by No-Kill Joe
LOS ANGELES - General Manager Ed Boks of the Los Angeles Department of
Animal Services, in a controversial move which has come under fire from City
Hall, ordered all cages at the City's six Animal Care Centers opened and all
animals set free. Citing desperation in its failure to manage, care for and
adopt out the thousands of homeless pets impounded each year, Boks said the
Department was forced to take this unprecedented action early Saturday
At 8am, residents were awakened by barking, caterwauling, and braying as
over 1,500 cats, dogs and rabbits, together with hundreds of reptiles, 2
donkeys, 7 horses, and assorted livestock ran out of the six facilities and
into the streets of Los Angeles.
Council offices and City Hall were immediately flooded with calls. While
many expressed outrage, some animal activists praised the move.
"I guess we're no-kill now!" proclaimed a representative of ADL-LA, a group
which has criticized Boks for killing shelter animals, and organized
protests at the homes of various officials.
The move wreaked havoc on busy intersections throughout the City, as animals
darted in and out of traffic. In Van Nuys, the sudden appearance of
hundreds of cats and dogs bounding joyfully down Vanowen Street caused 6
separate collisions, injuring 12 people.
Elsewhere, residents experienced memorable encounters with the newly-freed
pets. In Lincoln Heights, three exotic dancers from a local strip club were
initially frightened when a pack of pit bulls and rottweilers ran up to them
as they were leaving work. Surprisingly, the young women were ultimately
greeted with kisses and tail wags from the happy pooches finally released
Boks, who has been the subject of controversy throughout his 18-month
tenure, cited the Department's inability to manage the thousands of animals
in their care. "We just didn't know what to do. We're completely
overwhelmed. If someone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it so I can
write a blog to refute it."
The doors of each facility were closed as soon as the last animal passed
safely through. Department officials said that barring a court order, they
would not reopen.
Many employees expressed relief that they would no longer have to see
animals killed every day. "I think it's a good move," said one shelter
worker. "Look, if the General Manager doesn't know what to do, and he makes
a six-figure salary, how am I supposed to figure this out for $13.75 an
The president of the union that represents most of the shelter staff
reassured members via email that regardless of the shelter closings,
employees would be paid indefinitely their full salaries.
The Mayor, who sources say spent the night at a hotel with "a good friend,"
was unavailable for comment.