Understanding The New Hope Program

There seems to be some misunderstanding about a fantastic new life saving program in LA called New HopeNew Hope is helping LA become the first major No-Kill city in the United States. New Hopecoordinates the efforts of all the non-profit animal rescue organizations to ensure we are maximizing our limited resources to save the greatest number of lives.

This morning I received a disconcerting message that there may be a few folks who don’t understand the power and success of this program. The email was complaining about a Craig’s List Posting.

I’m just on Craigs list reading through the posts and it makes me sick! I have forwarded one of them to you and I don’t understand why so many of these animals have to be euthanzied. 

Is there not enough money to feed them? Didn’t you just open up the new shelter with lots of space? THIS IS SICK AND HAS TO STOP. 

Why do we have so many animals if no one wants them???? I don’t get it. Can’t you people come up with ideas to stop this overpopulation…I can’t read this anymore since it’s ongoing and doesn’t seem to stop.”

The Craig’s List Posting sent to me by the person above was filled with this type of hyperbole:

“EMERGENCY!!! 6 more angel dogs WILL BE KILLED FOR SURE–SAVE THEM!!! THE KILLING NEVER STOPS AT THE LA CITY POUNDS!!!” 

“PLEASE DON’T LET THEM CONTINUE TO MASSACRE THIS CITY’S PETS!!!”

Because of the popularity of Craig’s List this kind of ranting can circle the globe and nobody will ever take the time to find out the truth of the matter. It seems that if it is posted on Craig’s List, or for that matter on any website, it must be true. But that is not true! The purpose of this Blog is to help the community understand the importance and efficacy of the New Hope Progam when it is allowed to work as it is designed.

When an animal is placed on LA Animal Services’ New Hope AlertTHAT IS NEVER a DEATH SENTENCE. That is Animal Services’ way of notifying our over 70 New Hope Partners that they can adopt any of these animals at no cost. Not only is there no cost to our New Hope Partners but Animal Services also provides free spay/neuter surgery, a microchip, vaccinations, and some medical treatments as appropriate. Animal Services will even sometimes provide transport to our Partner’s location.

All six LA Animal Care Centers are open 24 hours per day and seven days per week for our New Hope Partners. Each Center has a New Hope Coordinator whose role is to provide premier customer service to our partners. New Hope Partners have direct cell phone contact with their Coordinator and the Shelter Director and can put a hold on any animal at any time.

New Hope Criteria:

  1. Healthy animals are placed on the New Hope Alert after they have been up for adoption for at least seven days. We have some animals not on the New Hope Alert that we are still trying to adopt after two or three months.
  2. Sick and injured animals go on the RED New Hope Alertimmediately, as do aggressive dogs. These animals are highlighted in RED which means we are asking our New Hope Partners to pay particular attention to them when considering which animals need the most help.
  3. Healthy animals may also find their way to the Red Alert when we have exhausted all our adoption options and feel a New Hope Partner can better place an animal. Healthy animals are typically taken to one or more off site adoption events before being placed on the Red Alert. But again, an animal can be on a Red New Hope Alert for days or weeks giving responsible Partners more than enough time to respond if they are able.
  4. However, animals on the Red New Hope Alert for 45 consecutive days may be euthanized. That means we give the entire community at least 45 days to find a placement for an animal. Rescue groups and the public have adequate time to save lives.

The frantic emails posted on Craig’s list suggesting that animals’ are at death’s door just because they are on the New Hope Alert does not help to save these animals’ lives. These frantic, hopeless emails seem to only have the same effect on most people as they had on the person who wrote in today, revulsion. This misguided passion only keeps people from coming to the Centers, and causes animals to die.

The New Hope Alerts are designed to help our rescue partners make decisions based on their available resources. In the past 12 months LA Animal Services has achieved a 42% live release rate for cats, and a 71% release rate for dogs! That is incredible!

Animals are often on our New Hope Red Alert for days if not weeks before being placed. If you are a New Hope Partner and are interested in any New Hope animal all you need do is call our New Hope Coordinator and we will work with you on transfering the animal into your position, even if we have to transport the animal for you. LA Animal Services has removed all obstacles to saving lives. If you want your organization to become a New Hope Partner, please call one of our New Hope Coordinators.

The frantic, hysteric cries that Animal Services can’t wait to kill animals and that we even enjoy killing animals is absurd. The euthanasia rate has dropped 11% for cats and 60% for dogs over the past three years. That is the most significant drop for any community in the United States. And we will continue month after month to continue this decline. It is our hope that all LA will come together to help the City and Animal Services achieve our shared No-Kill goal, and stop trying to scare adopters away, either deliberately or otherwise. Let’s make people feel welcome to our Animal Care Centers. They are not Death Camps, they are life lines, a safety net, for our community’s lost and homeless pets.

