Who would have thought there were so many silly election cat photos were out there on the Internet?
Well, here's a serious cat from one of them to remind us that on April 8th next year we're having an election in Long Beach, and that means it's time for Long Beach residents to take action.
Shelter animals in Long Beach need you to speak up for them and let City Council know that you support the No Kill Equation at the Long Beach animal shelter. Unless we speak up and let our voices be heard, 5,000 MORE dogs and cats will be killed at the Long Beach shelter next year.
Number one on the agenda is a Comprehensive Adoption Program. The shelter in Long Beach does NOT currently have an adoption program. Incredible, you say? Yes, we think so, too. Long Beach is full of animal lovers - the animal shelter, run by Long Beach Animal Care Services, needs to get in line with the values of the people of Long Beach by doing off-site adoptions, holding evening adoption hours for the working public, doing energetic marketing of animals and starting to work toward mobile adoptions. These are all part of a comprehensive adoption program. Write to your City Council member today - here is a sample letter you can print out, sign and send. The person who can make this happen is you. The animals are counting on us!
SALB is pleased to see that LBACS has taken steps to be proactive in the adoptions of animals. Back in May, SALB provided LBACS with an analysis of their website and asked Acting Manager Ted Stevens to take steps to make it easier to adopt animals at LBACS by making their website more adoption- and public-friendly (see the May 19th blog post below). We sent the recommendations directly to Manager Stevens in addition to featuring them on this blog. While not all of the recommendations were taken, we have noted the following: We are pleased to report that the LBACS website now features a video highlighting the benefits of animal adoption. They also have included links to their Facebook and Twitter pages. The photo of a faceless enforcement individual (a badged arm holding a dog) has also been replaced, and an adoption promotion (9 Lives for $9) has been added. We are also happy to see that LBACS has reached out to the media to publicize this program and has spoken out about the benefits of pet adoption from the shelter in this article published by the Grunion Gazette. This is clearly excellent news for the shelter animals in Long Beach.We acknowledge these efforts, but at the same time, we want to remind LBACS and the supporters of No Kill in Long Beach that much remains to be done. If we want to reduce an 80% kill rate for cats and 28% kill rate for dogs here in our very own city of Long Beach, LBACS needs to continue to evolve by putting in place concrete, measurable programs that will reduce the rate of killing in our shelter. For example, although the LBACS website now also features a marketing program designed to increase the adoption of adult cats, the link on that photo leads to a flyer for the program, rather than to a photo gallery of adoptable animals at LBACS that people can see immediately. Also, adoptable animals at LBACS, including cats and other animals, are still difficult to find on the website, with SPCA and affiliated rescue partners' animals featured more prominently and thus easier to find on the website. (We remind readers that it is the LBACS animals that are in the greatest need, as LBACS is an open admission shelter and it is the LBACS animals that are in the greatest danger of being euthanized.) Therefore, SALB would like to see a direct link to the adoptable animals on the LBACS side of the shelter placed on the home page of LBACS, so that the public can find these adoptable animals quickly and easily.Clearly, more work needs to be done. We at SALB realize that municipalities do not have unlimited funds; therefore, most of our suggestions have been specifically-designed to be low or no cost. We are hopeful that LBACS will also realize that the key to making the transition to a No-Kill community, as has been done in many communities across the United States, is to increase outreach to volunteers. Therefore, SALB is reiterating the following recommendation: That LBACS increase their outreach to volunteers who can help them increase adoptions and pet retention and thereby reduce the kill rate in Long Beach's animal shelter. How can they do it?1. Place a volunteer application on the front page of the LBACS website so that it is easy for the animal-loving public to get involved in helping on the kill side of the shelter.2. Implement recommendations given by SALB on their Guide to Increasing Volunteerism. No-Kill communities are changing the way we do sheltering in the United States. The Los Angeles animal shelter is taking significant steps in this direction. Can we do it Long Beach? We know we can.
Just One Day
, a nationwide event which aims to stop the killing of shelter of animals for "just one day," took place on June 11th and was a huge success with nearly 800 animal shelters and rescue groups across the US participating in the event. Event organizers and trackers at the No Kill Advocacy Center estimate that between 7,000 and 9,000 animals were saved across the country. Take a look at just a very few of the statistics:Kern County stayed open for 11 hours on June 11th and adopted out 100 pets.Houston Animal Care Services stayed open on Monday, a day that they were normally closed, and adopted out 231 pets
.Miami-Dade County (who made the amazing cake in the photo, which, even more amazingly, was baked by the supervisor of Animal Control there) adopted out 116 animals
.Which municipal and county shelters in California participated in Just One Day?
