Debunking myths concerning black cats and Halloween by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and Halloween catEach October I’m asked to debunk the myths and misinformation regarding black cats and Halloween.   Some suggest a moratorium on adopting black cats in October for fear they will be harmed – not understanding that in all the history of humane work no one has ever documented any connection between adopting black cats and those cats being harmed in any way.  

Why then all the panic?  It seems much of the distress arises from a misunderstanding regarding the relationship between “witches” and black cats used in ritualistic sacrifices.  Witches would never harm their “familiars” who are supposed to be their eyes and ears in the spirit world.  To harm a familiar is to blind and deafen oneself.

This misunderstanding took on a twisted life of its own during the 1998 Halloween season when suspected Satanists were sought in nine states for “mutilations” that drew sensational media coverage and rewards up to $10,000.  That incident etched its way into the national consciousness.  However, few people remember that the investigators ultimately learned that these “mutilations” were the natural product of wildlife predation.

Each summer since then one community or another has suffered an emotional panic coinciding with the appearance of young coyotes from their dens and the first hunt of newly fledged raptors.  These panics increased in intensity with the public’s preoccupation with witches, ghouls, and goblins, but abruptly ended after Halloween – unlike cases of human sadism.

Police and humane officers are trained to investigate human-inflicted cruelty but often have little experience in predator behavior.  This sometimes leads to forensic evidence being misread in ways that incite witch-hunts.

Unlike human sadists, animal predators are quick and efficient, avoiding waste.  Their teeth and claws cut more cleanly than a knife and they don’t leave much blood behind.  When time permits, they consume the richest organs and leave the rest.

Coyotes typically attack small prey (such as cats) from behind and side, with a scissors-like jaw snap to the backbone that frequently cuts the victim in half.  When startled, they flee with the back half and whatever internal organs come along, leaving the head and fore-paws. These are examples of cases most often misread by investigators as ritualistic crimes.

When prey survives a first strike, coyotes and wild cats will inflict a skull-crunching bite to the head.  Several panics over alleged sadists drilling mysterious holes in the skulls of pets were resolved when investigators found the holes aligned with the incisors of wild predators.

Alleged “skinned alive” cases involving pets were actually coyotes and raptors mistaking pets for smaller prey. The predator holds on with teeth or claws while the victim runs causing a set of sharp, straight cuts investigators describe as “filets.”

Raptors account for cases where entrails are draped over cars, porches, trees, signs, and mailboxes.  They take flight with their prey and parts fall out.  Crows account for cases where eyes, lips, anuses, and female genitals are removed from fallen livestock.

Some trace black cat adoption moratoriums to early 20th Century New York Giants manager John McGraw.  McGraw was notoriously superstitious, so fans (mostly gamblers) tossed black cats in front of the Giants’ dugout to jinx him.  The American Baseball League quickly adopted a rule against continuing a game when an animal is on the field and many humane societies started prohibiting black cat adoptions during the World Series which often occurs around Halloween.

TNR as a Public Health response to achieving No-Kill by Ed Boks

A substantial number of animals euthanized in animal shelters each year are feral cats and their neonate offspring.  A program to control the homeless cat population by neutering instead of culling cats in shelters is critical to achieving No-Kill.

Overpopulation must be curtailed at its source.  Sterilization is the only humane, non-lethal solution to unchecked reproduction.  TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) is designed to achieve this goal by reducing the stray and feral cat population through attrition by trapping, sterilizing, and inoculating feral and stray cats against distemper and rabies, and then returning them to their already established territory, where they are monitored by feral cat colony managers. The sterilization prevents the cats from reproducing while inoculations prevent disease.  Ear-notching provides an easy way to identify cats in a TNR program.TNR has a history in Denmark, England, Israel, and the United States.  It is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is currently being implemented with local governments’ approval in many communities. Humane organizations endorsing TNR include the Humane Society of the United States, Friends of Animals, Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) and the Cat Fanciers’ Association. A national opinion poll conducted by Alley Cat Allies in May 2003 found that out of 24,599 respondents, 94% supported TNR as an effective tool in addressing feral and stray cat population.  Since March 2002, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has published four articles in favor of TNR.

