Today I received the video footage of Felix Reyes brutally abusing a Rottweiler with a dislocated hip at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter. Two of the video files were corrupt and as such I will be requesting non-corrupted copies of the corrupted files. In the meanwhile, I put together the three non-corrupted files.
County didn't want to release this footage under the California Public Records Act and as such put a price tag of $500.00 on it to deter it's release by claiming that the video footage needed to be redacted to block out faces of members of the public and employees for privacy and personnel reasons. County had no merit to this claim as I informed them that no expectation of privacy is reasonable and backed it up with legal authority. They continued to insist that they were right. In the end, their plan to charge $500.00 backfired as it was paid by me and another party requesting the video footage. The footage needed to be released regardless of the cost, even if it meant taking County to court to be ordered by a judge to hand over the footage. County's response to this Public Records Act request was in violation of the following provisions of law: Government Code Section 6253 (a), (b), (c), and (d); and California Constitution Article 1, Section 3(b)(1). This is not the first time they've violated the Public Records Act.
In the words of President Obama in a memorandum regarding the Freedom of Information Act, "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve." County has a lot to cover up and this is why they make Public Records Act requests seeking such records difficult to obtain.
Please note that the below video footage is extremely graphic. Select a download below or click play in the embedded YouTube video. You can also read and download the internal report.
(Muzika: I tried to download the links, but they did not download. Go to Ryan's blog for the links. THESE ANIMAL CRUELTY TAPES ARE VERY HARD TO TAKE.)
There is no substantiated case for this incident in the reports on the LA County Fraud Hotline website. As such, this was never investigated by or referred to the Office of County Investigations or no wrongdoing was found if it was investigated. No criminal animal cruelty charges were filed and Felix Reyes was not fired. It is reported that he's still an employee of the Department of Animal "Care" and Control working at the call center located at the Downey Animal Shelter. Felix Reyes should not be allowed to work in any occupation that deals with animals.
This abuse establishes a pattern as outlined below:
Daniel Robledo stepped on and kicked dogs.
A rabbit with an exposed spinal cord went unnoticed and untreated for over a week at the Carson Animal Shelter.
Melvin Sparks allegedly injected animals with air and cleaning solution, drowned squirrels, and injected pigeons with Fatal Plus and then released them to see how far they could fly before dropping to the ground.
At the May 17, 2008 Downey Animal Shelter protest, Animal Shelter Aide Sherman dragged two dogs as they rolled on the hot asphalt across the parking lot.
On the show Animal Cops on Animal Planet, people have been arrested and charged for lesser offenses of animal cruelty. Felix Reyes needs be charged with felony animal cruelty and fired. Demand that this happen by calling and emailing the County officials listed below. Also, contact any media contacts you have and refer them to this blog entry.
County of Los Angeles
Deputy District Attorney
County of Los Angeles
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210
Phone: (213) 974-3512
Supervisor, First District
Board of Supervisors
Phone: (213) 974-4111
Supervisor, Second District
Board of Supervisors
Phone: (213) 974-2222
Supervisor, Third District
Board of Supervisors
Phone: (213) 974-3333
Supervisor, Fourth District
Board of Supervisors
Phone (213) 974-4444
Supervisor, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Phone: (213) 974-5555
Parks, clueless, said he has seen the GM problem before, and asked what qualities the public wanted in a GM so we didn't come to this same place again next year. He asked if there were someone locally who people felt could do the job. Someone suggested Heisen, but Zine stated this was not the time or place.
As to what the public and rescuers want in terms of a GM?
That is easy--someone that can bring the killing down to 10%.
Someone who can bring it down likely is doing all of the right things.
We could speculate that short of that, what qualities are we looking for, and it still comes out being someone who can do the job.
Carl Friedman from San Francisco's AC&C said LA needed someone who can bring people together. That means an Obama community organizer type, which is exactly what Stuckey was.
The problem with Stuckey was he was doing a good job in terms of cutting the killing, but he didn't advertise it. He was doing far better than Boks. He thought the progress he was making was too slow and he'd be criticized and fired. Well, he hid the numbers and was lambasted for hiding the numbers. Then he was fired.
Boks is the opposite, he keeps telling everyone he is doing a good job even when the numbers prove otherwise.
Besides pure performance, there are the intangibles of likability, command presence and all that, but the real rub is in success. Can any GM get the killing down to 10%?
Of course, what a large number of people want is for Winograd to come here, do a consult and help select a new GM. That could be Heisen, then everyone who be happy in the short-term. The problem will be, can she do the job, or as Clueless asked, is there anyone on the horizon? Was he looking for a Winograd pitch?
