Note: The comments which Mayor Garcia supported the deletion of can be found by scrolling down.
One of the most important duties of an elected official is to uphold the freedoms of our country. Included among these duties is the commitment to uphold the rights of citizens to engage in free speech.
In a recent social media exchange, Mayor Garcia endorsed defamatory statements made about me and gave his personal stamp of approval to the suppression of free speech. The Mayor’s impropriety in this situation has prompted the following letter, which has been sent to Mayor Garcia.
OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR GARCIA
April 15, 2017
Dear Mayor Garcia,
In a recent social media exchange, a local rescuer made defamatory comments about me pursuant to my providing factual data about Long Beach Animal Care Services’ first-quarter performance. I was then blocked from correcting her untrue allegations. You subsequently commented positively on the action, effectively endorsing the untrue statements and supporting actions to silence those who pursue transparency and accountability in Long Beach government.
It is beneath you as the Mayor of Long Beach to embrace defamatory statements against citizens.
Your deployment of such undignified tactics to suppress discussion of factual data around the Long Beach animal facility is unbecoming of any elected official, let alone the Mayor of the seventh largest city in California. It is particularly egregious, however, given that you ran on a pro-animal advocacy ticket in the last election.
Your behavior is unethical and falls far short of the standards Long Beach should be able to expect from its Mayor.
Patricia Turner, Ph.D.
Stayin’ Alive Long Beach
Mayor Garcia's actions in endorsing defamatory statements and encouraging the suppression of actual data from Long Beach Animal Care Services show that he is committed to perpetuating the myth that LBACS is "doing great" and thus does not need reform. The result: Our shelter animals continue to be firmly locked up in a system mired in inefficiencies that results in LBACS' relentless continued killing of animals.
It is a troubling thing when an elected official shuts down free speech and disallows public discourse. That is bad for our democracy, and it is, beyond a doubt, bad for our shelter animals.
We encourage all of you to continue to use your voices to speak for shelter animals. Under Mayor Garcia’s administration, now, more than ever, they need us to be their voice.
The comments which Mayor Garcia supported the deletion of can be found below.
First deleted post
Patricia Turner: It's interesting that these statistics never include the number of adoptions that LBACS does because that would allow us to see the number of adoptions that LBACS DOESN'T do. Here are some additional statistics to provide a little context:
**LBACS killed 54 dogs/cats in Jan-March, many of them healthy and treatable. Even ONE healthy/treatable life killed is unacceptable.
**This is especially unacceptable when you see that Sacramento ACS adopted out 695 animals during the same time period (Sac did 1,011 adoptions if you include March).
**In Jan/Feb, LBACS adopted out only 91 animals. That is a pitifully small number when you look at Sacramento's number of 695 (that's more than 7 times the number of animals adopted out).
**LBACS adopted out 45 cats from Jan-Feb 2017.
**Sacramento adopted out 251 cats in the same period.
**If LBACS did 7 adoptions more per day, we'd be saving more than 90% of our animals.
**If LBACS did just 10 more adoption per day, they'd be able to be a receiving shelter for animals from the horrific LA County shelters and save a significant number of animals there until those shelters undergo much-needed reform.
All of this is because LBACS and the City refuse to have a viable adoption program, viable foster program, medical and behavioral rehab programs and instead let overworked rescues do their work for them.
A strong shelter with competent leadership could take some of the burden off the rescues. Instead, the City digs in its heels and distributes stats that only tell half the story.
I encourage folks to be responsible consumers of shelter statistics and inform themselves fully about what's going on at the shelter, rather than blithely accept the spun numbers that LBACS puts out in an attempt to pull the wool over the rescue folks' eyes.
Our shelter animals need US at least, to see the truth.
Second Deleted Post
Patricia Turner: If I'm not yet blocked from this page, I'd like to respond to a few of these comments. Anna Wong, thank you for going to the Sacramento website. It's important to start looking at their stats, and to do so all year (not merely during the first quarter) to see how their stats look even after kitten season, even after the 4th of July.
That said - the first quarter kill rate at LBACS is always low. It gets higher over the year, as you know. Yet the City reports these numbers in exactly this fashion (by the quarter) so that people think that they're at a 90+% save rate for dogs, and 80+% save rate for cats.
