PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES http://losanglesveterinarian.blogspot.com/
Boks Blog Saves Taxpayers Money
Los Angeles' finest rolled out their blog earlier this month as part of a $238,000 redesign of the department Web site. (Apparently the LAPD brass doesn't know about the free Blogspot. Oh, well. It's only taxpayer money.)
Through the blog, the department is reaching out to the people it once oppressed with "real-time, unfiltered information" from the men and women doing the hard work of keeping the city safe-ish. Wow. I'm sold.
LAPD isn't the first Los Angeles bureaucracy to hit the blog waves. Ed Boks has had a blog since he came to town more than six months ago to head the troubled Animal Services Department. Considering how avidly the "animal advocacy community" follows the doings in that department, and how it has run out a series of general managers in recent years, this blog makes some sense.
Note that Boks's Blogspot blog--as is mine--is free. Told you Boks was a pathfinder.
Letters From NYC
I think it clear by these emails that not only was Boks not fired, but he was seen as a national leader of the no-kill movement.
It does appear that he had detractors back in NY too, but the charges, as here in LA, are way off the mark. However, I am sure in the near future, we will hear something like this coming from someone with business interests with the City.
From: Elizabeth Forel
Subject: Fw:NYC - Facts About AC&C and Ed Boks - Consequences of Action -
The below e-mail is written by Patty Adjamine, Director of New Yorkers for Companion Animals, a rescue and adoption group. She often takes animals from NYC animal care and control to adopt them out. She lives in NYC and has been closely involved with this issue since the 1980s.
The fact that NYC will no longer have Ed Boks as executive director of the AC&C is a huge, huge loss. Two years was not long enough to really make a difference - although we were certainly on the right track. What next - another city bureaucrat ... didn't we just spend years trying to get rid of the last two?! Elizabeth Forel/The Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc.
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 4:23 AMTo: Ed Boks-NYCACCSubject: FYI -- To Address Unfair Charges
I would like to take opportunity to address some of the unfair and inaccurate charges that have been leveled against AC&C and specifically, Ed Boks by some in the movement who seem unable to recognize a good thing when we have it.
I too, in the past have been critical of the "no kill" mantra that has been voiced by Boks and Jane Hoffman of the "Mayors Alliance." While it is important to have vision and goals, it is also vital to be connected to the harsh and unique realities that surround running an animal care and control shelter in New York City.
The AC&C is an "all admittance" shelter. That means it can not turn any animal away. It means it takes in all kinds of animals: young animals, old ones, healthy animals, sick ones, friendly animals and terrified, skittish, feral or in some cases, aggressive animals.
While most of the animals the AC&C takes in are dogs and cats, it also takes in rabbits, birds, farm animals and exotics.
The AC&C receives about 125 animals every DAY. While the cats vary tremendously in age, type, breed, age and temperament, the dogs are comprised largely of Pit Bulls and Pit mixes. Pit Bulls, no matter how nice, are among the hardest dogs to place in responsible homes. Many "no kill" shelters and rescue groups do NOT take Pit Bulls or Pit mixes.
Because it is impossible for a poorly funded Animal Control shelter to "isolate" all new animals coming into its shelters for medical concerns, this means that often healthy animals will be exposed to sick one in the various wards. Add to that, the stress and fear that so many animals suffer when coming into a strange and frightening environment, and you have the perfect recipe for spreads of illness, most notably, "Upper Respiratory Infections."
URI's are probably the biggest problem plaguing ALL shelters, but particularly "all admittance" shelters as "colds" are so hard to prevent and control in environments with high volume of animals in close and crowded quarters.
For those "no kill" shelters which can better control the numbers of animals they take in (i.e. say "no" to most homeless animals) and have the ability, space and resources to isolate new animals, URIs are better controlled, but not entirely eliminated.
I personally don't know of any shelter or rescue group that has been able to totally avoid or eliminate URIs, even when limiting animals and following medical protocols. It's like offices or schools trying to prevent or eliminate "colds" among work staff or pupils.
Moreover, those animal control shelters trying to "hold" animals longer for purposes of adoption possibility or rescue are far MORE likely to run into greater URI problems, simply for the reason of keeping animals longer in crowded spacing with poor ventilation.
One way to better "control" or even eliminate URI infections in euthanizing shelters?
Kill the animals quicker.
Don't bother to treat or try to isolate animals with URI in a "sick ward." Just kill them after the first sneeze.
There was a time when such policy was followed at the AC&C (when it was formerly "CACC"). Those animals who could be killed quickly were "euthanized" as soon as their "stray" or other mandatory "holds" were up and they sneezed once.
But, then we, the activists complained about those policies and even protested CACC. We were successful in gaining media coverage and City Council hearings. There were times when CACC was killing 78% of the animals who came into its shelters.
But, in 2002 Ed Boks was hired as the new Director of CACC.
Boks came in with vision and grand, ambitious plans of making AC&C eventually "no kill."
While some (like myself) would call such "visions" naive, Boks, in many ways proved us naysayers wrong to marked degree.
There were major and very positive staff changes in the shelters. There was outreach and invitation to new volunteers, as well as those trained in assessing animal behavior. There were renovations to the shelters, making them more inviting and "cheerful" to the public. There was better care of the animals. There was active participation in "offsite adoption events" and other innovative programs. There was a lowering of adoption fees in order to facilitate and increase adoptions. There was outreach to the media to better promote AC&C animals. There was even a personal appeal from Boks for placement of AC&C's adoptable Pit Bulls.
