Today we are officially letting you know that we no longer believe that Mayor Garcia is willing to do what is necessary to make Long Beach a No Kill city. We have thought about and discussed this at length, so the decision is well-considered, and it's not without regret that we must come to this conclusion.
However, if our goal is to save animals by advocating for change in harmful policies and programs at LBACS, we have to admit that over the past year, Mayor Garcia has failed to bring meaningful change to the LBACS animal shelter. We base this observation on the following:
** One year after the Animal Care Town Hall Meeting, Mayor Garcia has done little to improve the culture, programs and policies at LBACS. Although he committed last October to hiring an adoption coordinator, the reality is that that position already existed, and he merely added 20 hours to that position's work week. This is the absolute minimum that he could have done, and since the new coordinator was hired in April, we have seen virtually no improvement in adoption numbers. Substantial changes must be made to make LBACS a progressive shelter, and this is not happening under Mayor Garcia's leadership. You can read our full One Year Report Card for Mayor Garcia by clicking on the link at the end of this post.
**Mayor Garcia promised during last year's mayoral campaign to visit the Sacramento Animal Care Services shelter, which has a strong record of doing adoptions – adopting out thousands of animals per year. As of our last communication with the Mayor's office, he had not visited the Sacramento shelter. This is in spite of the fact that he had originally promised to do this within the first four months he was in office. He then extended it to a year. More than a year later, he has not gone.
**In June, we sent Mayor Garcia a letter asking him to publicly commit to making Long Beach a No Kill city. Specifically, we asked him to publicly request that the City Manager prioritize adoptions and put in place adoption goals at the shelter. We also asked him to implement a foster program. Mayor Garcia declined to respond, though he was given ample opportunity to make his position known. You can read the letter we sent to Mayor Garcia at the link below.
**We also asked Mayor Garcia to consider a lifesaving plan for increasing the save rate at LBACS. He never responded. You can find our lifesaving plan at the link below. **Rather than work to improve programs and policies at LBACS, the Mayor has adopted LBACS' practice of cherry-picking euthanasia statistics to make LBACS look like it's making more progress than it actually is. We alerted Mayor Garcia to LBACS' practice of publishing limited statistics and manipulating the numbers more than a year ago. He said at the time that he would look into it, but never addressed the issue subsequent to our request. More than a year later, he himself is using these numbers to make our low-performing shelter appear to be doing a better job than it really is. This is not only bad for shelter animals; it is a betrayal of the public trust.
Mayor Garcia's cat adoption event at City Hall, while it showed what he's capable of, was essentially a “one-off” – an isolated event not part of any systematic approach to changing the LBACS policies and lack of programs that are detrimental our shelter animals. An adoption event here or there will not lead to saving 90% of the animals in our shelter. It will take the reversal of a number of bad policies and the implementation of many good programs to make Long Beach a No Kill city. Mayor Garcia, by his actions, is telling us that he is not the man to lead this change.
No Kill is about saving animals' lives not five years from now, not ten years from now, but NOW. You can get to No Kill in two ways: one way is to take the super-highway using good programs, good policies and good management, much like any high-performing company would. The other way is to take a meandering route, slowly adding a program or an adoption event here or there. No Kill takes the super-highway. Mayor Garcia is apparently on the meandering route, much to the detriment of our shelter animals.
Working with city government is always the preferred route in animal advocacy. However, we have seen Long Beach City government resist change at all levels. We will continue to advocate on behalf of Long Beach's shelter animals, but it is unlikely that any change will occur except very slowly by small steps. In the meantime, thousands more shelter animals will be killed by our shelter using our taxpayer dollars in our names.
We have come to believe that the only way real change will occur at the LBACS animal shelter is when a large group of people come together to peacefully protest the way things are done at the LBACS shelter.
The shelter animals need YOU to be their voice.
Stayin' Alive's letter to Mayor Garcia:http://www.stayinalivelongbeach.org/salb-news
Stayin' Alive's Lifesaving Programs Plan sent to Mayor Garcia:http://www.stayinalivelongbeach.org/model-no-kill-resolutio…
Stayin' Alive's Animal Welfare Report card for Mayor Garcia:http://www.stayinalivelongbeach.org/mayor-garcias-2015-repo…
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.