But they're not. It just looks that way during the first quarter. Because of seasonal ups and downs in the numbers, you have to consider the entire year, not just the look at it by the quarter. LBACS finished out the year last year with a live release rate of only 74%, compared to Sacramento's 84%. The year before, LBACS was again behind Sacramento by 10 percentage points, with a live release rate of only 68% compared to Sac's 78%. (By the way, the live release rate for dogs, Anna, is only as high as it appears to be because LBACS lumps puppies AND adult dogs together into their live release rate number. 90% of puppies are taken in by SpcaLA. That artificially increases the save rate for dogs. It's actually lower than that for adult dogs when you take the puppies out of the equation.)
Sacramento's higher live release rate is largely due to the fact that they have an extremely strong adoption program. It is obscene to see that LBACS has only done 135 adoptions in the first quarter when Sacramento has done nearly 8 times that in the same time period. Adoptions are an **absolutely essential** element of lifesaving - just as important as low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter. The fact that LBACS is still only doing a mind-boggling 1/8 of the adoptions that Sac has means just one thing and here it is:
Animals at LBACS are being killed for absolutely no valid reason.
And that's not just Long Beach animals. That's animals from all around the area because as I said, if LBACS learned from Sacramento and did 10 more adoptions per day, Long Beach could be a transfer-in shelter and save animals from other high-kill shelters that are not in reform mode.
As for the demographics of Sacramento, Claudia, Sacramento has almost exactly the same population numbers, ethnic make-up and median income as Long Beach. Demographics is really no excuse for the killing in Long Beach. I encourage you to do your own research on the numbers.
Regarding your question about "should we start with impound numbers." The answer to that is a resounding no. Starting with impound numbers is a "neuter and spay is the only way" approach to saving lives. Relying massively on neuter and spay and ignoring other programs means that animals in the shelter today, who need our help, are being killed. Start with designing a roadmap for getting every healthy and treatable animal out of the shelter. Then, use proven programs -- adoption, foster, rehab, volunteer to do it. LBACS is extremely weak in all of these areas. Spay/neuter is ONE way to do it, and your group does a great job - but it can't be the ONLY angle for attacking the problem. You have to work at it from all angles.
As for my qualifications for commenting on the situation in Long Beach, Claudia, and specifically, as to whether I've rescued in Long Beach, "boots on the ground," as some like to say, I lived and paid taxes in Long Beach for 10 years. During that time I worked with a rescue group that rescued hundreds of animals per year, and I personally fostered and rescued a large number of those. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars of my own money on rescuing animals, specifically Long Beach animals. I have literally stopped my car, parked on the side of the road and run through Compton chasing a dog that an LBACS truck was watching and then drove away from. And I rescued that dog, got her spayed and found a home for her. I also hold a professional certification in Animal Shelter Management. Claudia, believe me. I am MORE than qualified to comment on the situation in Long Beach.
But none of that matters. Anyone who knows that a shelter is killing unnecessarily (and even illegally in some cases at LBACS) needs to speak up. It doesn't matter where you live or what you do. We ALL need to be their voices.
Mayor Garcia uses rescue groups who don't speak up as a shield to deflect criticism for not reforming LBACS. As long as rescues don't speak up, don't complain, don't loudly and repeatedly tell him and City Council that the adoptions need to happen and the killing needs to stop, he will continue to allow LBACS to continue killing.
And Long Beach will slowly weave and stumble toward a save rate that could have been achieved years ago. Since Mayor Garcia was elected, more than 4,000 animals have been killed - it's probably more like 5,000 now. The unnecessary killing could stop with just 7 more adoptions a day. With a strong adoption program, a viable foster program and appropriate behavioral enrichment and rehab programs, this could happen. But until folks start speaking up, Garcia will just let the animals die.
The shelter animals need us to know the facts (not just the half of the story Garcia wants us to know) and demand change.
The chances that anyone who is angry at me will read this post are unlikely. I hope that folks who have read this far will consider what I've said with an open mind and truly consider all of the facts.
WE are the animals' only hope.
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.