Ed, Why Aren't There Cameras in the Shelters--Looking at Employees?

Boks response to Winograd's blog videos of alleged animal abuse at LAAS:

New Day in LA Animal Services Challenges a blast from the past...

Recent blog posts by Nathan Winograd of No Kill Solutions are accompanied by videos depicting the unacceptable actions of two former LA Animal Services employees. One employee depicted has not worked for the department since September 2004. Another left more than a year ago.

LA Animal Services has policies in place today to prevent the kind of behavior and activity depicted in Mr. Winograd's blog and the LA Animal Services team is committed to completely eliminating these kinds of errors and abuses.

Improper treatment of animals in our Animal Care Centers is neither condoned nor tolerated. It is our belief that the kind of incidents that are the subject of Mr. Winograd's allegations do not occur in today's LA Animal Services. If they ever do, and there is demonstrable proof of it, the perpetrators will be disciplined appropriately.

Today’s LA Animal Services values the integrity of each employee, volunteer and partner contributing to the professional delivery of excellent customer service and the humane treatment of animals, in an atmosphere of open, honest communication, predicated on our trust in and respect for each other.

Anyone with any evidence of inappropriate or abusive conduct towards our customers, partners, or the animals in our care is encouraged to forward that evidence to the Department so appropriate action can be taken immediately.

Posted by Ed Boks

My own response is:

What would you consider " demonstrable proof?" A handwritten confession of abuse, or maybe a video.

Ed, how do you expect the public to get videos of neglect or abuse at the shelters? Public access is rather limited and anyone would be a fool to abuse an animal or a visitor in plain sight.

Therefore, I ask you, why has LAAS resisted all efforts to place video cameras into the shelters to monitor the day to day activities of staff with regard to animals?

If there are allegations of abuse, either of the public or animals by employees, why not have video cameras installed? Other public shelters do it. I don't know about LA, but police patrol cars in other jurisdictions have cameras in case of allegations of police wrongdoing; the truth will be told by the cameras.

Why are you and your shelters hiding from cameras?

Why not be as transparent with operations as you are with statistics?

Without video proof, you have no demonstrable proof of innocence.


Anonymous said...

"Without video proof, you have no demonstrable proof of innocence."

That's pretty funny! Do you suffer from an irony deficit? Does the disorder that makes your phoney statistics make some kind of sense to you, also prevent you from seeing through your own sophistry? (Yes, that was a loaded rhetorical question.)

How many cameras do you want installed and in which areas of all seven L.A. shelters. Since the shelters are operational 24/7, you want to record everything everywhere? Who is going to review the thousands of hours of owners turning in their pets and employees cleaning cages?

Oh, and who is going to pay for this?

Ed Muzika said...

An offer was made by a pulic party to fund exactly such surveillance cameras in one shelter as a pilot project. The unions killed the proposal and the whole idea dropped.

You have no idea how such video surveillance works.

The video is there to review if there are allegations of abuse to animals or the public.

One doesn't have to sit and review thousands of hours of video to find incidents of abuse of visitors, or of unprofessional behaviors. Just wait for a public complaint.

Also, the vidoe footage is there if there were internal whistleblower complaints.

The tapes can be reviewed at that point.

Cameras can be set to high, medium or low resultions, 30 frames per second to once every ten seconds or so.

There can be spot reviews by volunteers, which would be a good thing. A lot of us in the animal community would be willing to HELP the department review footage.

I'll tell you, there are also a lot of employees that have complaints about abuse by other emploployees, and if they could anonymously review tapes looking for footage to support their allegations and also have a way to anonymously imput the complaints, there would be a big change in attitude.

Anonymous said...

The unions were against staff being spied on. Later they stated that they were for cameras being in place as a security measure to protect staff. The issue at hand is which way the cameras point.

Cameras should be placed in the kennels, at animal receiving areas (preferably with audio, which would aid in training purposes), at the "back door," and outside employee break areas (employee theft is a problem) for starters.

Anonymous said...

The city was willing to pay for security cameras at the homes of employees who felt "threatened" by animal activists, though no one has ever suffered physical harm from protesters like ADLLA (that I know of).

Just knowing cameras are there would work as a big detractor for abuse, as long as they were really on and recording... or at least that's what the employees should think.

Anonymous said...

"Just knowing cameras are there would work as a big detractor for abuse, as long as they were really on and recording... or at least that's what the employees should think."

That is an excellent point. You're onto something.

I know people who have fake security cameras at their homes. It does serve as a crime deterrent.

Here's a link that sells "dummy" security cameras.


The price of the dummy camera would only be a couple of hundred bucks per shelter. The price of labor to install them (given how the city functions) would be a couple of hundred thousand

Anonymous said...

Go ahead put the cameras up. It will get my middle finger in the lens several times a day.


Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
Go ahead put the cameras up. It will get my middle finger in the lens several times a day.


This is great. Please put the cameras up so we could catch this ACO violating City Ethics and, hopefully, getting fired over it.

You are on duty and we pay taxes. We have every right to know what you are doing.

Give a middle finger; lose your job.

Anonymous said...

Remember that cameras have no prejudice. They will not just record what you want them to see but cameras also record things that may not be in your favor if you complain. Not only will employees be filmed, but it can be used to defeat arguments being used against them. Cameras have proved to be like a snake, they can turn it around and bite you.

If for no other reason, they should be installed for security purposes. A number of animals are stolen and this might help. And there are always those of the public who might want to do harm and the cameras would deter that also.

If you insist that the cameras are to be installed to "catch" employees, you will never get them. Some shelters do have cameras and the unions didn't stop them. See how they were able to overcome this. It was probably because it was presented as a security issue rather than an employee issue.

Ed Muzika said...

This is exactly what the cameras are for. To, if possible, determine the truth of what happened in a complaint, not just for the public, but also the employee.

Cameras create better behavior.

There are cameras, I believe in some shelters, but they are not pointed inwards.