People often defend animal shelters, and this is true in Long Beach, as well. Recent arguments put forth have said that LBACS doesn't have enough money to stop killing the nearly 2400 animals they kill each year. That is absolutely not true. LBACS has a budget in excess of $4.5 million, not counting money from the cities it contracts with. Sacramento ACS has substantially the same budget and is doing 4400 adoptions a year. It's not because of a lack of money that our shelter kills. When you look at the animals most killed by our shelter and look at why they were killed, the reasons become clear:
- Dogs. Dogs with good temperaments or slight but manageable behavior issues are being kept in the shelter for long periods of time. They then deteriorate after these long stays, or they are subject to snap judgments based on limited information about their temperaments and are labeled "severe behavioral issue" or "aggressive" and are killed. Dogs who get kennel cough after unnecessarily long stays are also killed at the shelter. If there had been a strong adoption or foster program, they wouldn't get sick and they wouldn't be killed.
Problem: Lack of a strong adoption program and foster program, not a lack of funding.
- Cats: Cats also enter the shelter in good shape, but they easily become sick with URIs (your average cold.) Yet, we know that there is a large segment of the human population in LB that will adopt (as seen at the recent Kitty Hall). If there were a strong adoption program and a foster program to get cats out of the shelter faster, they wouldn't get sick and they wouldn't get killed.
Problem: Lack of a strong adoption program and foster program, not a lack of funding.
- Kittens: Kittens, especially kittens that are not yet weaned, are still killed at alarming numbers. LBACS refuses to have a foster program for them - the best they do is off-the-record give DIY bottle feeding kits to people who bring kittens in and let them take them back if they're willing to bottle feed them. The fact that it's off-the-record is a hallmark of LBACS' operations, and it's the way the City placates concerned community members without ever taking true responsibility for putting in place programs to save lives.
Problem: Lack of a regular foster program for weaned kittens and lack of a bottle-baby foster program for unweaned kittens, not a lack of funding.
In spite of this, there are still some people who blame the public for problem and use it as a justification for the killing of animals. There is no other sector in civic life where we simply say - we have to (insert heinous act similar to shelter killing) because the public is irresponsible. Imagine if the government said that all parents have to be responsible before we can take care of children at Child Protective Services. It's ludicrous. Yet this is what many in the group of city sycophants who surround the shelter say about Long Beach ACS.
Then, when these issues are brought up, there are people who say "You can't criticize the shelter.
Volunteer there, then you can talk."
We never say all parents have to volunteer at schools so we can clean up problems with the school system. We never say say that people have to work in a hospital or do independent audits of hospitals to reform the health care system. We pay the government to do these things, and we pay them well. It's their job to do the will of the people.
Those arguments are simply another way to deflect criticism and stop doing the real work that has to be done at our shelters: putting in place strong programs, run by competent people, who are accountable to the public.
This is not rocket science - it's good government, and we don't have it yet in our city and at our shelter.
We'll keep advocating for the shelter animals, but frankly, Long Beach, you should be outraged. After nearly 4 years of hearing about these programs as a result of our advocacy, LBACS and the Mayor continue to take half-measures, spin the truth and kill animals needlessly. All in your name. All on your dime.
It does NOT have to be this way.
In a stunning display of shameless insincerity, Mayor Garcia continues to mislead the public about what’s going on at the Long Beach animal shelter.
In an e-mail to Long Beach residents yesterday, Mayor Garcia reported Long Beach Animal Care Services’ (LBACS) statistics for the first 6 months of 2016, saying that the news -- specifically the news about adoptions -- at LBACS was nothing short of great.
He then went on to discuss the number of animals impounded and the number of animals euthanized by LBACS.
Actual numbers of adoptions were not mentioned.
Stayin’ Alive Long Beach has been reporting on LBACS’ statistics since 2013, acting as a monitor on the public’s behalf of a city agency that has largely kept the public in the dark about what happens to shelter animals in our city shelter.
At Stayin’ Alive, we know that the public is smart enough to understand the difference between a real adoption into a loving home and a shelter simply pushing animals off to another shelter or rescue. We know that LBACS also knows the difference because they log adoptions, rescues and transfers to other shelters as very separate things in their database.
The Mayor’s Strategy – Passing the Buck Instead of Stepping Up
But Mayor Garcia is either unclear on the concept, or he thinks the public is not paying attention. An explanation may help.