Another reason I do not post is that I am sick of attacking Boks. It has done no good. It appears the Mayor does not care, and Tony will be reelected for four more years in May. I see no change here, that is why I did not post tomorrow's Zine Personnel Committee meeting about complaints against Boks at 3:00 pm downtown. I figured everyone who will attend has already been emailed at least twice. I also see it as a waste of time.
Zine 1 was in October, three months ago. What has happened despite overwhelming criticism of Animal Services management? Nothing.
I do not see the normal channels of official complaint, emails to City officials, picketing, leafleting, etc., to have ANY effect. Unless the media prints more negative stuff about LAAS, there will be no regime change, and if Boks were to leave, Villaraigosa is so angry with the LA animal community that he is likely to choose someone far more inept and unskilled than Boks.
Several have emailed me about the fencing/grating over the dog kennels at two shelters. This is so stupid, but I find token opposition, such as I can provide and the few people that contacted me to be entirely counterproductive.
Nobody listens to you if you complain about everything. Only when something stands out, like the dog dying at the County shelter with a photo, or the Mason case where I spent a lot of time following--only then can something happen.
I need to choose my battles.
Max lives in a tent on an overpass over a flood control channel in the South Bay. He has lived there for two years. The photos show how he lives and all the cat houses surrounding him. Strangely enough, I have only seen 2 cats there even after visiting him three times. One was in a carrier. A man he knew was moving back to his own country and he was dumping the cat. Max said he'd take the cat and find a home. This was a week ago.
I find Max's lifestyle refreshing. When I was a Buddhist monk I lived like this in the desert and again near a Zen center in Monterrey, CA. Mornings are unbelievable, almost always dew covered, cool or cold, and very close to nature. One's mind becomes very relaxed with this lifestyle.
Max is a non-professional handyman in the sense he builds and can repair most anything mechanical. He has built cat feeding stations at each of his colony sites.
I prefer the sneak in and sneak out approach to colony caretaking.
I have tried my best to conceal the location and yet show the surroundings. If you recognize the place, let me know and I'll remove the offending photo or the entire post.
Then there is Marie, Linda, Wilma, the Santa Monica ACO's who feed the "ferals" in Palisades Park. There are hundreds and hundreds of these people all over the city, and each has a story.
SON harped constantly about the Rancho shelter and how wonderful it was before Winograd consulted, and about his failure at Tompkin's County in New York, as well as concluding that anyone who claims to be near no-kill is a liar faking statistics in order to get donations.
Both people attacked my "naivete" about No-Kill, as well as made lots of nasty personal remarks, while the other did not.
Nathan has responded to Pat Dunaway, one of the two extremely No-Kill critical who posted to this blog, in his most recent blog post:
Who is Pat Dunaway?
January 15, 2009 by Nathan J. Winograd
During a visit to Austin, a reporter lashed out at me for questioning the city’s effort and those of the shelter and posed questions of an inflammatory and defamatory nature. No effort was made to simply report the news; investigate fairly; or pretend to be professional and lack bias.
Given our national politics of the last decade, and universal condemnation of the media’s failure to hold government agencies accountable, this outcome is distressing and disturbing, although perhaps not surprising. But that does not make it any less intolerable. That the press has taken on the role of cheerleader, rather than government watchdog, and that it falsely vilifies dissent, is a tragic reminder of the struggles of our time, made worse in our movement by the fact that those seeking reform are smeared while shelter directors who would keep our movement shrouded in darkness are given a free pass. In the end, however, it is the animals who have to pay the ultimate price.
But as I prepare to be vilified by an Austin reporter, I have discovered the source of the reporter’s inflammatory questioning: Patricia “Pat” Dunaway. Who—or more accurately, what—is Pat Dunaway?
The Enigmatic Naysayer
They exist in every community. They claim to be animal advocates but they are promoters of death. They cannot be swayed by logic, facts, or alternative points of view. They seek out that which fits their beliefs and reject everything else to the point of taking facts out of context—and in many cases, making up “facts”—to fit the story. The Naysayers are those who have a predetermined agenda of support for animal control, regardless of how many animals the local shelter kills or how otherwise dysfunctional the agency is. Pat Dunaway is the worst kind of Naysayer. She is an “Enigmatic Naysayer.”
What makes the Naysayer here such an enigma is that they wear the mantle of animal lovers (e.g., they volunteer at their local animal control shelter, they support spay/neuter efforts), but they defend the status quo of killing regardless of how poor, neglectful, or abusive conditions are at the local shelter. Despite the existence of three reports—one from a 15-member citizens advisory committee, one I did, and one from a veterinary team at U.C. Davis—showing that conditions at King County Animal Control were “deplorable,” they support the agency. Despite the fact that Los Angeles County shelters allowed animals to languish and die because of poor care, they support the shelter. Despite the fact that the San Bernardino County animal control facility did not want to hold a severely injured dog who was doused with gasoline and set on fire by a malicious owner so they subsequently returned the dog to the abuser pending the trial, they continue to support that agency.
