campaign cannot make any guarantees for the accuracy of these reports. Any views or comments stated in reports, Action Alerts or on the web site are not necessarily the views of STK or ADL-LA.
Wow!! You post all sorts of charges, some quoted from "anonymous" sources, some without any citation, therefore are likely your own, and then claim such views or comment are not your own?
In other words, you, the Board of Directots of the ADL, are free to say whatever you want and blame it on anonymous sources. You do not make even the minimal effort to find facts.
As I have stated, from the people I know, the rescuers, the LAAS personnel, I have heard nothing but praise. Only from you and a very few others do I hear slander. Of course the praise may turn to blame down the line, but there is no evidence now.
For example, one of yours, who claimed to be a friend, emailed me that all of Ed’s employees hate him. I tried to pin him down, even to why they hate him and he told me he would not say, that it was up to them to publish why they hate Ed. He said he did not want to be quoted with specifics. You see, it was a lie. Liars have no proof, just as you have none. They just trust that some innocent, somewhere, will believe them.
Time to Welcome the ADLLA Back?
Part of the drop now is from sheer will on Ed's part and giving LAAS a better self-image and enthusiasm. This might allow the kill rate to remain at at 30+ % less a year, so at the end of calendar 2006, 4,000 animals may be saved, maybe more.
Further than that will require a thorough remaking of the department and unambiguous and improved policies and procedures.
The Commission under the excellent leadership of Kathy Riordan and the others will continue to push Ed to make changes they know have to be made as well as to guide him through the bureaucratic maze.
The rescue and humane community will also continue to push for reform. LAAS will, for a time be transformed by its new self-image, but until most of the employees convert to that positivity, the need for radical change should be forced from within and without.
I hope the rescue and humane communities maintain their watchfulness and pushiness. This change would never have occurred without pressures from many directions, not the least of which was from the ADLLA.
There is still a great need for an AGM who can take on the bureaucratic and paperwork responsibilities from Ed and allow him to devote full-time to examining the LAAS personnel and operations. Who this AGM should be I have no idea. It may be that a spokesperson from the community should do the job. It may be someone with shelter operations experience should do the job. I don't know.
The numbers will tell the story.
As soon as I get around to it, I will remove all negative references to the ADL. They still have my heart.
My own wish is that Ed and Nathan Winograd can put aside their differences and work to duplicate the San Francisco model of a close municipal/SPCA model that has been so successful there.
Nathan first suggested this model two years ago and indicated interest then of coming to LA. However, he has since found a new mission, which may be a higher and more powerful force for change in the future. Still, he may be convinced to come here if someone can create an idea of combining his old vision with his new mission.
This vision would bring all the disparate rescue/humane groups together under one roof instead of a hundred roofs yet allow them to maintain their separate existence AND access to much greater resources.
Good luck to all of us.
Mr. Boks According to a NYC Rescuer-My take.
Please be aware of the paragraph in red below where Ed is quoted as saying:
"Nobody wants to come to a place that they think is depressing or primarily kills animals." Boks answered with sincere conviction. "By presenting a more positive agenda and goals, by renovation and creating more inviting and cheerful accommodations, by participating in more off-site events, we are attracting many more adoptions and volunteers. Our adoptions are way up!"
This too is my opinion. If the LAAS is continuously characterized as abusive, incompetent, uncaring, rude, etc., it tends to reinforce personnel's atttiudes that the public is the enemy. In addition, if the public looks on the shelters as "Deathcamps," it certainly would dissuade the average adopter, except out of guilt, in order to prevent another animal from being killed. Guilt is not a strong motivator.
Therefore, the extreme negativity being directed at LAAS by a few activists, means death for more animals. The animals' blood, as they would say, is on their heads.
Note that the NYC euthanasia rate dropped from 78% to 48%, which meant almost a 40% drop in the euthanasia rate in less than two years. Mr. Boks and LAAS along with the rescue community is achieving over a 30% rate decrease in the first three months of this year alone, and each month the decrease gets larger compared to the year before.
This is a time for cheering, not jeering. The hatemongers, as I call them, are preventing the community from coming together in joyful celebration of the success already being achieved, let alone the obviously upward trajectory.
New York -- The "Prove it to Me" State
During the time Rudy Guiliani was Mayor of New York City, our municipal animal shelter system, the Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC), was drastically underfunded, resulting in 78% of impounded animals being "euthanized."
Guiliani had tendency to place political cronies in roles of Directorship and Board Memberships of CACC, rather than those with any experience in shelter management. There was little volunteerism, few, if any attempts to reach out to the public community and generally, a poor quality of uncaring staff employed at CACC.