There was appeal and outreach to rescue groups. Under Bok's direction, the AC&C put forth the "New Hope" program which was specifically designed to get more animals out to rescue. About a year ago, they began to print and email notices and pictures to "New Hope Partners", of animals whose "time" at the shelter was about to run out. This was in the hope that many animals on the "euth list" could enjoy last minute saves (and indeed has resulted in reprieves for many).
But, most of all, we finally had a Director of AC&C who would LISTEN to suggestions and was OPEN to changes and OPEN to learning, sharing and seeking solutions to problems.
We NEVER had that before!
A few weeks ago, I personally met with veterinary staffers at the Manhattan shelter to discuss URI problems and how better to possibly prevent and treat them. A few weeks before that, I met with other staffers and management at the Manhattan shelter to discuss better breed descriptions of animals, as well as other matters.
All of these meetings took place at Ed Bok's urging and encouragement.
I have also been encouraged to go over the New Hope list every day and point out, through emails, any errors in breed descriptions or make suggestions for better animal clarifications.
A few days ago, I shared information with Boks and other staffers about the benefits of double kitten adoptions and he requested that I send him an electronic copy of a flier, for possible printing and distribution to the public.
Does ANY of this sound like a Director who "didn't care about" the animals?
Does any of this sound like someone who was in some kind of ivory tower not paying attention to what was going on in the shelters?
The job of a good Shelter Director is to delegate responsibilities to qualified people, to be open to suggestions from outside experts in various fields of animal work, to put forth innovative and progressive ideas, plans and initiatives, to follow laws and city protocol for the operation of AC shelters and if possible, to create positive change. Boks did all of those things -- sometimes going against established "protocols" and bureaucracy.
The job of a shelter Director is not to clean out kennel cages or personally treat sick animals. There are hired staffers for those important duties. Those who have complained that Boks primarily worked in the downtown office, seem to forget that the administrative offices ARE the workplace for all AC&C executive staff.
Those who work in animal rescue, (whether dealing with strays or shelter animals) HAVE to be prepared to deal with sick animals. It goes with the territory of rescue. It is, sadly, par for the course of this work.
Few animals come off streets in the "prime of health." And sadly, many if not most of the animals coming into city shelters have often suffered physical and emotional neglect. It is not the shelter's job to be "miracle worker" and suddenly transform a frail or neglected animal into one of optimum health in a matter of days or a couple of weeks.
That is the responsibility of those who elect to adopt and bring the animal into the personal home or the rescuer who agrees to take on an animal who needs saving.
That some private vets overcharge people to treat a URI infection or that a small number of rescued animals may succumb to some disease is not the fault of a Shelter Director.
Those dedicated souls rescuing animals from the streets will also have many a sad tale to tell about some animals, who, despite veterinary treatments don't make it. When first in rescue work, my focus was on animals from our streets and I ran into Distemper in kittens, as well as FIP. Should I have been blamed because some of these animals died, despite all attempts to treat and save them? I hope not.
But, then neither should Boks (or any shelter Director) be blamed because some animals, despite all attempt to save them, don't make it. As said, such events are par for the course of animal rescue, especially when those rescues are done in volume.
We have to remember that about half of all AC&C animals come into the shelters as "strays."
In many cases, they are undernourished, often dirty and matted and suffering from parasites.
The AC&C deworms, vaccinates, tests and if healthy enough, neuters all animals going out to adoptions or rescue. For more than a year now, the AC&C has also been giving out medications and antibiotics to rescuers taking animals with URIs.
I ask: What more could Boks or AC&C been expected to do?
It is always heartbreaking to hear that an animal rescued later could not be saved from some deadly illness. All of us in rescue have run into those situations on rare occasions and it is something we never "get used to." It is absolutely the hardest part of this work.
But, to look for someone to pin the blame on and then say that someone else will "do better" is simply (to my mind), delusional.
There are never "easy answers" in rescue and there certainly are no "easy answers" in running the largest animal control shelter in the country.
It is a thankless job for which the few who are uniquely qualified (like Boks was) will now run from the "opportunity" of being a target for some ill informed or particularly vicious "activists."
I fear to think that perhaps the only people willing to take this job now are those who don't care about animals or "animal lovers" at all.
I pray that author and animal behaviorist Brian Kilcommins isn't right when he predicts AC&C "will become a meat grinder."
Still, knowing how complaints of "animal sickness" were handled in the past at CACC, (kill 'em as soon as possible) I sadly think he may be right.
If such occurs, we will have only the more vitriolic and ill informed among us to blame.
As Peta says, "Good Intentions Are Not Enough." It's also important to think about the consequences of actions.
I sadly believe with the loss of Boks, the consequences for the animals will not be those that please us.
I pray, pray, pray I am wrong on this.
(New Yorkers for Companion Animals)
This is from Jon Stewart’s wife (The Daily Show)
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 7:50 PMTo: Ed Boks-NYCACCSubject: The Stewarts
I am so sorry to hear that you are leaving New York but thankfully you
are leaving having made great improvements to animal welfare in New
York City. Thankfully also it sounds as though you've been offered an
exciting and challenging new opportunity. I know that I had been
promising to get my husband, Jon, involved in some fundraising for
NYCACC and at long last we're making good on our promise. Jon will be
helping out on April 29th at the NYCVMA awards which will raise money
for the CACC and NY Saves. I hope you will still be around then since I
would very much love to see you there. Great success and happiness in
your new adventure!