As a result of proclaiming to be an animal welfare advocate, Enigmatic Naysayers confuse what should be a clear-cut issue for the media and the public, and as a result sow seeds of doubt and confusion about shelter reform efforts. They create the question: “If a spay/neuter advocate and shelter volunteer does not think reform is necessary, is it?” And they accomplish their goal by trying to paint reformers as extremists.
When I was asked to assist the City of Rancho Cucamonga, I was publicly challenged by Pat Dunaway. Dunaway was closely associated with then shelter management which was not only killing animals which rescue groups were willing to save, but was also violating numerous other California laws regarding care and treatment of sheltered animals.
This is the same shelter which claimed it satisfied state law mandating exercise for dogs when it walked the dogs from the front counter to the kennel, and then five days later after the holding period passed, to the “euthanasia room” to be killed. This is the same agency which ultimately returned the burned puppy back to his abuser. This is the same agency with algae covered water bowls for the dogs. This is the same agency which killed specific animals rescue groups called to say they were coming to get—killing them while the rescuers were en route! When the animal control provider was fired, Dunaway was kicked out. She has since become my cyber-stalker.
Whenever an article appears about me, Dunaway calls the reporter and/or using an anonymous posting or a false name, she prints variants of the same thing: I am a militant animal rights extremist; I was fired by Richard Avanzino from San Francisco; Charlottesville, Virginia failed to meet their quota; Tompkins County, New York is failing; more animals are dying in Rancho Cucamonga, California; Reno, Nevada’s numbers are suspect at best; and, because I oppose mandatory spay/neuter, I am in league with puppy mills.
In Austin, Seattle, Reno, and elsewhere, she has posted “anonymous” online comments after articles in which I appear. But all the comments are coming from the same IP address and all involve the same inflammatory and histrionic language. Until this particular reporter in Austin, no one has taken Dunaway seriously because most people are smart enough to see past the inflammatory invective. Nonetheless, if there is a lesson in our national politics of the last decade, it is that we cannot and should not remain silent in the face of a “swift boat” campaign.
My hopes in outing her, therefore, are three fold:
1. to defend myself against her lies;
2. to ensure that reform efforts to save sheltered animals are not sidetracked by her maliciousness; and, most importantly,
3. to take away the power she believes she has by hiding behind anonymity.
Here are my responses to her baseless allegations:
Pat Dunaway has stated that I am a militant animal rights extremist with ties to violent people.
Fact: I am a Stanford University trained lawyer who believes in the rule of law. I spent the first four or so years of my legal career as a Deputy District Attorney prosecuting a wide range of cases: domestic violence, murder, gangs, drugs, robbery and more. I was also the chief animal control official in the county I worked in, ensuring the vigorous investigation and prosecution of neglect and animal cruelty cases. During a short stint, I was also an attorney doing products liability class actions in U.S. automobile defect cases, helping ensure that automakers were held liable for producing knowingly faulty cars, which resulted in people becoming severely injured and even killed. During my work with the No Kill Advocacy Center, I worked on a model law to reform shelters within the legal system and have been involved in litigation to ensure that shelters which break the law are forced to follow it. In short, my whole career has been spent protecting people and animals from harm.
I renounce violence in all of its forms, which is why I strive to make ethical choices in all that I do: from my work as a lawyer protecting and defending victims of crimes, to my work in corporate law on automobile defect cases, to my work at the No Kill Advocacy Center trying to end the systematic killing of animals in shelters, to my own life and consumer choices as an ethical vegan. I am also a family man with small children who teaches them tolerance and fair play and an author who believes in the power of the pen, not the sword.
Pat Dunaway has stated that I was fired by Richard Avanzino at the San Francisco SPCA.
Fact: I was not fired. I left to pursue a career in the law. Rich asked me to stay (and predicted I would be back to animal sheltering!) Nonetheless, I maintained close contact with Rich over the years, did a project or two for him on a consultant basis, and at his request and with his recommendation, did come back to work at the agency, this time under a new President when Avanzino left to head Maddie’s Fund.
I did subsequently resign from the San Francisco SPCA for several reasons: I disagreed vehemently with the direction in which the SF/SPCA was moving, the SPCA was scaling back/closing down the nuts and bolts programs which brought lifesaving success to national all-time-lows under Avanzino, and I opposed the $20-million fee-for-service hospital it was planning to build because I saw it as an unnecessary and costly boondoggle that would strain existing programs for homeless animals.
