Monday, July 10, 2006

Report to the Mayor: Part I

The following is an excerpt from a report from the GM of Animal Services to Mayor Villaraigosa. Watch for part II later this week:

I want to report on the progress made so far this calendar year at Animal Services. Los Angeles Animal Services received two national recognitions during the past six months. The first mention came from Maddie’s Fund®, the well known Pet Rescue Foundation (, established in 1999 to help fund the creation of a no-kill nation. The recognition was for “transparency,” ie., the ready availability of information to the public.

Of the over 5200 animal control departments in the United States and the tens of thousands humane societies and other animal welfare organizations, Maddie’s identified only five organizations for their transparency. LA Animal Services was at the top of this list and was the only municipal animal control program recognized.

One of the reasons for this recognition is LA Animal Services’ willingness to post its statistics on-line. Animal Services shares Maddie’s philosophy that transparency “will ultimately help save more lives,” and that by our example “other organizations will see the true merit of moving in this direction, and that transparency will become commonplace in the very near future.”

The second recognition came from the leading independent newspaper providing original investigative coverage of animal protection worldwide. Founded in 1992, ANIMAL PEOPLE has no alignment or affiliation with any other entity. The official 14th annual ANIMAL PEOPLE analysis of kill rates in communities across the United States goes to press on July 20th. Merritt Clifton, editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE, forwarded LA Animal Services the following recognition based on the best available data of total U.S. shelter killing:

Los Angeles city and county combined have cut their shelter killing in half since 2003, and at a combined rate of 3.94 are now killing fewer animals per 1,000 residents than San Francisco killed in 1994, the first year of the Adoption Pact that made San Francisco the first no-kill city." Mr. Clifton goes on to cite LA as an example of a community making the “fastest progress” towards no-kill joining all “Southern California” in “the steepest decreases in shelter killing nationwide since 2001.

These two positive mentions demonstrate Los Angeles is on the right track and is developing meaningful momentum for further improvement. Over the past five years, LA City's dog euthanasia rate decreased 62 percent and our cat euthanasia rate decreased 19 percent.

In just the first six months of 2006, we’ve seen another 12 percent decrease in dog and cat euthanasia compared to the same period in 2005. In the 05/06 Fiscal Year just ending, fewer than 19,500 animals were euthanized.

This is the lowest number of animals killed in any one-year period in LA City history! At mid-calendar 06, the number of dogs and cats euthanized is 7,800. If we are able to maintain or improve our current efforts we may reduce dog and cat euthansia to under 16,000 this calendar year representing an additional 20% decrease in euthanasia.

During the past six months LA Animal Services experienced a 7% increase in adoptions compared to the same time period in 2005. The first two quarters of calendar year 2006 represent the highest pet adoption quarters [6821 adoptions] and the lowest euthanasia quarters [7,865 deaths] in LA Animal Services’ history! Add to this an additional 3,121 transfers to partnering organizations and our high return to owner rate and Animal Services “live release rate” for dogs and cats is an amazing 58%.

Animal Services has a 70% “live release” rate for dogs and a 44% “live release” rate for cats. The past six months is the first time in LA Animal Services history when more animals left alive then were killed. Together, we are truly making humane history in LA!

I want to thank everyone who is helping make the no-kill vision a reality in LA!