An adoption is not shipping a shelter animal by plane thousands of miles away to another shelter for yet another shelter stay.
An adoption is not releasing an animal to an overworked and underfunded rescue that is working desperately to make up for LBACS’ lack of an adoption program.
An adoption is not giving an animal to neighboring SpcaLA so the animal can spend more time in yet another shelter – a shelter that according to its own website doesn’t believe in no kill sheltering and is not accountable to the City or to Long Beach taxpayers.
While it’s true that euthanasias are down at LBACS, it is largely due to these “pass-the-buck” strategies that show no real commitment to getting animals into good homes, and that in many cases result in extended stays in other shelters, where the animals often fall ill and then are euthanized.
Our neighbors to the north at Sacramento Animal Care Services know the difference between passing the buck and finding animals good homes – Sacramento did more than 4400 adoptions in 2015. LBACS did 471.
Mayor Garcia seemed to understand the distinction between adoptions and non-adoption outcomes back during the mayoral election when he was promising folks that he would increase adoptions at our shelter. He got elected on that promise, and now he’s claiming to have made good on that promise without actually having fulfilled it, and without reporting real adoption numbers.
Long Beach's Shelter Animals Are Dying Needlessly
Watching Mayor Garcia dance around the adoption question would almost be comical if it weren’t so heartbreaking.
Because the truth is - our shelter animals are dying.
By the Mayor’s own numbers, 725 animals were euthanized in the first six months of 2016. Yet many of these animals could have been saved if LBACS had a strong adoption program and a foster program. These suggestions are not unreasonable. Sacramento has strong adoption and foster programs. LA Animal Services has a foster program. If other cities can have such programs, surely, Long Beach can, too.
Actual Adoption Numbers at LBACS are Extremely Low
Here are the actual adoption numbers at LBACS, obtained by Stayin’ Alive Long Beach through the California Public Records Act. These are the numbers you’ll never see in a press release from Mayor Garcia, in spite of the fact that he campaigned specifically on the promise that he would increase actual adoptions at the Long Beach Animal Care Services shelter.
As you can see, adoption numbers are low across the board, and the increase since 2015, if any, has been minimal.
This Friday, Mayor Garcia is holding a “Kitty Hall” cat adoption event at City Hall. At last year’s event, LBACS reported placing 14 cats. Such events are great photo ops for our Mayor, but they’re no substitute for a real adoption program. To put it plainly – a one-time adoption event at City Hall every 9 months is like giving Batman a bicycle, when the Batmobile is all revved up and ready to go in the parking lot outside. The bicycle in this comparison is, of course, the rarely-held Kitty Hall. The Batmobile is a robust adoption program. Clearly, our shelter needs an ongoing, continuous adoption program – not an occasional event whose main function is to make the Mayor look good.
It is a sad day indeed when our elected officials use shelter animals’ plight to get elected, and then abandon them once again by failing to put into effect even the most basic of lifesaving programs – lifesaving adoption and foster programs.
The good news is that voters in Long Beach can mobilize the political process to elect compassionate people into City Council and the Mayor’s office so that this can change. There is hope for shelter animals in Long Beach – Long Beach is a compassionate city. It’s up to us to make sure that we elect leaders who reflect our compassionate values.
Patricia Turner is an educator and the spokesperson for Stayin’ Alive Long Beach, an animal advocacy group that promotes lifesaving programs at the Long Beach Animal Care Services animal shelter. Visit them at www.stayinalivelongbeach.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stayinalivelb.
Sacramento's Shelter Animals Getting Help this 4th, while LBACS' Animals are Abandoned by the Shelter that Takes Them in
Knowing that the 4th of July weekend will result in many scared animals entering the shelter, Sacramento's Front Street city shelter worked their tails off and got 111 animals adopted in just about a day and a half. More are expected as the weekend progresses.
One part of their success is due to the fact that the shelter is making adoption fees free this weekend. Some will look at this and protest that these people won't take care of the animals they've adopted. This is actually not true. It's not the fee that people pay that determines a good home -- it's the screening of the applicants that is key to getting a good home.
Studies have shown that there is no correlation between how much a person pays for an animal and how much the person bonds with or cares for the animal. Eliminating adoption fees can bring good people into the shelter to adopt at a critical time, when they might otherwise have waited a month or two when the shelter's need was not that great.
