The Future of LAAS--AMENDED

I talked to Ed Boks yesterday. The future looks bright for LAAS, or so he says.

He thinks we may have 120,000 spay/neuters by the end of the year or by the end of 2008 by the latest, and somewhere down the line, 40% of one shelter dedicated to rehabilitating pit bulls. Boks and his AGMs are getting along fine and things are getting done. I have no reason to doubt him; he picked them.

Five to six new vets are to start within a few months. Maybe. I hear there are more than paperwork problems here. He claims we've been doing 40-50,000 S/N during the past year, but 120,000 this year is optimistic, even with 12 vets. I heard LAAS issued 39,000 spy/neuter vouchers during 2005. Triple this figure is very optimistic. This would be 10,000 surgeries a year per vet minus outsourced vet services. I understand there are plans for an RFP for vet outsource services too. Next year 120,000 is more believeable.

I still disagree that Spay/Neuter is the only way to go.

Boks’ definition of no kill? The same criteria for euthanasia as a compassionate owner and vet. Too bad there are no numbers associated with this definition. One could at least talk to a dozen vets to see what the kill rate is in their practices. There should be an objectively definable goal assigned to no-kill and this is not and never will be. Milestone progress and accountability are not possible given such subjective goals.

My definition of no-kill would be that LAAS would provide universal health care for all the animals in the city. (Wish list--that's the socialist in me.)

LAAS has hired about a million people, not one of whom is Dan Guss although he keeps trying.

So, what percentage decrease can we expect in the kill numbers this year? No idea at this time. If the kill rate dropped 6.5% this year, and a lot more space is coming on line and his hand-picked staff is also coming on line, perhaps the flattening curve of decreasing kill rates will again dip into double digits.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the rate of improvement has been falling for the last two years. I cannot see double digit decreases in euths after 2008. By 2010 I see LA still being the lowest kill major shelter system in the country, but nowhere near no-kill. I do think we can be much closer to no kill in ten years, by 2016.

NYC numbers for 2006 are up on the NYCAC website. I had not seen these before. The interesting thing is that that Boks did better in NYC during his first year compared to how he did this year in LA. The first year there resulted in a 14.6% increase in adoptions and a 14.5% decrease in total dog/cat euthanasias. The difference is he could fire people over there but not here. A lot more red tape here too.

I do not look forward to seeing the May euth numbers. I understand there is a lot of overcrowding in some shelters, especially of pit bulls. AND, this is the slow season; usually the shelters are empty in January. Many are not adoptable. They are going to die anyway. I guess the hope is that the rest of the euth stats will fall due to new programs and will cover the increased pit bull kills.

Trap/Neuter/Release may become the law of the land in LA where it may be legalized. I understand there are CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) problems and the issue may never pass Council due to opposition from environmental groups.

Maybe ADL will go after the environmental groups instead of LAAS if TNR is not made law of the land. Maybe ELF and ALF can fight it out. Hope ALF wins.

Even if it were made official city policy, I don’t know what legalization means, or how it will help feeders or colony managers. Let's hope it includes medical care for colony cats. There is one provision that will prevent many, many feeders/managers from participating, which will be the requirement to register or license each colony. Feeders have long been wary of the city’s animal police and I doubt that attitude will change quickly. Once a colony is identified and located, if neighbors complain, the feeders and their colonies would be targets. If I were maintaining a colony, I wouldn’t register it.

I also understand though that shelter personnel may help domesticate the ferals that can be domesticated, and help get them adopted. Don’t hold your breathe for this one.

As for ADL, their influence is dwindling. Only a few of us pay attention to them anymore and those few are the ones ADL et al have paid negative attention to in the past.

ADL seems to have deteriorated into a small group of gossipy females becoming increasingly desperate for attention, attacking just about everyone now. It's what is called a malignant narcissism, where the person's mental health goes down the toilet as everyday reality challenges their self-image of being special.

Read Boks blog. He was surprised I did not. He said everything he told me was on his blog. Well, there are lots of things on lots of blogs, but until I see some numbers, they are just words.

In any event, if you want me to continue covering LAAS and Ed Boks’ successes and failures, please email me at:, otherwise I’ll move onto other things such as the looming threat to cats by County Vector Control because of Avian Flu, or when Vector Control orders Santa Monica to start killing its ground squirrels again.

I wanted to tell you I started this blog to defend Boks and LAAS against the ADL and a lot of non-ADL people who looked on Ed with great skepticism. Over the past year I went overboard in counterattacking the ADL and certain other almost evil people who seem to delight in hurting others. Of course, even more than I Animal Friends has acted as a shield against ADL et al attacks on Boks and LAAS. Had more people contacted me about what was going on in LAAS, maybe I would have not been so optimistic. But no one did. The "information" provided by ADL and friends has no credibility whatsoever.

Now that LAAS seems to be heading in the right direction and needs a lot less help from me, I can go back to my first love which is teaching Buddhism and Vedanta, as well as conducting workshops and meditation groups.

As for my spiritual website,, since I have added many talks by my teacher as well as my own expression of what I have learned, the traffic is unbelievable as are the number of emails from seekers all over the world, including a large number from India, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. Some days I get 9,000 hits and about 200,000 a month. Villaraigosa’s mayor’s page only averaged 2,488 hits a day during this past December, and the City Attorney only 4,500.

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