Fantastic Statistical Summary of LAAS 2008 Performance

I thought only Brad Jensen did charts as good and clear as sent out by LAAS and Boks today:

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.


Anonymous said...

The low-cost spay/neuter program appeared to have been very successful for dogs. Always is. Cats are a whole different animal (ha). Since most cats that come into shelters were not owned, some type of TNR program is a necessity in order to have an impact. Unless the city institutes a good TNR program, there will be no hope of success in cats....which is yet another reason the MSN is ineffective.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis of the S/N information. Highlighting the failures of the efforts and foucus of the program is important.

I submit that what is happening is because they are not directing the efforts in areas where the cats are coming from that are ending up at shelters. They need to do more outreach and education; the only way to reach the care givers is to go to their communities and provide the services. They are low income and lack knowledge of proper animal care.

I offered to help Ed, but have not heard back from him. His loss, not for my lack of trying.