Year to Date and April 2007 Numbers and Where We Go From Here by Ed Boks

Year To Date Numbers:
Despite a 3.45% increase in the number of dogs and cats rescued by LA Animal Services in the first four months of calendar year 2007 (from 11,532 to 11,930), the City’s euthanasia rate continues to decrease!

The euthanasia rate for Calendar Year to Date compared to the first four months of 2006 shows a 13.25% decrease (from 3198 to 2774)! Keep in mind that 2006 was a historic record year for euthanizing the fewest number of animals and now 2007 appears to be on track to be another record year!

Adoptions Year to Date are up 2% (from 4349 to 4437) and New Hope placements are up 3.2% (from 1919 to 1982).

LA Animal Services continues to lead the nation in returning lost pets to their frantic and grateful owners with a 1.2% increase Year to Date over last year (from 1385 to 1402). This rate is four times higher than any other large municipal program.

April Numbers:
April 07 showed a 5.3% increase in the number of animals rescued by LA Animal Services (up from 3395 to 3577) compared to April 06. The continual increase in the number of animals coming into LA City Animal Care Centers demonstrates the need for widespread support of the California Healthy Pet Act (

Despite this increase in numbers, LA’s April euthanasia rate is the lowest April ever recorded, down a whopping 22.7% (from 1099 to 849)! This follows March’s historic all time low euthanasia month!

Although Adoptions were down 5% (from 1102 to 1044) our New Hope partners picked up the slack and adopted 9.4% more animals this April than last April (from 622 to 681)!

Where We Go From Here:
While these numbers may appear to paint a rosey picture to some, I want to make sure we don’t fool ourselves with respect to the challenge before us.

LA Animal Services is criticized from both sides. When euthanasia is up we are criticized for being a “death camp”. When euthanasia is down we are criticized for being a “concentration camp”.

LA Animal Services walks a very difficult line – we must try to maintain a high quality of life for our sheltered animals while attempting to not unnecessarily sacrifice the life of any animals when we need more space for incoming animals.

To ensure LA Animal Services continues to trend towards No-Kill we have or are implementing the following strategies:

1. When an animal is healthy and has a good disposition, we hold that animal for at least 45 days to maximize our efforts to adopt it out. Most municipal shelters hold animals for a week or less. During those 45 days staff becomes well acquainted with each animal so as to better plead its case to both adopters and our New Hope partners. If after 45 days none of our 120 New Hope partners or anyone of our 4 million residents steps up to adopt an animal, we then stress the urgency for help with that animal by posting him/her on a seven day Red Alert on our website. This step provides anybody and everybody one last opportunity to save that animal.

Even then this is not an automatic death sentence. Staff can, and often do, take animals off the seven day Red Alert when they think that animal just needs a little more time. That is how and why we often have animals in our Centers for months at a time. I cannot find ANY municipal shelter in the world that DOES MORE to save lives than LA Animal Services!

2. LA Animal Services will continue to promote adoptions and will continue to find ways to maximize the resources of our New Hope Partners. Working with our New Hope Partners, LA Animal Services is placing nearly 21,000 dogs and cats every year. I cannot find ANY animal adoption program anywhere in the world placing more animals than LA Animal Services. And we are committed to doing better! In addition to that, we reunite over 4,000 lost pets with their owners each year!

Please help us promote our current Be Kind To Animals Week Adoptathon in which we offer half off adoption fees!

3. As many of you know, LA Animal Services is in the process of vacating our East Valley and West LA Animal Care Centers to move into our new facilities. Our new facilities will increase our holding capacity by over 400%!

So what to do with our old facilities? LA Animal Services is developing a Request for Qualifications to identify one or more animal welfare organizations willing and able to manage our old facilities in partnership with LA Animal Services and in support of our No-Kill goal.

4. LA Animal Services continues to provide more and more spay/neuter surgeries for the pets of our residents each year, nearly 40,000 pets in 2006 and we are on track to do 44,000 in 2007. I cannot find ANY municipal program ANYWHERE that is doing more to provide spay/neuter services to its residents.

Later this year we will be opening our Spay/Neuter Clinics in order to provide even more spay/neuter services to our residents. South LA’s Spay/Neuter Clinic is already operational and we hope to have North Central operational soon, with five additional clinics coming on line no later than next spring.

5. LA Animal Services is one of the original drafters and supporters of AB 1634. Now we have the support of the Mayor and the entire City Council! Our efforts on this state initiative laid the foundation for us implementing a City spay/neuter ordinance which is on a parallel track even now.

Never was more being done to end the senseless killing of lost and homeless animals in the City of LA! I want to thank every employee, volunteer, and partner in helping us achieve the remarkable numbers of the last five years. But we have a long way to go and we need your help. Please consider ways of helping support the above initiatives, and/or consider joining our Volunteer Program.

Its an old but true maxim, that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.