When a Community Rallies for the Animals… by Ed Boks

We have often heard the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. The same advice holds true for solving our pet overpopulation and animal cruelty problems. Its going to take all of us working together to solve the animal welfare issues in Los Angeles. A few days ago the LA City Council announced their acceptance of a $200,000 donation from Best Friends Animal Society.

Clearly Best Friends Animal Society shares LA Animal Services’ commitment to helping end the killing of adoptable animals in Los Angeles. They are funding an independent, professional assessment of the scope, causes and contributors of pet overpopulation in Los Angeles. The independent assessment will be conducted by LA City Controller Laura Chick and a team of professionals.

When this assessment is complete it will be up to Animal Services to orchestrate the implementation of the solutions and recommendations made by these professionals. This assessment will be the basis of a subsequent No-Kill Strategic Plan that will organize the city’s resources – both internal and across the community- toward realistic, sustained reductions in the causes and contributors of pet overpopulation.

This is wonderful news, but it doesn’t stop here. There is a growing synergy in LA towards achieving No-Kill. Over the past several months an organization of well informed, compassionate LA residents formed a new 501c3 animal welfare charity called SALA (Shelter Animals of Los Angeles). SALA also means “living room” in Spanish and reflects the goal to help find loving homes for all of our companion animals in Los Angeles.

SALA’s purpose is to support, on an exclusive basis, LA Animal Services in a joint mission to save animals’ lives and find permanent, loving homes for the thousands of lost, homeless, abandoned, neglected and abused companion animals rescued by LA City Animal Services every year. The ultimate goal of SALA is to assist LA Animal Services achieve “no kill” in all of our city shelters.

SALA believes a functional and efficient city shelter system that receives much needed private funding will ultimately benefit everyone: from pet owners to rescue organizations and, most importantly, the animals themselves.

Through the Big Fix ProgramSALA will aggressively invest in spay/neuter with high volume clinics in all of the new Animal Care Centers, funding more mobile spay/neuter vans and offering spay/neuter/vaccine services to low income residents and asking for donations only, rather than charging a low fee that depends on proof of income. We are also partnering with Western University’s Veterinary School on including cutting edge intern and residency programs using LA Animal Care Centers as teaching schools for up and coming veterinarians.

Through the STAR Program (Special Treatment & Recovery), SALA will provide funding to help sick and injured animals rescued by LA Animal Services. Any animal treated in the STAR Program will not be euthanized.

Through Operation FELIX (Feral Education & Love Instead of X-termination) SALA will work with groups and individuals to help maintain feral cat colonies by implementing strong TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) programs and ultimately create a comprehensive database system that will help track all feral colonies in the LA area.

SALA will establish a Safety Net Outreach Program to help all citizens of Los Angeles including our non-English speaking residents by conveying the importance of spay/neuter, as well as promote adoption and foster care. SALA will also provide outreach programs that will guide the public to resources that will help pet guardians better care for their companion animals. This outreach effort can be achieved in a variety of ways. Articles, stories, ads in newspapers and on local TV and radio, billboard messaging, educational workshops at community centers, and networking community resources to help residents responsibly keep and care for their pets are just some of the ways to get the message to the people who need to hear it most.

Volunteers are the backbone of any organization, and shoring up the LA Animal Services Volunteer Program is an important item on SALA’s agenda. Besides the important work of providing care for the animals in the shelters and at mobile adoptions, volunteers can also work as Adoption Counselors to help people find their new best friend. Volunteers can also participate in the previously mentioned outreach programs that can be conducted in community centers, churches, youth centers, etc. to teach people how to be great pet guardians.

Other projects SALA has under development include:

Shelter Dog Training Program: A partnership with trainers who will assist in socializing dogs in the shelter and prepare them for their forever home. Since behavioral issues are at the top of the excuse list for owner surrender, easy access to accredited trainers while the dogs are in the shelter, as well as help in settling them into their new home, will promote pet retention rates.

A House is Not a Home Without a Pet Program: An alliance with all rental homes, apartments, and senior citizen homes, etc., to provide incentives to encourage landlords to welcome residents with pets. SALAwill also provide mediation assistance for neighbor and landlord/renter disputes that involve pet issues, etc.

Teach Love and Compassion (TLC): To promote humane education programs in the LA school district that will ultimately become part of the regular curriculum to be taught in all our elementary and middle schools. TLC will also provide learning opportunities for “at risk” kids by teaching love and compassion for “at risk” animals in our Animal Care Centers.

