Winograd Blasts King County Shelter

One thing about Winograd, he knows how to get things moving; just what we need in LA. UNLESS someone has a well-articulated and very specific alternative.

Although Nathan is controversial and tends to attack everyone who lives and breathes, in the King County case, they deserve to be attacked. Where ever Nathan goes, movement, good or bad, happens. LA is stuck.

Report rips King County animal shelters


Cats and dogs are locked in filthy cages without food or water in King County animal shelters, and nothing short of a thorough overhaul of the county's apathetic animal-control operation can turn it into the model program the County Council wants it to be, a consultant told the council Monday.

Council members reacted angrily to the report they commissioned from Nathan Winograd, a former operations director at the San Francisco SPCA and a national advocate for reducing animal euthanasia. Kathy Lambert, R-Woodinville, called it "shocking;" Reagan Dunn, R-Bellevue, said it was "a damning report -- without a doubt."

Julia Patterson, D-SeaTac, said, "The government of King County has failed." And Bob Ferguson, D-Seattle, said, "I've had it. ... My patience is at an end."

Ferguson said that if County Executive Ron Sims, a fellow Seattle Democrat, doesn't clean up the mess in animal control in a month, then Ferguson is prepared to work with the council to take "draconian" action.

After the meeting, he said he would meet with council lawyers to determine how much control the council could wrest from Sims to reform animal control services, which is part of the executive Department of Records, Elections and Licensing Services. If the agency's problems can't be fixed, Ferguson said, it might be best for the county to get out of the animal control business and hire a private contractor to do the job.

The county currently operates shelters in Bellevue and Kent and provides services in unincorporated King County and most suburban cities. Seattle runs a separate animal control operation.
Chuck Stempler, board chair for the Seattle Humane Society, said in a statement Monday that "we are distressed by what the report revealed today and we stand ready to help King County address these problems as much as we can."

Representatives from The Seattle Humane Society and other private nonprofit animal-welfare agencies in the Puget Sound region said they are hard at work to ensure that no adoptable companion animal is euthanized.

"Our heart gets broken when you hear about animals hurting," said Rosanne Nichols, the society's vice president of development and external affairs. "Our goal is to get them adopted and get people into the shelters to see them."

Winograd presented the council with a summary of his findings, in advance of a full report later this month. Sims aide Jim Lopez told the council that the administration would withhold a detailed response until it receives the complete report.

"The executive remains committed to working closely with the council and making improvements to our animal care and control services," he told the council.

But the executive's near-complete failure to respond to long-standing complaints and problems represented a major theme of Winograd's presentation. His report is the second to slam the animal control program in the last six months: In September, a citizens advisory committee, finding shelter conditions "deplorable" and the agency's adoption outreach effort "paltry at best," put forth 47 recommendations for reform.

Al Dams, the county's director of animal control, said his agency has either already carried out or is working to put into effect about two-thirds of the committee's recommendations. Among the reforms, Dams said, are expanded veterinary care and volunteer activity, improved record keeping, upgraded procedures, more frequent cleaning of shelters and better maintenance of kennels. And the agency's euthanasia rate so far this year is below the target of 20 percent set by the council, he said.

Dams said the euthanasia rate for cats and dogs during that period was 18 percent -- down from 32 percent during that same period in 2007.

Winograd said the county did little to respond to the findings of a 1992 advisory committee, nor to a 1998 complaint from a veterinarian. The problem, he said, isn't a shortage of money: For at least the last five years, he said, the council has approved Sims' appropriation requests for animal control in full -- and the agency has never spent more than $500,000 in donations it has received to improve animal care.

What's lacking, he said, is accountability, oversight, training and supervision, to the extent the agency can't even provide the basics of care. Without fundamental change, the agency can't become a national leader, he said, and spending more money on it would be a waste.

On his visits to shelters, he said, he found animals penned in feces-strewn cages without food or water for a day or more, as well as animal food piled on wet, waste-contaminated floors and other unsanitary conditions. Record keeping is shoddy and policies are often ignored, he said.

Dams said a specific claim that cats were without food and water for extended periods "is not true."

Some people who stopped by the King County Animal Care and Control Center in Kent on Monday were surprised to hear such a scathing report.

"I've been in here many times, and I don't believe that the staff doesn't feed the animals," said Darrin Brown, who was trying to pick up his dog, a part-black lab named Precious. "I don't think it's a very good facility, but I don't think the cages are filthy. You can tell the staff really love the animals."