TNR has proven to be an effective and workable program for long-term population control and is increasingly being utilized by public and private entities to address feral cat populations and the concomitant problems of protecting the public health from rabies and cat nuisance complaints.  It has been demonstrated to reduce over populations, complaints about roaming and the number of cats in shelters in communities in the United States and abroad.  It reduces euthanasia rates, and costs less than half of the cost of traditional trap and kill programs.  Dr. Julie Levy, DVM, Ph.D., monitored an eleven-year TNR project that involved eleven feral cat colonies on a central Florida campus.  Dr. Levy concluded that “a comprehensive long-term program of neutering followed by adoption or return to the resident colony can result in reduction of the free roaming cat population in urban areas.”

TNR is working successfully in New Jersey in model TNR programs in Cape May, Atlantic City (at the Boardwalk), Phillipsburg and Bloomfield.  In addition, support for TNR was one of the top three recommendations of New Jerseyans in comments received at public hearings on the topic.

Elsewhere in the country, the Orange County, Florida, Animal Services Department, the San Francisco SPCA, and statewide programs in California and Utah have successfully implemented TNR programs.  Maricopa County, Arizona and correctional institutions in Ohio, Montana and New York State have also officially approved TNR as a means to feline population control. These programs are additionally beneficial to local governments, as volunteers can often be found to assist municipalities in managing feral cat colonies but are generally not willing to assist in trapping and removing cats for euthanasia.

Examples of successful TNR programs include:

Alachua County, Florida: A program called Catnip was implemented in 1998 and is responsible for sterilizing more than 22,000 cats since then. The program decreased shelter intake of cats by 61% since 2000.

Maricopa County, Arizona: Ed Boks, former Director of Animal Care and Control, Maricopa County, Arizona, studied conventional methods of feral cat control for over 20 years. He determined that these methods do not properly regulate the population and, consequently, initiated a TNR program that is operated by the county animal control department. Within eight years the euthanasia rate dropped from 23 cats per 1,000 county residents to only eight cats per 1,000 county residents.

Orange County, Florida: Orange County, Florida has a population of 700,000 people. Its animal control department incurs costs of approximately $105 per animal when it must respond to a complaint and impound and euthanize the animal. Before its TNR program was introduced, there were approximately two hundred complaints per year, resulting in as many animals being captured, with a cost of $21,000 to the county. Within six years after the introduction of TNR by animal control services in 1995, complaints decreased by approximately 10% as did the number of impoundments, with a total savings to animal services of over $100,000. Within the six years of the start of the program, euthanasia decreased by 18%.

San Diego, California: Founded in 1992 by Dr. Rochelle Brinton, the Feral Cat Coalition (FCC) introduced TNR to San Diego on a countywide basis. FCC is an all volunteer organization that provides free sterilization procedures for feral and stray cats. In addition to sterilization procedures, the cats are vaccinated for rabies and treated for fleas and any immediate medical problems. FCC volunteers monitor the feral cats after they are returned to the outdoors. The local animal control departments support the program as it has had a positive impact in reducing the feral population, thus reducing the number of cases to which they would have otherwise been required to respond. By 1994, two years after the start of the TNR program, the total number of cats brought into San Diego shelters dropped over 34% and the euthanasia rates in county shelters for all cats dropped 40% (instead of the usual 10% increase). San Diego euthanized 8.0 shelter animals per 1,000 people in 1997; 4.9 in 2002. The reduction in the euthanasia rate translated to an estimated tax savings of $795,976.

San Francisco, California: The San Francisco SPCA initiated a citywide TNR program in 1993. The SPCA has been working with feral cat caregivers to control the feral cat population, provide some medical care, keep the cats adequately fed and, when possible, adopt them into homes. There are three aspects to the program. The first is “feral fix,” a program through which the SF/SPCA provides vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery for San Francisco feral cats, all at no charge to their caregivers. Since the program began they report altering over 10,000 cats. The second aspect of the program is “Cat Assistance Teams.” In neighborhoods throughout the City, CAT members work together to humanely trap feral cats, transport them to Feral Fix, provide post-surgery recovery care, and socialize feral kittens before placing them in homes. CAT members also provide expert advice and assistance to novice caregivers in their neighborhoods. Finally, there is 9 Lives™ Humane Feral Cat Management Video Series including nine comprehensive videos that cover all aspects of caring for feral cats. Within six years of commencing the TNR program, euthanasia rates dropped 70%.

New York City, NY: The New York City Feral Cat Council (“NYCFCC”) is a coalition of NYC animal groups working to humanely reduce the City’s feral cat population through the use of TNR. They established a TNR program on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1999. Based on statistics compiled by New York City’s Animal Care and Control, the number of stray cat intakes from the Upper West Side was reduced 73% in the first three years of the program. During the first year of the program, there was a 59% reduction in the number of cats arriving in shelters.

