Merritt Clifton Takes Credit For All Reduced Shelter Killing in the US

A reader writes about her email to Merritt Clifton and his response:

Dear Mr. Clifton,

I have been reading Ed Muzika's L.A. Animal Watch blog, and, as a subscriber to your newspaper, I was interested in your exchange with him. I am no expert on statistics, so I don't want to take sides as to who is right or wrong about the numbers.

However, I do want to say this: in calling Mr. Muzika an "ignoramus" you have shown yourself to be juvenile and unprofessional. In saying you are not interested in his "ideas" you have shown yourself to be unreasonable and petty. It seems to me that any reasonable person, instead of resorting to name-calling and refusing to engage in dialogue, would defend his statements with some explanation or further elucidation.

Your statements have cost you a great deal of credibility with me.

Sincerely, Tina Clark

Merritt Clifton's reply:

"Ask me if I give a crap."

"More than 30 years of strategic analysis, contributing to a reduction of the U.S. shelter killing volume by more than 75%, & of the rate of killing per 1,000 Americans by nearly 90%, speaks for itself--as does helping to introduce neuter/return, adoption transfer, adoption advertising, numerous reforms in shelter design, abolition of gassing, etc.

"You can either listen up & learn, or remain ignorant. Ain't worried about it either way."

Merritt Clifton

Clifton iis pretty funny; he lives in his own world. But he is funny. I wonder how serious his rudeness is, or is he a bearded Don Rickles?

How can anyone take Clifton and his numbers seriously if he refuses to defend his methodology? What is it in his methodology that he knows is rationally and statistically indefensible?

This is something to ponder when you consider Ed Boks uses Clifton’s authority and reputation to “prove” how well he and the Los Angeles Animals Services are performing.

I emailed Merritt quoting two other comments about him left on this blog. First the comments, then his response:

Comment #1

Merritt is being very childish, as childish as Boks.

Comment #2

"as childish as Boks." That's EXACTLY what I was just thinking - this Clifton guy is another Ed Boks, a self-proclaimed "expert" in what anybody would consider a very time-consuming field, with apparently ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD on his hands to troll the internet and vigorously defend himself from people he himself characterizes as "ignoramuses."

Man, I knew animal rescue attracted more than its fair share of crazies and charlatans, but until Marcia Mayeda, Ed Boks, and now Merritt Clifton, I didn't know that the crazier a charlatan you are the more money you make at it.

Merritt Clifton’s response:

Tell 'em to take a number & wait in line.

E-mail: anmlpepl@whidbey.comWeb:



Anonymous said...

He actually is pretty old. That photo of him looking old and gray is from the 1070's. He's about 80 years old by now so maybe he has dementia, seriously. He doesn't even leave his house any more. His exwife and kid go to events for the group. Group, it's just him and his exwife and kid.

Anonymous said...

I have such a low tolerance for people who go into animal welfare for their own ego-trip instead of for the good of the animals. At this point it's very obvious that Clifton is in this for Clifton, not the animals. It may not have always been that way, but it certainly is now.

Anonymous said...

"Ask me if I give a crap."

Such exemplary professionalism. Perfect to be employed by Marcia Mayeda for LA County DACC. They're always short on kennel attendants. Such attitude will fit right in. No training required. He's already well-trained.

Anonymous said...

While I find it admirable that Clifton's life experiences have led him to become the "trustee" of two no-kill shelters that handle about 500 animals a year (roughly 1 animal intake per day, per shelter, not counting weekends), has allowed him to "manage" the neutering of 320 cats in 5 years (that's about 64 cat snips per year which equates to about the number altered on a given day of TNR in LA), help work on a sheep ranch for 1 year (sheepishly I ask why only 1 year?) and then provided primary care to horses for 11 years (cleaning stalls?), help with a dairy herd for 12 years (milking cows while tending sheep and horses?), volunteered about 1 hour a day to find and remove traplines for a game warden in Quebec (exactly how many traplines can be found in the distance traveled in half an hour?) I'm puzzled as to how this helps us understand what Clifton means when he says,
"What I do works".

If what Clifton does works and so many people are convinced that what he does works, then what specifically is it that works? If he's such an expert on statistics then where are his proofs? And where is the raw data? For example; where is the proof that cars kill 5.4 million cats per year, more than what U.S. shelters kill?

Brad Jensen
Cypress, CA


Anonymous said...


Ed Muzika said...

Boks will eventually declare LA No-kill when the Clifton number gets down to around 3, even while he is still killing 10,000 animals.

People have to know that the Merritt number is bull.

Merritt is digging his own grave.

Anonymous said...

"People have to know that the Merritt number is bull."

Merritt knows his number is bull.