Tomorrow is Long Beach Animal Care Services' annual Open House. For at least the past five years, LBACS and the City have used this as a vehicle for "putting one over" on the people of Long Beach, trumpeting small achievements and, unfortunately for the animals, sweeping under the rug the many unnecessary killings of animals at the Long Beach shelter, multiple chaotic management and personnel issues (recently documented in the city audit of LBACS), and what we now know are poorly managed animal welfare practices and, at times, inhumane treatment of animals at our city shelter.
For those who go to the Open House this Saturday, though, many of whom have supported the shelter animals through thick and thin over the years, you deserve much better than a cavalcade of thin excuses, feel-good celebrations and trumped up achievements that ignore the deep problems that plague our city shelter.
You deserve: A genuine, honest and transparent explanation of the audit's conclusions and why LBACS has "very limited standard operating procedures," and why management engages in "inconsistent decision-making and conflicting shelter practices, as well as in changes being implemented without proper direction and explanation." These things hurt our shelter animals immensely. You deserve to have that acknowledged.
You deserve to have Ted Stevens, Marie Knight and Mayor Garcia tell you, in PRECISE terms, what the City intends to do as a result of the audit, rather than trotting out the tired old "everything's just fine - we're doing great" message they've conveyed for the last 5 years as they've faced public scrutiny.
You deserve to be told that the PRECISE things the City plans to do are: To run a humane, No Kill shelter that is free of the influence of SpcaLA, that has its own adoption program and foster program, that sets goals for performance and sticks to them and that:
SAVES EVERY HEALTHY AND TREATABLE ANIMAL AT THE LONG BEACH ANIMAL SHELTER.
If you don't get that, if instead you get feel-good reports about minuscule changes in the euthanasia numbers, new play areas for dogs that serve only to keep them from spiraling into desperation until they are killed, and thanks for performing services our city taxpayer dollars are paying LBACS to do and that LBACS lays on the backs of under-resourced, hard-working rescues that Mayor Garcia is more than happy to transfer the work of saving lives to - if that's what you get, you'll know that it's business-as-usual at LBACS, animals will continue to be killed, and Long Beach is no closer to becoming a no kill city than it ever was.
We hope the City will take the high road and start to see how misguided the current sheltering model is.
We hope the City will stop the suffering of shelter animals and the people who care about them.
The good people of Long Beach deserve a city-run animal shelter that is run in accordance with their compassionate and humane values.
Let's hope we get that tomorrow.
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.