Unfortunately, on the busiest, most crucial weekend of the year for adoptions, LBACS is doing nothing special on their Facebook page. There is one mention of fireworks being illegal in Long Beach. This law is rarely enforced - my family always had to leave Long Beach on the 4th to take our dogs to a city where they actually enforced their laws about fireworks. And there is no information about how to help animals on the 4th on their Facebook page.
LBACS has said that they're understaffed right now, yet they work with rescues, community members and volunteers who have expressed to us repeatedly that they would be willing to help with the LBACS Facebook page. LBACS has not taken them up on this.
Our shelter animals were abandoned once, and now they're being abandoned again, by the very shelter and City that has said they would work to save their lives.
Sacramento shows us that it doesn't have to be this way. Please contact City Council and tell them you want shelter reform at the Long Beach animal shelter. Here's the contact info for LB City Council and a link to other ways you can help.
The longer we wait to act, the more animals will die. It's as simple as that.
So...why does a city-operated shelter need to advertise adoptable pets on its own Facebook page (in addition to any other pages run by shelter volunteers or anyone else?).
1. City pages attract more people. People go to the City shelter for information about adoptable animals. They'll look up the City shelter page on Facebook, not a page that is not the official City shelter page. If the City page doesn't have animals, you've lost a ton of potential adopters right there.
2. Unofficial pages are harder to find. As a corollary to #1, unofficial pages put up by shelter volunteers are harder to find than official pages run by City shelters. Pages that are hard to find obviously attract fewer adopters, and this is not good for animals. Volunteer pages in ADDITION to the City shelter page posting adoptable animals are great. Volunteer pages that REPLACE the City shelter page are a sign that your City shelter does not take its lifesaving mission seriously.
3. Cities that don't post animals are clearly not publicly committed to lifesaving. Not posting animals on your Facebook page as a City shelter shows that you are not publicly invested in adopting shelter animals out. The fact that the City of Long Beach Animal Care Services shelter now apparently doesn't put adoptable animals on their Facebook page is a HUGE red flag that shows that LBACS (and the City Manager, Council and Mayor) wants to "fly under the radar" with regard to adoptions, and be completely divorced from any appearance of networking the animals.
4. As a corollary to #3, cities that don't post adoptable animals on their Facebook pages don't want to be accountable to the public in terms of lifesaving and adopting out animals, and their JOB is to be accountable to the public. The fact that LBACS has started shifting its facebook-networking to a volunteer-run page is a HUGE indication that LBACS has no intention of being accountable to the public.
5. City shelters have larger followings than volunteer-run pages. This is usually because they are a CITY entity. It may also be because they can afford to spend more on boosting their Facebook posts (though there's no evidence that LBACS has ever done that, in spite of having a large budget and bringing millions of dollars in through license canvassing).
6. City shelter that put all the networking responsibility on volunteers and then stifle their free speech are a particularly heinous form of shelter that kills. We have heard that LBACS interferes with the postings on one of the volunteer-run pages and that people who don't comply with their posting "preferences" can be retaliated against by being dismissed from the volunteer program. Shelter volunteers' speech is protected by the First Amendment and a recent Maryland court case recently held that "a volunteer, rescuer, or any other member of the public cannot be banned from a government shelter simply because he or she has criticized shelter management, complained about the policies and practices of the shelter, or posted information online that officials believe is unflattering to the shelter." The fact that LBACS places restrictions on how volunteers talk about the shelter is a violation of their First Amendment rights and it's not okay.
It is an enormous step backward to put all networking off on a volunteer-run page in terms of adopting out animals, in terms of being accountable and in terms of furthering humane treatment of animals in the community (hint: if your shelter doesn't want people to know its doing adoptions, that is a GIANT red flag that animals aren't valued by your city government. People hear that message loud and clear.)
So we think it's GREAT that there are volunteer-run shelter pages. We applaud them; we value the work of those volunteers and we're grateful that they're there, working in a broken shelter that still kills animals for no good reason.
But LBACS needs to take responsibility for what they have been charged to do by the animal-loving public -- not run away from it at every turn.