Primarily, the CACC operated as a kind of clandestine operation in remote or undesirable areas of the city, where animals were taken to die. Typical CACC "euthanasia"(kill) stats were over 45,000 animals a year while Guiliani was Mayor.
It had long been the practice of the ASPCA (which formerly ran animal control in New York City until the early 90's) and CACC management to justify all the killings by trying to claim most of the animals were "old, sick or vicious strays." Such was an outrageous distortion of truth!
The typical cat coming into CACC was a young adult, friendly animal usually given up from a home for reasons like "moving," "allergies" or Grandma died." The average dog was a medium-sized, young mixed-breed usually given up for typical puppy behaviors (such as high energy level, chewing or housebreaking issues). Of course many dogs of all types and breeds also came into the CACC shelters for "moving," "allergies" or something happening to the owner such as "illness, eviction, divorce or arrest."
Unfortunately, many people also lie when bringing animals to shelters by saying the pet is a "stray" because they don't want to answer questions or give an owner-relinquish donation. This results in misleading "stray" vs. "owner surrender" stats, as well as little information on individual animals. Nevertheless, the indisputable fact was (and is) that most of the cats and dogs dying in our shelters were (and are) former pets.
Those of us in the NYC animal community worked hard to bring the truth to the public via media campaigns, petitions, political pressure and even demonstrations. We were lucky to get one City Council member on our side. Democrat, Katherine Freed ran an investigation of how the CACC was operating and was successful in getting City Council hearings and exposure. Still, when all was said and done, nothing had significantly changed at CACC until a new administration, under Mayor Mike Bloomberg took over leadership of the city early in 2002.
Though not an "animal lover" per se, it seems Bloomberg had the smarts to delegate much of the responsibility for animal control and sheltering to those with actual experience in the field. In effort to "get the animal people off his back," Bloomberg supported an initiative to organize many in the rescue community together to work in concert with the city shelter system in what was to be called, "The Mayor's Alliance" for New York City Animals.
Of course the Mayor had little (or really, nothing) to do with this new fledging organization. However, the name endorsement seemed to make it easier to secure a 15 million dollar grant donation through "Maddie's Fund" -- a special fund originated in California by some wealthy benefactor to help save shelter animals and strays nationwide whose communities were making a bonified effort to neuter animals and lower kill numbers in shelters.
After attending one early meeting, I decided not to sign NYCA up to be a member of the "Mayor's Alliance" for several reasons.
First, I was skeptical of the name itself and felt it to be deceptive to the public. One got the impression that the Mayor and City Council had suddenly passed a law that the city would "no longer kill animals." Many wishful-thinking New Yorkers did indeed interpret the name to mean that as I heard voiced numerous times while showing cats for adoption publicly. Adding to this deception, were the press interviews and statements by Mayor's Alliance head and attorney, Jane Hoffman that seemed to suggest that the various no kill shelters and rescue groups were somehow a "solution" to all of New York's abandoned animals and strays. We were going "to be a no-kill city by 2005!" (later this was changed to "2009"). "No kill city by 2005?"
Such was totally delusional to my way of thinking -- and certainly representing a great lie to the public and the press. Of course, Jane Hoffman was talking about "goals,"but the reality is that many people don't hear the word, "goal," but rather, the buzz term, "no kill." Many press reports made it seem that New York City was "no kill" already!
I couldn't figure out whether Hoffman was being naive and overly optimistic in making such claims or whether there was conscious attempt to sugarcoat realities for purposes of fundraising and grant money or whether there were political considerations and she had to say things like these in order to keep the name, "Mayor's Alliance."
But, to me, it didn't matter, the reasons. I just knew I didn't want to be part of something that was, to me, "part of the problem" of deception to the public, rather than its solution. I did not sign up to be a member of the Mayor's Alliance and in so doing, I realized I was probably cutting off means of various support or even funding. -- Funding that could help save more animals.
It was a tough decision with no easy "right or wrong" answer. Still, it was my experience, (particularly at Petco) that when one "sells out" one principle, it generally leads to more. Moreover, in cases of large, money-raising events, drives and grants, it is usually the bigger, well established organizations that get most of the financial support. Rarely, does it "trickle down" to the smaller groups.
Was the choice not to join the Alliance a good or bad decision? Three years later, I can't say for sure. NYCA has managed to survive, but definitely with more struggle. I sometimes feel regret or even guilt from the standpoint of not doing all I could have to save more animals. But, at the same time I can look myself in the mirror and feel that, if nothing else, I can be honest and direct with the public and with myself.