As I stated in my book, Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America:
When Avanzino left the San Francisco SPCA, he handed his successor one of the best-funded, most successful humane societies in the country. With an infrastructure that included a state-of-the-art pet adoption center and spay/neuter clinic, an animal hospital, a fundraising program that included a bequest stream of over three million dollars per year, a car donation program that was inching its way toward revenues of one million dollars annually, property values in excess of fifty million dollars and over forty million dollars in the endowment, the San Francisco SPCA was at the peak of its success. It not only had achieved a level of financial success which was the envy of SPCAs nationwide, it was saving homeless animals at two and three times the national average, resulting in the lowest death rate of any major urban city and the only one which guaranteed to save all healthy dogs and cats.
The new president, however, was not interested in day-to-day operations, and had different priorities than his predecessor. Moving away from the programs that had made it so successful, the San Francisco SPCA replaced nuts-and-bolts programs that were the underpinning of the SPCA’s lifesaving efforts at an astonishing clip. In their place, partnerships with the University of California at Davis for fee-for-service behavior counseling, as well as architectural plans for a twenty million dollar fee-for-service specialty veterinary hospital were drawn up. And esoteric conferences on animal spirituality and telepathically communicating with animals, which catered to a more affluent, “new age” San Francisco crowd, were held at great expense—in luxury hotels or in posh vacation places like Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Within a few short years, the SPCA’s feral cat program was virtually abolished. The spay/neuter clinic, the core of San Francisco’s No Kill accomplishments, restricted its hours, significantly raised fees and, at one point, even closed its doors. On a day that came to be called “Black Monday,” the legions of feral cat caretakers who made their regular pilgrimage to use the services of the spay/neuter clinic were turned away. Many of the cats brought in that day were likely re-released unspayed or unneutered into parks and alleyways. Plans to phase out programs in the animal hospital for indigent clients and homeless animals were in full swing. Entire departments, including those which protected the city’s wildlife, worked to find apartments for renters with pets, and advocated for stronger protections of animals, were eliminated. The crown jewel of the No Kill movement quietly passed into obscurity.
When my efforts to keep the San Francisco SPCA on track were rebuffed by the President, I chose to leave.
Pat Dunaway has stated that Charlottesville did not meet its quota.
Fact: Charlottesville achieved No Kill success at its open admission animal control shelter in 2006, repeated that achievement in 2007, and is well on pace to do so again in 2008.
Separately, I have argued that No Kill success is achieved when shelters save roughly 90 percent of all impounded animals, as a small percentage (roughly at or less than one in ten) are irremediably suffering, hopelessly ill or injured, or vicious dogs with a poor prognosis for success. This is based on the most rigorous interpretation of healthy and treatable animals and is summarized in an article I wrote for the No Kill Advocacy Center called “The 90% rule.” Charlottesville has consistently met that.
Dunaway’s false insinuation that there was some quota which was not met (leaving the reader to believe that they have strayed from their No Kill goals) stems from the fact that in one year, the cat save rate in Charlottesville dipped to 88%, just shy of 90%. What Dunaway does not say was that no healthy or treatable cats were killed. What Dunaway does not say is that the 88% save rate was higher than any other municipality in the nation that year. In short, Charlottesville was the safest community in the nation to be homeless cat, but Dunaway insinuates failure. Rest assured, unless there is great self-loathing, if Dunaway were a homeless cat, Charlottesville is where she would have wanted to be that year.
Pat Dunaway has stated that Rancho Cucamonga failed.
Fact: When the City of Rancho Cucamonga fired the animal control service provider—which Dunaway worked with and was associated with—I helped Rancho Cucamonga take over operations by assisting in the development of job descriptions, training for staff, budgeting, construction, and policy recommendations. As to the latter, I recommended strongly that they follow the No Kill Equation model of sheltering. They implemented some programs and not others. That was their choice—one made against my formal recommendation as to what was necessary to achieve true No Kill. As a consultant, I could only recommend, not require.
Because I was not involved in hiring the new Director, in writing their operations manual, or in implementation of programs once the facility opened, I have not followed their progress as I do other agencies which I still work with, nor have I been to the shelter since that time. Periodically, however, I have asked them for their statistics. The last time I received a report, the number of cats saved increased from four out of ten (under Dunaway’s shelter) to six out of ten, the number of dogs saved increased to eight out of ten, and the number of other animals (rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, etc.) saved increased from two out of ten to seven out of ten. Under the shelter Dunaway supported, a cat had more of a chance of being killed than saved and seven out of ten bunnies were being put to death. Is that what she considers success?
Pat Dunaway has stated that Tompkins County is failing.
Fact: Tompkins County has been an open admission animal control No Kill shelter for six years running. It has saved roughly 90% of all animals every year. In addition, Tompkins County had tops-in-the-country save rates in 2007. I spoke to the Director of the agency (the third since my departure) and she laments the double standard about animal control funding in Tompkins County and the misrepresentations about the state of the shelter noting that “the issue of [animal control] contracts continues to be both misunderstood and used against the shelter, and folks are writing fiction about our finances because they don’t bother to ask.” She then asks the right questions: “Why wouldn’t I insist on fair market value for state mandated animal control services? It would be irresponsible of me not to.”
