Boks' Numbers Manipulation? Part I

This email was sent to me by the ADL some time ago and forwarded to me again yesterday. I remember that, at the time, I argued that Boks certainly did not do this. Now I think a lot more may have been happening than I thought then.

For a précis of the long post below, just read the text in red.


A source at NYCACC - who wishes to remain anonymous - supplied the following information on Ed Boks and how he manipulates data:

* Ed was obsessed with trying to make the data fit his story rather than trying to actually get real results. He did this by changing the way he kept and reported statistics.

* He stopped reporting owner requested euthanasia. When you change the reporting and don't tell anyone, it looks like the numbers of impounds and deaths have come down, but they haven't. And Ed never told anyone he changed the way NYCACC was reporting data.
* He kept asking us to make changes to the system and we wouldn't. We finally just left.

* He also reported only end status of animals. NYCACC has a rating system of 1 through 5 for each dog or cat who comes in. A healthy dog or cat is a "1" while a supposed unadoptable dog or cat was a rating "5." Dogs and cats with different problems can be 2, 3 or 4. We always reported status based on intake.

So, for example, if a dog came in healthy but got kennel cough because our facility was dirty or lack of care and his status changed to a 3 or a 4, when we killed that dog, we still reported him as a 1 because he was a healthy, adoptable dog and we made him or allowed him to get sick.

But Ed forced us to change that to a 3 or 4. Basically, by reporting the dog as a 3 or 4, he created the impression that the dog was always unadoptable. That way, it looked like the number of adoptable animals being saved increased, when all we were doing was reclassifying them as unadoptable and comparing apples to oranges. (By the way, kennel cough is highly treatable and should not classify a dog as unadoptable. In addition, kennel cough is non-fatal and self-delimiting, meaning that the condition will resolve without medical intervention. An animal with the condition should still be made available for adoption.)

Also, I was at a conference when Ed was at Maricopa where he said kennel cough was treatable and that he treated all those dogs. In NY, he was calling them "unadoptable."

* If Ed had kept the same reporting the way it was always reported before he got there, there would have basically been no change at all. But that didn't fit Ed's story so he just changed the way we reported things but didn't tell people. That way he could take credit for all the death rate decline of adoptable animals when that did not occur.

* Chameleon reports data based on Crystal reports. If you look at the written formulas under Marilyn (Blohm) who used to run NYCACC and Ed, you'll see that they are different.

* He also liked to report per capita euthanasia rates which actually unfairly help big cities. According to per capita rates, New York City is basically No Kill, but that isn't true.
*By manipulating the reporting and ranking systems, Ed deceptively took credit for the resultant appearance of a substantial "decline" in the death rate.

On February 25, 2007, I posted the below on my blog. I alleged that LAAS may have been guilty of 1,400 Hayden Act violations by killing that many healthy animals within the legally required 4 day hold period:

.”As George Orwell’s pig in Animal Farm stated, some animals are more equal than others. Cats get the shaft at LAAS. They are held a shorter period of time and killed earlier.”500 healthy cats were euthanized on their first day of impound as opposed to 180 healthy dogs. 450 healthy dogs were adopted that first day compared to about 220 healthy cats.”The charts below are gruesome evidence of LAAS' discrimination.These numbers do not include unweaned dogs or cats. These numbers also do not include sick or injured animals. There are separate charts and numbers for them which will be posted later.

”I don't understand why 500 cats were euthanized the same day as impounded, or 180 healthy dogs for that matter.”This appears to be a clear violation of the Hayden Act, which states:”No dog or cat impounded by a public pound or specified shelter shall be killed until after a minimum of four or six days have elapsed, not including the day impounded.

These rules also apply to owner turn ins as quoted from the Act below.”The statistics provided are the department's own statistics; they are for healthy cats and dogs.”Therefore, why were they killed?”If the department deemed many of the healthy cats feral on impound, they were still required by the Hayden Act to hold them a minimum of three days and only then temperament tested to determine whether a cat is a frightened tame cat or truly feral.”Hayden Act:If an apparently feral cat has not been reclaimed by its owner or caretaker within the first three days of the required holding period, shelter personnel qualified to verify the temperament of the animal shall verify whether it is feral or tame by using a standardized protocol.If the cat is determined to be docile or a frightened or difficult tame cat, the cat shall be held for the entire required holding period specified in Section 31752. If the cat is determined to be truly feral, the cat may be euthanized or relinquished to a nonprofit.

Not only is it terribly clear that LAAS discriminates against cats, these charts present prima facie evidence of multiple (over a thousand illegal acts by LAAS.If this is true, LAAS has been in violation of the Hayden Act over one thousand, four hundred time during just the first nine months of 2006.