Cape May, New Jersey: In 1995, John Queenan, with the Cape May City Animal Control, proposed an ordinance to facilitate TNR and the feeding of feral cat colonies. Queenan based his proposal on similar regulations in Santa Cruz County, California. Because pick-up and euthanasia had not resolved the city’s overpopulation problem, the ordinance focused on preventing reproduction. As a result of Cape May’s ordinance change, 200 cats were altered in 1997. Based on the number of nuisance complaints, litters of kittens and visual sightings of the colonies, it is estimated that the feral cat population, which was between 500 and 800 cats in 1994, has been reduced by 50%.

Atlantic City, New Jersey: The Humane Society of Atlantic County, in conjunction with the Health Department of Atlantic City and local volunteers, has used TNR successfully and with municipal approval. Through kitten adoptions and natural attrition (since these cats no longer reproduce), the feral cat population under the Atlantic City boardwalk was reduced by more than 70% within three years. Cat related nuisance complaints, common before enactment of the TNR ordinance, are now rare.

Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Phillipsburg, Warren County also authorized TNR. Dr. Robert Blease, a veterinarian and founder of Common Sense for Animals (“CSA”), a non-profit organization that receives no public funding, initiated the municipality’s TNR ordinance in 2001. All feral cats that are brought to CSA are vaccinated, sterilized, and identified by way if ear notching. Cats that are infected with FIV/FEHV, unhealthy or vicious, are humanely euthanized. Since Phillipsburg authorized TNR the stray cat population has reportedly dropped an estimated 350 cats in the first year alone, and citizen complaints about stray cats have dropped to zero.

Bloomfield, New Jersey: The Friends of the Bloomfield/Bukowski Animal Shelter (FOBAS) initiated a TNR program September 2003 with two colonies. The program has been endorsed and supported by the mayor, the town council and the Bloomfield Department of Health. Neighborhood Cats, a New York City-based volunteer non-profit organization, provides advice and assistance to the town, which adopted TNR as its official feral cat program.

For information on the sources for the above information as well as how to calculate the feral cat population in your community refer to Analysis of Feral Cat Solutions.

Applying the No-Kill Ethic by Ed Boks

More than a policy and statistical objective, “no-kill” is a principle, an ethic, and once applied the practical consequences begin to fall into place. The principle is that animal shelters should apply the same criteria for deciding an animal’s fate that a loving pet guardian or conscientious veterinarian would apply. That is, healthy and treatable animals are not killed simply because of a lack of room or resources to care for them.

Killing animals for lack of space may be the quick, convenient and, at least from afar, the easy thing to do.  But I have never, in nearly 30 years in this field, heard anyone argue that it is the right thing to do.  After all, the creatures who fill our shelters can hardly be faulted for bringing trouble upon themselves. People who seek to excuse euthanasia in shelters often say we have to be “realistic.” But such realism is best directed at the sources of the problem and at the element of human responsibility..

There are the heart-breaking cruelty cases that bring so many animals to our doors.  On top of that, there are the thousands of dogs and cats shelters take in each year who are actually relinquished – turned in – even after years living with a family – like old furniture donated to charity.  And there are the orphaned, neonate puppies and kittens.  No one bothered to spay or neuter the parents, and so the offspring are born into the world homeless or unwanted. The general attitude is, “Let someone else deal with the problem,” and – hundreds of times a year – someone else does with a lethal injection.

Along with such failures in personal responsibility is a breakdown in social responsibility.  On the budget sheets, saving animals can seem to a certain mindset as being a lowly or trivial concern.  That’s an easy position to take, as long as you don’t have to be there when the problem gets “solved”.  If the people who brush off animal-welfare as “trivial” had to see the product of their priorities carried out – to witness for themselves how trusting the dogs are even when being led to their death, or how as they drift away they lick the hand or face of the person with the needle – I suspect they would see matters in a very different light, and would enthusiastically support life saving programs.

I can see rays of light.  There is a renewed community commitment to helping lost and homeless animals, and to swearing off euthanasia as a solution to pet overpopulation.

The “no-kill” ethic is a matter of taking responsibility, instead of excusing the problem or hiding its consequences.

No matter how you do the math, there are still too many creatures who have love and devotion to offer, but never get their chance.  And calling the practice euthanasia (as some prefer), instead of killing (as others prefer), doesn’t make it any kinder.