I am not limited by someone else's "rules," plans, perspectives, events, or corporate "Public Relations." I have better control over how our animals are properly cared for and the homes they eventually go to. Yes, it is harder this way, and the bulk of responsibility falls on myself. As a small organization with limited budget and volunteers, there are many pitfalls to be aware of and look out for;probably the biggest one being taking on more animals than what the group can responsibly and humanely care for. Perhaps the hardest and yet, most important task an animal rescue person has to learn, is the ability and strength to say, "no." (especially in New York -- a place whose people don't readily take "no" for an answer.) We're not God and we can't save the world. We can only save on animal at a time.
Rather than look back and "regret" those decisions made for better or worse (depending on one's point of view), it is ultimately best I feel, to take everything as "learning experience" and move on with the cards and path one has been dealt or chosen. Ultimately, most decisions have their "up" and "down" sides.
In keeping with Mayor Bloomberg's tendency to "delegate responsibility" to experienced people, finally, towards the end of 2003, Ed Boks was hired as the new Director of CACC. The name of the shelter system was also changed around that time to "Animal Care and Control," but I can't say whose decision that was or precisely why. Boks came with both shelter Directorship experience and a rather impressive record for lowering euthanasia stats at the Animal Care and Control shelter in Maricopa, Arizona.
But, of course there is a big difference between heading a shelter in a growing Southwest City and New York City as the populations are so diverse and different and there are particular sets of problems unique to specific location. Boks, indeed had his work cut out for him, when coming to New York!
About six months following his official taking over the helm at "AC&C" in 2004 I requested a meeting with Ed Boks. Boks was a slim, attractive man who appeared to be in his mid or late forties with neatly trimmed grayish beard and hair. He had a wide smile, grand ideas and plans about the future of AC&C -- and an incurably optimistic air about him.
After sitting me down in a conference room at the AC&C's administrative offices in downtown New York with several high level AC&C staffers, Boks presented the latest AC&C newsletter along with some other papers denoting improved adoption percentages for AC&C.
"I want to tell you about all the positive changes that are occurring at AC&C and how in just a few months we have brought down the euthanasia numbers!" he beamed to me.
"I am very pleased to see the good changes that are happening, Mr. Boks, and fully acknowledge and congratulate you on them, " I replied. "But, I am not here to discuss the AC&C newsletter, but rather, some questions I have and problems that still exist at the shelters."
Boks, like Jane Hoffman, had been very articulate in publicly expressing his goals that New York become a "no kill" city, though he was less verbal about putting a timeline date on the ideal. I told Boks that I primarily had problems with the "no kill mantra," not because I didn't also share the goal, but because I didn't see it as being "realistic" at any point in the predictable future.
"People are being led to think we are no kill already, and that isn't true!" I added. Boks answered that it was important that the shelter present a "positive image" to the public in order to gain more support and to encourage people to adopt from the shelters.
"Nobody wants to come to a place that they think is depressing or primarily kills animals." Boks answered with sincere conviction. "By presenting a more positive agenda and goals, by renovating and creating more inviting and cheerful accommodations, by participating in more off-site events, we are attracting many more adoptions and volunteers. Our adoptions are way up!"
"Again, I agree with you on that, Mr. Boks and commend the changes. But, I am worried that too many people are not getting the truth and will drop off more animals at the shelters thinking the animals are all getting adopted. Many people don't realize how serious the overpopulation problem really is. Is there incentive for them to neuter pets if they think we have homes for all animals? Its one thing to say one has a 'goal' for no kill, its another thing to intimate that we have already solved all the problems."
It was obvious that Ed Boks and I had very different perspectives on the same situation. He preferred to look at the glass as "half full" and focus on the positives. I tended to focus on the problems which still plagued the shelters and were serious barriers, in my view, to the goal of "no kill."
When it became apparent that Ed Boks and I were not going to agree on exactly what should be said publicly about the animal control and sheltering situation in New York, I decided to switch strategies.
"I'd like to discuss better identification of dog and cat breeds as this will help better to place more animals," I finally said. This was something Ed Boks was in agreement with and eager to discuss. For the remainder of the meeting, we focused on practical problems and how better to solve them. Boks requested that I spend some time at the Manhattan shelter to help new staffers better recognize cat and dog breed types.
All in all, the meeting with Ed Boks and other staffers was a positive one, resulting in some common shared goals and plans, if not perfectly shared perspectives. I came away from the meeting thinking that Ed was very well intentioned, dedicated and visionary, but a little naive and overly optimistic about what to fully expect in running the animal control shelter in New York City.
I didn't know the people in Arizona. But, New York is well known for it skepticism and distrust of things that are new, unknown or seem "too good to be true." If Missouri is the "Show Me" state, New York is the exacting, "Prove it to Me," state.
I wondered if the shelter in Maricopa, Az, where Ed Boks came from, had the same problems we had in New York with overbreeding and dumping of Pit Bulls? I wondered if the Arizona City had a large "melting pot" population of people who came from countries all over the world? Countries where, in many cases, "spay/neuter" had never been mentioned, let alone practiced?