We're very encouraged to hear that 5 different city shelters in California took the pledge not to kill animals for just one day.
Sacramento Animal Care ServicesPetaluma Animal Services
Paradise Animal Control and ShelterMendocino County Animal Care ServicesKern County Animal ControlKern County wasn't shy about their participation!
Check out this ad!
So - what happened here in Long Beach on June 11th? Long Beach Animal Care Services
(LBACS), under the direction of Ted Stevens, told SALB that LBACS would make an "operational decision" not to kill any animals in the Long Beach shelter on Willow St. on June 11th. Though it's not as proactive a stance as we'd like to see here at SALB (especially given that the shelter is closed on Mondays, the day that June 11th fell on this year, and remained closed on that day), we realize that it's a step in the right direction, albeit a small one. Here are some steps that we are hoping that LBACS will take for next year's Just One Day event:JUST ONE DAY 2013 - Long Beach, CA
- Publicly take the pledge to stop killing animals for just one day
- Stay open and take steps to actually increase adoptions on that day (for example, by reducing adoption fees)
- Reach out in a massive public relations campaign to advertise the day in an attempt to increase the number of animals adopted
- Track the number of animals saved as a result of participating in Just One Day 2013 and
- Make that information (number of animals saved) available to the public
The biggest lesson that has come out of this event is this: Together, we can stop the killing in our city's shelters. Who needs to do it? The shelters need to lead the charge and get the rescues and the public involved in a significant way. As Nathan Winograd said: "We are all partners—ready, willing, and able to work together the moment [the shelters] decide to do so."Please let Long Beach Animal Care Services know
that you support working smarter and better
to save more animals from death. Tell them you support No Kill and the No Kill Equation
. It's nothing more than a focused plan that capitalizes on innovation, creativity and hard work to make killing unnecessary in our shelter. Are we ready? Let's Go!
We love what Reno has done to be creative about saving animals at their shelter. Entertainment + animals = a winning combination. How about it Long Beach? Summer's a great time for an adoption promotion -- how about:
Beach Blanket Baby-lon - Adopt a kitten event for a reduced fee event
The Good Old Dog Days of Summer - A senior dog adoption promotion
"PAWSitive" Energy Adoption Event - Adoption event for energetic dogs
The Purrfect Summer is here - Adopt an adult cat promotion
Go Hawaiian adoption event - wear a Hawaiian shirt and get a reduced adoption fee
Cost? Minimal to nothing.
Increasing the number of saved lives? Priceless.
Black-tie classics - dress them up and make them pretty! How could anyone resist?
We love this one -- humor is always a winner!
Stayin' Alive Long Beach has made specific recommendations to Long Beach Animal Care Services about how to make their website more public friendly and thereby increase adoptions.
Among SALB's recommendations are:
1. Provide clear information about ADOPTING
-rotating pictures that link directly to the pet's adoption information
-information about fees and how to choose a compatible pet
- information about mobile pet adoptions
2. Highlight PROGRAMS
the shelter offers
-information that will help people keep their animals
(e.g., house-training, dealing with barking, etc.)
the shelter holds or sponsors (e.g., Trick or treating for homeless pets, pet care fairs, reduced fee days)
3. Encourage PUBLIC PARTICIPATION,
-Ways to foster (with a link to a foster application on the fostering page)
-Ways to volunteer (they need a volunteer application and currently don't have one on this page)
-Ways to donate
4. Feature positive, upbeat language and colors
that makes adopting a shelter pet sound attractive. The LA Animal Care Services
website uses expressions like:
- "love" and "hope"
- "save a life"
- "how can we help you"
- "you can make a difference"
- the colors
are light and bright. Notice the white background. It's much more upbeat.
- It also clearly posts the shelter hours Ted Stevens, Acting Manager of LBACS, responded by saying that LBACS is "looking forward to making these changes" and that LBACS is "not happy with [the] current site at all." We at Stayin' Alive Long Beach are hopeful that LBACS will be proactive and follow through on their intention to improve the LBACS website so that we can get started on the road to making Long Beach a progressive, No-KILL community.