All the best to you,
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 4:25 PMTo: AC&C NewsletterSubject: Re: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Hey, Ed thanks for letting me know....I hope that the "new" city is L.A. as they are just as desperate as NY was before you came. Congratulations on all you have achieved here and I fervently hope that the momentum and mood you established will carry on. We will miss having you near - when do you depart? I will be away for a couple of weeks, back 1/5/06 and if you are still around maybe you will come back to CT for a lunch with Rosemary. Would love to see her too.
All the very best....
Ester runs a national spay/neuter program
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 11:07 AM
To: AC&C Newsletter
Subject: RE: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Ed Boks is a great leader with wonderful ideas. I imagine it is difficult to accept any thought of him going elsewhere with his talents, but, it is certainly good to share his experience as it is needed so much in so many places.
With his teaching I am sure you all can continue on in your wonderful work giving him the chance to help organize the same work elsewhere.
I would love to know where he is going, whenever it is public knowledge....wish he were coming to my area.
Keep up the good work; I love your newsletter and all that you do.
From: Fischer, Mary Katherine
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 10:14 AM
To: AC&C Newsletter
Subject: RE: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
oh my - you will be so much missed - you are truly visionary and so good at taking vision into reality
Pet Services - St. Vincent's Patient Pet Care Department of Patient & Family Relations St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan 170 West 12th Street (NR 128) NY NY 10011
From: Shearon Allen
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 9:04 AM
To: AC&C Newsletter
Subject: RE: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Please keep me on your mailing list in the future. My greatest respect and gratitude for what you have done for animals in NYC and best wishes for the same overwhelming success at your next post.
Shearon Allen, Director
Angel Paws Rescue
From: Candy Fox Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:14 PMTo: AC&C NewsletterSubject: Re: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Congratulations, Ed! How wonderful you are about to transform another community. Best of luck.
From: Charlie Propsom]
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 7:23 PM
To: AC&C Newsletter
Subject: RE: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Holy smokes! I only hope Chicago is Ed's next stop! He's a great guy and helped us a lot during the summer of '04. Please pass my thanks and good wishes along to the man.
Friends of Chicago Animal Care & Control
From: Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 6:38 PMTo: AC&C NewsletterSubject: Re: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Mr. Boks, I am happy to hear that you feel that there is hope for the CACC to someday become no kill--it will be a miracle for sure. I used to take Persian cats from Brooklyn as they fared so poorly there--almost always deathly ill from URI even if they were only there for one day. My job was to re-home them here in the Westchester County area and I was quite successful for a number of years. I know full well how difficult it is to have the time and space to be able to adopt out all the adoptable animals that enter your door. I truly hope that what you have in mind will become a reality at some point. For all your efforts and hard work, I wish to thank you and wish you the best in your new position.
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 8:45 PMTo: Ed Boks-NYCACCSubject:
Thank you Mr. Boks
Dear Mr. Boks,Hearing you are leaving NYC is just devastating... the change you brought here is mind-blowing and I hope that your replacement will be able to continue that. It was a comfort knowing you were in NYC simply because you brought hope to an animal community that had none. The change you brought to Marilyn Haggerty Blohm's regime is staggering and wonderful.It is my sincere prayer that your replacement continue to give our city animals what it needs, hope.I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors but pray you will not forget NYC as we will not forget what you did. Hopefully you will understand how heartfelt it is when I, and the ACC animals I was able to take out, foster and adopt with ease, say: THANK YOU.(Attached are some of the animals that because of YOU were able to get out and are in loving homes now.)Regards,
Good Luck Ed...Sorry to see you go.
-Mark Salemi, D.V.M.
From: Francis Battista Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 3:48 PMTo: Ed Boks-NYCACCSubject: Re: I am sorry and amazed.
Thanks Ed. I suspected as much given your recent consulting activity.
From: Ed Boks-NYCACC
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 12:48:34 -0500To: Francis Battista Conversation: I am sorry and amazed.Subject: RE: I am sorry and amazed.
Thanks for the support Francis. Although characterized by the press as getting the “boot”, it was actually a mutual decision for reasons that I hope will be made clear in the very near future. God bless the work you are doing in Mississippi! I’ll be in touch! Ed BoksExecutive DirectorAnimal Care & ControlNew York City.
(Boks had already accepted the LAAS job three weeks before the Board meeting and the Daily News article so often mischaracterized by the ADL and Annette Stark as a firing by the board, and which I, and Animal Lover, have rebutted in numerous previous posts.) Ed fired AC&C.
From: Cyrus Mejia]
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 6:28 PM
To: AC&C Newsletter
Subject: Re: Ed Boks did not renew his contract...
Hi Ed, I must admit I'm surprised to hear you will be leaving AC&C New York. But reading your explanation I understand your mission to spread the No Kill idea around! You are certainly a major player in the national movement! What you've done, first in Phoenix then in NYC has made a huge difference in the lives of so many thousands of homeless pets. Congratulations and good luck in your next posting!
I'm looking forward to hearing just where that will be!
The Animal Rights Movements and Big Business
Since 1968, the US has drifted rightward, until the present, almost laissez-faire corporate capitalism mindset, which I detest. I saw decreasing evidence of any leftward momentum. Then I bumped into ALF and ADL and perceived them as perhaps the vanguard for change that I had been hoping for.
But recently I began to see them in a different light.
Not only are they anti-shelter types, but I perceive them as not giving the slightest bit about the welfare of animals except in the broadest theoretic sense. They perceive themselves as the vanguard of a radical social change, and as such, have adopted the mindset of revolutionaries more interested in the process of change than in the purported mission of animal rights and liberation. Many are positioning themselves as leaders of this revolution. For many, the interest is only power.