Animal Services and all of LA is deeply indebted to Best Friends Animal Society, SALA, our New Hope Partners, Volunteers, Employees, and donors for their commitment, dedication and compassion for the lost and homeless pets of Los Angeles. When a community rallies together for the animals we truly demonstrate what it means to be a humane society as we commit ourselves to making LA the safest City in the United States for our pets.

05/06 Fiscal Year and July 06 Report by Ed Boks

The following is an excerpt from the July GM Report to the LA Animal Services Commission. To read the entire report, visit www.lanimalservices.com and click on GM Reports.

The following information is for the month of July, the first month of the new fiscal year.

Dog and Cat Statistics For 2006 calendar year to date:
· Dog and cat adoptions are up 5% (7752 to 8151);
· New Hope placements are down 19% (4359 to 3598);
· Return to Owners is down 10% (2870 to 2582);
· Dogs and cats placed in Foster Homes are up 203% (75 to 227);
· Dogs and cats euthanized is down 8.5% (11,439 to 10465); and
· The number of dogs and cats taken in by Animal Services is down 5% (27958 to 26587).

If this trend continues Animal Services is on track to euthanize fewer than 18,000 dogs and cats in 2006. This would be an all time low for the City of Los Angeles. But this will be a challenge requiring all our friends, volunteers, and partners to help us get the word out the LA Animal Services is “the” adoption center of choice in Los Angeles and that all pets need to be spayed or neutered and licensed or microchipped.

Dog and Cats Statistics for July 06
· Dog and cat adoptions were roughly equal to July 05 (1366 to 1330):
· New Hope placements were down 19% (591 to 477);
· Return to Owners were up 2.25% (488 to 499);
· Dogs and cats in Foster Homes was up 957% (7 to 74);
· Dogs and cats euthanized was up 4% (2496 to 2593); and
· The number of dogs and cats taken in by Animal Services was up 6.5% (5097 to 5425).

Dog Statistics for July 06:
· Dog adoptions were roughly equal to dog adoptions in July 05 (832 to 826);
· New Hope placements for dogs were up 5% (318 to 333);
· Returns to Owners for dogs were equal to July 05 (466 to 465);
· Dogs placed in Foster Homes were up from 0 to 28;
· Dogs euthanized were up 16% (741 to 863);
· 37% of the dogs euthanized were pit bulls or pit bull mixes (320);
· 45 were orphaned neonates (5%);
· The number of dogs taken in by Animal Services was up 13% (2456 to 2779);
· 22% of the dogs taken in were pit bulls or pit bull mixes (613); and
· 33% were owner relinquished (922).

Cat Statistics for July 06:
· Cat adoptions were down 5.6% (534 to 504);
· New Hope placements for cats were down 47% (273 to 144);
· Return to owners were up 54% (22 to 34);
· Cats placed in Foster Homes was up 557% (7 to 46);
· Cats euthanized were down 1.5% (1755 to 1730);
· The number of orphaned neonate kittens euthanized was down 4% (939 to 903) but this number represented 53% of all cats euthanized; and
· The number of cats taken in by Animal Services was roughly equal (2641 to 2646); and
· 22% were owner relinquished.

37% of all dogs and 55% of all cats euthanized were pit bulls and orphaned neonate cats respectively. This data clearly demonstrates where our limited resources must be focused. LA Animal Services will be announcing more programs to address these critical areas soon. 

All Animal Services actual numbers and statistics are available on line for the past five years at www.laanimalservices.com Click on Statistics to see break down by dogs, cats, rabbits and others.

Top 10 Reasons for Cat Relinquishment in July:
1. Owner felt they had too many cats.
2. Landlord/zoning problems.
3. Owner was moving.
4. No time for the cat.
5. Family member allergic to the cat.
6. Cat was sick.
7. Cat did not get along with other pets.
8. Owner evicted/homeless.
9. Owner died.
10. Cat did not get along with a new baby in the home.

Top 10 Reasons for Dog Relinquishment in July:
1. Owner moving.
2. No time for the dog.
3. Landlord/zoning problems.
4. Dog was sick.
5. Owner felt they had too many dogs.
6. Owner died.
7. Owner could not afford medical bills.
8. Dog did not get along with other pets.
9. Dog aggressive towards people.
10. Owner cannot contain dog in yard or home.

