Response to a Nay-Sayer

Please read the comment to my previous post written by a person who says the Charlottesville foster solution will never work in LA.

I have heard dozens of commenters, including Boks, say approximately this: What works elsewhere will not work in LA because LA is so much bigger. It is a loser attitude that has to be overcome. The solutions suggested by successful programs elsewhere should not be tossed aside because LA is not Podunk.

Rather, we should think, "How can we do this in LA?"

My detailed response to the commenter:

Your attitude is that of losing. Instead of can't do, you need a can do attitude.

If you read the Kogut quotes carefully, she said they DEVELOPED a foster program. Fosters beget fosters. Increased fosters led to increased adoptions. Saving kittens became a community project.

As to your numbers, Charlottesville had approximately 1,700 unweaned cats and dogs and a population of 140,000, while LA had 8,000 unweaned animals and a population of 4,000,000.

That is, Los Angeles had fewer than 5 times as many neonatals, but had 27 times the population.

Charlottesville saved almost as many neonatals as LA, 1,700 vs. 2055, but had only 4% of LA's population. No matter how you slice, dice it, or try to analyze their success away, fostering is working there and not here. Why?

Philly, I understand--and I am requesting complete stats now--went from 89% kill to 50% kill in 18 months!!! That is, a 37.5% decrease in kill rate in 18 months or about 25% per year. If this improvment continues, it will be a 50% decrease in two years. It took LA 5 years to accomplish the same thing and there has been no improvment at all under Boks.

Why? Apparently it was a massive mobilization of community rescue partners. Our New Hope program is failing, not improving.

Rather than just say we already have foster programs and New Hope programs, therefore we are doing the standard No-Kill things, we have to understand why our New Hope and foster programs are relative failures compared to Philly and Charlottesville.

You need to compare resources to handle the problem as well as the sheer raw numbers. LA has many, many times more resources that Charlottesville. The LA unweaned problem is small in proportion to the relative resources of the two cities.

Then you complain that the unweaned will survive until they become adoptable kittens and we are not adopting enough now. You assume this will always will be the case. If that is your assumption, of course you are stuck forever. FOREVER!

Kogut said adoptions went up in proportion to fosters, which makes sense. It became a community priority, an attitude that was developed and cultivated. It was not there before. Of course that attitude and committment would be hard to sustain, but it may last long enough for S/N and TNR programs to work.


Please read carefully what she and others, who say it can be done, propose; think about what they say, and then generate helpful objections.

Now here is Boks’ dilemma: The existing LAAS staff when he became GM would have never been able to do this. They didn't care enough, they were lazy in comparison, and the losers could not be fired.

Since we haven't had a GM report in 6-1/2 months, we do not know how many of the 178 budgeted new employees were added. We do not know whether Boks has hired even one of the needed go-getters. This is his job, to find and develop talent.

We know a massive foster program provably works elsewhere. Why not concentrate on developing a foster program? If we save an additional 4,000 unweaned animals, we cut the overall euth rate by 20%.

Rather than having continuous Boks' sideshows, why not put all of his hitherto PR efforts into developing a foster program using the old employees who do have a lot of energy and do care, along with a few, new go-getters?

As it is, his emphasis appears to be on TNR and S/N. These are long term solutions that do not save animals NOW.

Until we get another 8 vets and the S/N clinics open and TNR becomes a city supported policy, it is a long, long term solution.

A secondary consideration is that LAAS is not one big shelter. It is or will be seven smaller shelters. As Winograd says and Kogut proves by example, it is the shelter manager who makes all the difference. Ed needs finding seven dynamite shelter managers his first priority.


Anonymous said...

I have an idea. The City just announced that they had a Cleanup LA event. They had tremendous success, see below. Why can't the Department contact other Departments and ask them to send an email to their volunteers asking for help with animals. If they're willing to clean up LA for a day, maybe they'll help raise kittens, walk dogs or clean cages. Boks should do it for the publicity alone.

“On the day Los Angeles kicked off the city’s community improvement projects, we
registered 1,502 volunteers, picked up 9.6 tons of trash, 1 ton of recyclables, removed 32,450
square feet of graffiti and planted 1,129 trees,” said Board of Public Works President Cynthia M.
Ruiz. “Angelenos clearly responded with their community and environmental stewardship to
take action for a cleaner and greener Los Angeles, and we are extremely proud of their hard work
and dedication to improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Anonymous said...

I have three ideas for large scale FOSTER PROGRAMS. To my knowledge each area is an untapped niche.

A.) Temporary Foster Permits
The City of Los Angeles should offer temporary foster permits, (in lieu of kennel licenses that will never be applied for much less approved), for households, even businesses, to allow individuals to house, care for and market animals for adoption from LAAS in excess of the three dog limitation and the unspoken but perceived limitation on the number of cats, with responsible individuals and families that are located in areas conducive to properly housing more than the current limit on the number of animals and at properties where the animals can be adequately cared for. The animals would remain the property of LAAS with proper protection afforded to LAAS concerning liability via the specified terms of the permits. These foster homes can be monitored by LAAS and should be ENCOURAGED rather than threatened. Parents can be educated in proper care of animals and can teach their children to value and care for animals accordingly. Further, a long term commitment is not required on the foster home in the event of a change in lifestyle. Animals can be returned or placed in alternate foster homes with a temporary permit. Also, the real estate will not have to bear the unreasonable stigma sometimes associated with properties that have a kennel license. This measure would require administrative duties and of course approval of the powers to be.

B.) Military Installations
Military installations with base housing and off base housing exist throughout the nation. Typically, military members and their families desire to have pets just like civilians. Yet, their transient lifestyle poses a problem. They should be utilized to foster animals without having to undergo the commitment to keep them when they face uncertainty and numerous life changes, resulting in the heartbreak and vicious cycle of relinquishing ownership of animals oftentimes to "shelters" that kill them. Alliances could be forged with Base Commanders to implement this program with it's advantages. If all the animals in the "shelters" underwent basic obedience training and if remedial training at the "shelters" was available for the fostered dogs in the event of an issue, much of the concern associated with pet ownership for this group of people would be resolved. Currently, fines are imposed by the military on military members whose animals display unacceptable behavior such as digging up landscaping at base housing. This usually results in relinquishment of the animal.

C.) Semi-Truck Drivers
The calm, older ("ordinary") animals could be fostered by semi-truck drivers and could accompany drivers on their road trips. What could be more pleasant for both than to have good company? This mobile space should be utilized to maximize space for and visibility of the animals. Incentives such as company advertising could be provided for trucking companies and independent owner/operators on a website and in an LAAS newsletter.

Further, LAAS should be producing a FREE monthly newsletter for the public. The overhead for producing the newsletter can be offset by allowing for paid advertising space.

The logistical scope of adoption needs to be broadened. LAAS animals can be adopted by persons in other locations. Home checks can be done by volunteers if desired and animals can be transported by truck drivers or individuals. There is no reason why when we think of animals in L.A. that need homes, that we must limit them to the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles and the city's population figures.

I could go on and on...

Others have good ideas also. None of which will succeed in a sordid environment that KILLS ANIMALS.

Anonymous said...

"I have heard dozens of commenters, including Boks, say approximately this: What works elsewhere will not work in LA because LA is so much bigger."

If this is what Ed Boks believes, why did he come here? Why didn't he leave the position open for someone else, perhaps local, that has other ideas and is a believer? Did Ed Boks not do his due diligence before accepting the position?