Five Vets Now at Animal Service and a Sixth to Start Soon

I met three of Animals Services' vets today. I won't go into the circumstances now, but will later. I met them at the West Valley shelter at their grand opening, Drs. Roa, Hoffman and Feldman.

I saw Dr. Roa in action helping a cat that had been injured. He was open and gracious and had a very gentle presence. When he heard that a cat had been injured, he broke off from the festivities and all the VIP crap and tended to the cat. The cat was in bad shape so they shipped him out to a vet for X-rays and possibly treatment. I was surprised they didn't have their own X-ray machine but I assume that will come soon.

Feldman was his usual affable self eagerly showing me the new facility. I also met the brand new fifth veterinarian, Cynthia Hoffman, formerly of Holiday Humane. A sixth vet is in the process of being hired.

The staff was friendly and very helpful. There were tons of extremely friendly volunteers. Of course, what did I expect, it was opening day and a zillion VIPs and the general public were there for the opening. But all the staff seemed concerned about the injured cat. When I asked to see Dr. Roa about the cat, he was very gracious and told me he had a poor prognosis. It had been hit by a car and its jaw was broken and one pupil was larger than the other, indicating possible brain damage. He took his time to consult with me and he, nor anyone else there at the time, knew who I was. This is some time before anyone, especially Boks, recognized me. I got a chuckle when Ed called across the room "Are you still killing cats?" This time he did not look frightened of me.

I even told Dr. Roa that I had been a harsh critic of him for the Mason bust. He just waved it aside with a very Hindu (Indian actually; for all I know he is Jewsish) hand waving. His concern was for the cat. I saw it in his eyes and demeanor.

Dr. Feldman showed me the surgery prep room and the surgery itself. Get this, Dr. Roa will be doing most if not all in house spay/neuters. He thinks he can do 75 per week. I think that adds up to 3,600 with vacations and holidays at a far lower cost to LAAS than Jones in South LA who is doing the same amount. Rao will also still be doing general vet medical work.

Dr. Hoffman said things were improving at LAAS in terms of the quality of care able to be offered and lives saved. By this time everyone (who cared) knew who I was. She showed me pictures of extensive surgeries they had done. She was bright and happy and wanted to win me over to their cause of course.

I was impressed with Drs. Roa, Hoffman, and of course, Dr. Feldman who I have known for a few years. So, soon they will have the six shelter vets as promised and budgeted, as well as the extremely expensive Dr. Jones in South LA.

It was a strange coincidence that I was there this day of the grand opening. I had no idea that it was happening. Naturally, everything was perfect and I'd like to see the place when dozens of VIPs and Boks were not around. I am sure I got to see the brightest and prettiest cats and dogs, and there were no kennels with 6 dogs in them. The impression I got was very positive.

I did see dozens of very sweet cats who were hungry for affection and who looked perfectly healthy. There was one Calico I wanted to take home in the worst way, but would put me over the three cat limit before I became a cattery, and I have already spent over $9,000 in just vet bills just this year.They were cooped up in unbelievably small cages. No way to spend several weeks before being adopted or killed. This is why I never go to shelters.

I also asked Dr. Rao about using S.T.A.R. funds for the cat. He didn't know what STAR was, which is sort of a Universal Forgetfulness pervading Animal Services.

However, before I get too positive, I have got to remember that I have been here before and I don't really trust my first impressions anymore. More later.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How much more do we need to know than that an LAAS vet has never heard of STAR?

Anonymous said...

I don't want to step on any hope people feel at the opening of a shelter that's clean and seems to more comprehensively serve the needs of animals. But as one who's been to a couple of shelters as both a volunteer and an adopter, I would suggest people withhold rational judgments until at least a month or two in.

Not only does Boks know the heat is on, but it's new shelter-opening season. West L.A. just opened at the beginning of the month. These guys know the PR game. It's like holding a press conference to announce L.A.'s the number one adoption agency. They know subsequent revelations of facts by non-governmental people just doesn't get the same number of ears.

Not to be a downer, but wait until they think the eyes are off them. Not to mention that any bit of good PR they get is going to be a reason for them to retain Boks. Sometimes we touchy-feely liberal types are too quick to try to be fair, and give people the benfit of the doubt. We fail to be strategic. (and in Boks' case, is there really any doubt left?)

That's why creeps who don't care about being fair, like Villaraigosa, Boks, Blackman and Bickhart still have their city cars and deposit our money as paychecks...

