My Email to Council and the LAAS Commission

Ed Boks and Council,

Yesterday we learned that Animal Services will no longer be offering spay/neuter certificates to rescue groups or the public, which means that access to low cost and affordable spay/neuters has been cut drastically only months after passing the Mandatory Spay/Neuter law. The feasibility and enforcement of that law was predicated on the ready availability of free or low cost spay/neuter surgeries.

In addition, the non-profits assisting in spay/neuter and Trap/Neuter/Release efforts locally themselves are in severe financial trouble due to the recession and are likely unable to increase their own subsidy of affordable services, especially since much of what they have done depended on City certificates.

This means a large number of Los Angeles residents cannot NOW afford to get their animals fixed, which means marked enforcement problems and creating a new class of criminals out of the low and middle income families.

The City recently opened several spay/neuter surgeries at their own shelters, but at the West Valley, the veterinarian who won the contract, Value Vet, provides spay neuters to the public that are NOT low cost or affordable by any account, because the General Manager of LA Animal Services needed to get those centers open to show he is doing a good job, albeit with a fee schedule that punishes low income families.

For example, here is the Value Vet price list for spay neuters:

Value Vet
Dog spay
Under 25 lbs. $165.00
25 – 50 lbs. $175.00
51 – 75 lbs. $200.00
Over 75 lbs. $280.00

Dog neuter
Under 25 lbs. $150.00
25 – 50 lbs. $160.00
51 – 75 lbs. $175.00
Over 75 lbs. $240.00

Cat spay $135.00
Cat neuter $90.00

Incredibly, Linda Barth and Ed Boks are proposing giving the contract for the West Valley shelter to Value Vet also, virtually eliminating affordable spay/neuter services in the West Valley.

It is obvious that the Mandatory spay neuter law will place a discriminatory and unfair burden on lower and now even middle income persons who currently have unneutered animals, and this discriminatory burden is likely to last for at least three years.

Therefore, this law needs to be rescinded, or else the spay/neuter certificates restored.

Lastly, the Value Vet proposal for the West Valley shelter must be denied and a new RFP be sent out. Clinico has responded to the RFP for two other locations and offer spay/neuter surgeries ranging $25 for cat neuters to $55 for large dog spay surgery, at one fourth to one fifth Value Vet’s charges.


Anonymous said...

I called Value Vet's low cost clinic at West LA animal shelter and asked what they would charge for my 120 pound dog.

They quoted me 500 dollars.

Anonymous said...

Very good letter! I hope you sent it to each of the city council members, but especially your own. We need to start demanding that these electected officials work for US. Please encourage everyone to write and call and fax their city councilmember about this.

Lack of vouchers punishes the low income and senior residents of Los Angeles, forcing them to break the law.

Anonymous said...


I read your piece (and actually found the well-hidden press release on the LAAS site) so I've written up my own modest proposal to instantly restore the discount s/n program:

Ed Muzika said...

Refunding spay neuter certificates is not a matter of a $100,000-$200,000, but well over $1.5 million dollars.

In 2005 the City gave out 38,000 certificates and last year, I believe 44,000. These are the $30 feral and $70 senior certificates. I don't know what the actual utilization was, but at an average of $45 each, we are talking almost $2 million.

Anonymous said...


The LAAS press release on this says:

"Another $150,000 has been identified through belt-tightening in our expense accounts. With an alarming increase in the number of dogs and cats entering the City's system in 2008 we need to maintain staffing levels to ensure the health, safety and welfare of animals and people in the City of Los Angeles. Since we cannot afford to lay any employees off and our attrition rate is very low our only recourse is to make up the remaining $150,000 deficit through another reduction in our spay/neuter coupon and mobile programs."

The reduction he's talking about is March 10, and $150,000 is LAAS' figure. If it's incorrect, then Ed Boks needs to explain what's really going on.

Anonymous said...

So if $1.5 to 2.0 million dollars worth of s/n certificates were distributed with the intent to help get as many animals altered, lower the number of live intakes and in theory lower the number of animals being killed... where was the bulk of this money (money needed to honor those certs) suppose to come from?

Brad Jensen

Ed Muzika said...

I assume the $150,000 figure was just for the end of this fiscal year in June.

We don't know about next year.

Anonymous said...

$2.2M was the number Ed gave when trying to get the ordinance passed for vouchers. That is $183,000 per month and knowing the department "doles" them out to spread it out. So that would mean stopping it March 10, would indicate approx $640,500 would be short to finish out the year.

Anonymous said...

If you look at

You'll see several discrepancies. One is the $2.2 number for s/n, another, the statement about those earning less than 300% of the fed. pov. line (for a family of 4 in L.A. that would be less than about $65,000 household income which is probably 90% of L.A.) another that the department spends $12M on euthanasia. If you go to the city budget, those numbers are not correct. So the law was passed on false information. Ed is so used to no one checking up on him and calling him out. That is changing. The city council should be horribly embarrassed by all of this and should repeal the MSN law for Los Angeles.

Anonymous said...

The Associated Press now has word of this debaucle and it is EVERYWHERE LAAS and the city council should be terribly embarrassed. Time to repeal the law.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the commission, the GM and the mayor's office didn't listen to the ONE commissioner that lobbied and voted against the Value Vet contract. Now we have no vouchers and a reason for local vets to RAISE their prices. At Value Vet prices, the department would have been better off running the clinic "in house."

This is pathetic!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I talked to Eric Garcetti's office Friday after 5pm and his rep told me that they're going to fight Boks on this.

Anonymous said...

There was a non profit formed to help LAAS who was going to provide mobile free s/n and ongoing vet clinic for all of S.LA (San Pedro, Willmington, Watts, S. LA) that would free up the Amanda Foundation to double up other places and was going to be totally privately funded (no support from the department) and Ed became so uncooperative with the group, the efforts stopped. Ed doesn't care about what is best for the city or the animals, he cares only for getting credit, controlling the $ and promoting himself. In the end hopefully he'll find himself out of a job.

Also having been researching the "budget" every document for LAAS has different numbers. I'm starting to wonder where the money really goes. I wonder if Ed isn't siphening some of the budget off under "salaries" to our lovely mayor, thus Tony keeps him around. It doesn't add up. I'd really like to see a full investigation of exactly where the $19 million plus is going that is said to be spent on "salaries" That gives just over a million for all other expenses, including care for animals, vet care, cleaning supplies, office supplies etc. It doesn't add up and certainly doesn't equate to the $2.2 million he claimed was available for s/n.

Ed Muzika said...

I have posted several times that LAAS budget and personnel numbers are as variable as the weather.

What Ed says in press releases and info to the Commission is not borne out in the official budget, and even the official budget does not say what the actual numbers were or will be. I.e., you can budget for 330 employees for the coming year, and yet not have more than 315 employes at any one time.

I still don't understand how the six supposed spay/neuter vets and support staff were budgeted and then the clinics were turned over to outside contractors.

Anonymous said...

>>I still don't understand how the six supposed spay/neuter vets and support staff were budgeted and then the clinics were turned over to outside contractors.<<

Ed, the plan was to have 12 vets and have 1 do Spay/Neuter at each shelter and 1 do medical care. Consider the fact that Animal Services has 6 vets right now and this is a world's record. They are light years away from getting any more vets and RVT's to assist them in these sorrowful economic times. No way can LAAS run these clinics. Let's get real.