I hope this explanation helps everyone understand what LA Animal Services is trying to do through our New Hope Program. If you have a 501c3 rescue organization, I hope you will seriously consider becoming a New Hope Partner of LA Animal Services!

I would be amiss if I did not comment on this concerned resident’s last statement, “Why do we have so many animals if no one wants them???? I don’t get it. Can’t you people come up with ideas to stop this overpopulation…I can’t read this anymore since it’s ongoing and doesn’t seem to stop.”

We have so many animals because pet owners don’t spay and neuter their pets, we have so many animals in our shelters because pet owners don’t license and/or microchip their pets. If you love you pet, neuter and license your pet. Together we can make LA the safest city in the United States for our pets!

See LA Animal Services Life Saving programs at www.laanimalservices.com. Donations to help fund these programs are tax deductable. Thank you for your help and support!

Animal Fair Interview by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Wendy Diamond
Wendy Diamond, Animal Fair publisher, editor Entrepreneur, Leading Pet Lifestyle expert, Best Selling Author, TV Personality and Endangered Animal and Rescue Advocate.

The following are excerpts from a recent interview with Animal Fair Magazine on the opening of Animal Services new state of the art animal care centers. For more information on Animal Fair Magazine visit them at: http://www.animalfair.com/

1. What makes these new shelters different from all the other shelters?

Our new shelters are more like botanical gardens than dog pounds. Over 30% of the grounds are landscaped with lush vegetation, flowers, trees, and greenery. There are park benches to relax on while enjoying the animals. There are fountains and works of art to enjoy. There are misters to keep the animals cool when the weather is hot and radiant heating in the kennel floors when the weather gets cold. There are large park like get acquainted areas where Animal Services will host special adoption events with our many partners as well as sponsor dog obedience and agility training. There are community rooms for meetings and educational activities. These shelters are not your father’s animal control, they are spacious and beautiful and will serve as pet adoption centers of choice for all Angelinos and surrounding communities.

2. Is this the first step in getting the city to be no kill? What are the other steps?

This is definetely a significant step to achieving no-kill. These new Centers will increase our holding capacity by over 400%, allowing us to hold animals for longer periods of time. But the new shelters are just one step in a very comprehensive strategic no-kill plan. Along with the new shelters we are building spay/neuter clinics designed to handle 20,000 surgeries per year. With six new clinics that represents 120,000 surgeries per year. These surgeries will have a profound impact on the number of unwanted pets being born each year. We call our spay/neuter program The Big Fix because we recognize that spay/neuter is the ultimate “fix” to the vexing problems associated with pet overpopulation.

Along with our shelters and clinics we have a program called New Hopewhich is a partnership with over 70 local animal welfare organizations that allows these groups to take animals from our euthanasia list at no cost to them. These animals are already spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. We keep our shelters open 24 hours per day seven days per week for our New Hope Partners. We soon hope to be able to help our partners with the actual transport of the animals.

Animal Services is also initiating Project Safety Net which will coordinate the many resources in LA to help people keep their pets during times when they may feel relinquishment is their only alternative. Often times dog training, behavioral counseling, or legal advice is the only thing between keeping a pet and having to give a pet up. By making these resources more readily available we hope to help more families keep their pets.

Operation FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-termination) is our Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program. This program is currently conducted in partnership with LA’s many feral cat organizations but as our spay/neuter clinics come on line we intend to be even more directly involved in humanely helping to reduce LA’s feral cat population with this non-lethal methodology.

We hope to soon initiate our TLC program that will help teach “at risk” kids love and compassion for our communities’ “at risk” animals. Many of the animals rescued by Animal Services are lost, abused or neglected, and many are in need of foster homes. Many of our kids are in similar situations and are very empathetic to the plight of our animals. This empathy is a building block to help these kids to learn how to more freely express love and compassion. This program can be expanded to include our community’s senior citizens and other disenfranchised populations.

3. How are you working to get more pets adopted in LA?

We are very fortunate that one of the nation’s foremost ad agencies has agreed to help Animal Services with an ad campaign to promote adoptions. Riester, based in Phoenix, has an LA office and their “cause marketing” genius is helping us to get the word out that Animal Services is daily creating happiness by bringing pets and people together! Riester shares Animal Services’ commitment to make LA the nation’s first major no-kill city in the United States.

In addition, many celebrities and influential people are helping Animal Services create a 501c3 animal welfare charity called “SALA” which stands for Shelter Animals of LA. SALA is also Spanish for “living room” and is symbolic of the “living room” LA’s residents are making in their hearts for our shelter animals. SALA will help raise funding for Animal Services many life saving programs.

