We received no response to our letter, though we followed up on numerous occasions. Mayor Garcia's lack of response shows that Long Beach's shelter animals are not the priority for him that he led us to believe they were during the election. We addressed the letter to Mayor Garcia's Senior Administrative Deputy, Tim Patton, who, soon after the election, we were asked to contact for all things shelter-related. Here is our June 15, 2015 letter to the Mayor which the Mayor never responded to.
Letter from Stayin' Alive Long Beach to Mayor Garcia asking him to commit to key actions to make Long Beach a No Kill city
June 15, 2015
Thank you for your response to our e-mail of March 20 regarding the status of our shelter animals in Long Beach. We appreciate the Mayor’s interest in increasing the live release rate at LBACS, and we were very happy to see that you attended the meeting about helping homeless pets in Long Beach that was held in Belmont Shore last month.
We have several follow-up questions about the Mayor’s views on adoption programs and foster programs – two areas of growth in sheltering best practices that are proving to be both lifesaving and cost-saving at many shelters nationwide.
Our questions are:
1. What action, if any, is the Mayor willing to take to make adoptions a priority at LBACS? Although the Mayor has stated that he is in favor of any program that helps to decrease the euthanasia rate at the shelter, all programs are not equal. Flying animals out of Long Beach to shelters hundreds of miles away, which is the transport option mentioned in your last e-mail, is very stressful for the animals, and such transports save only a small number of lives. It is much more efficient to promote adoptions locally, for example, by taking animals to local off-site adoption events and including “after 5 pm” adoption hours at the shelter. Is the Mayor willing to publicly request that the City Manager prioritize local adoptions as a method of live release at the shelter?
2. Is the Mayor willing to publicly request that the City Manager establish quarterly adoption goals for LBACS? As you know, all organizations, including government agencies, must establish performance goals in order to assure success. We have not seen such goal-setting at LBACS. Stating goals for adoptions would mobilize the animal-loving public in Long Beach to increase support of LBACS, thus decreasing the funds the city currently spends to house animals, while saving more lives. We follow the Mayor's activities closely and have seen him publicly commit to many other worthy and progressive goals for Long Beach. Is he, or is he not, willing to add increased adoptions to his list of goals for Long Beach?
3. Does the Mayor support a foster program for LBACS? A number of cities, including Los Angeles and Sacramento, use foster programs extensively to increase the shelter’s cage space. Foster programs also increase permanent placements for animals because the animals are cared for in private homes rather than in a shelter environment. They are therefore healthier, and more fully socialized. This increases their adoptability. Is the Mayor willing to publicly request that the City Manager officially implement a foster program on an ongoing basis at LBACS?
4. When we last met with the Mayor, we submitted a proposed ordinance that would help Long Beach become a No Kill city. A copy has been attached to this e-mail. Has the Mayor reviewed the ordinance? Is the Mayor willing to publicly recommend that such an ordinance or key elements of the ordinance be introduced at City Council?
5. The policies referenced above are key to the No Kill approach to animal sheltering, an approach that the Mayor once supported when our organization was campaigning on his behalf. Does the Mayor publicly support making LBACS a No Kill shelter? If he does support the concept of a No Kill City, a concept that many California cities are now adopting, in what time frame does he think this could be accomplished?
6. Finally, we have noticed a disturbing trend in the past five months in which LBACS is turning more animals over to spcaLA with no increase in accountability, indeed, no accountability at all that we know of. SpcaLA is not a No Kill shelter, and their organization has actively opposed lifesaving policies advocated in a white paper authored last year by the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, the San Francisco SPCA, Found Animals and Maddie's Fund. We feel that increasing the number of animals sent to spcaLA, with no increase in accountability as to the outcomes those animals experience, is irresponsible. What specific action will the Mayor take to ensure that there is transparency and accountability as to the animals released from LBACS to spcaLA so that these animals' outcomes are public knowledge? We appreciate your interest in this issue, and thank you again for your response to our previous correspondence. We look forward to hearing from you again.
Stayin’ Alive Long Beach Cc: Daniel Brezenoff, Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Garcia
Sharon Weissman Senior Adviser to Mayor Garcia