Recently, the new Director approached the local municipalities and informed them that they needed to pay their fair share for animal control services on a cost recovery basis. All of the additive programs above and beyond what the law required would be provided at no cost by her agency. What she has been asking for is fair compensation for the animal control services they are providing under contract and which they have been subsidizing—services which are the legal responsibility of the municipalities, not a private not-for-profit. Currently, the towns are paying about $1.70 per capita—far less than any surrounding municipalities are paying for shelters which kill. The Humane Society of the United States recommends that towns pay $5 to $7 per capita—and that is for a program reliant on killing!
By contrast, for $3 per capita (less than half of what HSUS recommends on the high end and almost half of what they recommend on the low end), she was offering them No Kill animal control. Some decided to opt out of their contracts because they did not want to pay the $3. If this was any other shelter, groups like HSUS and people like Pat Dunaway would have rushed to the shelter’s defense and condemned the municipalities. But because it is a symbol for No Kill, they attack (Dunaway and HSUS’ representative in King County)—sacrificing the animals in the process. It is beyond hypocritical. It is unethical and obscene.
Pat Dunaway has stated that Reno’s numbers are suspect at best.
Fact: Statements are not facts (Especially those made anonymously by a rage filled person with an axe to grind.) Where is the proof of this? In fact, the statistics from Reno do not come from me, they come from two independent sources: The Nevada Humane Society and Washoe County Animal Services. Moreover, the director of WCAS is hostile to No Kill which would tend toward wanting to downplay the extent of the success of the effort, thus making the statistics even more trustworthy. Facts are facts and the facts show a resounding success in Reno. Furthermore, they are cross checked against each other to ensure that impounds and outcomes are not counted twice, and have been verified by a reporter from the Reno News Gazette.
Pat Dunaway has stated that I am opposed to mandatory spay/neuter so I am in league with puppy mills.
Fact: Spay/Neuter is one of the cornerstones of the No Kill Equation and a program I offered for free in both San Francisco and Tompkins County. My opposition to mandatory spay/neuter laws is because they increase the power of the animal control bureaucracy to impound and kill animals for violations, and that is what has occurred in municipalities which pass them. This is not an anomaly. It has happened time and time again. It also causes animal control to divert scarce resources from programs which save lives (e.g., TNR for feral cats) to enforcement of ordinances that result in higher rates of killing.
I’ve written extensively about this in several articles/blogs. And I am not alone in this. According to the kcdogblog.com:
Primarily, they are barriers to our life-saving cause because they actually increase the killing in our shelters. To say they make building a No Kill community more difficult is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong. I support spay/neuter. Voluntary spay/neuter programs have been wildly successful and should be implemented in every city across the nation. Unfortunately, many want to take it one step further, mandating that pets must be altered. While most of the proponents of these laws have the right end goal in mind, the unintended consequences of punitive legislation makes them counter-productive to what they are trying to accomplish…
In 2006, Kansas City passed MSN of all “Pit Bull”-type dogs. Since the ordinance was passed, Kansas City has seen an 80% increase in the number of “Pit Bulls” killed in their city shelter. Many of these dogs are getting confiscated from homes because they were not in compliance with the spay/neuter ordinance. Young puppies are being killed because they look too “Pit Bull” and are not altered by the time they reach eight weeks of age. They’re killed only because they have not been spayed or neutered.
Many other cities have seen similar results with their mandatory spay/neuter ordinances—of both “Pit Bulls” and of all types of dogs. Los Angeles passed their mandatory spay/neuter in February of 2008, and has seen their kill numbers go up 31% this year, after more than five years of steady decline in shelter killings.
Similarly, other cities have struggled with their mandatory spay/neuter ordinances. Problems range from decreased licensing (pushing these people underground and making them harder to reach with low cost services), significant increases in animal control costs, and an increase in shelter killing rates due to the ordinances. Simply put, mandatory spay/neuter ordinances have never led to No Kill success anywhere, ever.
Moreover, I’m not a puppy miller or large scale breeder. I am not even a small scale breeder. I’ve never bred an animal. On top of that, I regularly speak out against puppy mills such as when I blogged “that buying from pet stores who feed the puppy mill industry [fuels] overbreeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages and the killing of animals by those facilities when they are no longer profitable.”