We also partner with Humane Rescue Alliance and many other animal welfare organizations all of whom share our vision to end pet euthanasia and help us find loving homes for our lost and homeless pets.

4. Is there anything special about the event that you would like me to include in the article?

I think it is worth mentioning that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended this event to once again voice his wholehearted commitment to ending euthanasia as an acceptable method to reduce pet overpopulation. He was joined by several City Council members and other public officials. To the best of my knowledge he is the only mayor of a major city to take such a courageous and compassionate stand and it is our hope he will inspire mayors and public officials across the United States with his vision!

City Council Motion Today!

Since my coming to Los Angeles Animal Services this past January the LA Animal Services Commission has suggested the need for a service delivery/performance audit. Members of the public have also expressed the need for such an audit. In both Maricopa County and New York City there was an audit conducted at both the beginning the end end of my tenures. I actually asked for the audits at the end of my past posts because I’m a strong believer in the role of an audit to serve as a benchmark for determining past performance and serving as the basis for future strategic planning.

Based on discussions I began and Commissioner Atake reinforced during her spring visit to the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah,we have forged an agreement with City Controller Laura Chick to underwrite a full performance audit (an audit of the operations as well as the finances) of LA Animal Services.

This is a pioneering agreement, the first time a City audit has ever received outside financial support. This makes it possible to add the audit to the Controller’s otherwise full schedule for this year, yet the agreement preserves the Controller’s full independence and autonomy over the process. The Controller will be working with outside consultants, including experts in the field of animal care.

Because the Best Friends’ donation to cover the cost of the audit requires City Council approval, Councilmember Jack Weiss today introduced a motion to accept the donation.

I want to thank the Mayor’s office, the City Council, and the Commission for their support of this effort. I especially want to thank Best Friends Animal Society for helping our community rise above the hyperbole to look for positive and lasting solutions to a very complex community problem.

It is my hope LA City will join us in looking forward to this audit as an important learning experience. I am asking for everyone’s support not only for the audit but also for our staff whose work will be under very close scrutiny during this process.

What follows is the Motion Council Member Jack Weiss submitted to the City Council today:

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services appears to have embarked upon an era of positive change. It is revamping its management structure, opening new, state-of-the-art animal shelter facilities and launching expanded programs to reduce pet overpopulation and greatly reduce euthanasia in its shelter system. Both the Mayor and the Board of Animal Services Commissioners have determined that these efforts would be substantially aided by the conduct of a performance audit and the creation of a multi-year strategic plan for the department. LA Animal Services management has agreed to this approach and the Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit organization based at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741-5000, has stepped forward to offer the City the funds necessary to underwrite the conduct of this performance audit.

In accordance with the Los Angeles Administrative Code section 5.200.1, any gift exceeding $25,000.00 in cash or in-kind value must be accepted by the City Council.

NOW, I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council:

1. Accept the $200,000 donation from the Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit organization based at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741-5000, for the audit of the Animal Services Department and deposit said funds to Fund 100, Department 56, General City Purposes, Revenue Source Code 4512, Donations, and appropriate therefrom to a new account entitled, “Animal Services Audit;”

2. Authorize the City Clerk, with the assistance of the Controller, to negotiate, execute and handle payment and final close-out of a contract of up to $200,000, for the above purpose, subject to the approval of the City Attorney as to form; 

3. Request the Controller to monitor the contractor for contract compliance and authorize payments;

4. Authorize the City Clerk to make any technical corrections or clarifications to the above instructions in order effectuate the intent of this Motion;

5. Stipulate that the role of Best Friends Animal Society in the conduct of the audit is strictly limited to providing this donation, unless the Controller or its designated audit contractor directly requests further counsel from Best Friends; 

6. Instruct the City Clerk to notify Best Friends Animal Society of this action and to thank the organization for its generous commitment to supporting the work of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services and the animals of the city.

Presented September 12, 2006

New Hope Program expands; becomes more inclusive by Ed Boks

Over 75 organizations have already signed up as New Hope Partners to help LA Animal Services save lives and make LA the first major no-kill city in the United States.

Each day, New Hope Partners receive an email list of all the animals they can rescue at no cost to them. This includes free spay/neuter surgery, a microchip, vaccinations, and some times additional medical treatment. Absorbing these costs demonstrates Animal Services’ commitment to the life saving efforts of our partners by allowing them to maximize their limited resources to care for the animals they take from our Animal Care Centers.

The New Hope Alert is now available on-line for all to see. Now our New Hope Partners and members of the public can see for themselves the animals on our New Hope Alert every day. And this list is updated EVERY HOUR, 24 hours a day! 

