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
By GREGORY ROBERTS AND CASEY MCNERTHNEY
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.