LA Animal Services’ Operation Safety Net will monitor these reasons to study seasonal trends. Strategies and partnerships are being developed to help Angelinos keep their pets whenever possible and appropriate.

The Big Fix Results: The close of Fiscal-Year 2005-206 for the Big Fix Spay and Neuter programs show a dramatic increase in sterilizations compared to the prior year. The two Mobile S/N Vans, and a greater issuance of books and Rescue Organization participation resulted in an increase of 12,255 sterilizations for the Fiscal Year. Last Fiscal Year 26,075 animals were sterilized compared to 38,300 for Fiscal-Year 2005-2006.

This is a 48% increase in spay/neuter surgeries in LA.

The Discount Coupon Program redemptions for FY 2004-2005 were 4023 while FY 2005-2006 redemptions were 4308. Fewer restrictions on the program and an increase in the monthly distribution of Discount Coupon books to participating Rescue Organizations have increased the rate of redemption for the year by 7%. While the increase may not appear to be that significant, it represents 285 more dogs and cats sterilized. An additional number of books were printed due to the demand by rescue partners.

The FELIX (Discount Coupon Feral Program) saw the largest increase of all the Big Fix Programs. FY 2004-2005 feral cat redemptions were 2699 while FY 2005-2006 redemptions were 5887. This is a 118% increase in the number of feral cats the Department and its rescue partners were able to sterilize.

The Free/Senior Citizen Certificate Program redemptions for FY 2004-2005 were 7234 while FY 2005-2006 redemptions were 6948. The Free/Senior Citizen Certificate Program was strongly impacted by the effectiveness of the Mobile Spay & Neuter Vans in Fiscal-Year 2005-2006. Many of the same City residents who now use the s/n vans would have accessed this program in the past. But, despite this offset, there was still only a 4% decrease in the number of sterilizations while the overall number for low-income and senior citizen sterilizations increased 56%.

Across the country and here in LA we are seeing there is no “silver bullet” to solve the problems associated with pet overpopulation. There is no amount of “consulting” or “criticizing” or “condemning from the sidelines” that will make a lick of difference. The only way to solve this problem is for all of us to work together, because it is only by working together that we can make LA the safest community in LA for our pets!

I want to thank all our volunteers, employees, partners and the community for stepping up to focus on helping the animals of LA Animal Services. Together we are making a difference in their lives and we will continue to do so.

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!

The Case For Mandatory Spay/Neuter by Ed Boks

The month of May 2006 came in like a lamb but went out like hundreds of sick and dying neonate kittens. I doubt any stronger case can be made for mandatory spay/neuter than what you are about to read.

North Central Animal Care Center experienced an unprecedented number of neonate euthanasias during the last week of May. This was due to an unusually high number of orphaned neonates presenting clinical symptoms suggestive of infectious diseases such as Notedris cati, chylmydia, panleukopenia, and corona virus etc. Diagnostics were performed through blood work and complete dermatology exams for infectious skin diseases confirming these diseases.

254 orphaned neonates were euthanized in the month of May in North Central with well over 100 in the last week. South LA Animal Care Center euthanized 247 neonates in the month of May, and the entire LAAS organization euthanized a total of 823 orphaned neonates of the 2,035 dogs and cats euthanized.

That represents 40% of the May euthanasia rate!

This situation points out three critical needs:

1) the need for more foster homes to care for neonates in our Bottle Baby Program,

2) the need for broader implementation of our Safety Net Program to help support people relinquishing neonates with the resources they need to bring them through the weaning process, and

3) more aggressive Big Fix Spay Neuter Programs throughout the City especially during the winter months. LAAS is working on approaches to address all three of these needs and will report on our progress in future reports.

As a result of this unfortunate and tragic anomaly in the North Central Animal Care Center, the overall organizational month of May euthanasia rate increased 12% compared to May ‘05, but decreased 10% compared to May 04.

East Valley showed a 17% decrease in euthanasia.
Harbor showed a 29% decrease.
South LA had a 1% increase.
West LA had a 2.5% decrease.
West Valley had a .05% increase.

North Central was on track to show a decrease in euthanasia in May until the Center was literally inundated with sick and dying neonates during the last week of May. Rescue efforts were complicated by that being a Holiday weekend and by a shortage of qualified Bottle Baby Foster Care Givers.