In fact, I am putting together No Kill Conference 2009 on behalf of the No Kill Advocacy Center with a workshop on puppy mills described as follows: “Legislating and Litigating an End to Puppy Mills Strategies to overcome institutionalized cruelty. This workshop will explore legal definitions of “puppy mills,” and offer both legislative strategies through anti-cruelty law reform and litigation strategies to combat this institutionalized form of cruelty…”
Countering the Swift Boat
Since these Enigmatic Naysayers exist in many communities, we are duty bound to challenge them because they wear the mantle of animal protection, yet pursue an agenda—based on lies and vilification—that seek to protect an animal control bureaucracy focused on poor care and overkill. As a result, they can potentially sidetrack reform efforts. We have seen in our national politics that failure to challenge swift boat tactics emboldens these people to further misrepresentations and attacks. We owe it to the animals whose killing they champion and to the reform efforts they seek to prevent to meet them head on and to respond to their allegations no matter how outrageous.
In the end, we can never know what motivates the Enigmatic Naysayer. In late 2006, however, I received two letters about Pat Dunaway. I subsequently had a conversation with a rescuer in Rancho Cucamonga who indicated to me that she and others received them as well. It seems that Pat Dunaway has made enemies of others. If what they say is true, perhaps they provide some insight into who Pat Dunaway is and why she attacks me and the No Kill paradigm I champion. (I’ve redacted information relative to where she lives.)
Pat, whether or not you are SON is beside the point. It is obvious from our talks and email that you are an enemy of the entire No-Kill concept, and as such you are getting animals killed. This has to stop.
I have tried to reason with both you and SON about the facts, which neither of you have given me that No-Kill has failed everywhere it has been tried, and that the worst of the No-Kill gurus is Nathan, and everyone, including Boks, Reno, Charlottesville, and Tompkins are just one half step behind.
Your only solution is S/N, but by the stats I just recently posted, LA has been spay neutering ten times as much this decade as the 90s, yet cat impounds have not dropped. This entire decade impounds have remainded flat at around 21,500 per year. Massively increased S/N and City supported TNR has done nothing to bring impounds down.
Why? Because as is pointed out by the commenter below, the S/N efforts have been happening in the areas where the animals are being impounded.
I don't have the time to explore all the ramifications of these charts, but Ed does make it clear that the department's spay/neuter programs over the years, as well as those of rescue groups, Maddies, etc., has not help one iota in reducing the impound numbers or rates for cats.
I have long held this view and finally Boks concurs.His solution is to do more of the same with the naive belief that doing more will finally have a positive result.
Rather than draw the conclusion that feral S/N efforts, as well as low/moderate S/N programs for the public have been a failure and other solutions should be looked at, he steps aside and explains the department has not been able to do more because of the environmentalist’s lawsuit and that by the National Audubon Society. If they were not blocking, the City’s S/N efforts, Boks contends doing more of the same will work.
My suspicion is that even if we double the amount of S/N monies and effort, we will not halve the number of cats impounded. There are other factors we do not understand because the Department and Boks have not done enough raw data field analysis, or spent the time conceptualizing why S/N has failed.
I know the same persons will respond--she always does--that stats prove S/N works by citing such and such a study, city or shelter, or years for which we do not have data.
I wish these critics would instead focus on the data presented.
The Department performed 270,000 surgeries either directly or through certificates and mostly spay/neuter from 2001 through 2008 (33,750/year), and cat intake remained fixed throughout this decade at about 21,500. This year we are 1,800 above that, last year about 1,200 below that.
All through the 1990s, the department was responsible for only 36,000 such surgeries, or 3,600/year. We are now doing 10 times as many surgeries with no decrease in cat impounds throughout this decade.
This just stands against common sense and so it is ignored or the usual suspect comes out and says what about….
Yes, but what about Los Angeles? Can you explain why all spay/neuter efforts have failed using a ten fold increase in S/N surgeries over the decade before?
We cannot rely on S/N efforts or even TNR. There is something else going on here such that S/N is failing and no one is getting a conceptual grip on it. They are ignoring the obvious trends.
Here is my suspicion:
The problem is much bugger than anyone realizes. The number of housed and feral cats is much larger than anyone has imagined. Therefore, 37,500 surgeries a year are not nearly enough to do the deed. I think we might have to do 4 to 5 times as many to significantly impact cat intake numbers, not 50% more.
This would require a whole new strategy because we will never reach 150,000 S/N surgeries a year.
Such sterilization rates will only obtain once we have a chemical permanent or vaccine permanent ability to sterilize cats.
There may be a much higher breeding dumping going on than imagined. There may be far more housed cats that do not get sterilized than imagined. The total cat population in the City may be far higher than anyone has conceived.
The only way we'll know is to ignore "experts" estimates, and do a field counting census of housed and ferals, watch a few hundred feral colonies over a period of 2-3 years in various parts of the City, and monitor caretakers known to LAAS as having too many cat complaints for numbers and dynamics.