Ed Muzika said...

You have an extremely well-taken point. Remember I was a Boks' cheerleader for almost a year until I discovered no progress was made during his tenure and I am now aware of his extremely successful "Kitten-Refusal Program."

But as I said, this was a first impression and one that I will follow up.

Besides, I was most concerned impressed with my favorable impression of the vets and the theoretically improved vet care.

Feldman has been a friend for some time and I am happy that he seems to have made a difference.

However, the death rate for cats and dogs from disease and fighting has doubled during the past year, and if you are a turtle, forget it. If you are a rabbit, forget it.

I am sure the animals I saw were the best and brightest. I am sure everyone was super friendly given the occasion.

But to be fair, I have to give credit when credit appears to be do.

Anonymous said...


I know you're trying to be fair.
I think you're succeeding, possibly more than anyone deserves.

I'm just saying that if they are 100% cynical (and they are) and, because we justifiably feel that cynicism can stand in the way of envisioning change, we are 0% cynical - they will have a field day kicking our asses every time.

You can't outmaneuver evil people. And you can't shame them. All you can do is make it politically un-viable for them to continue doing what they're doing. If Villaraigosa really believed Boks could endanger the political future he imagines for himself -- all you'd hear is the *WHOOSH* of Boks' ass being kicked out of town.

Anything short of that is meaningless blather on all our parts.

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourself Ed. Those cats you saw only appeared healthy.


Anonymous said...

Boks is replaceable. But now that ADL, with Ed Muzika's blessing, has attacked the mayor's relatives and vandalized Jimmy Blackman's car, you crazies have bolstered Boks' position. If Mr. Muzika thinks that violence against innocent people can somehow be justified by the Mason case, I'd say there was something wrong somewhere. Surely you don't think any rational person links the recent crimes as somehow rectifies the Mason matter.

How can you see any progress in getting rid of Boks by infuriating the thin-skinned and vindictive mayor?

Again, what possible good for the animals can come from violence?

Are you tired of these rhetorical questions?

-Son of Naysayer

Anonymous said...

Thank you Son of Naysayer. You don't get cooperation with threats and violence. Have we cooperated with terrorists that do this? No, we meet force with force.

Anonymous said...

If the animals are getting treated for ailments anyway, what is the big deal about STAR?

If the cats in West Valley only "appear healthy," what are they, rotting from the inside out? Brad should present a little more fact, not just innuendo.

While everyone here is so hot and bothered about creeps and cynics and atrocities in City Hall and at LA shelters (sometimes well deserved), maybe we should all pay visits to Kern County and Modesto and LA County shelters and get some perspective before we look like any bigger chumps than we already do.

Ed Muzika said...

The big deal about STAR is that it does not exist. It is a lie. How much money is in the STAR account? How much has been received in donations? How much has been used to help the animals? Neither Boks nor Linda Barth knew anything, but STAR is one of their centerpiece programs. They did not give even a ballpark figure. Donations in, no treatment out.

You don't think that is a big deal?

And, how much treatment do you think the animals are getting now without STAR?

With a dog/cat euthanasia rate of over 40%, they are even killing healthy cats for lack of space. How much chance do you suppose a sick cat or dog gets?

Take a look at Mason's cats. At least 25 were killed. The only treatment they got was euthanol. Boks said even with much treatment, kittens with Rheinotracheitis "often do not survive." But they received not even the slightest effort.

Anonymous said...

One commenter said, "If the cats in West Valley only "appear healthy," what are they, rotting from the inside out? Brad should present a little more fact, not just innuendo."

No problem. Here's the facts (according to Boks): LAAS does not comply with the Hayden Act. Also, it seems a number of the Mason cats appeared healthy but not to those within the department.

Keep in mind though, the facts we are given have not been presented on department letterhead and it appears no one has the guts to put their "John Hancock" on any of those fact vs fiction documents. The department has provided no proof these facts are really true plus, the department has chosen to not provide the animal record information I requested through public records act requests. I even paid for some of these records and they still won't provide what was requested.

In contrast, Chief Haynes with Kern County has been more helpful in fulfilling my requests (even without the use of a Public Records Act request) and likewise, Marcia Mayeda with Los Angeles County has always provided the information I request. I can't say that about LAAS.

So for those who think LAAS will be more cooperative with those who play by the rules... please refresh my memory. Why did Marie Atake resign?

Brad Jensen
Cypress, CA