Others are very cynically banding together with monied interests, i.e., big business, to bolster their accomplishments, enhance public recognition, and get their people in positions of power which will enhance their own power as kingmakers and animal overlords.
In a sense, more power to them. But people who support these groups need to recognize whether they are more interested in saving the lives of animals or in social change via the animal rights/humane movements.
I think their anti-shelter bias and belief that they could run them better than trained and compassionate shelter personnel is worrisome. I think turning shelter operations over to these non-experienced groups will kill thousands of animals just in LA before they learn the job, if they ever do.
They also overlook the problem of the present shelter personnel who will do everything to stop them. It will be a bloodbath for the animals and the only winners will be those who get government contracts.
From now on I will include postings about what is happening nationally and more especially locally along these lines, especially connections between the ADLLA and a local for-profit organization that wants to get rid of Ed Boks.
A Note From Nathan Winograd
I completely concur with his assessment of the situation here:
There is a politics of personal destruction going on in L.A. that makes George Bush and Karl Rove look like school boys. I have no doubt that most of the players are Democrats, but they act like Republicans. Destroy others. I'll tell you Ed, this is a no win situation for anybody, least of all the animals.
Nathan is entirely correct.
At this point I promise I will not make any further personal attacks of any sort, even if I am personally attacked. I will only respond to ADLLA posts or articles written about Ed Boks or LAAS, or if new and highly relevant information is brought to my attention.
I would hope all others will adopt such a stance. It is time to wind down the bitterness.
The Lie that Boks was Fired Will Not Die.
She was quoting the headline of a story wriiten by Lisa Colangelo, a friend of Boks, on December 6, 2006.
The headline of this short 132 word article was:
"Animal Care chief booted"
However, if you look at the contents of the article it says:
With little public input, the Animal Care and Control Board decided yesterday not to renew the contract of Executive Director Ed Boks.
City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, who heads the board, said the decision was mutual but declined to explain why Boks was being let go.
"The board deeply appreciates the service and the accomplishments that Mr. Boks has provided and achieved in his two years," Frieden said after the board met in closed session to discuss the contract.
The decision sparked an outcry from some animal advocates.
"This organization is going to turn back into a meat grinder," said Brian Kilcommons, an animal trainer who volunteers with the AC&C, which runs city animal shelters.
Frieden said the city is still committed to reducing the number of unwanted animals that are euthanized.
Lisa L. Colangelo
Originally published on December 6, 2005
The true story is that Boks had accepted the job offered by Mayor Villaraigosa in mid-November of 2005 after having been in negotiation for some weeks before that. NYC policy regarding the non-renewal of Boks’ two-year contract, was that the AC&C Board was required to, by vote, end the contract. A City attorney was present at this December 4 or 5 meeting of the Board to make sure all T’s were crossed so as to meet the City’s legal requirements. Boks’ contract with NYC was to end on January 15, 2006.
As Colangelo’s article said, the head of the Board said the decision was mutual. Ed was not bounced.
Lisa was horrified by the headline, which she did not write.
Boks started his job as GM on January 3, 2006, after spending two weeks of vacation time looking over the LAAS before he started.
On that same day, Lisa Colangelo published a much longer, 404-word article on Ed leaving to take the job in LA:
Shelter big takes 'no-kill' race to L.A.
by Lisa L. Colangelo, New York Daily News
Thursday, January 3, 2006
Former Animal Care and Control Director Ed Boks is hoping a little friendly rivalry will save lots of homeless animals in both New York and Los Angeles.
Boks, who is slated to take over Los Angeles' controversial Animal Services Department this week, said the two cities should compete to see which will become "no-kill" first."No-kill," the high bar for animal shelters, means that healthy, adoptable animals will no longer be euthanized simply because there is no one to adopt them and no more space at the shelters to keep them.
"It's about consciousness-raising," Boks said. "This is one of the few social problems with a very simple solution."But Animal Care, which contracts with the city, receives only about $7 million for animal control services every year. And unlike other nonprofit animal rescue groups, it cannot turn away any unwanted or stray animals.
Last month, Boks and the board announced a mutual agreement to let his contract expire, and he accepted the job in Los Angeles.
Although adoptions increased and euthanasia rates dropped during Boks' two-year tenure in New York, he said the lack of funding made the job difficult. And he is worried about the city following through on its commitment to become "no-kill."
Boks urged the Animal Care and Control board, which is chaired by city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, to boost funding to the point where "AC&C can provide the level of services New Yorkers expect and deserve for themselves and their pets." (Comment: the NYC funding was less than half of LAAS.He said he hopes the upcoming budget negotiations "don't fall through the cracks."
Boks faces new, even tougher challenges as he takes over Animal Services in Los Angeles. The former general manager was fired — a move that bitterly divided activists in the animal care community.But Los Angeles has a larger budget and six shelters — twice as many as in New York City.
Jane Hoffman, head of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, said she is confident that Animal Care and Control will continue in the right direction, noting that Mayor Bloomberg stood at a press conference last year and said the city was moving to a "no-kill" goal.
"We do feel more funding needs to be devoted to AC&C," Hoffman said. "But we also have to make sure the money they do receive is properly allocated and does not replicate existing programs."
Me: Is there ANY information in either article that indicates Boks was fired outside of the headline that Colangelo did not write?
Now it appears that a repetition of this lie will come from a new source, a new friend of ADLLA who has much to gain financially if Ed is forced out. More later.