You know here in LA, everybody complains. They don't like Boks, they don't like Winograd. No Kill will never happen. Employees are slackers. Rescuers are idiots and don't understand. The public causes all the problems. AND, I see nothing being done.

I see Boks clawing his way to very slow gains over two years and no prospect of no kill within three years. But the Naysays say no one can do it, or they offer very general solutions with no way to implement them.

If you bitch, at least offer an alternative--a specific alternative.

I think a cooperative approach has worked in San Francisco, but it didn't happen until enough people got fed up and put non-bitching energy into mobilizing for change. Change is not going to happen unless there is a strong will to change and do what is necessary to attain a 90% save rate.

Nobody seems to be fed up in LA except a few hundred activists. The rest post here with complaints and no SPECIFIC solutions. I don't see the animal community getting behind any local to lead a charge to change.

The will to change has to happen at the top with the full support of Council. I think Council will get behind any reasonable solution, they show much more respect for the animal community and maybe animals than Villaraigosa. But with public and media outrage, the will from the top will happen.

What real alternative do any of you offer than the proven change maker, Winograd. I will agree he is likely a jerk, probably a liar, a plagiarist, and for all I know, an axe murderer and Muslim at that. But so what? If he can get the ball rolling, what more can we ask? If he can get the ball rolling for $50,000, what more can you ask? One ACO with benefits and retirement makes more than that in a year.

Boks makes $165,000 and with bennies, maybe $200K, that's almost $17,000 a month. Money is not the issue; the issue is movement and will.

It is not about us, it is about the animals.


Anonymous said...

Yea and on his "visits" to the shelter he came at 7:30 in the morning when staff had just begun to clean cages and feed. He found a stack of dog food by the dumpster waiting to be thrown away because it was no good when it was picked up as a donation. Besides he makes no money unless he looks for the worst, he never mentions the good that is done. Whine-ograd is digging his own grave at this point, he is finished.

Anonymous said...

"Whine-ograd" is oh so fitting.

Nathan hates people so he attacks them. He is a disgruntled wanna be "nokill" specialist, but he's not. He realizes he's a fake and hates it so he takes out those feelings on shelter employees and administration. He now realizes that everyone finally realizes he's a fake. He's never made a shelter nokill.

Nathan's tactic to get consulting contracts is to rile the public up about animal deaths. He riles up the general public, activists and uses them to sell his services. He actually uses others to extort cities for consulting contracts, i.e. money. It's all amount money and fame for him.

The basis of Nathan's book is the history of animal control. He wastes most of the book talking about how horrible things used to be. The main premise is that there is no pet overpopulation problem. There are enough homes already. The evil shelter employees and administrators are just lazy and would rather kill animals because it's "easier." Things couldn't be further from the truth. I'm so amazed that anyone has bought into his book. His book is all about hating animal shelters and people who work there.

He's also into hating HSUS, PETA and any other group that won't support him and give him money. He's willing to accept money and publicity from breeders and the center for consumer freedom. These groups hurt animals yet Winograd doesn't care. Their money still spends. That's all he cares about.

Winograd could have used this opportunity to help animals in Kern County. Instead, he just made the public hate the city, shelter and employees. Do you think the employees will want to implement these programs after the nasty things he said about them? No.They will make sure any plan of his fails. But Nathan doesn't care. He just cares that his check clears.

He could have come up with a positive plan for change instead of just beating up the city, shelter and employees with a baseball bat. What city would want to hire him after this? What city would want to give him $30,000 just to call them stupid killers? None that I know of.He sure knows how to shoot himself and the animals in the foot.

Ed Muzika said...

I disagree with the last commenter.

Winograd made his first small shelter, Tompkins County. no kill, and apparently it still is within a definition of 90% save.

Charlottesville went no kill in a very short period of time given a 90% definition, although it may not have persisted as no kill.

Philadelphi went from 15% live saves to 60% in two years and is holding.

Reno has 90% saves for dogs and 85% for cats in one year and they have twice the per capita impound rate as LA, and it is not a garden paradise some claim must be necessary for no kill.

No one would take action without a a big shaking up--a radical transformation as opposed to graudal changes which work slowly and then get bogged down because of no impetous.

Boks had all kinds of positive programs for LA and little has worked.

Regarding employee sabotage, this oculd be a problem, but it was largely overcome at the other locations and appears to be improving in New York under new management. I say appears with a big grain of salt.

But if Winogard can get the public, rescuers, activists and the mayor behind radical change, it will happen, and the good employees will feel empowered to drive the bad out.

I agree his book, though very well written is largely crap. Ten pages of solutions which are easy to articulate and hard to implement--but not impossible.

