Three Years and Thousands of Lost Lives Later
Back in 2012, we sent the manager of LBACS several suggestions for increasing the number of volunteers at LBACS and thus make it possible for additional programs, such as offsite adoptions and a foster program, to be put in place. They were ignored. We met with the manager, Ted Stevens, a year later, and were told that volunteers could be difficult to manage -- in other words, more trouble than they were worth. That year, LBACS had only 28 volunteers according to LBACS records obtained under the California Public Records Act.
Since that time, the suggestions have also been available on our website, and we hoped that LBACS would avail themselves of them. We just checked suggestion #5 and see that 3 years and thousands of lost lives later, LBACS has finally implemented it.
Becoming an animal shelter that consistently saves 90%+ of its animals doesn't happen by giving lip service to programs. It doesn't happen by implementing programs in a piecemeal fashion, here and there, hoping that the community will take up the slack.
It's the shelter management that MUST provide the leadership and the vision to save the animals and to do so in an efficient and cost-effective way.
We hope that LBACS has changed its attitude about volunteers. In the news article covering the recent community meeting about volunteers, Mr. Stevens said that he would like a base of 100-150 volunteers. We can't help but notice that this change came about after we spoke at City Council last August, pointing out that Sacramento had logged over 36,000 volunteer hours the previous year, whereas Long Beach had logged only 2300.
We are thrilled that LBACS now has a goal, where goals were never mentioned before, of over 100 volunteers. If the amazing goodwill and energy of Long Beach's animal-loving community are properly directed toward effective lifesaving programs, there is no doubt that Long Beach can become a No Kill city.
We encourage people to volunteer at the city animal shelter. If they are allowed to do what is needed, they will play an absolutely VITAL role in saving the 90+% of animals at the shelter that CAN be saved.
But we think it's important for people to know the history of how this came about and to know that advocacy works. Citizens speaking out to change the system -- a very broken system that has been in place for a very long time -- is the only way that we will make key and sustainable changes in the way our animal shelter is run.
LBACS still doesn't have a strong adoption program, nor does it have a strong foster program. It's clear that advocacy on behalf of the shelter animals to reform LBACS policies is still needed.
We'll continue to advocate for the shelter animals in Long Beach. We need a shelter where no healthy or treatable animal dies in our city shelter. And we don't have that yet.
An initiative to make Long Beach a No Kill community.