Mayor Garcia is busy revising history on his Facebook page, saying in the last election, he promised to lower euthanasia rates at the shelter. That's not exactly it. At all. He actually promised to increase adoptions. If Garcia is trying to be an underachiever, he's really nailing it. In the year after he made that promise, the progress in adoptions was glacial. You almost have to TRY to not to do adoptions to do the lamer-than-lame job he has done on increasing adoptions. We responded to this on his page with the open letter below.
So far, no response. Shocker.
With all due respect, Mayor Robert Garcia, you didn't just promise to lower euthanasia rates - as lbreportdotcom reported back in 2014, you promised to build a strong adoption program, which to most folks means you'll increase adoptions.
Specifically, you said: "..One thing that Ted and I discussed, I'm really happy that the shelter is doing, is we're hiring this full time adoptions coordinator for the shelter, which I think is great...This person and their job is going to be first of all to view how do we build a strong adoptions program...We have obviously on the SPCA side is we have the adoption work that they're doing every single day, and we also have some adoption work that's being done currently at the shelter through our volunteers and the great staff we have there. But this person is going to be tasked also in how do we strengthen, grow and develop this adoptions program so we have a really strong adoptions program at the shelter. I'm really excited about that and I hope you guys are all excited about that too because I think it's going to make a difference..." http://www.lbreport.com/news/oct14/nokill.htm
Yet, in 2015, the year you said adoptions would increase, LBACS only adopted out 68 more animals than it did the prior year.
The "full-time adoption coordinator" position fell flat - how is it that with a full-time adoption coordinator on staff, LB's shelter only did 471 adoptions in 2015 while Sacramento's did more than 4400?
Instead of making changes to put animals into good homes, you've moved toward band-aid like strategies that put the animals into other shelters, which is just passing the buck, and it's harmful to the animals, who should be going to homes, rather than to longer stays in shelters and rescues. You might not be aware of this, but longer lengths of stay in shelters correlate highly with higher mortality rates. This is because animals often get sick in the shelter. They shouldn't be shuttled around - they need to be adopted into homes, like many other city shelters do.
When our shelter is killing 2400 animals a year, we can't afford to ignore adoptions. We can't afford to ignore any positive solutions.
I hope you'll reconsider the direction you've taken on this issue, especially since you promised more than 200 animal advocates in that Town Hall Meeting back in 2014 to "build a strong adoption program." People who voted for you for this issue deserve better representation, and our shelter animals deserve a better chance.
Irvine has placed a ban on the killing of healthy and adoptable animals.
While this is good news overall, there are a few points to notice about this case. Two are instructive and one is cautionary.
1. The first thing is the involvement of the City Council and the fact that they 1) formed a Council sub-committee to study the issue and 2) called for a study of the shelter by an outside consultant. This shows that Irvine really wanted to get to the bottom of the matter.
2. Second - the fact that this was all brought about because shelter volunteers complained to the city.
From the article: "In response to the concerns of the volunteers, city officials halted all euthanasia – unless medically necessary – for 60 days in early 2015."
Folks who see disorganization, unclear and poorly executed policies, retaliatory behavior and poor decision-making at their shelters are the ones who are the most effective at getting the City to respond. They need to speak out. As you can see, City Councils have the power to declare policies on killing -- even halt euthanasia -- but they won't do it unless they are pushed to, especially in Long Beach.
3. Third - and these are caveats, while Irvine is moving in the right direction, placing a ban on killing healthy and adoptable animals is only a start because it still allows for the killing of treatable animals. Many of the animals that are killed in the Long Beach shelter are very treatable: they stay in the shelter too long (because of a non-existent adoption program) and they get sick and then they're killed.
Limiting it to adoptable animals allows the shelter to have a gigantic loophole in saying that that kitten that sneezes is not adoptable because he/she has a very treatable upper respiratory infection (aka 'a cold.')
The protections need to be extended to healthy and TREATABLE animals, and a strong adoption program needs to be put in place so that animals can get out of the shelter BEFORE they get sick.
We're moving toward a future where no healthy or treatable animal will be killed, or where city shelters will do everything in their power to protect healthy and treatables -- how long will Long Beach fight that?
Mayor Garcia has said on a rescuer's Facebook post that he will "look into" the newest issue that has come to light about the rigid rules and restrictive policies that SpcaLA imposes on our city shelter - this time, it's about LBACS animals not being allowed to play in an SpcaLA play area.