Look at San Francisco.

I think cities that deserve it should be pounded into the ground, break them and then remake them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Muzika.

Anonymous said...

Some bit of perspective on breaking apart King County's Department of Records, Elections and Licensing Services (REALs)...

1) Remember 2004 with all the distributed vote fraud in King County? Dean Logan, yup you probably know him in LA, was in charge of REALs then. Failed to enforce the law and run a good operation before the gov't system failure and we Washington State Republicans got even for his not enforcing the law (e.g. allowing unverified provisional ballots to be counted, dead people & felons who didn't make full restitution on the voter rolls plus multiple voting) by taking the windex + the vacuum cleaner + the blogosphere fisk to Dean Logan until we chased him down to you.

2) One of those efforts is to take Elections out of REALs and into the hands of an independent person. Initiative 25 is phase one and we won, phase two is for King County to have a charter vote on this and we win.

Frankly, we in Washington State with so much of our media centered in Seattle are acutely aware of REALs real difficulties. As somebody who knows people in King County up here in Skagit, I salute you and good blogging & fisking.

dogman said...

Wineograds allegations on King countys failing are under fire by those who were actually there on the days he alleges inproprities..and not all of them are staff members..he's all about interest in aiding animals..otherwise he would have reported the cruelties he claims to observed to the many supervisors that are at that the animals would get immediate attention..since he didn't do that maybe his claim isn't true...or should he be charged for failure to act???

Ed Muzika said...

Here is my final take on Winograd.

If any of you can tell me how to make sure the dream Animal Services director gets the GM job, one who can bring everyone together, fine, I'll back that candidate. But who and where is he/she?

But if you simply say that we need to force the mayor to hire someone who can bring everyone together, that is a non-answer because it will not happen.

If you say we have to force the mayor to fire Boks and then get a great search committee together, the answer is the same, it won't happen.

The only way that will happen is with enormous pressure put on AV from the media and public.

If Winograd comes, there will be a war and things will happen.

Even if you are right that he does not care about the animals and is only grandstanding to bolster his ego, my response is, if it works, and it has elsewhere, let's give him the opportunity to do it.

Even if it is true that he was fired from the SFSPCA and really doesn't know how to implement his recommedations, I say the same. His recommendations have worked in Philly to a degree, and elsewhere, albeit at smaller shelter systems, and that has come about---maybe, I don't know for sure---by installing a great director who can implement, that too is o.k. by me.

Regarding the oft repeated criticism that he consults for money, where did that come from?

Like all of us he has expenses and needs money. I just don't get the logic of this criticism. He is supposed to consult for free while he loses his house and home because he cannot pay the rent?

Nathan is right here waiting in the wings. When he comes heads will fall, the community will be in an uproar and the mayor will be forced to change.

How much improvement has there been under Boks/Bickhart?

In a big way I feel sorry for Ed. He tried to bring evertone together and give LAAS the PR boost it needs to bring animals in and adopt. If he had been able to make it happen, it would have been wonderful.

But, he always exaggerated, which lost him credibility.

His is a tough, tough job.

Anonymous said...

I believe you mean well Ed and I found you profile to be that of a dedicated man, but now you need to go one step further and become and educated man. Whino is trouble, he is greedy, callus and more importantly he doesn't care crap about animals...... None of the shelters you mentionsed are still no kill, can't happen big buddy. I have personally callled and talked to the directors. There are no open admission no kill shelters so put your efforts into spreading the truth

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are discounting the amount of suffering these shelters created with their overcrowding, disease, etc. in order to get their "numbers". Also those numbers have yet to be proved. How many animals did they turn away? There are too many questions to continue to tout these as "successes".

Ed Muzika said...

There is no way to meansure the suffering created by overcrowding. There is no way to tell how many were tuned away. How can I discount these things?

You assume these other shelters are like LAAS under Boks, turning animals away and with lately highly elevated died in shelter rates.

Wahoe include died in shelter as part of their euth figures.

I know, I know you don't trust anyone from any shelter that Winograd even drove by.

How do you know there was a significant increase in disease and dying as a percentage? This is a worst case senario assumption.

Why do you guys so emphatically stick to your assumptions that no kill is impssible, and then assuming it is impossible talk aboyt the suffering. There are so many of you neggies out there.

Please stop. I hate to not post reasonable comments, but when I get almost identical negative posts from about 3-4 people out there, who repeat the same old tired arguments, I wan to puke.

You waste our time with your absolute non-solutions and instead waste our time just bashing Winograd.

We have heard your "reasoning" dozens of times now, so give it a break.