ADLLA Owes the Commission an Apology-AMMENDED AND EXPANDED
The latest ADL post criticizes everyone on the LAAS Commission as being Do-Nothings. They say:
But, being a fair and sincere Animal Rights group, we WILL happily retract our criticism of the Commissioners as being ineffective milquetoasts if any one of them will give ADL-LA a detailed list of every program, policy, and protocol they have set up in the past two years - and some accompanying statistics on the number of lives saved as a consequence. If we have misspoken, then we will make it right - but we're not holding our breath. Again, being on the LAAS Commission is NOT about being nice or caring for animals - it's about being effective in saving thousands of lives.
RESULTS are what count for the animals who will be shaking in fear this very evening as they are being killed. If LAAS were a private shelter system with the Commission and General Manager accountable to stockholders making money on LIVES SAVED, do you honestly think the results of this Commission and the General Manager would be acceptable to them? WE THINK NOT! Their lack of results in lives being saved is certainly not.
RESPONSE FROM SOME COMMISSIONERS:
Much of what the Commission did during the two years before Ed Boks came was reactive, trying to fix the messes created by multiple General Managers that did not know what they were doing, didn’t care, or who were deliberately obstructionist.
During the past six years the Commission:
Voted in a breeders' ordinance and impounds decreased by 17 thousand. This was five years ago but there has been a more strict enforcement at out request over the past two years, and impounds decreased by 17,000!!!
Spay/neuter Van: not sure who brought it to the table but Riordan and Brunson (not a commissioner then) helped make the mobile van a reality. They both lobbied the mayor and Council for it
24 hour hold: introduced by Riordan
Shelter signs warning of fate of impounds.-introduced by Riordan...signs never seemed to have materialized
Voted for a microchip contract...not sure whose idea that was.
Vaccination clinics...Riordan supported research that lead to more free vaccination clinics. A member of thehumane community was subcontracted to look into obstacles to complying with the newly passed Pet Overpopulation Ordinance (aka The Breeders' Ordinance, now called the License Differential). One deterrent to going to vet for the free or low cost sterilization was a person would have to pay for vaccinations. The free vaccination clinics alleviated that cost at the vet offices.
Not a policy but, for the record, Riordan lobbied Rocky for an animal abuse unit.
DURING THE PAST TWO YEARS THE COMMISSION PASSED:
1- Wildlife rehab policy...versus past practice of killing....introduced by Riordan
2 Dropping of 100 dollar fee...introduced and written by Riordan
3 Fee waivers for rescuers..introduced and the first draft was presented by Riordan. This is a code amendment to LAMC 53.11. Initially this was passed by Riordan and Heisen. Then Phyllis ensured rescuers were removed from the code change. A one year "battled" took place and Riordan finally proved it could include rescuers. The commission passed it.
4 TNR introduced by Riordan- the comission voted for the department to bring back a proposal in support of TNR -It is being drafted by members of the rescue community
5 Lifting of kitty limit-introduced by Riordan pending commission vote-presently members of the humane community are trying to get Council to support the concept of no limit and no permit.
6 Riordan Voted to continue not killing coyotes as a means to manage the population.
7 Voted for neo natal care education/assistance and rescue-introduced as part of Part Shelter policy supported by the commission. The policy was drafted by Sue Freeman with the aid of other bottle feeders. Now it seems to be its own policy.
8 Allowing volunteers to drive to mobiles and do the paperwork-already introduced by Riordan years ago as a result of the practice being discontinued for some unknown reason. Reintroduced by Knaan and Riordan after the GM insisted the unions won't allow it. It was then discovered that was not an issue so it was made policy.
9 Shelter signs warning people of the impounds' potential fate of being killed...first introduced by Riordan four yrs ago. It never seemed to materialize. Knaan reintroduced it with Riordan. Riordan, Knaan, and Brunson paid for the signs.
10 Voted in extended shelter hours-introduced by Knaan
11 Shelter transfers within city shelters-introduced by Knaan and Khero
12 Directed Gm to not allow staff to feed live prey to reptiles in shelters....in particular...rabbits that conveniently disappear. Dept admitted to this practice and this commission nixed it
13 Riordan supported Dianne Lawrence in her quest to have an anti tethering law. It was voted in last year.
14 Removal of medical info from front of cage cards to back since it discouraged adoptions...Riordan introduced this
15) Customer service training-introduced by Knaan. She managed to get a no kill shelter to donate their time for a seminar on this and other topics. I think it was free or at a very low price.
16 Ordered staff to discontinue practice of discouraging adoptions to public. Introduced by Riordan
17 Start adopting evidence animals introduced by Knaan
18 Start employee training on a proper recording of abuse cases -introduced by Knaan.
19. Shelter Animal Grooming- GM to allow vounteers to groom the animals. The only way to ensure an end to shelter overcrowding is to place the animals. This is a valuable tool in marketing.-introduced by Knaan
20 Veterinary compilation of forensic evidence training-introduced by commissioner Knaan
21 NO KILL POLICY Demanded by entire commission. Originally introduced by Hahn around three or four years ago. It was challenged by Riordan and Heisen who saw they were going to rely on temperament testing to fudge the numbers. Both Heisen and Riordan insisted every animal must be counted and cannot be thrown in the "unadoptable abyss." The commission has continued to request a true no kill plan. The most recent request was on 11/14. The rejection of Stuckey's plan was met with boos from the union. Only four members of the humane community were present to support the commission in their demand for a true no kill plan..
From Ed Muzika:
This is a whole heck of actions taken by the Commission during the past two years. If any of the Commissioners would like to post additional responses, please send a comment to this posting and I will post them.