Let's be clear about this: Mayor Garcia knows exactly what the issues are with SpcaLA. Stayin' Alive brought these issues to him during the last election, and he said he would "look into" them, then, too. In March of this year, we also submitted a letter to him regarding untrue statements his staff was making about LBACS' save rate and the relationship with SpcaLA - again bringing up the issue of the cherry-picking of the most adoptable animals that SpcaLA engages in. Mayor Garcia knows, but he's done nothing about it, and since he was elected, more than 5,000 animals have been killed at LBACS.
Lies and inaction aren't new for Mayor Garcia. In fact, he promised to 200 animal advocates in a town hall meeting back in October 2014 to increase adoptions - he also implied during that meeting, in direct response to a question about the issue, that he would put a stop to the way SpcaLA manipulates the City. However, from the moment Garcia was elected, he jumped right into the Pat West lie-fest, spinning shelter numbers and allowing SpcaLA to continue cherry picking the animals.
One of the biggest whoppers Mayor Garcia has told was that he would increase adoptions in 2015 - a promise he still has not kept almost 2 years after he was elected:
"[Mayor Garcia]...One thing that Ted [Stevens] and I discussed, I'm really happy that the shelter is doing, is we're hiring this full time adoptions coordinator for the shelter, which I think is great...This person and their job is going to be first of all to view how do we build a strong adoptions program...We have obviously on the SPCA side is we have the adoption work that they're doing every single day, and we also have some adoption work that's being done currently at the shelter through our volunteers and the great staff we have there. But this person is going to be tasked also in how do we strengthen, grow and develop this adoptions program so we have a really strong adoptions program at the shelter. I'm really excited about that and I hope you guys are all excited about that too because I think it's going to make a difference..." (from LBReport.com 10/14/14).
These were empty promises. In 2015, the year Garcia said he'd increase adoptions, the shelter did 471 adoptions, up from a paltry 434 the year before. Sacramento Animal Care Services, in contrast, did nearly 10 times that number (see the chart for December 2015, cumulative numbers). Not only did adoptions not increase in any significant way, Mayor Garcia continued to pander to SpcaLA - muddying the waters even more by transferring adoption duties to the non-profit, and also, we've been told, giving the bursting-at-the-scenes non-profit the revenue from those adoptions.
Rest assured: the Mayor knows about the SpcaLA mess and has done nothing to change it. Has anyone ever noticed that it's an SpcaLA pet that Mayor Garcia shows at City Council meetings and not an LBACS animal? SpcaLA has almost double the revenue stream and $34 million in assets and while our shelter animals are dying by the thousands, we're spending City time on showing SpcaLA animals. Make no mistake, SpcaLA animals need homes, too, but at the very least, the spotlight should be shared with an LBACS animal as well at City Council.
In the following video from May 2015, we see Mayor Garcia bringing (for the umpteenth time) SpcaLA up to show a pet, and of course, in the video we see that SpcaLA has gotten its hands on some more puppies. In fact, SpcaLA uses LBACS as a puppy mill, taking 75% of LBACS' puppies, while taking in only 19% of LBACS' kittens.
Those who are new to the SpcaLA/LBACS debate need to know that Mayor Garcia's record on shelter animals is dismal. He got elected on the backs of shelter animals, saying that he would increase adoptions, and then he did exactly nothing. Needless to say, anything Garcia says should be taken with a massive grain of salt.
Mayor Garcia says he'll "look into" individual issues like a play yard, but animals lovers of Long Beach need to keep a healthy skepticism about anything Garcia says about improving the shelter animals. And know this: Until the City commits to a full adoption program and writes its commitment to a 90% save rate into City law, Mayor Garcia's offerings are nothing more than band-aids to stem the flow from a gaping wound.
Pat West - laughing his way to the bank on his 6-figure taxpayer funded salary while shelter pets die - lets rescues do the heavy lifting in Long Beach. Again.
The big story in animal welfare in LB right now is SpcaLA's heartlessly removing young puppies from an LBACS-impounded pittie and leaving her alone to face a near certain death. This is just the most recent lethal insult to LBACS shelter animals and just one of many that happen each and every day and lead to the killing of thousands of animals a year.
When Stayin' Alive Long Beach started publishing LBACS' kill numbers and calling for shelter reform in LB 3 years ago, the rescue community rushed to the animals' aid, doubling their own intake and saving hundreds of animals from death at the shelter -- in effect, doing the City's job on shoestring budgets, trying to balance work and family duties while working themselves literally to the bone to help animals and keep them from being killed at the shelter.
