It’s budget season at City Council, and there has been a lot of talk recently about whether Long Beach Animal Care Services should have its budget increased.
We at Stayin’ Alive have nothing against a shelter getting more money to do its job, generally speaking – provided that they’re doing their job right.
The many problems we see day in and day out at LBACS, sadly, have NOTHING to do with budget.
We have been advocating for many years for free and easy changes that LBACS could make that would improve their adoptions. Here are some changes that would cost little to no money. In cases where a change would incur costs, there are things that can be done to offset them.
**Include after-work hours for adoptions. Currently, you can’t adopt an LBACS animal after 5 pm on weekdays. This makes it extremely difficult for people who work to get to the shelter and adopt. Changing hours to 11:30 am – 7:30 pm (or a similar schedule) costs ZERO money and would save lives.
**Expanding offsite adoptions, having adoptions in multiple locations throughout the week so that the public has greater access to the animals, which results in more adoptions and more lifesaving.
**Enlisting the help of local businesses in lifesaving. Ask a large local business if they’ll partner with the shelter, either to sponsor a big adoption event. Better yet, ask a large local company (of which LB has many) if they’ll partner with the shelter on an adoption AT the company’s site. These options can be sponsored by the company as part of their mission to give back to the community. If the shelter has a strong volunteer program (as it should), these lifesaving promotions would cost almost ZERO money.
**Asking local businesses to sponsor adoptions, making them low to no-fee for a weekend or particular adoption event. ZERO cost to the City; tons of goodwill and great advertising for the company.
**Applying for grants (e.g., from PetCo) for things the shelter needs to care for animals, like dog yards so dogs are happy, socialized and ready to go to homes. WHATEVER need the shelter has – not just dog yards – can be financed in this way. Again, ZERO money.
**Having a strong volunteer program to do daily off-site adoption programs. If one staff member’s position is dedicated to being a volunteer coordinator, the time spent on training and coordinating volunteers will more than pay for itself in valuable volunteer hours provided by animal lovers in the community. Again, ZERO cost with a net increase in labor in the tens of thousands of dollars.
**Having a strong donation program. In 2015, Sacramento Animal Care Services brought in $500,000 in donations. They used this for a variety of lifesaving programs, including additional staff for offsite adoptions, diagnostic tools for blood work, and more spay/neuter surgeries.
How do we know that all of these things can be done? Because Sacramento Animal Care Services has done almost every single one of these things AND did over 5400 adoptions in 2016. LBACS did an incredibly low 579 adoptions and killed nearly 1700 animals.
Giving more money to LBACS without having lifesaving changes in place will just allow a resistant, unreformed, poorly-managed shelter to squander more of LB taxpayers’ newly-increased taxes to continue to engage in sheltering malpractice.
Our shelter animals deserve better. Go to City Council and tell them what we need is NOT to throw more money at our shelter, but to introduce reforms, many of which are low to no-cost, that are MUCH needed at the LBACS shelter.
Inform – Educate – Advocate!
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An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.