Rather than LAAS and ACTF take action by busting these individuals, we need to study what is happening and the best was to "suppress" the unwanted cat situation.
I think we will find overburdened caretakers, known to the City as "hoarders," every block or 2. By that, I mean someone with at least 10 indoor and outdoor cats in every block, with a number not being sterilized.
I believe there is a failure to adequately sterilize these animals from fear by the caretaker to come in contact with Animal Services. Instead they hide their situation and need for low cost S/N. This fear is justified based on LAAS's and the ACTF's attitudes towards having "too many cats."
In my mind there is much more going on than even this, but we won't know until we investigate.
Scott Sorentino had the opinion that as you expand the shelters and the holding capacity of the shelters, all income and outcome statistics would increase: impounds, adoptions, euth, RTO, etc. because more animals would be impounded.
Boks claims the approximate 25% increase in impounds was due to the economic downturn.
The statistics below show that in most cases the new shelters do not cause a lot more animals to be impounded. Another set of figures from Brad Jensen show clearly that adoptions take off after a new shelter opens.
What the charts in the pdf below do show is that the overall increase in impounds appear more related to the economic downturn and mortgage problems. The flood of increased impounds began during June last year, has continued and is still climbing.
The shelters opened at various dates and the only shelter that seemed to show a New Shelter effect is West LA.
Brad Jensen's numbers and charts:
Very strangely, the Annex showed no change do to the economy. This probably is because of policy.
The relative percentages in all outcome categories remained essentially unchanged although the raw numbers increased dramatically in all areas, especially impounds.
Live Saves rates are unchanged, but impounds, killing and adoptions all WAY up.
Live saves for both years was about 56%.
The New Hope raw numbers rescues remained about the same, but they have not helped adopt out the huge increase in impounds.
Impounds for 2008 for dogs and cats was 54,191, the highest number since 2002. In 2007, the number of cats and dogs impounded was 54,191 compared to 2007 with 44,964, or an increase of over 9,200. This was an increase of almost 21%.
4,605 more dogs and cats were killed than in 2007, and 4,734 more animals were adopted.
So, is this huge increase in all the numbers due to an expansion of the shelter system as Mr. Severino claims, or due to the economy, or both?
Given the huge increase, I think LAAS did better than average not to have lost ground, but certainly not what they could have done with better leadership.
By going after a Mayor's staff family member and at the same time demanding that Winograd come and consult, could be a grave mistake. It links Winograd to what many even in the animal community consider out of bounds behaviors by the "radical" animal element and makes it appear he may be behind all this.
Nathan needs to disavow any connection with these acts. The ALF direct challenge to power engenders only a heightened resistance to reform and the media focus goes from the animals to what ALF is doing.
True, the media has never accurately covered what is happening at the shelters, mainly that there has been no sustained improvement at all since Ed Boks came while other cities are improving dramatically. The only negative article that came out were by Dana Bartholomew regarding the increased died in the shelter.
ALF's action hasn't changed anything. The media still isn't covering what is happening in the shelters, only that ALF is victimizing a bureaucrat's family.
Of course, this is only my opinion and I have been wrong many times before.
The ALF Press Office is absolutely correct though, no matter how much LAAS mismanagement and failures are exposed, no matter how many pickets, emails and letters to the editor are written, no matter how many commission meetings there are, or Councilmenbers made angry, nothing seems to change. The kill numbers are going up.
Therefore, I can understand the rage many feel towards Boks, Villaraigosa and those associated with them. But, we need smarter ways to effect change. I just don't know them; I wish I did. No one in the leadership of the LA animal community has made much of a mark. We ALL recognize this as our community's greatest weakness.
From my own view, I can see only money and numbers helping. We need an activist coordinating membership group that can hire organizers and media people full time. But that kind of money is out of reach for us now.
Here is what the AF Press Office sent out. It literally links ADL with ALF.
Family of LA Mayor's Deputy Visited by Animal Liberation Front Jimmy Blackman Urged by Underground Group to Implement No Kill Policies
Los Angeles - In an anonymous communique received by the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO), underground activists have again taken the struggle against the killing of adoptable companion animals to Los Angeles city officials, this time involving Jimmy Blackman. Blackman is deputy to Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and is one of the mayor's officials overseeing the six Los Angeles Animal Shelters.
The communiques reads:"On Dec. 30th we decorated Jimmy Blackmans parents front porch at 7851 Kenyon Avenue in LA with red paint and glued their locks. This action was done to bring attention to the blood being spilled because of their son Jimmy.