Take an optimist and a pessimist and the truth (reality) can usually found between the two extremes. It wasn't a case of Ed Boks or me being "right" or "wrong," but simply looking at the glass from different vantage points. We had to find the things we agreed upon and work from there.
Almost a year and a half from that initial meeting, many, many good changes have indeed occurred at AC&C under Bok's positive direction. Professional and more caring staffers. Many more volunteers and adoption "events." Better care of the animals. Better breed descriptions. Better working and cooperation with rescue, particularly with the help and cooperation of The Mayor's Alliance. There are, in fact, more positive changes than what can be detailed here.
The euthanasia numbers have gone way down in New York City's animal control shelters, but sadly they still exist. Roughly about 40 to 50 cats and dogs currently die everyday at AC&C shelters in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Most of the dogs are "Pit" or "Shepherd" mixes," most of the cats, somebody's lost or abandoned pet.
As of this writing, New York is not "no kill in 2005." Nor, can it be, in my view until we solve our Pit Bull and cat overpopulation/abandoning problems. But, we are very slowly getting near the goal. The truth, again being in the middle of "optimism and pessimism." New York again being the exacting, "Prove it to Me" state.
For, as long as one healthy, adoptable dog or cat dies in our shelters, (regardless of "breed" or type) we are not "no kill."
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Latest Anonymous Allegation from ADL
Friends knowing my forlorn status forward the ADL emails. One of the latest, purportedly a former employee at NYC, charged that Ed cooked the books using temperament testing or shelter-contracted illness so that they didn’t have to be counted as a euthanized animal. This is nonsense. The figures presented are of animals in and animals out. These are gross figures, unadjusted for by adoptable, treatable, etc. See Animal Lover's quotes below and her site.
Naturally, the writer is not identified for whatever reasons. Perhaps that person thinks Ed will return to New York and punch him or her out. It is more then a remote possibility that an ADL member wrote that anonymous letter. Too bad they do not feel the need to supply proof of authenticity. Stark goes nuts whenever anyone prints anything that might question her “objectivity.”
Who can believe the ADL anymore? I think the last letter they published with a signature was mine in 2004 when I was head of the Greenwalt Replacement Committee and sent a complaining letter to Council that Hahn’s selection process was as transparent as Mammoth Cave (meaning dark).
How can anyone accept the credibility of an organization whose only evidence for the most outlandish accusations are from anonymous sources?
He (Ed) stopped reporting owner requested euthanasia. When you change the reporting and don't tell anyone, it looks like the numbers of impounds and deaths have come down, but they haven't. And Ed never told anyone he changed the way NYCACC was reporting data.
"WRONG! Right here in the statistics from 2000-2006 he clearly talks about owner requested euthanasia. There's an asterisk next to the numbers with an explanation below.
He kept asking us to make changes to the system and we wouldn't. We finally just left.
He also reported only end status of animals. NYCACC has a rating system of 1 through 5 for each dog or cat who comes in. A healthy dog or cat is a "1" while a supposed unadoptable dog or cat was a rating "5." Dogs and cats with different problems can be 2, 3 or 4. We always reported status based on intake. So, for example, if a dog came in healthy but got kennel cough because our facility was dirty or lack of care and his status changed to a 3 or a 4, when we killed that dog, we still reported him as a 1 because he was a healthy, adoptable dog and we made him or allowed him to get sick.
WRONG! Animals were not reported as adoptable or unadoptable at all. See statistics below. There are just animals in and out. If Ed were juggling the numbers, cooking the books, the NY activists would have called him on it. You LA'ers think you're savvier than NY activists? I don't think so. The media, NY Times, were always going over his numbers with a fine tooth comb. He reported to Maddie's Fund. They are number junkies. He never would have been able to juggle the books with that much scrutiny. He's offered local activists and ADL the chance to go to the office and see how he does the books. No one has taken him up on it.
Did I miss something? The animal came in as a 1, but got sick and became a 4, then, when we killed him, we listed him as 1, because that I how he came in—healthy. Is there something wrong with my comprehension because Ed claimed the shelter killed a healthy animal? Does the complaintant really mean they killed a sick and untreatable dog that was mot counted as a kill of a healthy and adoptable animal?
My mind boggles, or bloggels.
You ADL and ADL-chosen GM wannabees, are looking a gift Santa in the Mouth because he is not your Santa.
Another Rescuer Heard From
One of my contacts, a very well-known kitten rescuer who I have known for many years, told me that the difference between last year and now is night and day. She said a year ago when rescuers walked into the shelters (she covers all but the Valley shelters) they were treated like idiots, almost beneath contempt.