The New Hope Alert is not a euthanasia list. It is simply a list of animals that our New Hope Partners can take at no charge. However, if the animal on the New Hope Alert has red font, it is at greater risk of being euthanized and it is our hope that our Partners will prioritize their life saving decisions to help these animals first.

The purpose of posting this information on our website is to save lives. With transparency comes vulnerability. The more information Animal Services shares the easier we can be made into a target by people not willing to help save lives but whose only intent is spreading discontent and strife that ironically slows the effort to end the killing.

Please use this tool responsibly. We share it with the community because we trust in the better angels of Angelinos to do the right thing. Please work with us to save lives.

If you would like to view our New Hope Alert daily you can view it at: http://www.laanimalservices.com/NewHope.htm

LA Animal Services does not yet have a New Hope Program for rabbits, but in the meantime if you would like to view the rabbits we have up for adoption you can go to: http://www.laanimalservices.com/Bunny_Brigade.htm

Together we can make LA the safest City in the United States for our pets. Thank you for your continued support!

New Hope – The New Frontier by Ed Boks

The following letter is from an LA Animal Services New Hope Coordinator:

Dear Ed:
I would like to thank you and the Department of Animal Services for what I like to call “The New Frontier”! It is definitely working!!! Being involved with the New Hope Program has been a real pleasure, in addition to being a valuable learning experience.

The “Old Way” just does not work any more. My relationship with our New Hope partners has taught me I can make a difference. In the old days, when an animal came into our Centers, whatever the situation, in a distressed medical condition there was only one solution, euthanasia. Today, because of cooperation of ACT Supervisor Sergio Rios and the rest of the West Valley Animal Care & Control Center, we have had remarkable happy endings. In the past, these happy endings would not have been possible.

One story was a Golden Retriever puppy hit by a car who needed surgery immediately. Because we can now do transactions over the phone we were able to get the dog placed with a New Hope partner without them even physically having to come to the Center!!! This would have been unheard of last year!!! In addition, the dog was transported to a veterinary hospital in West Los Angeles by one of the ACT’s from West Valley, again unheard of in past years.

Another situation was a 6 month old Lab puppy dropped off at the center, it’s tail had been chewed off because of infection, imagine the pain and suffering the dog had gone through! In the past, the dog may have been euthanized because of pain and suffering.

My effort to find a nearby veterinarian to do the tail amputation surgery was successful. I was able to locate a vet to do the surgery for two hundred dollars. The dog was delivered to the nearby veterinarian; again by an ACT on duty that day. The dog was picked up later that day and adopted the next Sunday by a really beautiful couple. It was love at first sight! The couple was amazed we had gone through the effort to save the puppy’s life, and that they were adopting a “special case”. I am sure that dog is living better then most of us!

There are many other stories of the efforts of myself, ACT Supervisor Sergio RiosCaptain Selderand most importantly the staff of the West Valley Animal Care & Control Center. Of course, the rescue community has stepped up and created a much better atmosphere for all of us to be fortunate enough to be a part of our life saving efforts.

With, “The New Frontier” we have all realized we can make a difference, even if it is one at a time. By being more flexible and willing to change we are making the image of LA Animal Services much more positive and friendly toward the public and rescue groups.

Hail to “The New Frontier”! I welcome your comments and further cooperation with everyone involved in “Savings Animals’ Lives”!!!! Along with the cooperation, of everybody these situations of transporting animals for New Hope partners is becoming more and more frequent. Dogs that are adopted from South Central Animal Care Center are being transported to West Valley Animal Care Center because it makes adopting easier for New Hope partners. It seems these happy endings are becoming a daily occurrence, which is terrific!!!

Larry Herskovic
New Hope Coordinator
Volunteer Liaison
ACT/ROP Instructor
West Valley Animal Center
20655 Plummer St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
“It’s all for the animals”

Report to the Mayor: Part III by Ed Boks

This is the third and last part of my blog containing excerpts from my six month Report to the Mayor. This blog identifies some of the programs Animal Services is relying on to help ease the overcrowding of our current shelters and reduce our community’s euthanasia rate. These programs substantially depend upon our employees, volunteers, partners, donations and community support to succeed:

At the same time Department of Animal Services is opening the new Centers described in yesterday’s blog, we have also renewed our commitment to our community’s expectation to end euthanasia as a means to control pet overpopulation. Animal Services is demonstrating this commitment through the implementation of several new programs. The following programs are either fully implemented, partially implemented, or in the planning stage:

The Big Fix is the consolidation of the many and sundry programs to provide low/no cost spay/neutering services for pets in low-income households. A description of these many programs can be found on our website. Animal Services will soon have a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the street for managing and operating our six new Spay/Neuter Clinics. These clinics will provide spay/neuter surgery to Animal Services’ adopted animals and the pets of our community’s low-income pet owners and feral cat colony managers. Animal Services is also working with the Amanda Foundation to increase their aggressive mobile spay/neuter services. At the same time, we are working with the Sam Simon Foundation to immediately initiate operation of our South LA spay/neuter clinic until an RFP for these services can be awarded. This arrangement – turning over the mobile clinic operation to the Amanda Foundation and the South LA Clinic to the Sam Simon Foundation – is a win/win for the animals, the City, and our partner organizations. Animal Services experienced a 35% increase in voucher subsidized spay/neuter surgeries in Fiscal Year 06 compared to Fiscal Year 05 and a 50% increase in feral cat surgeries during this same time period. Thanks to the City commitment to Animal Services Big Fix spay/neuter programs dog and cat intakes are down 24% over the past past five years, and down another 7% in the first six months of 06. Expanding Big Fix exponentially remains one of our primary goals.

New Hope is a program designed to partner with the vast network of pet rescue, support and adoption agencies throughout Southern California and beyond in the process of locating homes for the animals that Animal Services rescues. We now have over 70 New Hope Partners and expect to double that within the next six months. This program gives New Hope Partners 24/7 access to the shelters to select animals from the New Hope Alert at no charge. This includes spay/neuter surgery, microchip, and vaccinations. It is Animal Services hope that this program will permit all our partners to maximize their limited resources in our shared mission to save lives. Each Center has one employee designated as the New Hope Coordinator. This employee is available to all New Hope Parnters by cell phone and serves as their “personal shopper”. New Hope Partners also get a daily email of all animals at risk of euthanasia that they can have at no charge. Animal Services and HLP have also made a sophisticated animal management software program available to New Hope parnters at no charge. If all partners take advantage of this offer, it would represent nearly a $500,000 gift to the rescue community.

Safety Net helps pets and their families stay together through difficult financial times or relocations by networking the entire animal LA welfare community through Animal Services Call Center. The Call Center will serve as a referal service for all animal welfare issues, including pet friendly apartments, attorneys specializing in pet law and landlord disputes, low cost boarding, behaviorists, etc.

Call Center will provide a “one-stop shop” for any and all animal questions, concerns, and problems. It will serve as the clearing-house to help Angelinos find the solutions they seek to pet, animal and wildlife related issues and problems. The development of a centralized Call Center in one location will also free six field officers who now man six separate dispatch stations, one in each Animal Care Center, to respond to problems in the field. The Call Center will also serve as the Field Operations Dispatch. This program brings much-needed efficiency to the department, allowing shelter staff to focus on the customers and animals in their Centers rather than being pulled away from these important responsibilities to answer the phone. And it frees Field Officers to serve the public and the animals out in the community. It will also dramatically reduce the waiting time the public experiences on the phone.

STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program provides medical treatment to severely injured, abused, and neglected animals rescued by Animal Services. This program provides treatment for animals that historically may have been euthanized because they were beyond the capacity of Animal Services to treat. This program also includes many partner veterinarians in the community. Soon Animal Services will have an x-ray machine in every Center that will seriously enhance the triage capabilities of the department in helping animals with life threatening injuries.

TLC (Teach Love and Compassion) provides at-risk youth with employment training in animal care. This program, currently in development, is designed to be intergenerational allowing our staff and community’s elderly to work with our youth to teach love and compassion through the care and love of animals. TLC will be an umbrella program dealing with many animal welfare issues, such as hoarding, the link between domestic violence and animal abuse, humane education, and much more.

Anti-Cruelty Task Force is a partnership with LAPD and the City Attorney. Together we investigate animal cruelty and abuse complaints, including dog and cock fighting, as well as cases of physical abuse and neglect. A database for tracking and reporting on these cases is being developed, and these statistics will be in each month’s General Manager Report to the Commission, which is also available to the public on our website. As could be expected with any multi-departmental effort, there are some coordination and growing pains, but we are working diligently with our partners to address them.

Volunteer Dog Training Program trains Animal Services’ employees and volunteers to improve the quality of life and adoption rate of sheltered dogs through behavior training provided by our community’s most reputable dog trainers.

Orange Dot Program is designed to identify and encourage improved behavioral response from shy dogs in a shelter environment; this program is effectively used in other shelters to help ensure dogs are provided every opportunity to be safely placed in a loving home.

My Castle, My Crate is a program using kennel crates for dogs in isolation or with behavioral problems to provide a stress free “safe house” in the kennel. Benefits include improved recovery time from illness, injury or improved behavioral manifestations caused by stress. The new shelters provide this safe space in all the kennels.

FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-terminations)provides low or no cost spay/neuter service to feral cats managed by trained feral cat colony managers trained by one of Animal Services feral cat partner organizations. Animal Services experienced a 50% increase in voucher subsidized spay/neuter feral cat surgeries to date in Fiscal Year 06 compared to the same time period in Fiscal Year 05. FELIX will play an important role in our pending Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program, currently in development. Animal Services is partnering with almost all the local feral cat organizations, and welcomes any not now participating.

Foster Program trains volunteers to provide temporary homes for special needs animals until they are healthy enough for adoption. There are several facets to this program which includes our Bottle Baby Program to provide care for neonate orphanes. Animal Services provides training to volunteers interested in providing this life saving care. Animal Services has also started an Evidence Animal Foster Program. Historically, animals rescued from abusive or neglectful conditions were left to languish in shelter kennels for months while the legal proceedings were under way. Today, animal victims of cruelty and neglect can be fostered into loving homes until a judge decides in the matter. Overall, the Foster Program provides a safe place for animals that Animal Services historically could not properly care for or had to euthanize. This program will only be as successful as the community wants it to be because it relies on the community to provide this much needed love and care to our neonate, sick, injured, abused, and neglected animals. All the animals would have been killed in prior years. Volunteers developed a 7 minute informational CD for foster parents.

FEV Testing and Vaccination Program has been implemented as a pilot program. Designed to enable new cat owners the opportunity to determine any “at risk” factors that may affect their newly adopted cat and any cats at home upon introduction. Animal Services is also providing free dog vaccinations in all our Centers thanks to a donation received for that purpose. By making vaccinations more readily available to our community’s pets we will see less disease in our shelters.

Make-Over Program is in development phase to include outside vendor participation. At this time, Center personnel and volunteers that have grooming experience provide grooming for animals that need such attention. Best Friends volunteers continue to support grooming needs for large-scale adoption events.

Legal Issues: Animal Services is working with the City Attorney’s office and members of the public on no less than 30 legal issues, statutues, ordinances and/or programs, such as a new animal control ordinance dealing with mandatory spay/neuter; the aforementioned TNR program designed to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in LA; a possible rooster ban in LA to curtail cock fighting; allowing evidence animals to be fostered in a loving home rather than languish in our shelters; and neighborhood intervention programs that solves problems with potentially dangerous dogs before anyone is hurt or bitten, and much more.

Rabbit Brigade: rabbits have become the number 3 preferred pet in Los Angeles. Animal Services rescues hundreds of rabbits annually. All rabbits are now spayed or neutered prior to release. Animal Services partners with a number of rabbit rescue organizations and volunteers under the leadership of the nationally respected House Rabbit Society.

LAAnimalServices.org – nothing demonstrates the transformation of Animal Services more than our new website. Designed to make information easily accessible with a look that is easy on the eyes and is intuitive in function. Much more detail can be found on our website including a Blog from the General Manager, a 20 plus page monthly report from the GM, and details on all of Animal Services many programs and initiatives. Animal Services’ and the City’s websites both feature a Pet of the Day function to help improve adoptions. It is our hope other City departments will put this feature on their website. Instructions for doing so are available at www.laanimalservices.com.

Pet of the Month program initiated by Council member Herb Wesson highlights the City Council’s support of Animal Services’ efforts to increase adoptions and reduce euthanasia. Every animal featured at a City Council meeting since the practice of showcasing them at Council meetings on alternate Fridays was instituted early this year is now in a loving home! Check out our website to find instructions on how to put this feature on your website.

Lost and Found Bulleting Board: Animal Services is working with partner organizations to develop a lost and found bulletin board that will allow good Samaritan citizens to reunite lost pets with their owners without the animals ever having to suffer the trauma of a shelter experience. Keep your eyes open for that!

Match Maker: Animal Services has initiated its own Match Maker program. By going to our on-line Match Maker program found on our website, you can describe the type of pet you are looking for. Every time a pet matching your description becomes available, you will be notified by e-mail with a picture and description of the animal and its location.

Home Shopping Petwork is a high quality, 30 minute television program on Channel 35 that highlights the programs, events, employees, volunteers, and most importantly the animals of Animal Services. The program can be viewed several times per month. For a listing of the show schedule, visit http://www.lacity.org/ita/itacv1.htm

SALA – (Shelter Animals of Los Angeles) is a 501c3 Animal Services fund raising organization comprised of influential volunteers, residents and business owners wanting to help Animal Services raise funding for the life saving programs described above which are designed to facilitate achieving LA’s no-kill goal. The SALA Board is currently in formation.

Dog Licensing Program: Another reason for our declining euthanasia rate is that Animal Services has one of the highest success rates in the country for returning lost pets to their grateful owners, a rate four times higher than other large cities. Animal Services returns over 4,500 lost dogs and cats to their owners each year. 100% of the animals that Animal Services rescues with a current license go home, unfortunately, 90% of the animals we rescue come in with no identification and never go home again.