This abbreviated list of polices alone, as well as the results posted below, prove that the ADLLA just does not check the facts. Their vaunted research capability is directed only towards personal attacks and destroying their targets, not to get the facts straight as they usually disprove their allegations.
As to performance, given the past 12 months, May 2005 through April 2006, compared May 2003 through April 2004, 7,539 fewer animals were killed, adoption were up almost a thousand, and New Hope placements were up 550. Another statistic of note, during the four month period of January 1, 2005 until April 30, 2006, 1,964 fewer animals were killed than during the first four months of 2004.
This means that of the 7,539 lives saved compared to two years ago, a full 38% of those lives saved occurred during the past four months, the time since Ed Boks took over and the Commission has its present configuration.
Almost 40% of the lives saved have happened during the past four months under Ed Boks and the current LAAS Commission.Using the private shelter model suggested by the ADL, if a business increased its profit by 38% in two years, its stock value would dramatically increase as the public can see the trend.
I think the ADLLA has misspoken and now needs to make it right as they promised by apologizing. But as the ADL said about the Commission, they will not hold their breath and neither will I. Well, ADL, you got the Commissions' answer and I outlined the results. Apologize.
Chief Bratton's New Blog
Ed Boks and I thoughtfully pointed out that the IP belonged to the blog host server at Blogger.com, not the client computers the blogs were uploaded from.
Well, she couldn't let it alone and more recently suggested it was inappropriate for Boks to have his blog posted on a third-party server as opposed to a City server. I am not sure why she felt this way. Blogger.com - Google's blog-hosting subsidiary - is a trusted, is free and, in my experience, utterly reliable.
There is no need for Animal Services or the City's IT department to buy blogging software, install and maintain it at taxpayers’ expense when such services are available for free.
Perhaps she wants taxpayers to pay for a City-maintained blog so that she could hold every City official within shouting distance responsible for the comments of one department head. She was very concerned about taxpayers in Phoenix and NYC, why not so much here?
Well, now she has a new target to attack, if she dares. Our own Police Chief, William Bratton, has his own blog, and it is not hosted on a city server either! Its address is: http://lapdblog.typepad.com/lapd_blog/.
Typepad is a company funded by a venture capital corporation, August Capital, using software developed by Six Apart Software. This is totally a private entity.
Perhaps she could forward to the Chief her used emails addressed to Ed Boks, regarding her theories of the inappropriateness of using an independent server for Chief Bratton to talk about his department and answer his critics (which is exactly what he intends to do, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times).
Looks like Boks has gone from being a punching bag to being a pathfinder.
Why is it that Annette finds anything Boks does is wrong? She didn’t used to think that way. Her first article was quite positive about how he seized the initiative and the positive feedback she got when she called NYC. What happened? A lot of other people were positive too and suddenly changed their minds when several self-appointed animal overlords began spewing insults at about the same time she launched her crusade. A lot of other people have suddenly melted away in the background, disclaiming any responsibility. This is all kind of suspicious, isn’t it? Stay tuned.
I doubt Boks was Fired in NYC; look at this Daily News story about his success.
However, just a year prior, this much larger New York Daily News artical was published. Look how the reporter lauds Ed Boks's accomplishments there in glariung contrast to the one ADL cites.
New life at city shelters
BY LISA L. COLANGELO
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
A trip to the city's animal shelters is no longer a likely death sentence for many homeless cats and dogs.
The number of unwanted animals euthanized in city shelters has dropped to below 29,000 for the first time since records have been kept, shelter officials said yesterday.
That's a 29% decrease from four years ago, when the city was forced to kill more than 41,000 homeless pets in its overcrowded shelters.
Meanwhile, adoptions are way up as New York Animal Care and Control continues its aggressive push to find homes for stray dogs and cats.
"This is one of the few municipal problems that can easily be fixed by community support," Ed Boks, who took over the city's beleaguered animal control agency just over a year ago, told the Daily News.
Boks credits enthusiastic New Yorkers for helping boost adoptions. But supporters say a fresh mind-set at the agency, new staff members and important partnerships with smaller private rescue groups have made the crucial difference.
The animal care center logged more than 8,000 adoptions between September 2003 and August 2004 - up from about 5,000 in the previous 12 months. (Comment: That is, adoptions were up 60% during the first year Ed Boks took over.)
Monthly tallies are even more striking. In August 2004, 977 animals were adopted from city shelters, more than double the 406 pet placements in August 2003. (Comment: adoptions were at 240% the rate of a year ago, or up 140%!)
"This was an organization imploding under its own weight for a variety of reasons," Boks said.
Animal advocates had long complained that the agency, formerly known as the Center for Animal Care and Control, turned away volunteers and refused to work with other rescue groups to increase adoptions. The nonprofit organization gets about $7 million a year from the city to handle its stray animals. (Comment: the NYC budget was much less half that of LA.)
But the ASPCA and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, a coalition of rescue groups that helped lure Boks from Arizona to New York in 2003, have provided the center with equipment and other resources. As a result, more strays are being taken out of the shelters to adoption fairs at parks and other locations, where they have a better chance of finding a family.
Jane Hoffman, head of the Mayor's Alliance, said the small rescue groups play a key role, taking animals out of overcrowded city shelters - about 4,350 in the last eight months - into their own adoption programs.
But others are concerned the agency has eased adoption standards to get more animals into homes. And that could result in dogs and cats returning to the shelters.
"I think it's time to say we're doing something right," Boks said. "Are we perfect? Absolutely not. Do we need help? Yes. NYACC is not going to make the city no-kill by ourself." Originally published on October 4, 2004
The New AGM job posts and the ADL offensive
Just as I thought the ADLLA was trending towards some degree of professionalism, they do something incredibly self-defeating.
