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.
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.