License Canvassing program: Animal Services is asking the Mayor’s Office and the City Council to reconsider funding the License Canvassing program that was deleted in this year’s budget. Conservatively, there are an estimated 700,000 pet dogs in the City of Los Angeles. Only 120,000 dogs are licensed and this number decreases each year. The program consisted of 15 Department personnel who go door-to-door and collect canine license fees.

This program was not functioning properly until February 06. Since then we immediately began to show positive results. Beginning in March 06 additional staff was recruited for the program and the number of licenses and revenue began to increase from 790 new and renewal dog licenses representing $24,373 in revenue in March to 2,498 new and renewal dog licenses representing $84,093 in revenue in June. Animal Services projects with a full contingency of fifteen canvassers we could conservatively generate $750,000 in license revenue in the first year. Because licenses must be renewed annually this revenue will continue to increase and compound per annum. This revenue would greatly supplement Animal Services budget and allow us to better provide the level of care LA residents expect.

Animal Services is deeply committed to achieving the Mayor, City Council and our community’s ultimate goal of ending institutional euthanasia as a method for controlling pet overpopulation! The above-mentioned programs combined with established initiatives and programs under the Mayor, City Council, and Commission’s leadership are already producing significant demonstrable results. 

Together we are making LA the safest city in the US for our pets! Thanks to everyone playing a constructive role in this exciting challenge!

Best Friends United by Ed Boks

Best Friends Animal Society, a primary partner of LAAS, hosted its annual Pet Adoption Festival on Sunday, June 4 in Manchester Park. There were celebrity guests, dog agility competitions, pet psychics, children’s activities, cool pet products, food and refreshment, and Radio Disney for additional entertainment.

But best of all there were over 60 wonderful rescue organizations coming together for a day of fellowship doing what we do best, saving the lives of lost and homeless dogs, cats, rabbits and other critters. Dozens of organizations brought hundreds of animals most of which found homes during this five hour event.

LAAS adopted or placed 113 animals (50 dogs, 56 cats, 6 rabbits, and one guinea pig). At the end of the event LAAS made all the animals that were not adopted available to our New Hope Partners at no charge. And as if that was not good enough, an amazing partner and benefactor of LAAS, who prefers to remain annonymous, offered $100 to every rescue group who took a dog and $200 for every rescue group that took a dog that had any pit bull or rottweiller in him or her!

96 LAAS volunteers attended this fantastic event. That is more LAAS volunteers than have ever attended any single event in LAAS history. I want to thank all our wonderful volunteers, employees both at the event and working in the Centers, and all our partners for playing an instrumental role in helping to make this year’s Pet Adoption Festival such a great success, especially for all the lives that were saved!

Events like this prove that by working together we can make Los Angeles the safest City in the United States for our pets!

“Dog Gone Cat-tastrophe” Hits the East Valley Animal Care Center by Ed Boks

Responding to the annual spring population explosion of homeless animals, the Department of Animal Services (LAAS) is teaming up with rescue organizations from all over the city to stage a “Dog-Gone Cat-Astrophe Adoptathon,” an unprecedented four-day event at the
East Valley Animal Care Center
13131 Sherman Way
North Hollywood 91605
The event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 22. (Monday is for rescue groups only and they must request an appointment.)
This special event makes dogs and cats available to the public at special discounted adoption rates: $55 per dog and $35 for one cat and $50 for two cats. Adoption fees include spay or neuter surgery, a microchip, and a license for dogs.
It’s even better for 501c3 rescue organizations. In honor of the launch of LAAS’ New Hope Program, rescue groups in good standing with LAAS will receive animals for free plus they will receive a $100 cash gift made possible by an anonymous benefactor.
“The spring is typically the most difficult season in our shelters because of over-crowding,” explained LAAS General Manager Ed Boks, “and East Valley is especially hard hit this year. We want to make it as easy as possible for these great animals to find a loving home so we’ve teamed up with every rescue group in L.A. to address this ‘dog-gone cat-Astrophe.’”
The special $100 offer to rescue groups is only available at the East Valley Animal Care Center to rescue groups. To qualify for special “New Hope” rates or subsidies call 213-485-8613 prior to visiting the shelter.
“I hope families, individuals and rescuers will visit East Valley Animal Service Center this weekend and take advantage of this unique opportunity to find new friends for life, and to give these animals a fresh start,” said Boks.

New Hope arrives By Ed Boks

After more than a few weeks of constructive collaboration with several representatives of LA’s animal welfare community, Animal Services is finally launching its New Hope Program. The New Hope Program is designed to help an entire community’s animal welfare organizations maximize their limited resources through a cooperative effort to save as many animal lives as possible!

