ADL is afoot again with its cesspool politics, now claiming Boks is having sexual liaisons with yet another set of rescue women who he will throw away and discard after he seduces them into doing his bidding. ADL must know that dragging everyone down in order to bring Boks down is immoral and just poisons all the pools of good will that rational people have towards all animal helpers.

We are witnessing what should be heartening times for the Los Angeles Animal Community and LAAS. We have a good GM of LAAS, Ed Boks. After four years of Bozos we have a professional dogcatcher dedicated to no-kill. Not many cities on the planet so blessed.

Ed is talented and experienced; he is a professional doing a job he knows well. But, being competent, creative and energetic may not be enough. We have to look at performance at some point. The way things are looking, we may have to consider this first year a throw away regarding stats except for improved adoptions and judge progress on other grounds noticeably less objective. I am still waiting for the year end numbers.

There are various ways of measuring performance. Almost every rescuer I talk to says things are better at LAAS under Boks. There is more optimism and feeling that this is just the beginning of good times. LAAS is opening the long awaited new shelters and hiring a dozen vets. But there is nothing objective here in terms of present numbers, only guarded optimism. In fact presently, to keep as many animals alive as possible until adopters came along, some animals are being held for months. The shelters are full. Unless adoptions are ramped up considerably, and/or it is a soft kitten season, the May 2007 stats may be very ugly. I can see no alternative to this strategy. It is the only way to go, but something more has to be done and we are looking to Ed Boks to do it.

Winograd has a model wherein he consults and mentors someone to be a no-kill GM under his continuous tutelage. Nathan claims it works and has done so in several cities. I’d like to see the complete statistics in the same or similar format to that of LAAS.

It is ironic, but after all is said and done, the only shelter systems posting stats are LAAS and LA County, not Tompkins County, Philadelphia or Rancho Cucamonga. I can't even find current stats on San Francisco.Comprehensive stats from all shelter systems seem to have disappeared about 3 years ago. I assume this is because the technology and techniques for placing animals bumps into some sort of saturation point in large shelter systems; 54% seems the best we can do so far, except for SF, which is a smaller city with no current stats. Much better partial stats are offered by Winograd, but they are for much smaller systems (except Philadelphia), and they are not complete stats allowing evaluation of the entire operation.In other words, I think the technology for live-saves may have reached a cul-de-sac, and that we now need to do basic research into animal demographics and behaviors to intervene before the animals get into the shelters. It does not appear that doing more of what has worked, works above a certain level.

Voucher programs may have diminishing returns after a point. We don't know. None of this has been studied, not by Boks nor Winograd.I think both should be considered Old School, that is, pre-science. Both rely on what works in their experience, not in a proper understanding of the scope of the problem, the dynamics and processes of animal growth, the demographics, proper allocation of resources. They are still flying by the seats of their pants, not by science. Not $1 has been spent in basic research, surveys, feral counts per block, analyzing voucher diminishing return points---stuff that marketing departments and academics have been doing for 60 years.

LAAS and Winograd are pushing product without knowing the target market of adopters and how to expand that market.Petco and Petsmart sure have a lot of that info. Every time you buy pet food they know who has dogs, cats, rabbits, and spending patterns. Does LAAS? Do they use that data?

Even more important, the doggie and cat feral numbers are totally unknown. There has been no survey work done in LA compared to the (so I hear) survey in Pasadena. Why not? Over and over I hear the same excuse: When we get our house in order and get a handle on improved operations, we can look into that. This is nonsense. You will never get your house in order enough to solve the problem without knowing what the problem is.

ADL places a lot of stock in Winograd. I do too. I am not sure though that with ADL, it is not a matter of demonstrating power, or shoving Nathan down the City's throat. It is quite clear though that having these two old timers working together would benefit everyone.We soon will see whether Nathan’s mentoring model will work, wherein a newbie like Knaan, with no shelter experience and no management experience can become a formidable No-Kill champion tutored by the old-timer professional, Ed Boks.

Of course Knaan is quite aware of Nathan's techniques and he has not been shy in going public with them. Knaan can take the best from both. But she may be taking the best from the Old School.We all want someone or some method of bringing the world to No-Kill. If Nathan can do it, fine. If Boks can do it, fine.

Personally, I think it is going to take Ed Boks AND Nathan Winograd AND everyone else in the community to make LA No-Kill, Ed on the LAAS side and Nathan in his own Winograd Shelter, along with the hundreds of existing rescue groups. This is my intuition and something I’d like to see. Of course, it may be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for these two egos to pass together through that same eye together.

Ed and Nathan, put away your long knives. It should not be a me vs. you situation. Ed, you cannot sermonize about compassion—however well put, and talk about Israelis and Palestinians working together to save ferals and not yourself work with Nathan because he may get some or more glory than yourself. Your concern should be the saving the animals.

And Nathan, stop sniping at Boks; call off the ADL. Talk to Ed and vice versa. Be a mensch.We need everyone of good will working for the animals. I guarantee that both of you will fail if you do not embrace each other's help. It would be a fatal flaw to place your own well-being before that of the animals. You are here to serve them, not they, you.

As a matter of fact, I do not know whether either of you are not failing now. The LAAS stats don't look too good and Nathan's are only partial.If anything, the heroes are the non-profits who have performed miracles over the years using their own time and money.

It would be interesting to know how many people do rescues in LA, how many animals they place each year, and how much money do they spend doing it. It might just turn out that non-profits are far more efficient at placing animals than large public shelters; but without the figures, no one knows.By the way, have you non-profits any combined statistics of rescues and placements that you have made of animals never entered into the LAAS accounting system?

Over the past year, how many animals have you rescued, placed or fostered that otherwise would have become impounds? This kind of information is important for understanding the full depth of the homeless animal situation in LA, and also for your fundraising purposes; i.e., "I rescued 60 cats last year at a total cost of $279/cat, vs. LAAS at $959/cat. This means I am three times as efficient as LAAS." How would that be for fundraising? Even a Republican would vote to give you money.

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