She said now she gets nothing but perfect and friendly cooperation and rescues are so much easier. The whole process is both easier but faster, which is time critical for unweaned kittens.
This makes me very perplexed and suspecious, because I hear from some segments of the rescue community how bad Ed is. The strange thing is, I can't get anyone to tell me how he is bad or what evidence they have.
The criticisms I hear regard allegations about his past, and specific incidents of claimed rescues gone wrong, such as with Boo Boo and the drowned puppies, do not touch him as to competence or credibility even if they do touch specific employees and specific shelters.
I don't even know all sides of those stories.
I do not understand why Ed is held accountable for every act of every employee concerning every animal. Like I said, I hear mostly positive feedback 6-1, and of those six, two are extremely satisfied with the change.
I would not be doing this if I did not believe in Ed and the capability of LAAS to become the department it could be or should be.
General Manager's Quarterly Report to the Commission
It is 21 pages long and lists in incredible detail all the programs, meetings, volunteer activities, hiring activities, wildlife encounters and so forth during the past three months that would lead one to expect this is a report of activities of an organization four times the size of LAAS.
I have heard from employees that this is a very short form of all the results and activities submitted to Ed as reports, which means the actual activities are significantly larger. LAAS has been very, very busy. Whoever prepared this report deserves an Pulitzer.
The massive effort indicated gives lie to the allegation that Ed is only showboating. I only wish I had 25% of his energy.
I also understand there have been employee complaints about all the additional work Ed is making them do. I had also heard early on, even before he came to LA, that he was hard on underperforming employees in NYC. Well, I can see the reason why. He is making a department consisting of 300+ people do the work of a department of 600 people. Good for Ed and the animals.
New March 2006 Stats vs. March 2005
Summarizing, impounds are down 13% compared to last March; adoptions from the shelter are up 15%; rescues (New Hope) are down 24%; and euthanasias dropped from 34% to 25% of the animals coming in, which means a 26% decrease compared to last year.
Considering that the national average is still over 50% killed, our 25% is half the national kill rate.
March 2006 vs March 2005; Difference; Change%
Impounds 2,991; 3,421; (-) 430; (-) 13%
Adoptions 1,137; 989; (+) 148; (+) 15%
New Hope 519; 682; (-) 163; (-) 24%
Euthanized 755; 1,166; (-) 411; (-) 35%
% Euthan 25% vs 34%
Adoptions were up 15%, while the euthanasia rate dropped 35%.
Rescue group adoptions were down 24%.
Using the ubiquitous per capita way of measuring, if the March figures hekd for the entire year, the kill rate rate would be 2.1 per thousand population, lower than Tompkins' County (Ithaca) record of 2.2, or San Francisco's 2.5.
Rescuer Notices Big Changes at LAAS Shelters
I have a senior cat from the pound that actually has had a full blood panel and a urinalysis - $150 of work that rescuers used to have to pay for out of pocket. This would never, never, never have happened under Guerdon Stuckey.
Anyone with eyes can see that the euth list is shorter than it used to be.I see him (Ed) talking, but I see him walking, too.
I really don't care what the rumors are about someone's job performance 5 years ago. I would hate to be judged on rumors about my job performance 5 years ago.
Please, turn your attentions to something that is an actual, urgent issue (seal hunting, horse slaughter, cat and dog fur from China) and let the man work. I see concrete evidence that he is doing good work and so do the other rescuers I deal with on a daily basis.
ANOTHER POST FROM CRAIGS LIST:
I'm thinking that if maybe some of the people who love to spend their time digging for dirt were actually on the streets rescuing that their opinions of Ed Boks may be a bit different. At least they would be accomplishing something positive. Do any of these people actually rescue animals?
What I've seen since Ed Boks came to town are some real and tangible improvements. A cat that was dumped at West Valley that was ill. In the old days, he would have gotten the needle almost immediately. What happened to this fellow? West Valley took him to an actual (and good) vet hospital and paid to keep him in there a week until he got better. Then, they contacted a rescue group and begged for them to take him in. They did and now this sweet boy is living the good life with his foster mom until he finds his forever home.
LAAS has reached out to rescue to train their staffs in bottle-baby feeding so that unweaneds will be given more than the standard 2 hours before they are put down. Do you realize how many thousands of lives this will end up saving?
Shelter workers are also now treating URI with Clavamox and other antibiotics instead of just sticking a mildly sick animal in a cage and then sending it off to die.
Why don't you give some examples of horrible things Mr. Boks has done here in Los Angeles? Is IT due to the fact that maybe there hasn't been anything?
He is making a difference...a positive one. I am just as hardened and skeptical as any rescuer when it comes to LAAS (not to mention County). But positive things have already happened and more is in the works. He's been here since January for goodness sakes. 4 months! And he's already accomplished more than the other GM's did in the decade before he arrived.