Yesterday LAAS posted that two AGM positions were open as well as the qualifications necessary. Within hours the ADLLA posted a full-scale attack on Boks, Bickhart and the entire LAAS Commission, undoubtedly winning overwhelming support for their cause among those Commissioners.
If we look at the AGM requirements, they are a lot like one would expect. They require the AGM of operations to actually have four years shelter operations experience. Isn’t this a surprise? Mr. Boks wants someone who actually has experience running shelters to take over for him when he is not around? How archaic. He is not willing to bring in fresh faces with absolutely no experience to train them on the job. Darn; I had hoped to apply for this position myself as I have no shelter experience either. Of course, I am not as brilliant as ADLLA’s female candidates are touted to be, nor am I sure of which cronies they are talking about.
Now the other position, the administrative position, requires someone with two years of large organization administration experience. Again, how quaint is Ed’s thinking. Experience required! Who would have thought?
Actually, this is quite serious. Being a large organization administrator requires a lot of skills and knowledge to hit the ground running.
I was on the personnel selection committee that interviewed the female candidates in 2003 that ADLLA wants Boks to appoint to those positions. Not one had any shelter experience. Pointedly I asked each one about their large organization management experience. They had none. The one male who did have experience running a large shelter system was not invited. He was not a brilliant female.
So, what did ADLLA do last night? They issued another scathing attack on Ed Boks, Jim Bickhart, and the LAAS Commissioners, more or less promising to dismember them, at least psychologically, unless Ed appointed one of their own candidates.
Their argument was that Ed and Jim are incompetent jerks who require brilliant females to pull their chestnuts out of the fire, and of course, their brilliant females are their brilliant females. There wasn’t even the slightest indication that once one of their people were appointed, that they would let Ed get on with saving animal lives. It appears they would continue to attack both until Ed was fired and Jim run out of town on a rail.
They attacked the Commissioners:
Now, we are left with a bunch of milquetoast Commissioners who don't have the courage to stand up for much of anything and who continue to do the same old, same old that the dozens of previous LAAS Commissioners have done.
So, while the Commissioners continue to talk ad nauseum about everything but the implementation of concrete solutions to the killing going on inside LAAS, most people in the humane community no longer want to waste their time going to these embarrassing meetings -run by a president who should have long ago resigned from the Commission and allowed more decisive and definitive individuals to be appointed. The animals are now left with a weak commission and a fraudulent General Manager and his accomplice Jim Bickhart.
Wasn’t this a brilliant strategy, alienating the entire Commission, Boks and Bickhart? Why didn’t I think of that when I tried to build consensus in the past?
As an argument, they drag out their tired but oft repeated charge that Boks was fired from NYNACC, and get this, "Not one commissioner voted to renew his contract." This charge has been dealt with "ad nauseum" by several bloggers. Ed was already in the negotiation stage of coming to LA. He asked them not to renew. The only evidence that Ed was fired was their own repetition of their charge. Their case is so weak that they never published the newspaper article that talked about his being fired (which actually said the decision was mutual), nor did they follow up and find individuals who supported this charge. Indeed, in my previous post, I quoted Annette Stark:
"At NYCACC, the first shelter worker who answered the phone said, “He was a good boss. He got rid of a lot of managers who were sitting around doing nothing.” CityBeat’s calls to United Service Workers of America, which represents NYCACC shelter employees, were not returned.
She quotes Boks as saying:
“We did have a high turnover rate [in New York City], 60 to 70 percent,” he explains. ”There were a lot of folks in that system that didn’t appreciate or weren’t up to the challenge of no-kill.”
Geez, if I fired 60-70% of my staff, I think there would be a lot of disgruntled ex-employees trying to get me fired. Even if Ed were fired, could it be because he was shaking up staff?
Now, as to other factual content presented in the post, we find:
It is almost the six-month mark for Ed Boks' having been hired as General Manager of LAAS by Mayor Villa La Grossa -and the terrible black cloud that followed Boks from Maricopa to NYC (and now to LA) still hovers above his head. If Jim Bickhart is too busy covering up for Boks' lies, and Ed Boks is too busy doing the cocktail circuit and telling the same lies he told in Maricopa and NYC, ADL-LA must do what's right for the animals and expose this to the Mayor -by going to his doorstep, if we have to.
Ed started work as GM on January 3, 2006. It is now May 8, 2006. I calculate this as four months and five days, about two months short of six months. So the ADLLA cannot subtract two dates and find the difference accurately, at a fifth grade level.
They talk about lies and incompetence of Boks and Bickhart, even while the euthanasia rate is falling by 35-40% each month compared to the previous year and adoptions are increasing.
What has changed?
Enter Boks, who seems to be taking all this flap in stride. Still on vacation when he arrived in town two weeks ago, Boks got right down to business, meeting with the community, visiting shelters, and putting out the word that he needs volunteers to help paint the facilities bright, non-institutional colors, just as he did in New York.
“L.A. is like a breath of fresh air for me,” he says. “The big difference here is having folks who get it. Not just the Commission, the mayor’s office … Los Angeles is light years ahead of other communities in its acceptance of so many animal issues.”
Stuckey appeared to have soured on the city’s animal advocates over time – getting smoke-bombed didn’t help – but there is every indication that Boks has a different management style. While Stuckey took a lot of heat from both activists and members of the Board of Animal Services Commissioners for not holding union shelter personnel accountable and, as CityBeat previously reported, even ignored reported violations of the Hayden Bill, it appears that Boks runs a tight ship.
