We have all long hoped Winograd would take on Boks, but it did not happen. He does not even mention Boks in his book Redemption except as a former director of Phoenix shelters, and Boks has not mentioned Winograd by name.
But Boks, for some reason, decided to take on Winograd and write a series of blog posts on how Winogard's No Kill Equation was old hat and how he was doing as well or better than that equation. Bad timing; he should have done it six months ago.
Last week, Nathan decided to attack and sue the County and Mayeda, Boks' Evil Twin. Of course she is an easier target because she has killed a couple of hundred thousand more cats and dogs than Boks.
One would think Boks would have taken this opportunity to leave Winograd alone as the latter was now occupied in a battle with the County.
For whatever reason, Boks' attacks on Nathan have become increasing personal at a time he should have been backing away and letting sleeping No-Kill gurus lie. Boks is none to kind about Carl Friedman in SF either, and uses two year old, pre-Winograd stats to prove Nathan's remaking Philadelphia is a failure.
After Boks' latest and most intense attack, Nathan has decided to directly engage Boks to the amusement of all of us. We can watch as their mutal contempt manifests and morphs.
Ed's posts can be found on his blog, www.laanimalservices.blogspot.com, and Nathan's on his blog, www.nathanwinograd.blogspot.com.
Both are now fighting a two-front war. Both would have been better served being indirect, especially if Winograd wants a contract with the City, and Boks has enough problems with the animal community including the watchbloggers.
A False Hope in Los Angeles
Ed Boks, the controversial head of Los Angeles Animal Services, is misusing the No Kill Equation in order to justify a tenure in L.A. that has been marked by high killing, skyrocketing rates of animals dying in their kennels, and poor care. As I have repeatedly stated, this is an increasingly common tactic from those who are failing at saving lives.
Achieving No Kill, in which over 90% of animals entering a shelter are saved, requires replacing century-old failed protocols with innovative, life-affirming alternatives for every single animal, every single time. It is not enough to simply recycle sexy names for programs like “New Hope,” “FELIX,” and all the other public relations gimmicks and claim success as he did in Maricopa County even while 29,000 dogs and cats were being put to death. The programs must be implemented so that they replace killing entirely for all animals who can benefit from them, not just for the lucky few.
If Boks truly implemented all the programs he claims to, animals dying in kennel would not be skyrocketing as they are. They would be plummeting. Nor would deaths for rabbits and other animals be increasingly so dramatically. And, finally, where there are declines, they would be substantial.
Feeling the pressure to change, directors like Boks are implementing token level changes to their operations, some of which include the ones I describe in the No Kill Equation, both to diffuse criticism and to claim they “tried” these programs and they didn’t work as claimed.
Activists must be vigilant in demanding that those programs be expanded to the point that they replace killing entirely. These benchmarks, for example, include:
A fully functioning volunteer program where at least 300 people for every 100,000 human residents actually help at least one time per week at the shelter;
(Comment: This is unrealistic; this would require 12,000 volunteers working one day per week, or 2,000 per shelter, or 300 per day per shelter.)
Offsite adoptions at multiple locations seven days per week;
Socialization programs so that cats get out of their cages at least two times per day and dogs at least three times for walks and play time;
Medical & behavior rehabilitation programs that control disease, keep animals healthy, and provide care for those who are savable (the fact that the number of animals dying in kennel is skyrocketing at Los Angeles Animal Services is absolute proof that this is not being comprehensively implemented);
A fully functioning TNR program that replaces killing through neutering and release (See a model feral cat protocol by clicking here)
(Comment: This will be hard to do because of the opposition of environmental groups, CEQA legal requirements, and the opposition of some Councilmembers.)
Low and no cost spay/neuter opportunities for at risk animals, with a minimum of 1,000 surgeries for every 100,000 human residents (It should be noted that most successful communities around the country achieved success before the spay/neuter effort was in place);
(Comment: The LA program already exceeds these goals and by this coming year, they may exceed this goal by 35%.)
Adoption programs seven days a week with evening and weekend hours;
Carte blanche for legitimate rescue groups to save any animal on death row, any time without bureaucratic hurdles and permissions from a select group of animals;
(Comment: I think LA already has this.)
Programs above and beyond haphazard advice from hurried workers on the telephone to help owners overcome the behavioral, medical and environmental conditions which cause them to surrender their pets (A 1996 JAVMA study found that this reduces the chance of relinquishment by as much as 94%);
A compassionate, hard working director who holds his or her staff accountable, making sure customer service is good, people are friendly, animals are getting proper care, the shelter is clean, people are doing their jobs, all the cages and kennels are kept full if necessary, and programs and services are being expanded and carried out.
(Comment: This is Boks big failure: Taming the bureaucracy.)
But, in the entire history of animal sheltering, the transition from a culture based on killing to a culture of lifesaving has never happened without significant staff turnover.
In Philadelphia, all the managers and half the line staff were terminated or resigned within six months. In Reno, every manager was given the option of resignation or termination. The same holds true in Charlottesville, Tompkins, and other places. If Boks has not done that, there can be no true change. The end result is the same killing, packaged with new rhetoric—A false hope, not a new hope.
(Comment: This requirement is impossible in LA with a union and civil service. To be successful, Boks would have to ask for the assistance of a group like ADL to drive the bad eggs out, like some of the ACOs who send comments here.)
At the end of the day, the irony here is that if Boks spent his time putting the programs in place, rather than blogging about them without having done so (or attacking me personally), he would really become the hero he pretends to be. Instead, he simply pats himself on the back, while the animals in the shelter slowly die because of improper care and business as usual.
That is what makes the whole thing so obscene. And that is why he undermines the movement to save lives—because newspapers like the Daily News falsely think that No Kill by necessity means skyrocketing rates of disease and animals dying because of it, when communities which are succeeding have proven this to be patently false.
(Email the above paragraph to: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Kaye wrote the article. Send the link to Winograd's rebuttal to the Daily News and Boks. http://nathanwinograd.blogspot.com.)
Let me close by saying that the high numbers of animals dying in kennel, which evidences lack of oversight, poor care, and neglect by shelter personnel; combined with the paltry declines in killing rates and in some cases, such as rabbits, shocking increases, put the lie to the claim about true and comprehensive No Kill Equation implementation. And no amount of blogging can spin the truth out of that