The practice of killing animals has never been anyone’s idea of an ideal solution – let alone anyone’s idea of giving “shelter” to creatures in need.  And, up close, the willful elimination of healthy animals with good years left is a sight to move the hardest heart.  It is time we as a community make this commitment: No animal that comes through our shelters will be killed out of convenience or a lack of space.  For every one of them, there is somewhere a kind and loving person or family, and it is our mission to bring them together.

October ’06 Numbers Are In by Ed Boks

LA Animal Services Adoptions for dogs and cats are up nearly 9% in October 06 compared to October 05, and New Hope placements are up 48%. Euthanasia is down nearly 12% from last year’s record low. For dogs euthanasia is down over 20% and for cats euthanasia is down nearly 12%

This success is due in large part to our New Hope Partners. New Hope Placements were up nearly 93% for cats and 28% for dogs!

This translates into 1,938 live placements into loving homes compared to 1,605 last October. In addition, nearly 400 lost pets were safely returned to their frantic owners in October. Remember, if you love your pet, you will license and neuter your pet!

LA Animal Services experienced a 60% live release rate in October 06 for cats and dogs combined. That represents a 72% live release rate for dogs and a 46% live release rate for cats! That is truly amazing! But we have a long way to go to achieve No-Kill, although we are getting closer and closer every day!

LA Animal Services wants to thank all our adopters, New Hope Partners, volunteers, and staff for these extraordinary results. Together we are making Los Angeles the safest City in the United States for our pets! Together we are creating happiness by bringing pets and people together! Thank you!

How To Help Save Lives by Ed Boks

Everyday people ask me how they can help LA Animal Services achieve its No-Kill Goal. The key to achieving this goal is funding life saving programs, programs we may not be able to afford through our budget. Animal Services has many life saving programs and giving opportunities. And now, making a donation to one of our life saving programs has never been easier.

TO MAKE A DONATION all you have to do is click Here

The two main funds that LA Animal Services accepts donations through. They are:

The Animal Welfare Trust Fund
The Animal Sterilization Trust Fund

Funds may also be donated for specific programs and services and shelter operations.

LA Animal Services has developed and will continue to develop programs designed to reduce LA’s euthanasia rate as we increase our live animal placement rate through adoptions, our New Hope program, returning lost pets to their frantic owners, and by humanely reducing feral cat populations in our neighborhoods.

If you would like to help join Animal Services war on pet euthanasia, please send a tax deductible financial gift to:

LA Animal Services
221 N. Figueroa Street Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90012

You can designate your gift to the general Animal Welfare Fund or to any one or more of the specific programs described below:

Big Fix sponsors low/no cost spay/neutering services for pets in low-income households.

New Hope is a network of over 70 of LA’s pet rescue, support and adoption agencies in Southern California who work with LA Animal Services in the process of locating permenant loving homes for the animals Animal Services rescue.

Safety Net helps pets and their families stay together through difficult financial times or relocations.

STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery) program provides medical treatment to severely injured, abused, and neglected animals rescued by Animal Services.

TLC (Teach Love and Compassion) provides at-risk youth with the employment training in animal care. This is an intergenerational program in which our community’s elders work with our youth teach love and compassion through the care and love of animals.

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

FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-terminations)provides low or no cost spay/neuter service to feral cats managed by a trained feral cat colony manager trained by one of Animal Services feral cat partner organizations.

Foster Program trains volunteers to provide temporary homes for special needs animals until they are healthy enough for adoption.

If you would like your donations to be used for specific programs and services, please specify.

Please make your check or money order payable to:

Department of Animal Services
221 N. Figueroa Street, 5th floor
LA, CA 90012
Your donations are tax deductible and your generosity will be acknowledged.
Even if you cannot make a financial contribution today, there are other ways you can help. Our Animal Care Centers always need blankets, newspaper, and other items. For more details, take a look at our six Animal Care Centers to understand their specific needs. And of course we always need volunteers.
By working together, we can make LA the safest City in the United States for our pets! Thank you for your support and gifts!


Animal cruelty can be described as the three deadly sins against animals. Cruelty is the sin of commission, an overt act of hurting an animal. Neglect is the sin of omission, the lack of providing for the needs of an animal’s well being. And hoarding, perhaps the most misunderstood of the three sins. Hoarding is a deadly combination of the first two sins elaboratively disguised as love when in fact it is hurtful, self-serving avarice.

Despite their professions of love, animal hoarders neglect to provide their animals with needed medical care as well as the minimum basic necessities of adequate food, water, and shelter. Left untreated and uncared for, the animals and their diseases multiply. Blind to the reality of the tremendous suffering they inflict, animal hoarders maintain they are saving animals that no one else would want.