Yeah, it's not all going to get good overnight but steps are being taken in the right direction. If you want to really help animals, then instead of continually posting negative stuff why not go grab some animals out of the shelters and foster them. Spend your nights doing TNR. Take your fosters out to adoption events. You know, like the rest of us real rescuers.
this is in or around ENOUGH ALREADY!
A Plea for Forbearance
All of us love animals but sometimes treat others differently, with anger or hatred. All of us have our own pains and vulnerabilities which we see in animals and attempt to fix there, because it is possibly fixable, compared to our own lives. We see the pain in our own lives and those of animals but often don’t see it in others.
Long ago I recognized my ability to end suffering and injustice in the world was very limited. I made up my mind to draw an imaginary circle and vowed to protect and serve all within that circle to make it a better world. Sometimes I forget this vow and damage those whom I want to help. Sometimes I have done it on this site.
Ed Boks is in the unenviable position of being regarded as the head fixer with infinite resources, millions of dollars and hundreds of people, but he is not. There are a lot of animal people out there who are in desperate situations. You need help personally and with your animals, even if you deny it to yourselves.
I wish I could help you and I am sure Ed wants to help you, especially with your animals. To each of you who feels this way, please bear with Ed and LAAS. Give LAAS time to transform itself, and become who you want them to be. LAAS has been called the department that does not want to change. Stuckey was defeated by a department that did not want to change.
Leave Ed alone to see if he can make this change and save lives or actively help with your time and skills. His power is limited by what he has to work with and he needs your help to make the greater change possible.
Life is suffering. Life is terrible. This is the first principle of both Buddhism and Hinduism. Both Jews and Christians exhault compassion.
Let us not make things worse my tearing down a house even while it is being built, which might shelter thousands of little souls who need our help. We need to put the animals’ needs ahead of our own; fortunately, this is our inclination and salvation anyway.
Many of you see the workmen building that house as useless, and worse, as cruel and unfeeling and that you can do better. I am sure that many of you in our animal community can do better. But all this will take time; years of time.
Some may find their lives enriched in some form in LAAS’s future, some not. What will be, will be. But you will never be part of what could be greatness if your intent is to harm.
My heart breaks when I see the pain of the world and I can do so little. I too wish someone could make it all right as we feel it should be. This is not going to happen. Ed does not have that power, or at least only to a small extent. The best we can do is share effort to establish a common goal of help, brotherhood, sisterhood, together.
I know what I say here will find response in jeering emails from those who still feel an angry reaction to injustice, but this is my take.
My frustration and anger is with those with long knives who have the capability of sabotaging what could be greatness and also with the employees who are so entrenched in killing or who obviously never should have been employed by LAAS. The former need to be stopped, and concerning the latter, let us try to get rid of them through channels to make room for those who really care.
We may need to create new channels to hasten the process of change. I call on all to agree to a mechanism of honest complaint and redress through a watch-blog, and to assist in the new complaint/compliment process with specifics and real evidence. I also call for the creation of a civilian oversight committee as contemplated by Mike Bell to investigate complaints. I also see this as a function of the LAAS Commission and enjoin them to have the courage to force change.
I also call for the creation of an office of the Ombudsman, the concept of which is to investigate government abuses of power or acts or cruelty and malfeasance.
Ombudsmen are everywhere, at all the UC campuses, almost all parts of Arizona’s health care system, at all levels of government in some states.
These would be four mechanisms to address what we truly see as injustice and to end injustice.
I would also like to see the community come together in a way that we can help each other even better than we have before. Share resources more. If someone is in need, help them more.
In the meantime, please wait. Please be patient. Some of us will fall through the cracks and be lost, some will find a place. It is not our will, or within Ed’s or the mayor’s capability to help all, although I am sure they wish they could. But it is within our capability to extend mercy to the animals and forbearance toward each other.
No matter what I say in response to their accusations, no matter how much I point out the holes in their arguments, they do not stop. They repeat the same baseless charges and faulty arguments over and over, as if sheer repetition made them real. They will never stop. We need to move on. Asked and answered.
Therefore, I am not going to continue to respond to them as if they were rational, because they are not. They are little people who gather some sense of worth by attacking others with a higher public profile, or who just like destroying others, or, who want Ed's job and will do anything to get it. (However, I will gratefully accept any of their browbeating or inaccurate criticisms if directed towards Schwartzenegger.)
Instead, I am going to concentrate on bringing our community together to save animals' lives. Nothing else happening in Los Angeles matters more to me, except maybe having Antonio as governor.
There is just one more issue to address before I close shop on the madness.
It is charged by some, that many in the animal community perceive Ed as being too lenient with bad LAAS personnel, which has translated into all the negativity towards Boks.
