Over the past few days the LA Daily News misrepresented LA Animal Services on two occasions. The first instance I’ll mention was an article by Rick Orlav entitled, "Valley's horse-rescue plan needs work".
While I’ll agree that all emergency response plans need to be subject to constant review and improvement, the article suggests LA Animal Services’ role in the Sayres Fire is not clearly understood. LA Animal Services was there. LA Animal Services rescued over 400 horses. However, no mention was made of the fact that LA County Animal Care & Control was a no show until the rescue effort was nearly complete.
The only confusion during this entire episode resulted from whether LA Animal Services should go into the County to rescue horses outside of our jurisdiction or wait until County Animal Care & Control arrived. When it was clear horses would be lost if we didn’t act quickly, we of course went in - and as a result no horses were lost.
I made the recommendation to include a representative from Animal Services in the Emergency Operations Center to Councilman Zine nearly two years ago but to date he has taken no action and seems unaware of LA Animal Services critical role in these matters.
LA Animal Services performed exceptionally well and effectively saved hundreds of horses. They should be recognized for this heroic achievement - not criticized for the shortcomings of another department that couldn’t even get there on time.
The next article was an op-ed piece that appeared a few days earlier. I understand editors apply less scrutiny to want-a-be reporters, but LA Animal Services is such an open book that at any time the Daily News could simply have made a phone call to verify the facts before propagating the malicious myths manufactured by a chronic critic.
I refer to the piece entitled, “Finally, the end of an Ed Boks era.” A Department critic attempts to revive an old rumor claiming that I was fired in NYC. I was not fired from Animal Care & Control of New York City. I left that agency voluntarily and at the request of Mayor Villaraigossa to come to LA.
Then the author suggests LA Animal Services is somehow broken and “spiraling out of control” and the only remedy is to follow his inexperienced advice. So, is LA Animal Services broken? Let’s look at the facts.
Keep in mind this partial list of accomplishments was achieved while the Department experienced its most historic growth and most severe budget cuts and staffing shortages simultaneously; a significant challenge for any manager.
Still, we built the highest volume pet adoption program in the nation; achieved the lowest euthanasia rates in the Department’s history; opened six LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified animal care centers; increased staff size 100%; and recruited a record number of volunteers.
We firmly established the Animal Cruelty Task Force; improved Pet Shop and Circus Animal Regulations raising the standards for humane care; formed a coalition of over 100 animal welfare organizations to enhance our adoption efforts; produced two animal welfare television programs, and established an exceptional veterinary medical program and executive team.
Not only is LA Animal Services not broken, it is better positioned than ever to help establish LA as the most humane city in the nation.
If you would like to be part of a winning team please consider volunteering with LA Animal Services by clicking here and/or by making a donation to one of LA Animal Services life-saving programs by clicking here.