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.