This critique has two sides: is this truly the source of accusations about bad statistics or medical supply budget overruns, and, has Ed really been too lenient with LAAS personnel?
Concerning the former, I cannot imagine a that a criticism about a budget over-run in medical supplies in Maricopa has anything to do with his management style. In fact, the Maricopa auditors only suggested that AC&C tighten up their budgeting processes, which the department agreed to do so. The department response did suggest that meds were under-budgeted.
Budget overruns are common with any government budgetary process, look at Bush and Schwartzenegger as well as Davis before him.
But I cannot see how personnel style would unloose the character assassination accusations. These are the work of the nut-cabal, who will merely add accusations of management style ineffectiveness. However, the accusation regarding perceived over-leniency, is, at least an accusation of performance in the here-and-now.
I mentioned before that I have some friends who are employed by LAAS and work in the shelters. One is overjoyed Ed has taken over. He sees positive chnages taking place at the shelters. He sees the kill stats going down. He is happy with all the new programs.
I had asked him a similar question about life under Stuckey and whether the latter brought change. His response was that Stuckey came in and tried to strong-arm and browbeat LAAS employees into change. My friend said that didn't work. LAAS employees ignored Stuckey or worked to subvert him.
Now Dan and others criticize Ed's style as being too lenient. Perhaps from their viewpoint, but is it so in reality? This is a judgment call, a criticism about management style. Only time will tell whether Ed's management style is trasnferring into lowered kill stats and higher adoptions.
As I mentioined before, kill stats were down 24% in January vs. January 2005, down 33% in February compared to 2005, and, it appears, almost 40% down in March as compared to last year.
To me, this is fabulous success and certainly supports my observation LAAS is coming together, and part of that process is Ed's management style. I guess some would prefer the stick approach, which, of course, has worked so well in the past--right?
Already a complaint process is in place. Go to the LAAS website to fill out an on-line form.
I suggest also, and I offered to help set it up, a LAAS Watch blog concerning percieved animal abuses, or other acts of stupidity, or acts of kindness and courage, of employees. Of course the nut cases and hate mongers will have a field day, but at least they will have a channel that can be monitored by the community and LAAS.
I think the blog monitor should not post complaints from the obviously insane, but should publish those from credible sources or those with proof. I think the blog monitor should require proof that a on-line complaint form was submitted. Then we can follow how complaints are handled over time.
I think a Civilian Oversight Committee might be a good idea, but only if the people on it are rational and do not come aboard with oozing hatred. I would suggest Mike Bell, Scott Sorentino, Sue Freeman, Bill Dyer, Rich McClellen, Christy Metropole, Tamie Bryant, Laura Heisen and a half-dozen others as members. The rules and protocols on how this would Committee would work would be extremely complex and should reflect how other oversight committees already work. There would have to be a City sponsor and mentor, such as Mr. Bickhart.
The trouble is, such a committee may do far more to damage than help unless done right.
We are all in this together to help end unnecessary killing. It is not all on Ed's head. It is on our heads, your head, my head.
UPDATE: New Statistics on Dramatic Downward Trend in Euthanasia
Ed has started a program called plus one/minus one, meaning each day a shelter should aim at one additional adoption per day and one less killing per day compared to the same date last year.
- The winners for March 6, 2006, compared to March 6, 2005 are:
- East Valley for a 57.31% decrease in Euthanasia (West Valley was a veryclose 2nd!).
- Harbor for an 82.14% increase in Adoptions.
- West LA for a 100% increase in New Hopes.
The stats for all the shelters are for March 6, 2006 compared to Mrach 6, 2005 are:
- East Valley Adoptions up 29.01%East Valley New Hopes down 16.92%, Euthanasia down 57.31%.
- Harbor Adoptions up 82.14%, Harbor New Hopes down 63.83%, Harbor Euthanasia up 26.09.
- North Central Adoptions up 9.15%, North Central New Hopes down 22.29%, North Central Euthanasia down 25.46%.
- South LA Adoptions up 5.83%, South LA New Hopes down 46.72%, South LA Euthanasia down 32.88%.
- West LA Adoptions up 10.48%, West LA New Hopes up 100%, West LA Euthanasia up 5.71%.
- West Valley Adoptions down 9.09%, West Valley New Hopes down 14.06%, West Valley Euthanasia down 53.27%.
- LAAS Totals: Adoptions up 14.50%, New Hopes down 22.24%, Euthanasia down 37.31%.
I want to clarify, the figures above do not compare month to month decreases, but results for the date or month of this year compared to that same date or month, last year. Therefore, when I say there was a 24% decrease in euthanasia for January, it means compared to January 2005, not compared to December 2005. The same for February, which showed a 33% decrease; that was compared to February 2005, not January 2006.
