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.