The City of Los Angeles seems to be doing it right. If you drive up Sepulveda Blvd. in West LA where it crosses Santa Monica Blvd., you'll see colorful, attractive, banners advertising the benefits of adopting, spaying and microchipping. They also feature an easy-to-remember URL that people can go to if they want to adopt - www.lacitypets.com
. Take a look at the LA Animal Service's site and the Long Beach Animal Care Services site
side by side and the difference is remarkable. The LA website has animals up front and center. A photo of a smiling mayor with a dog and positive messages like "Adopt the Love of a Companion" immediately jump out at you. Helpful articles about how to deal with common behavioral issues are easy to find. (When people know how to successfully deal with issues that arise with their pets, they're more likely to keep them and less likely to take them to the shelter). What do you get at the Long Beach shelter's site? The law enforcement tone is unmistakable. No one is saying we don't need enforcement, but the enforcement aspect seems almost heavy-handed.One of SALB's consistent messages is that if you engage in progressive, informed shelter practices, you can increase the adoption rate of animals. One easy way to do this is to make it easy for people to find the animals.
An attractive, inviting website that highlights the benefits of adopting from shelters would go a long way to improve the plight of shelter animals in Long Beach. Come on, Long Beach - we can do better! Let the shelter know you support a more adoption-friendly website - it's a step in the right direction for the people and pets of Long Beach.
Bruno needs a home. A368406 (LBACS)
The Signal Tribune has published Stayin' Alive Long Beach's letter to the editor. Read it here
This cat needs a home - ID number A465348
SALB has asked Ted Stevens, Acting Direct of LB Animal Care Services, to make it easier for the public to adopt the animals that are in the greatest need - those that reside on the Animal Care Services side of the shelter. Stevens' response was favorable and though it fell short of a firm commitment, SALB has high hopes that he will implement these changes, which can be made at no cost to the city but are an important first step in improving the adoption rate of animals at the shelter. Stayin' Alive Long Beach has asked
LBACS to do the following:
1. Post a prominent link to a volunteer application
and a picture of a cute dog or cat
with a link to other adoptable animals on the home page of the LBACS website. Right now, it is buried deep in the 35th FAQ - trying the patience of even the most motivated potential volunteer or animal adopter. Making it easy for people to find the animals and to volunteer is an essential step in increasing the adoption rate.
2. Make LBACS animals "Number One."
Move the link to the
ACS "adoptable animal photo gallery" to the top of the "how to adopt" page. Currently, the animals that are slated to be destroyed -- the LBACS animals -- are getting last consideration.
3. Clarify adoption procedures for LBACS animals
. The information about how to adopt from the ACS side is unclear and increases the public's perception that it is difficult to adopt from the ACS side. It also does little to encourage the public to adopt the animals that have the greatest need
. The website appears to encourage adoptions from the SPCA side, and seems to be saying that adoptable animals on the ACS side are not readily available for, or unworthy of, adoption. Meanwhile, the longer these animals remain on the ACS side, the less adoptable they become (especially the cats). Calling them cast-offs
also creates an unnecessarily negative image.
4. Increase signage at the shelter.
Have volunteers and/or signs showing people on the grounds that there are adoptable animals on the City side. Currently, it is not clear that animals are available for adoption on the ACS side of the facility.Stayin' Alive encourages the public to check the LBACS websitefrequently and contact LBACS to voice your support for making No Kill a reality in Long Beach.Stayin' Alive Long Beach believes that much of the change we desire as a community can be accomplished by working smarter and harder to find homes for shelter animals - why not take care of the easy things first?
Stayin' Alive Long Beach is very happy to report that Long Beach Animal Care Services' (LBACS) Acting Director Ted Stevens has made an operational decision to not euthanize any adoptable cats and dogs on Monday, June 11th. The decision was announced in the April 27th issue of the Signal Tribune. Although the animal shelter is closed that day, we are encouraged to see that Director Stevens appears to be open to the idea that No Kill could be achieved in Long Beach. This is excellent news for the shelter animals of Long Beach. Although Stevens has agreed not to kill any adoptable dogs and cats on June 11th, he declined to sign the national pledge (www.justoneday.ws), citing a lack of authority to do so. SALB would like to see LBACS sign the pledge in 2013, and further, to make extra efforts on that day to place those healthy and adoptable animals in homes.