For the year ended February 28, 2006, you add together the monthly totals of March 2005 through Februart 2006, which is 20,094.
To compare the total change from 2005 to 2006, you need to wait until the end of 2006 and add the twelve month totals and compare with January through December 2005.
New Complaint/Compliment Process at LAAS
The Department has implemented an online complaint/compliment/comment form where you can do just that with the promise there will be a response. That may make some staffers--the bad ones--very wary of being the jerks they have been, and will finally allow the good employees to be recognized.
Imagine, we no longer have to wait for ADL's latest email to find out who did what to whom, who is sleeping with whom, etc., we can just go and complain ourselves if we so feel, or praise a volunteer, AND, get feedback.
LA County Shelters' Kill Stats
On their website:
Last year the County sent approximately 80,000 animals to West Coast Rendering. However, these were not all euthanized dogs and cats. Of this number, 21,583 were dead animals removed from streets or animal bodies surrendered by their owners after their pets passed away. Furthermore, 7,294 were pets that were euthanized at the request of their owners, usually for medical and humane reasons. Additionally, 9,264 were animals other than dogs and cats, such as livestock, wildlife, birds, rabbits, etc. The remaining 42,486 were dogs and cats euthanized at our six County shelters.
The County killed twice as many cats and dogs as LA under Stuckey, but with only a marginally larger population. The estimated 2004 population of the County is 5.6 million vs. 4.3 million for the City.
They also killed 9,264 “other” animals, including wildlife, compared to 3,356 for the City, again, without having nearly twice the population. I have no idea what their impound rate was, they did not publish those stats, but I certainly would prefer to be a homeless pet in the City vs. the County.
I think the ADL is railing at the wrong agency.
Dramatic Downward Trend in LAAS Euthanasia
In an August 2005 interview by Lori Golden of Pet Press, Guerdon Stuckey said LAAS had euthanized 24,932 animals during fiscal 2004-2005, which ran from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004. This included 21,676 cats and dogs.
However, in the twelve months between March 30, 2005 and February 28, 2006, the number of cats and dogs euthanized decreased to 20,094.
In the two months Ed has been on the job, the number of cats and dogs killed dropped to 1,385, compared to January and February of last year, which was 1,802, about a 24% drop—in one year!
If this dramatic downward trend were to continue, we can expect the death rate to be under 17,000 for calendar 2006, compared to 21,676 for fiscal 2004-2005!
Part of the drop is due to a 21% decrease in impounds over the year before, most of that from reduced dog impounds. It would love to find out how this was accomplished, whether by rescue group activities, such as intercepting dogs before they entered the system, decreases in breeder puppies, new policies at LAAS, public education, I don’t know. In fact, San Francisco also derives its superlative statistics because of its low number of impounds.
If we better understood why fewer animals were coming into each shelter, by species and breed, we’d better know where to invest rescuer/LAAS resources in terms of money, man-hours and programs. That is, what is working now versus a year ago at each shelter, and how can that success be replicated at other shelters?
Even then, the death rate once an animal comes into the shelter is dropping. What positive things are happending in each shelter and how can that success be replicated?
For example, the bigegst decrease in death rate was at the Harbor shelter. Impounds were up 30%, but the death rate was down 51%!!! Why? Can we do this at West Valley next month?
The shelters do not exist in a vacuum; they exist in the context of multiples of rescue groups and welfarists as well as the adopting public. The rescue groups are poring in money and resources, and do have knowledge of what they did in each shelter area. If we had a databank where we could find out exactly what each rescue or TNR group did and where, what unofficial policies and procedures were extant at each shelter, and which LAAS employees contributued to positive results, we may be able to translate that success to other shelters.
In this way, LAAS and rescue group activities can become part of a community masterplan, where the entire community works togther to stop the killing, and we know why, where, and who helped to make it so.
Then too, there is the change in attitude among personnel in the shelters. Their morale is up now that they are working for a professional General Manager with over 20 years of experience as opposed to two City bureaucrats, and individual efforts by staff are recognized.
I think that since ADL’s façade of a mass-movement is being exposed for the sham it is, the mantle of fear will lift and LAAS will have an entirely new and positive relationship with the public.
Something is being done right, and it appears to be a cooperative effort between LAAS and the rescue community. But I think we ain’t seen nothin yet.
Given the six new or renovated shelters coming on line during the next 22 months, a projected $7 million dollar budget increase, and170 new staff being added, five years from now we will almost certainly have a death rate smaller than San Francisco, now considered the paradigm of large municipal shelter systems.
By the way, hopefully Villaraigosa will be governor by that time. He’s my man. I worked as a photographer on his campaign and hope to do so when he runs for governor.