So far as liars, frauds and Animal Shelter incompetence are concerned, Boks is minor league compared to County shelter head Marcia Mayeda. Hopefully this situation will become a political nightmare for the County after LAAS' situation is resolved. I have been reluctant to move on to the County until LAAS gets new leadership, which would set a precedent, but I've been holding back so long, it is exploding out of me.
Letter to the County Supervisors:
According to page 47 of the County’s 2004-2005 annual report, Marcia Mayeda claims for Animal Control:
Major Accomplishments 2003-2004
• Placed 91% of adoptable dogs and 89.6% of adoptable cats into new homes.
As you can see from the pie charts immediately below, this is fraud. How can killing 28,100 cats and 18,500 dogs be considered as having adopted 90% of these animals? Who can believe that 80% of the cats are too injured, too young or too aggressive to live? This is nonsense and totally incompatible with the kill and save rate of other large municipal shelters.
For cats, the actual adoption rate is 15% Claimed adoption is 89.6%
For dogs, the actual adoption rate is 31% Claimed adoption is 91%
She said she legally can only adopt out "adoptable" animals. She said she must euthanize the rest legally. She said kittens/puppies under 8 weeks old are not adoptable, neither are ill or injured animals, neither are "dangerous" animals that don't pass their temperament test. That means she legally can kill 80% of cats and 46% of dogs. This makes her job easier. This is a blatant lie to deceive you from recognizing her incompetence after five years on the job.
In comparison, Los Angeles Animal Services, whose performance is a little better than average for large municipal shelters, has a euthanasia rate for cats of 57% and for dogs, 27%, 20% lower in each category.
Adoptions include direct adoptions to the public and release to rescue groups called New Hope Partners.
For cats, the actual adoption rate is 50% Claimed adoption is 50%
For dogs, the actual adoption rate is 64% Claimed adoption is 64%
Are more than twice as many LA County cats too young, vicious or unadoptable compared to LA City cats? This appears to be what Mayeda is saying with her statistics and her claim that 90% of the adoptable animals are saved. This is a flat out lie.
In fact, the deception has become so outrageous that Mayeda no longer lists any statistics regarding impounds or adoptions on the department’s website or in the 2005-06, or 2006- 2007 annual report. I assume they are getting worse or are improving so slowly that transparency would give activists ammunition to get rid of her.
This fraud is based solely on how the Mayeda determines an animal is not adoptable. The bases for determining whether an animal is unadoptable are: unweaned kittens and puppies, ill or injured, or behavioral problems. She provides no statistics for these categories. In other words, she is saying trust me.
The presence of behavioral problems is determined by “temperament testing.” If an animal is deemed unadoptable for any reason, including behavior, it can be killed and it would not be counted in when measuring the adoption rate. That is how she can say 90% of adoptable animals were adopted. She makes the temperament tests extremely difficult to pass.
She quotes County Counsel regarding the use of temperament testing to euthanize cats and dogs according to how she framed the question to them:
“You are on solid ground in enforcing your policy of requiring a behavioral assessment of stray dogs and cats to determine the suitability of an animal for placement, and in not permitting the adoption of animals with aggressive behavior.”
There is no temperament test for cats, not one. All of the temperament tests, including the most common, the Weiss Safer test, are strictly limited to dogs. The same with the other three standardized tests, they apply only to dogs.
Therefore, how can she find nearly 80% of all cats unadoptable? She is just incompetent but pleads she is forced to kill these animals because of public safety issues. She just doesn't know how to stop the killing.
Indeed, a sizable segment of unweaned kittens and puppies, ill and injured animals are already cared for by LAAS and are adopted to the public or to rescue groups.
Mayeda said she cannot even transfer most animals to rescuers, because they might pose a danger. How can a six week old kitten be a danger? She is using a dangerous dog argument to justify killing a kitten and she thinks no one can see through her argument.
Can anyone really believe that over 75% of the cats coming into County were too ill, injured or aggressive compared to LAAS’ 34%?
Temperament testing is universally despised by the animal community because it allows incompetent shelter directors, like Mayeda, to kill a huge number of animals and yet claim a 90% adoption rate. It also makes her job easier. She doesn’t have to deal with rescue groups or foster parents. She just kills huge numbers of animals and justifies it with lies about temperament testing.
In Los Angeles City, the Animal Care and Control department, which has far better stats than County, has been under constant attack by the animal community who are picketing the shelters, the General Manager, the Mayor and mayoral staff because he hasn’t reduced the killing enough compared to some other, more progressive cities.
For example, San Francisco, between the municipal shelter and the private shelters has a kill rate of only 13%.
The LA animal community, which is also the County animal community, has forced the retirement or firing of two previous general managers and they are working on getting the third GM fired, Ed Boks, because he has failed to improve LA’s kill/save rates in the 16 months from January 2006 through April 2007. Mayeda has had five years.
Right now Los Angles activists are focused on LA Animal Services. They recognize they must fight one battle at a time. I assume the County will be next unless Mayeda is fired and a progressive shelter director appointed who has a progressive mission—making the County shelters No-Kill.
I urge you to hire a real no-kill consultant such as Nathan Winograd (or Carl Friedman in San Francisco) who has performed such miracles of decreased killing in Philadelphia, Ithaca N.Y., Charlottesville, Reno and elsewhere. Some of his consulted shelters have kill rates as low as 8%.
I urge you not accept the fraud being perpetrated against you and the voters by Marcia Mayeda. The public thinks the County is doing well by the animals. What will happen when they find out this is not true?
--- Edward Muzika, Ph.D.
In comparison with the County, for San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the euthanasia rate was 17% for cats and 27% for dogs. About 1/3 of their animals were transferred to private shelters where the euthanasia rate is only 9%! The combined euthanasia rate for the entire city is 13% compared to 61% for the County.
The director in San Francisco, Carl Friedman, said there was no reason that LA County should not have that same success as the San Francisco, “because they have far more resources.” His budget is $3,200,000 of which he actually spends $2.9 Million, with only 43 full-time employees. The County’s budget is about $25,000,000.
LA County has nine times the budget of SF with only six times as many animals impounded, but with a 300% higher kill rate!
Another measure of success is how many animals make it out of the shelter alive. This includes returned to owner, adopted and transferred to rescue groups.
For San Francisco
The live release rate for cats was 83%.The live release rate for dogs was 73%.The live release rate for cats and dogs is 80%.
The live release rate for cats in LA County was only 17%.
As you can see, the Adopted, Returned to Owner and Rescue Group transfers (Live Save Rate) is five times the County rate for cats (83% vs. 17%).
Does the County have proportionately five times as many unadoptable cats as San Francisco? Of course not. This is a fraud.
As one final example, Philadelphia, under new progressive leadership, went from approximately 90% euthanasia in 2004, to the results for the first quarter of 2007:
Cat Euthanasia 30% compared to LA County’s 79%
Dog Euthanasia 38% compared to LA County’s 46%
Philadelphia has a budget under $3.9 million and 46 employees.