The month of May Cat Euthanasia rate is up 19% compared to May 05 but down 6% compared to May 04.

The month of May Dog Euthanasia rate is down 2% compared to May 05 and down 13.5% compared to May 04.

If there is a silver lining to any of this news, it is that the Calendar 06 Year To Date Euthanasia rate for dogs and cats is down nearly 17% compared to the same time period in 05 and down 29.5% compared to the same time period in 04.

Calendar Year 06 Cat Euthanasia is down 7.6% compared to the same time frame in 05, and down 24% compared to the same time frame in 04.

Calendar Year 06 Dog Euthanasia is down 26% compared to the same time frame in 05, and down 35% compared to the same time frame in 04.

Of the 2,020 dogs rescued by LAAS in the month of May, 68 were either dead on arrival or died of natural causes. Four dogs were stolen for a remainder of 1,948. 731 were adopted, 333 were New Hoped, 299 were returned to their owners, 16 are in foster for a total of 1,379 live releases. That is an extraordinary 70% live release rate for dogs! Only 20 neonate dogs were euthanized.

Of the 2,646 cats rescued by LAAS in the month of May, 81 were either dead on arrival or died of natural causes. Six cats escaped and nine were stolen for a remainder of 2,560. 508 were adopted, 355 were New Hoped, 21 were returned to their owners, 55 are in foster for a total of 939 live releases. That is a dismal 37% live release rate for cats. 803 neonate cats were euthanized. Neonate cats represent 55% of the cat euthanasia rate. Clearly we can see where we as a community must focus our efforts to end the killing! We must turn the faucet off on the sheer number of unwanted cats being born in our community.

May 06 Dog and Cat Adoptions combined were up 7.25% compared to May 05 and up 6.25% compared to May 04.

May 06 Cat Adoptions were down 2.5% compared to May 05 but up 10% compared to May 04.

May 06 Dog Adoptions were up 15.5% compared to May 05 and up 3.5% compared to May 04.

The Calendar 06 Year to Date Dog and Cat Adoptions are up nearly 8% compared to the same time period last year and up 9.6% compared to the same time period in 04.

May 06 Dog and Cat New Hope Placements were down 10% compared to May 05 but up 22.5% compared to May 04.

May 06 Cat New Hope Placements are down 26% compared to May 05 but up 10.25% compared to May 04.

May 06 Dog New Hope Placements are up 18.5% compared to May 05 and up 39% compared to May 04. This is a welcome increase in the New Hope trend for dogs this year and coincides with the final stages of implementing the New Hope program.

The Calendar 06 Year to Date Dog and Cat New Hope Placements are down 16% compared to the same time period in 05 and down 7.5% compared to the same time period in 04.

(For all of these statistical categories, raw numbers are available in the statistical reports posted on the LAAS websitewww.laanimalservices.com.)

It is our sincere hope and expectation that with the community’s continued help the Bottle Baby, Foster, Safety Net, and New Hope Programs will help right this temporary reversal in our continued progress towards lowering the kill rate. Other efforts are underway with the help of various community partners to help get the word out to help LAAS in its lifesaving mission. Clearly, we will never adopt our way out of this crisis. It is time for all Angelinos to get serious about spaying and neutering their animals.

Rescue organizations too must be held accountable. No rescue organization should adopt an animal out that is not spayed or neutered. If such an adoption does occur the rescue organization must follow up until the sterilization has been confirmed. This holds true for LAAS as well. We will be monitoring every intact animal released to any rescue group or individual for medical reasons to ensure the animal is altered as soon as it is healthy enough.

In order for LA City to achieve its No-Kill goal we must add a No-Birth initiative to our strategic plan as exemplified by LA County’s recent spay/neuter law, even if it is for a limited number of years, long enough to get a handle on this problem. At some point we have to turn the faucet off. There are simply too many unwanted kittens being born.

We must also bolster our Operation FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-termination) Trap/Neuter/Return Program and our Big Fixspay/neuter efforts for cats. It is my hope that all Angelinos will support any responsible initiative that will help us as a community to end the killing.

I understand very well that this is a controversial issue for some, but I hope we can all agree that the misguided accidental and deliberate backyard and puppy/kitten mill breeding must be stopped if we ever expect to end the killing.

(The May LAAS GM Report is now available on-line.)

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!