Activists such as STAND Foundation’s Daniel Guss went from originally questioning the Boks appointment to championing it. “He appears to have a track record of: If you want to work in the shelter, you had better have a passion for animals,” Guss explains. “If they don’t, they need to be gone, regardless of union obstacles. But if you say this to the union, they call you a terrorist. That’s bullshit.”
Boks doesn’t dispute his record. “We did have a high turnover rate [in New York City], 60 to 70 percent,” he explains. ”There were a lot of folks in that system that didn’t appreciate or weren’t up to the challenge of no-kill.”
At NYCACC, the first shelter worker who answered the phone said, “He was a good boss. He got rid of a lot of managers who were sitting around doing nothing.” CityBeat’s calls to United Service Workers of America, which represents NYCACC shelter employees, were not returned.
From the March 9, 2006 meeting notes of the LAAS Commission:
So, what has changed? A charge that Boks was fired in NYC which is refuted here by an enthusiastic employee? A charge there was a medicine budget overrun in Phoenix? A charge he lives in an ivory tower and has nothing to do with the shelters or management, which is just the opposite of what this article said he was doing even before he started, while on vacation from his NYC job?
The Philadelphia Story
In December we reached a tremendous milestone of saving more than half of the entire number of animals that entered our facility. In all of its history, PACCA has never achieved that level of life saving and we could not have reached it without your help. You have accepted the healthy, the ill, the old, the injured and the newborn, truly lives that were saved because you were there.
Even more amazing than this, in a facility that accepted 756 cats in the month of January, we did not kill a single cat simply because there was no space. Once again that is a milestone that had never before been achieved.
Among the exciting signs of changing times:
- There is no longer a need for a dedicated euthanasia room. It is now used primary for medical care and treatment.
- There is no longer a need for dedicated euthanasia technicians.
These positions have been eliminated. Veterinary technicians primarily care for sick and injured animals, and do euthanasia as needed.
- For the first time in its history, the agency did not order a euthanasia solution for over an entire month.
The Philadelphia claim of a radical change in euthanasia figures do not add up. In December they had a 50% kill rate, but some month soonafter, they had a month without any killing?
Does that mean Philadelphia went from 50% kill in December to 0% kill in January, February or March? If they did, they could call themselves no kill now and they don't.
756 cats were brought in January, but not one was killed for lack of space. But, how many were killed for all the other reasons, such as being feral or an owner turn-in? Of the 756 brought in, how many were dead by the end of the month? We don't know; they didn't say.
What about the ferals? How many came in? What did they do with them? Were they all adopted or did they have excess capacity from December, when they killed 50%? Did they release them from where they came, or are they still holding onto them until the killing starts in May?
How would ADLLA react to an organization that has a 50% kill rate sometimes, and 0% at others, without any public statistics and a policy where they can kill stray or owner turn-ins immediately at their sole discretion?
I do note that to go from an 87% kill rate down to 50% is a dramatic drop of 43%. But LAAS has had a 39% drop. What is 4% among friends?
Newest ADL Post
Again, what are they talking about? Who is the “upward mobility cocktail circuit?” How often do these “tours” happen and how long do they last? Mr. Boks has stated he works 18 hours a day.
I think given the task of attaining no-kill in a large community, high level public relations with all members of the community, business, government and non-profits is as if not more necessary than shelter management. Would you have expected Henry Ford to build every car himself, or did he have managers manage the workers on an assembly line?
OK, that was the past. Maybe he truly has 'changed'. But will you please tell us what are you doing NOW for the thousands passing through our pound?
Ed's blog as well as the rest of the LAAS website tells the tale of what Ed and LAAS are doing for the animals. The GM Quarterly report posted on the site tells the tale. God sake, he has been working a day shy of four months.
I will accept ED BOKS if he can do what he has failed to do in the past- succeed in turning a pound that kills into a no-kill shelter. He better get busy. There is a lot to do. He needs to be in the facility EVERY DAY getting this done. Sitting in his executive chair in his ivory tower just won't do it. It didn't work when he was director at Maricopa in Arizona and it didn't work when he was director in New York and got fired.
Not Fired. Not Fired. No Proof. No Proof. Just a 132 word article with no details. Ivory tower? His office is on the fifth floor.
I think directors of pounds should have their offices INSIDE the highest-kill facility they manage! That is the only way for them to do hands-on managment and be responsible for the deaths happening there every single day. Micro-managing 30 miles away just doesn't make sense.
So that’s your theory is it? Micromanaging department managers demonstrating no trust in employees can cause as more problems than solutions. I think it is results that matter, such as a 37% drop in death rate during the first quarter, not how much time is spent in any shelter. The old line goes, working smart is better than just working hard.
Perhaps you want to micromanage the department yourself from an even longer distance?
What is needed, are multiple management analysts who do analyze every shelter, every operation, procedure, policy and contract, then draft a plan and implement it.
And they should personally sign the 'death warrants' before animals die. Each sheet they sign should show a tally showing death-rate comparisons on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, all easily calculated through a computer program like Excel. They can see their progress or lack of it and act accordingly. It's called accountability. It turns mediocre managers into geniuses if they want to keep their jobs.
There already is the plus one minus one plan which compares adoption and kill rates of every shelter compared to the same date a year ago. Read the website. Besides that, monthly statistics available from the department for each shelter. However, no one from the ADLLA has requested access. Ed Boks offered this access to Jerry Vlasik early on and was rebuffed.