Attached is an article written by Lisa Avery, published in the Valparaiso University Law Review, Summer, 2005 editionMs. Avery’s article addresses the largely misunderstood phenomenon of animal hoarding. It proposes that in order to protect hoarders’ animals and to prevent the inevitable victimization of shelter animals impacted by hoarder rescues, it is necessary to dispel the common perception that hoarders are Good Samaritans whose intentions have gone awry. Her article describes the critical need to educate the agencies and individuals called upon to respond to hoarding cases of the severe animal, human, and economic harm hoarders cause.

The article introduces the phenomenon of animal hoarding and efforts to study its cause and effect. From those studies and recent hoarding cases, Ms. Avery describes the characteristics animal hoarders share and discusses the psychological conditions that may trigger their conduct. She chronicles various efforts to prosecute animal hoarders and explores the possibility of intervention programs to address hoarding cases. She concludes with a recommendation that all the agencies and individuals affected by animal hoarders’ behavior work together to prevent them from hoarding and hurting again.

If this is a topic you are interested in please click on this link:

The more we understand this obsessive compulsive disorder the better equipped we will be as a community to help both the victimized animals and the hoarders themselves.

April 06 Numbers Are In… by Ed Boks

For four consecutive months the LAAS Team has been working miracles. They have significantly reduced euthanasia each month when compared to the same four months in 2005. Admittedly, we must do more. But to do more requires your help!

Please consider adopting or volunteering as a foster home. Together we can make LA the safest city in the United States for our pets, but we need your help! What follows are the numbers from April 06:

Dogs and Cats Combined:
LAAS April 06 Dog and Cat Adoptions were up .1% compared to April 05 and up 18% compared to April 04.

April 06 Dog and Cat Euthanasia was down 27% compared to April 05 and down 64% compared to April 04. Over the course of the past 12 months 42% of all the dogs and cats that came into LAAS were euthanized. Of the dogs and cats that were relinquished by their owners 35% were euthanized.

April 06 Dog and Cat New Hope placements were down 19% compared to April 05 and down 6% compared to April 04. LAAS is anxious to get the New Hope Program up and running so we can soon see an improvement in these numbers.

April 06 Dog and Cat Intakes were down 15% compared to April 05 and down 12% compared to April 04. The Big Fix is taking hold!

April 06 represents the highest April Adoption Rate and the lowest April Euthanasia Rate since April 2000. LAAS electronic database doesn’t go back any further than that.

Our new Foster Care Program is a huge part of our success this year. April 06 Fosters are up 87% compared to April 05 and up 100% compared to April 04. This is just a fledgling program but we are very excited about its potential to help save more lives. Please consider volunteering as a Foster Home for our animals! Its the perfect program for those of you that find it difficult to make a long term commitment…

April 06 Dog Adoptions were down 3% compared to April 05 and up 2.6% compared to April 04.

April 06 Dog Euthanasia was down 47% compared to April 05 and down 56% compared to April 04. Over the past twelve months only 30% of all dogs received by LAAS were euthanized.

April 06 New Hope Dog placements were down 23% compared to April 05 and down 1.6% compared to April 04.

April Dog Intakes were down 11% compared to April 05 and down 12% compared to April 04.

April 06 Cat Adoptions are up 7% compared to April 05 and up 60% compared to April 04.

April 06 Cat Euthanasia is down 35% compared to April 05 and down 45% compared to April 04. Over the past twelve months 56% of all cats received by LAAS were euthanized.

April 06 New Hope Cat placements are down 16% compared to April 05 and down 12% compared to April 04.

April 06 Cat Intakes are down 18% compared to April 05 and down 13% compared to April 04.

“Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” John Updike US author (1932 – )

The Ed Boks Show?

All the way from Broadway, now appearing in Los Angeles, The Ed Boks Show. A few local critics have expressed offense at what they perceive as the Boks “ego” taking credit for the significant drop in euthanasia over the past three months.

Being human and invested in this goal, I suppose I’d like to get some credit for the substantial decline in the killing, but it would be disingenuous for me to say this decline was because of me. These results could never be the work of any one man or woman. These kinds of results come from a community effort.

The credit goes to the incredible supporting cast of the LAAS Team, the 392 employees and growing number of volunteers, partners, and donors who believe that achieving no-kill doesn’t have to take a long time. I am proud to be a member of this cast.

