Letter to Times Reporter Carla Hall

Boks has been getting amazingly positive press recently despite increased evidence of his failures as he admitted to in his annual report. He is now denying his own annual report--which he hid from scrutiny by burying it deep within his website.

I think even if he were caught beating dogs to death and stomping on cats' heads, reporters would say that lack of budget funds required new, lower cost, quick and humane methods of euthanasia.

How and why he is getting this good press while everything is crumbling around him, including an investigation by the City Controller is beyond me and everyone else in the animal community.

Below is a letter to the editor addressed to Carla Hall (not from me.)

I just read your article entitled "LA says fewer dogs, cats being euthanized." This article is extremely misleading. It makes it sound like the shelters are improving when the recently released annual report clearly shows things are getting worse.

In the annual report Ed Boks states that live releases were flat in 2006. This means that the same percentage of animals that came in, made it out alive in 2006 as in 2005. That also means the euthanasia rate stayed the same at about 41%.

They killed over 22,000 animals in 2006. Boks came to LA promising to make LA No-Kill by 2010 if not 2008 yet he hasn't even been able to reduce the euthanasia rate at all.

He is now saying that because recent intake is up, the euthanasia rate will now increase. Intake has been going down for years. The General Manager is responsible for keeping intake down through the use of various life saving programs.

Knowing that the annual report would show no progress, Boks decided to try to make the first quarter numbers appear good. The first quarter is the slowest time of year in the shelters because it is not yet kitten/puppy season.

Instead of euthanizing animals after the normal hold time, the Department just warehoused the animals. The same number of cats came into the shelter, 30% fewer were adopted yet euthanasia is down. He accomplished this by just holding onto the rest of the animals. If warehousing the animals would increase their chance of leaving alive, that would be fine by me but it is not. Fewer are making it out alive. Thank you for writing the article and bringing attention to this matter.

My Comment:

The most important tool in Boks bag of deception, is to mention only the statistics that make him look good. Of those tricks, he deliberately confuses numbers with rate.

For example, if the number of animals impounded decreased 10% compared to the year before, and the number of animals killed also decreased 10%, the number of animals euthanized drops by 10%, and he can claim fewer animals than ever before in LAAS's history were killed that quarter.

However, the euthanasia rate remains the same, 50%.

As an example, let us say in the first quarter of 2006, 10,000 animals were impounded and 50%, or 5,000 were killed. In the first quarter of 2007, 9,000 were impounded and 4,500 were killed.

The number of animals killed was reduced by 500, or a 10% decrease, and fewer animals than ever before were killed for that quarter.

But, the animals were killed at the same rate: 50%.

So, Ed will talk about the change in the number of animals killed, and not mention that the euthanasia rate has not improved at all. He can do it the other way around, kill more animals but the rate of killing dropped. Then he can selectively cite whichever statistic that looks good.

(This would happen if the number of animals impounded increased 10% to 11,000, and he also only killed 5% more animals, or 525. The number killed would be highed than ever before by 525, but the rate of killing, an extra 25 dogs, would drop to 48%. He'd then claim euthanasia rates dropped 2%, best best ever decline.)

Boks can also hold onto more animals and warehouse them.

Suppose 10,000 were impounded and instead of 5,000 being killed, he didn't kill even 1 animal. He could say he cut euthanasia to zero and say we had attained no kill. Yet, he'd have an extra 5,000 animals in cages, and maybe 2,000 would die from disease and fighting injuries.

Euthanasia could have dropped to zero, but death in the shelter--not euthanized--may have increased from 300 to 2,300.

He never mentions the increases in the number of animals dying from disease or injury. Of course, if it becomes of media notice, he can blame the increased number on acts of God, an unforeseen disease outbreak or poor vet care because of overworked vets, which will be remedied when the full compliment of vets are hired.

The reporters hearing his stats, just never get it; they don't understand them, and the media never puts on reporters that understand stats. His is a continuing deception unchecked by knowledgeable reporters.

The letter above has about 2% chance of being published. As an op-ed piece it has a 1% chance of being published. The papers publish nothing negative about him.

Dan Guss used to have a lot of success getting op ed pieces published, but I thought them less than effective because they attacked Ed's character and priorities. Now the discourse has changed to his failure to perform. This tactic is not going that well as yet, as the Bush administration demonstrates clearly, because authority wins, especially if they lie a lot.

However, this tactic is proving increasingly ineffective with Council and City staff.
By the way, Ed is hiding weapons of mass destruction in the shelters.


Anonymous said...

So far the reporters haven't realized that Boks is juggling animals and math formulae in order to make it seem like he's successful when he has obviously failed. He has the nerve to say "we took a giant leap to nokill in 2006 and will do even better in 2007!" when there was no progress at all. He had the nerve to state that "things are better than ever!" when he admits that the euthanasia rate will now go up.

Anyone with any knowledge of shelter statistics and animals can easily see how Boks is manipulating the numbers. He is using the animals to try to make it seem like he did a good job when he didn't. More are getting ill, injured and dying in the shelter. That is not humane.

Being a nokill director doesn't mean that you just want your numbers to appear to be nokill. It means you care about the animals and want to get the most adopted and out of the shelter.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in leasing a billboard that states the truth.