I recently visited the Seattle Animal Shelter, a beautiful facility serving the 662,400 residents of the City of Seattle. Last year the shelter impounded 4,500 dogs, cats, rabbits and other species (a ratio of 1 animal for every 147 residents) and achieved a 93 percent live release rate – without enacting spay/neuter laws. When I asked the shelter’s management how Seattle achieved such a low number of impounds and such an impressive adoption rate, there were two reasons given – a better educated community and the shelter’s making spay/neuter accessible to everyone regardless of income or place of residence. For those who cannot afford surgery, the Pet Population Control Fund is available to help cover their costs, and pet owners pay only what they can afford.
I then looked at both Los Angeles County (DACC) and Los Angeles City’s Animal Control (LAAS) statistics for 2015 and was dismayed. According to statistics published on the DACC’s website, Los Angeles County impounded 55,922 pets and achieved an 82 percent live release rate on dogs, and only a 31 percent live release on cats. The Los Angeles County population is estimated at 10,020,000 people, of which 3,884,000 residents are served by Los Angeles City’s shelter system, 900,000 are serviced by Seaaca, and an additional one million people are serviced by Burbank, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Pomona and San Gabriel’s municipal shelters. This leaves Marcia Mayeda’s DAAC servicing approximately 4,230,000 people meaning there is one pet impounded for every 76 residents of Los Angeles County. Meanwhile in Los Angeles – which only gives detailed statistics on dogs and cats there was a ratio of 1 dogs and cats entering the system for every 106 residents – and the LAAS under the failed leadership of Brenda Barnette is famous for leaving stray dogs and cats on the street to starve to death or be hit by a car so it can keep its live release statistics looking good!
Why are Los Angeles City and County failing so miserably at Animal Control? It is not an overly complicated answer. Even though both Los Angeles City and most of Los Angeles County have spay/neuter laws they are barely enforced. In Los Angeles City there are an estimated 100,000 dog licenses and a dog population estimated at one million. There are very few canvassers working Los Angeles City. Very few people are receiving citations for unlicensed dogs, and we have yet to hear of anyone receiving a citation for having an unaltered dog. In Los Angeles County there are canvassers writing tickets for unlicensed, but rarely for unaltered, pets. Additionally there are several major Los Angeles cities lacking spay/neuter ordinances and the feckless Marcia Mayeda led agency has done less than nothing to try and effect s/n ordinances in communities such as Azusa and West Covina two cities who provide approximately 40 percent of Baldwin Park’s impounds. El Monte, which had contributed nearly 21 percent of Baldwin Park’s impounds in 2012 recently enacted a spay/neuter ordinance but only upon the urging of a local school teacher and this reporter – with absolutely no support from the DACC.
Neither the DACC nor Los Angeles City is opening up their spay/neuter clinics to the public.
Meanwhile down in Riverside County, a county which is far more economically challenged than Los Angeles, their Animal Control department under the progressive leadership of Robert Miller has managed to recently hit an 84 percent live release for dogs. Miller has managed to turn around Riverside’s numbers in the right direction by parking a spay/neuter mobile truck in various communities and then sending in a team of canvassers to write tickets for failure to have altered pets. These tickets are fairly expensive – but the fines are waived if the residents take their pets immediately to the nearby truck for altering. The city of Bakersfield under the leadership of Julie Johnson is also working diligently to reduce euthanasia by increasing spay/neuter opportunities for its citizens.
All it takes is strong and humane leadership that is responsive to its community and the pet over-population problem can be solved in our lifetime. However under the piss-poor leadership of hacks like Marcia Mayeda and Brenda Barnette this will never happen – and the senseless killing of shelter pets will continue, while the aforementioned bureaucrats collect over half a million dollars in taxpayer paid salaries to fail miserably at their jobs.
The replacement of both Marcia Mayeda and Brenda Barnette is long overdue. Robert Miller and Julie Johnson earn half in salary what either of their Los Angeles counterparts do. Both are approachable and well respected within their communities. Los Angeles deserves the best and yet it settles for the worst. If Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors want well run animal control agencies they would poach from their neighbors. However pets don’t vote and they don’t give money to politicians.
The sad reality is neither Garcetti nor the Board of Supervisors give a flying fuck about pets or animal welfare and the killing will continue ad nauseuam.