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.