The New Hope Program was unveiled at a widely publicized public meeting at the Beverly Garland Resort in Studio City on the evening of Tuesday, April 25th. The meeting was graciously hosted by The Rescue and Humane Alliance of Los Angeles. The Alliance is an association of over 50 animal welfare organizations dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of LA’s lost and homeless animals and is a valuable partner of Animal Services.

Over 150 individuals attended the New Hope meeting, representing over 60 local animal welfare organizations. The meeting began with many in attendance wanting to share their positive personal experiences with Animal Services’ new, enhanced emphasis on excellent customer service and animal welfare programs.

Over 25 employees of the Animal Services were in attendance. They were asked to stand up in proxy for the efforts of the entire organization as a grateful public applauded.

The New Hope Program was then unveiled in a dynamic, interactive presentation and idea exchange. Ed Boks explained the many benefits of the New Hope Program to partnering organizations. Benefits include:

1. A “personal shopper”, called a New Hope Coordinator, will help expedite the transfer of animals into the care of New Hopeorganizations and will be available to answer their questions and address their concerns.

2. A hotline phone number at each Animal Care Center and to each New Hope Coordinator to assist New Hope organizations in their life saving efforts.

3. 24 hour, 7 day a week access to all Animal Care Centers by appointment to view animals.

4. Daily color-coded New Hope Alerts providing valuable information and pictures of animals most in need of their help.

5. A sophisticated software program produced by HLP called Top View. This program, a magnanimous gift from HLP to New Hope Partners, will help partner organizations to better manage and more easily report on the animals in their care.

6. No fees for animals adopted from the New Hope AlertNew Hopeanimals will be spay/neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated at no charge to New Hope partner. All medical care and lab testing fees will also be waived.

7. Pay only the $28 spay/neuter fee for an animal NOT on the New Hope Alert when an animal that is on the Alert is also adopted at no charge.

8. Pay only $28 for spay/neuter and $15 for microchip when animals NOT on the New Hope Alert are adopted and no New Hope animals are adopted.

9. If any non-New Hope animal is deferred for spay/neuter for medical reasons the New Hope Partner has the option to:
a. Take the animal to a City-contracted veterinarian at no cost, having already paid the $28 deposit; or
b. Take the animal to a veterinarian of their choice and submit proof of sterilization for a refund of the $28 deposit.

10. An easy “no waiting” in line adoption process that allows telephonic credit card transactions.

11. Animal Services will hold animals for specified time frames agreed to by Animal Services and a New Hope Partner while the partner makes necessary arrangements for picking the animals up.

(New Hope partners will continue to be responsible for purchasing dog licenses as applicable by law.)

Animal Services is very excited about the implementation of the New Hope Program. It is anticipated that New Hope will help increase the number of animals safely placed into loving homes and will play an instrumental role in Los Angeles becoming a No-Kill City!

Animal Services thanks all the organizations that have already signed up and we look forward to signing up additional organizations wanting to help Animal Services save lives. If you know of a non-profit animal welfare organization that may be interested in participating in the New Hope Program please encourage them to contact Animal Services for more information.

Together we can make Los Angeles the safest City in the United States for our pets!

What’s new at LA Animal Services? by Ed Boks

Have you seen what’s new on the LAAS Website?www.laanimalservices.com 

You can now translate the website into nine different languages.

There is a new Blog below on the cruelty of tethering called, “Chains of Love or Abuse”.

The New Hope Program scheduled to roll out within the next month or so is described. The document on line is just to help the rescue groups get acquainted with the program. LAAS will have a public meeting to explain the program in detail within the next couple of weeks. The program will not be implemented until after the public meeting.

A report on Operation FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-termination) is now on line for your information. It details why TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) is the only viable, humane, non-lethal method for effectively reducing the feral cat population in any community or location.

My position on many common sense approaches to humane animal care on a community wide level is also available under GM’s Position Statements.

Also read about Patrick, the Irish Setter mix, adopted by a member of the Mayor’s Office at a City Council meeting on St. Patrick’s Day!

And much more.

Also, don’t forget to check out Dana Bartholomew’s new article on LAAS in The Daily News.

Euthanasia for dogs and cats in January 2006 was down 25%, and down 33% in February, and we are on track to reduce euthanasia 40% in March (its at 39.79% as of this writing on March 24th) compared to the same months in 2005. Stay tuned!

Please consider being a life saving Foster mom or dad this puppy and kitten season. More info on our enhanced Foster Program coming soon or contact our volunteer Department for an update.

Together we can make LA the safest City in the US for our pets!