It still wasn't enough - with the killing machine fueled by the LBACS/SpcaLA "partnership" (collusion is more accurate) in place, thousands of animals still face their last day looking at the sharp end of a euthanasia needle.
Now the rescuers are doing the City's job again - calling for the SpcaLA to stop its cherry picking of LB shelter animals and share their wealth with LBACS.
However, the biggest issue with SpcaLA is not the lack of sharing. According to a meeting we had with LBACS manager Ted Stevens early in our fight, it's the fact that SpcaLA has a stranglehold on City Manager Pat West, vehemently fighting any attempt by our city shelter to have a strong adoption program.
The bottom line, if Stevens is to be believed, is that Pat West is whipped by SpcaLA President Madeline Bernstein (as one rescuer put it) and has been for almost a decade. This has resulted in literally tens of thousands of animals dying at our shelter. And Mayor Garcia watches on from his Superman lookout and nods approvingly.
The good news is - the rescue community is ready to speak out. Rescuers are doing the City's job again (and again and again) and taking their protest to SpcaLA's facebook page.
That is great, and we hope they continue. However, if anyone is equipped to stand up to the insidious, money-grubbing, profiteering-on-the-backs-of-shelter animals SpcaLA, wouldn't it be the City Manager and Mayor of the 7th largest city in California? They have the resources - attorneys, political influence and legislative power - to make the shelter strong and counter SpcaLA's selfish influence. But they don't.
And there are those in the rescue community who still defend the City and LBACS management in spite of the fact that they cave each and every day to the SpcaLA profit machine. And kill thousands of animals while doing it.
Pat West makes nearly $340,000 a year in salary and benefits paid by the taxpayer. Mayor Garcia is living the life of a figure-head celebrity, doing little more than give speeches and congratulatory slaps on the back, while pushing for tax increases and increased regulation on the people of Long Beach. City Council does the same. Our City should be the ones fighting this fight, instead of leaving it to a bunch of exhausted, compassionate and financially-strapped rescuers to defend the animals yet again.
People in the animal welfare community and all people who have had enough of the killing need to go to City Council and express their outrage. They need to hold sit ins and protests to educate the public about what's going wrong at our shelter. They need to flood City Council's e-mails and Facebook pages and tell them we've had enough of our money being used to kill animals. They need to notify the Press and sit outside of City Hall, where Pat West, Mayor Garcia and City Council have their offices, until the press come and until Mayor Garcia is embarrassed enough to take the issue seriously.
Failing that, thousands more animals will continue to be killed in our city shelter.
Why on earth would a politician promise animal lovers in Long Beach to go visit the Sacramento shelter to learn about their adoption program, fulfill his promise by going and then NOT TELL ANYONE HE WENT?
That's what Mayor Garcia did last week. This picture shows him and one of his aids with Gina Knepp, Manager of the Front Street Animal Shelter. This was what Garcia promised in October 2014 in front of more than 200 animal advocates in Long Beach. And yet, our media-savvy, facebooking -everything Mayor didn't say a word to anyone publicly about it in Long Beach. This picture is our only indication he went, taken by staff at the Front Street Animal Shelter.
Mayor Garcia facebooks his every moment - why not this one? We're guessing he doesn't want to be held accountable for putting into place the programs he saw so well in evidence at Front Street. If people don't know he went, then they can't hold him responsible for doing the work he said he'd do -- increase adoptions at the Long Beach animal shelter.
Instead, late last week, his media team went into high gear hyping the performance of the low-performing LB animal shelter, talking about reduced impounds and euthanasias, but saying nothing about the pathetic performance on adoptions in 2015 -- the year that Garcia was going to change everything and increase adoption rates significantly -- or so he said. In spite of his promises, progress on adoptions has been almost glacial. LBACS went from 403 adoptions in 2014 to 471 adoptions in 2015 – compare that to Sacramento Animal Care Services, which did more than 4400 adoptions last year with fewer staff and a slightly lower budget. Even doing half of those 4400 adoptions in Long Beach would bring us to No Kill status immediately. Instead, since Mayor Garcia was elected, the shelter has actually killed more than 4500 animals. It's really still 'business as usual' in spite of all the hype we're hearing about reduced impounds and euthanasias. The only difference is that Garcia has now dedicated his media team to pulling the wool over the eyes of Long Beach animal lovers by cherry picking LBACS statistics and downplaying the shelter's mind-boggling bad performance on adoptions.
