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Los Angeles Animal Shelter - a bad example

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ADL-LA has received TONS of e-mails regarding the Hall article in the LA Times which appeared on Sept. 9th, 2008. The e-mail below was forwarded to us and we believe that it is one of the most compelling regarding a large county animal shelter in Washoe County Nevada, and we wanted to share it with our readers.

*Washoe County, NV takes in three times the number of animals PER CAPITA than Los Angeles but is saving 92% of all dogs and so far, 91% of all cats YTD. On top of this, LAAS has one of the highest per capita budgets in the U.S.

*Washoe County Animal Services reclaims over 50% of stray dogs because they are proactive including knocking on doors, posting on pet harbor, working with owners and more. In short, their field service staff is bringing in less animals because they are rehoming them in the field. The fact that LAAS field staff are bringing in more animals is not proof that they have a better functioning field service staff, but proof of the opposite. They are doing little to reunite them. They are doing little to resolve issues without resorting to impound and killing. They are not solving problems, but creating more.

*More animals are coming in to LAAS because the officers are threatening people with fines based on the mandatory S/N law unless they turn in their animals. Rather than work with people to get their animals sterilized, the officers are encouraging people to surrender them where they languish in already overcrowded shelters or kill them.

*The buck stops at the top. Ed Boks is blaming his managers. Blaming managers shows that Boks has not been following the operations of the shelter, following through or holding staff accountable. He is "surprised" by the fact that his managers are not doing their jobs, an admission of failure on his part and his lack of involvement in day-to-day operations.

* Offsite adoption programs, pet retention efforts, and a fully functioning foster care program are keys to saving lives. These programs do not exist comprehensively in practice. In fact, only in the fantasy world of Boks' blogs can you find these programs. Ask for pet retention advice of an LAAS employee and you'll get a blank stare. Sign up to become a foster parent and you'll never hear from LAAS again. You can't even reach them on the telephone to ask about an animal you want to adopt.

*Other cities including Washoe County are experiencing increases in intakes due to foreclosures, but they prepared for them and deaths are still down.

*Boks has been given one of the highest budgets of any agency in the U.S., he has been given new shelters, spay/neuter clinics, all the laws he asked for, a thriving rescue community, in a city that takes in fewer animals per capita than most U.S. cities. Not only should deaths be down, they should be plummeting. All Boks had to do to be successful was his job.

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