This morning I posted an anonymous comment form someone in management at the Philadelphia municipal shelter who stated that the challenges posed to remaking a shelter system that has both a union and civil service are not insurmountable, and it only takes one dedicated man such as in Philly. Maybe the comment was from the wife of the one dedicated man, I don’t know. (joke)
Well, I just received a post from someone in administration at LAAS showing some problems Philly has as was printed in an online article. The major complaints about PAWS was the facility itself, and lack of cleaning, therefore a health issue. However, even given the health issue, all recognized they were the result of a horrible facility, much like Boks was confronted with when he went to NYC and which he endlessly complained about. Here, we do not have that problem.
I talked Tara Derby this morning for 20 minutes or so. I got her talk on the problems in Philly as well as her euth, died in shelter and live save rates, also her budget and staff.
Let’s put Philly and LA in perspective.
From January 1 to November 30, Philly impounded 26,440 cats and dogs.
LA Impounded 43,900.
Philly handled 60% cats and dogs as LA, but had only 64 FTE employees, compared to 340 at LAAS, which has about 5 times as many.
Philly has an annual budget of $3.35 Million compared to LA’s $24.0 million, or 7 times as much. (I can never tell what the real budget of LA is or how many employees it has, as it seems to vary every time Ed talks)
They had one dilapidated shelter with 120 dog runs and 150 cat cages, versus 6 (or is it 7) new structures with maybe 7 or 8 times as many runs and cages.
YET, the euth rate for cats and dogs was 38.6% compared to LAAS 41% last year, and the live saves at Philly was 60.5% compared to 52% at LAAS last year. The Died in Shelter rate was 1% in Philly compared to over 3% for LAAS and which is still rising. That is, the died in shelter rate at LA is three times that of Philly despite the supposed extreme health problems presented by the facility. One guy there said PAWS had to get out, that no amount of money pumped into repairing the building would do any good.
Get this, not one “Other Animal” died in captivity this year in Philadelphia! Zero!
LA gives about $6.25 for every resident, while Philly Paws gets less than a third of that, or $1.97. If they got the same per capita, Philly’s budget would be $10,800,000 instead of Tara’s paltry budget of $3.35 million. Philly is a much poorer city than LA. Like LA 65-70% of the shelter dogs are pit bulls or mixes.
Yet, by every measure, Philly outperforms LA Animal Services in terms of animals handled per employee, adopted per employee, saved per employee, saved per dollar, adopted per dollar. The euth rate is lower, the save rate is higher and the died-in-shelter rate is less than 1/3 that of LA, no matter what the disease issue is.
AND, LA has had the advantage of a $140,000,000 bond issue to build and renovate seven shelters.
Notice how apologetic everyone in Philly is about their 1% death rate and they will fix it, while Ed blames older animals and does not mention overcrowding. Tara said her shelter is always crowded because it is so small and they handle so many animals.
(By the way, Tara and I both agree with Ed that very low coast adoptions make a big difference. I would support Ed in blowing the budget by waiving or reducing fees.)
All this progress, going from an 85-90% kill rate through March of 2005, to a 38.6% kill rate all during this year including kitten season. This is better than LAAS' during the past past 10 years.
This is the context. The article clearly states what Derby told me, it is a crappy, creepy building with only 1/3-1/4 the facilities they need and budget they need; yet, they are far outperforming Ed Boks’ shelters.
The real question is, given the huge disparity in budgets, manpower and facilities compared to Philly, why isn't LA at No-Kill now, that is, a kill rate under 15%? I think here Bickhart is right, it is a dysfunctional department, but it is Boks' job to fix it, and he hasn't.)
We spent some time this morning with her hand calculating the statistics. It seems they just recently added inventory software similar to Chameleon. The figures are added as a comment. I warn you, these are hand calculated figures over a phone and she will send me more accurate figures later.