Even worse, in a news article last week, SpcaLA stated that they're doing all adoptions for LBACS now so that LBACS can focus on doing animal control. This is completely contradictory to what Mayor Garcia promised about increasing adoptions on the LBACS side of the shelter a year ago. We absolutely oppose the idea of SpcaLA taking over all adoptions for three reasons:First, SpcaLA's website specifically says it doesn't support the term “No Kill,” so we can't assume that all of the animals that go to SpcaLA are saved, and there's no way to know because we lose all transparency once the animals leave the City shelter. We need transparency as to what happens to our shelter animals so that the people of Long Beach know that their tax dollars are being spent in a way that supports their values by finding homes for our shelter animals instead of shipping them off to other shelters or euthanizing them.
Second, SpcaLA only takes in 28% of the animals and leaves nearly 3 in 4 at LBACS to die. LBACS clearly needs to do adoptions and do them aggressively, like Sacramento does, if we're going to achieve the kind of lifesaving Sacramento has.
Third, leaving adoptions to a partner shelter cedes revenue from adoption fees to an outside organization with a 7 million dollar revenue stream - we're shocked that the City would choose to hand over thousands of dollars in taxpayer revenue to an organization that only takes in 28% of the animals at our shelter.
We're sorry, Long Beach - we asked you to vote for Mayor Garcia because he said he would help our shelter animals. Instead, he's put all of his influence behind maintaining the status quo. Our shelter animals deserve better.
Today, we'd like to talk about Huey. He was a 7-month old kitten who, along with 1,070 other kittens, have been killed in our shelter since January.
Today Huey is kitten #1,071. Here is his story: Huey entered the shelter on August 9. His medical record says he was Bright, Alert and Responsive. He had no signs of illness, but his medical records say he was kenneled with a cat that had possible signs of a cold, so he was watched for illness.
(If there had been a foster program at LBACS, he wouldn't have been kenneled with a sick cat.)
He held strong for 9 days -- an eternity for a little kitten -- and on August 18, his medical notes say that he was quiet and had some sneezing.
(If there had been a foster program, his illness could have been completely prevented or nipped in the bud.)
He held on for 10 more days and seemed to improve a bit - no runny nose, but by this time, he had gotten a cold-related ulcer on his tongue and the vet said: "May not be the best adoption/rescue candidate due to long course of URI [cold]."
(His illness was predicted. They knew it would happen and yet no foster program is in place to help kittens like Huey.)
In the end, Huey was killed "due to illness and time/space" on September 2 after coming in healthy but then languishing in the shelter for 3 weeks. We can only imagine how lonely and sad life was for Huey in those 3 weeks.
What can we learn from Huey's story?
Huey was killed because he had a cold. He came in healthy and it was life in the shelter that made him sick.
Huey was killed because there was no foster program to get him to safety (remember -- Sacramento has over 200 animals in foster care every month).
This is the story of thousands of cats and dogs at our shelter every year.
But today, it's Huey's story and he deserves to have it told.
If you are upset about Huey's story, please know that only YOU can save cats like Huey from the shelter. No magical person is going to come in and do it for you. The Mayor and City Hall need to hear from YOU, personally and repeatedly, because they are fighting change and they think they can put a happy face on the shelter and sweep Huey and the 1070 other kittens that have been killed so far under the rug.
How you can help: http://www.stayinalivelongbeach.org/how-you-can-help.html
There's a sample letter there and other ideas to help you get started advocating for shelter animals in Long Beach.
Please don't let Huey's death be in vain. Take Action Now. Share this post, write a letter, tell a friend about what's going on at our shelter. Post this to the Mayor's Facebook page or the page of your City Council member (see below for their links).
Because our shelter pets are dying and the people in charge are not doing their jobs. And they're using YOUR money to do it.
Mayor Robert Garcia
District 1: Lena Gonzalez
District 2: Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal
District 3: Suzie Price
District 4: Daryl Supernaw
District 5: Stacy Mungo
District 6: Dee Andrews
District 7: Roberto Uranga
District 8: Al Austin
District 9: Rex Richardson
Do it today. Do it for Huey.