Obviously Samuel and Jing Ying haven't taught their son anything about accountability and consequenses; so we thought we would. As long as Mr Boks is head of the shelters, its not safe to be an animal at the shelters and its not safe to be Jimmy or his family members. --ALF"
Since 2004 local activists in LA have been focused on exposing the mismanaged and corrupt department of Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS). Activists complain that the Mayor's office refuses to hire experts to evaluate the shelter system and implement No-Kill policies, programs, and protocols proven to stop the killing of thousands of healthy, treatable animals as is being done in other municipal shelters throughout the nation.
Pamelyn Ferdin, an activist with Animal Defense League-LA, one of the groups involved with the campaign to stop the killing, explains: "Mayor Villaraigosa and his staff appointed Ed Boks to be general manager of the Department of Los Angeles Animal services; he is an incompetent man who was not only asked to leave as director of the shelter system in Arizona but then was fired from the New York City shelter system.
Animals in our city are being killed needlessly because the Mayor and his staff refuse to hire individuals with the skills and knowledge to implement the No Kill Equation here in Los Angeles. I think the humane community seem to be saying, 'Enough is enough; we're not going to take it anymore.' It’s too bad it takes illegal direct action by groups such as the ALF to get the media to take notice of the senseless slaughter going on inside the six city animal Death Camps under the corrupt leadership of Ed Boks. ”
For more information visit, http://www.animalliberationpressoffice.org/.Press Contact: Lindy Greene: (818) 445-6711Animal Liberation Press Office6320 Canoga Avenue #1500Woodland Hills, CA 91367
However, Laura Chick published a report suggesting the possibility last month:
http://www.ci.la.ca.us/CTR/audits/FinalControllerP3_122208.pdf (Pages 76-77).
Commenters to this blog have suggested this might be a disaster in terms of privacy and transparency issues. Some have suggested the RFP cannot include conditions such as requiring open records on the performance of the group with respect to measuring its primary function: saving the lives of animals.
I would absolutely oppose privatization if some sort of monthly statistics—auditable—were not made available, as well as the Rabies forms and perhaps a Maddies style accounting.
Also, as Winograd points out below, if the City unions are brought into the private shelters, you have privatized the existing bad employee problems.
Anyway, I wrote to Nathan Winograd about his take. Here is his response:
First, the move cannot require the not-for-profit to keep the city union. While I am very supportive of unions generally, unless there is management and political will, I've seen over and over how they stifle innovation in sheltering, particularly when the political leadership isn't there to enforce standards. For example, where there is a role for volunteers to provide additive services (driving animals to/from offsites, doing offsites), the union can fight that and prevent more lives from being saved. Particularly in a city like Los Angeles, firing under performing workers also becomes a challenge unless management and political leaders step up to the plate to provide written policies, training, and then accountability. As you know, that is absent and has been for some time.
Second, I don't agree that transparency is any better in the not for profit world. In fact, in many cases, it is less so. Some states do not allow Public Records Act or Freedom of Information Laws to reach to private organizations, even when they are getting public tax dollars to do a government function by contract. In many ways, they can be less transparent, except for what they file on their IRS 990 and that will basically just show income and expenses, and where they CLAIM the money is going by percentage.
What we want to know is how many animals are going in alive and out of alive, broken out in detail, and I am not convinced that is a more transparent process in a not-for-profit. It is sort of cagey the way the commenter focuses on profit and loss (finances) to talk about more accountability. We'll know what the contract to run the shelters will be worth, so we don't need the IRS for that because it will be a public bid. It's not the finances that we worry about when you talk about secrecy. There's a public budget. Its the internal workings and the animals and the policies, all of which you can get at through the PRA with government, but not necessarily a not-for-profit. In fact, unless it is required by the RFP or contract or law (e.g., for any agency receiving public moneys....), this will lead to less transparency.
Third, all you have to do is look at some of the large non-profits which do municipal contracting around the country and you'll see that they aren't necessarily doing a better job. In fact, Philadelphia Animal Control was a 501(c)(3) in 2002-2004, and it was killing 88% of the animals. St. Louis animal control was run by a not-for-profit and slaughtering most of the animals. NYCACC is technically a not-for-profit.
What the animals need is shelter reform legislation. What we need to do is regulate shelters the same way we regulate hospitals. We've seen nationally when you don't have adequate regulation, you have inefficiency and highway robbery. Hence, the economic meltdown, Enron, AIG, the subprime market, et. al. If they privatize to improve innovation, fine, but it must come with measurable lifesaving benchmarks, increasing every year, as a condition of the RFP. And we need either in the RFP or enabling legislation like the Companion Animal Protection Act (http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?page_id=213) that forces the provider to operate their shelters in a progressive, life-affirming way, removing the discretion which has for too long allowed shelter leaders to ignore what is in the best interests of the animals and kill them needlessly.
So given the above caveats, I could get behind this (in fact, it is what many are pushing for in King County WA) but only because LAAS has shown it is incapable of running a humane animal control program, and for no other reason.