Now Ed Boks responded to my allegation as follows, which is #4 of his Rumor vs. Truth section of the LAAS website:

Examination of Statistical Suggestions of Alleged Hayden Act Discrepancies
On February 26, 2007, member of the public Ed Muzika raised allegations that some number of animals were healthy upon intake by the Department of Animal Services but then were euthanized prior to completion of the holding period mandated under the Hayden Act.

We further delved with Mr. Muzika over the next two days to determine the specifics or facts upon which his generalized allegations were based, eventually receiving spreadsheet information compiled by another member of the public, Brad Jensen. Mr. Jensen’s data analysis was based on statistics requested from Animal Services under a California Public Records Act request, covering the period from January 1, 2006, to October 31, 2006. Mr. Jensen’s exposition of the data has been duplicated by my staff and is accurate.

However, the data is not comprehensive of all the information about every animal, either at intake, nor information added to the kennel record as the animal is examined further after intake.

In this case, in order to make the fullest investigation, my staff replicated the basic report, which was to identify any animal that has “Apparently Healthy” noted as Condition on Intake, but which was Euthanized prior to expiration of the intake day plus four days as required under the Hayden Act.

To be fully transparent, our report covered the full 2006 calendar year, January 1 to December 31, 2006. We further sorted this data by type of Intake (i.e. Owner Surrender, Stray, and so forth) and by subtype of Euthanasia (i.e. Medical, Unweaned, and so forth).

Together, the records show 1155 animals in 2006 (809 cats and 346 dogs) which have
“Apparently Healthy” in the Condition field, but which were euthanized prior to the impound day plus four days.
Further discussion of the findings from reading the full kennel records, including all memos, owner receipts, and most importantly medical treatments, follows, separately for cats and for dogs. Note that the Condition field is not being completed subsequent to any examination, but is merely the result of an immediate visual check, often done in the midst of multiple activities.

The choices for that field are:

Apparently Healthy, Dead, Injured, Litter, Pending Veterinarian, Sick, Unweaned, and Wildlife.

Apparently Healthy is the first choice on the pull-down menu. What is abundantly clear from this research is that staff members do not consider Condition to be of primary importance because other fields provide additional information (Intake type can be Unweaned, for example), and because every animal will later be checked by a Registered Veterinary Technician or a Veterinarian, who will complete a treatment form that provides actual information on the animal’s health condition. In the same vein, many of the animals on this list, upon Intake, were in cages or were unweaned, and indeed may have seemed Apparently Healthy, but simply could not be sustained.


For the period of January 1, 2006, through December 1, 2006, records for 809 cats showed the Intake condition as Apparently Healthy, but were shown as Euthanized within four or less days.

Number of Cats

Selection of Apparently Healthy was done with only superficial visual check:

103 Irremediably suffering.

353 Medical condition, many due to infectious nature of illness.

But examination of the Medical Treatment form (confirmed by photo) showed sick, unweaned kitten.


The point of this incredibly long post is there are allegations that employees, upon multiple occasions, changed an inputted healthy animals' status to unadoptable due to a purported medical condition.

In Boks response to my allegations of Hayden violations, he said 456 “apparently healthy” cats were later found to be too sick to remain alive even for the 4 day Hayden hold period. I did not include the entirety of his response, but he later added that 276 “apparently healthy” dogs were reclassified as sick or suffering and therefore killed.

All of these cases apply to animals killed within the first 4 Hayden hold days, but the bar charts above show that many, many hundreds of health animals were euthanized. If we were to look at those cases, would we again find that the apparently healthy animals were no longer healthy after being examined by a RVT or vet?

That is, medical euthanasia figures would expand at the rate that euthanasia of "adoptable" animals contracted.

Is this just a huge coincidence?

It could also support the hypothesis affirmed by many, that too many healthy animals are held too long and they become sick with upper respiratory conditions, then euthanized as having a medical condition. This theory is supported by the increasing number of Died in Shelter numbers, where they died of disease or fighting without being euthanized.

Or, it could be that the data was changed just to make it look like adoptable animals were not killed, that is, the NYC accusation all over again.

More coming soon.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you're right about his "ill" and "unadoptable" labels. He doesn't use those words in his excel spread sheet of the statistics but he does in his blog, press releases and to the media. Nobody reads the numbers but they do read his blog, press releases and media article. His numbers aren't as "transparent" as he claims. The actual figures are in the Department website but he twists, contorts, squeezes them to mislead people. You can't see through his distortions of the truth. He could kill 90% of all cats, adopt/New Hope 10% then he would say "no adoptable cat was killed! We are No-Kill!" He can just label all the ones he doesn't adopt as ill, injured, feral or fractious. That is dishonest.