Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Letter to Mayor Villaraigosa

April 24, 2009

The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Mayor, City of Los Angeles
200 North Spring Street,
Room 303, City Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa:

This letter serves as my formal notice of resignation, effective June 30, 2009.

I am proud of the work that LA Animal Services has been able to accomplish over the past three and a half years including, but not limited to, development of the most successful municipal pet adoption program in the nation (over 26,000 adoptions annually); successfully opening six new state-of-the-art animal care centers; embarking on the Department’s first Strategic Planning process (scheduled for completion before I leave); updating and standardizing policies and procedures to ensure a well-run Department; and building the finest animal care and control medical and executive teams in the nation. Gratefully, all of this has successfully contributed to the lowest three years of pet euthanasia rates in the Department’s recorded history with every reason to expect continued improvement.

This was all accomplished while the Department experienced the largest, fastest, and most historic growth in service demand. LA Animal Services is finding its balance in an environment of severe budget cuts, unprecedented demand for expansion of services, and a severe staffing shortage. I am proud of the Department I am leaving behind. I leave you a Department committed to improving accountability and effectiveness and to continuing to identify and correct long-term organizational empowerment and accountability issues.

I have given a great deal of thought to my experience as general manager. As I depart I would like to leave LA residents with a call to action that unifies rather than divides. The greatest challenge to Los Angeles’ No-Kill goal is effective, affordable, convenient spay/neuter options. As a community we must help prevent unwanted pets from being born while our city shelters are filled to capacity with healthy beautiful animals waiting for loving homes. Pet overpopulation is a community problem that requires constructive community involvement and unity to solve.

As I step down, I ask for your assistance in calling LA’s pet loving residents to the following actions:

1. If you have a pet, spay or neuter your pet. It is now the law.
2. If you can help someone who can't afford to spay and neuter their pet, go to and make a donation to help provide spay/neuter surgeries.
3. Ask your friends, colleagues and employers to match your donation.
4. If you have room in your home and your heart for a pet, adopt one from your local shelter.
5. If you love your pet, license your pet. The number one reason pets die in shelters is because we can’t find their owners.

It is time LA pulled together to solve this societal problem. I would like to thank you for all of the support that you have shown me and our shared goal of creating a truly humane LA during my tenure with the City of Los Angeles. I've enjoyed working with you and your team, and value the relationship we have built over the years.

Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can ever be of assistance. Thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to serve the City of Los Angeles. It has been an honor.

Edward A. Boks, General Manager
Department of Animal Services