Actually. the remarkable progress of the past three months is simply a continuation of a five-year trend. Over the past five years the dedicated employees, volunteers, partners, and donors of LAAS reduced the killing nearly 50%. And they did this as they bravely weathered an onslaught of personal criticism and threats that few of us would have endured for even a week.

Often we at LAAS hear people say, “I could never do your job.” Our response is, “How could you not?” Everyday the employees and volunteers of LAAS come into our Animal Care Centers to do what few others in our community are willing to do. They care for, feed, treat, and shelter the 120 or more lost, homeless, abused, neglected, sick, and injured animals they rescue from the streets of LA everyday. Thank God they continue to come!

The successes of Arizona and New York City were not designed to feed anyone’s ego. They were designed to help the thousands of animals in need in those communities. Ultimately those successes serve to demonstrate that ANYONE can do this if given a chance and the support of the community!

Any community with the heart and will to end the killing can achieve this goal, and I’m happy to report the heart and will to do this is thriving in Los Angeles. This community is fortunate that this determination existed in the employees, volunteers, partners, and donors of LAAS long before I got here. Thank God it still exists and is growing!

Let me tell you the secret to achieving no-kill: If you really want to stop the killing in any community, you have to support the agency where the killing occurs. This may sound counter intuitive, but if you think about it, it actually makes a great deal of sense. Does anyone really think LAAS wants to be a kill agency? No agency charged with helping innocent creatures and serving the community wants this. This is true in Maricopa County, New York City, Chicago, Miami, St. Louis, Albuquerque, anywhere.

If you want to stop the killing in LA, you have to support LAAS. There are many indirect ways you can help LA achieve no-kill, but there is only one direct way, and that is to help LAAS. We need the help of all the dedicated, creative and committed individuals who call this community their home. We invite your help and ideas. This is a collaborative effort and those who stand to gain are the very animals we all want so badly to help!

If you are waiting for LAAS to be perfect before you help, then we’ll never get there. LAAS readily admits we need the community’s help and we need it now. I am thankful that the community is stepping up in an unprecedented way to help as the excitement to end the killing grows! The killing must end. We all agree. Never has anyone in LAAS ever tried to defend this horrible practice as our critics suggest. We want to end it, and we want to end it in the shortest possible time frame!

Our success depends on you! LAAS is under funded and under staffed. What government agency isn’t? We cannot do this by ourselves. We attempt to do the miraculous everyday with inadequate resources. How much faster can we achieve this goal with your help?

LA City is facing a couple of very difficult fiscal years. Nonetheless, the City is extraordinarily committed to LAAS achieving no-kill, from the Mayor to the City Council to the Commission. LAAS will see an increase in its budget despite a looming City deficit. But I can tell you right now it won’t be enough to achieve no-kill without your help. The only way we will achieve no-kill in LA is if we as an entire community all pitch in to help.

How can you help? You can volunteer an hour or two a week, you can foster orphaned neonates or sick or injured animals and nurse them back to health, you can participate in our many off site adoption events, you can make a donation to any one of our many life saving programs, or help raise the money to fund these programs. If you own a business you can provide in-kind donations in the way of services or products to help the animals.

If you can’t do any of these things, you can still help. Just support the employees and volunteers of LAAS. We are in a war to end euthanasia. LAAS is the front line in this war. Some will criticize the troops when they think a war isn’t going well. But the good news is the war against euthanasia is going well! 2006 could end with the biggest decline in the killing in LA’s history. Fewer animals died in the first quarter of 2006 than in any preceding first quarter on record!

Did Ed Boks do this? No, I did not. This was done through the commitment and compassion of the employees, volunteers, partners, and donors of LAAS. All I’m doing is asking you to support the troops of LAAS as they win this war for all of us and our animals!

Quite frankly, I am far less concerned with who gets the credit so long as the goal is ultimately achieved. I am concerned that our critics who focus so heavily on the issue of credit are wasting valuable time and distracting us from appreciating the fact that fewer animals are dying. The goal is more achievable today then ever before.

In this war, every day, week and month is a battle to save more lives. In January 06 we experienced a 25% decrease in euthanasia compared to January 05, in February 06 we experienced a 33% decrease compared to February 05, and in March we anticipate nearly a 40% decrease compared to March 05.

Can we all just pause for a moment to rejoice for the animals that benefited from all the hard work of all the heroes in this community who are making a positive difference? Can we use the days ahead to better mobilize our forces to help the remaining animals that still need our help?

Only by working together will we make LA the safest City in the US for our pets!