Council Should Seek Study Session, Hear Pros & Cons, Re "No Kill Equation" Measures Urged By Stayin' Alive Long Beach At LB Animal Shelter; Saving Four Legged Lives Should Trump Two-Legged Resistance To Change

Disclosure:'s household includes two cats (adopted from SPCA/LA from LB's animal shelter) and a dog (Bichon Frise adopted from an L.A. County shelter, recently graduated as a Certified Therapy Dog.) During then-primitive internet days, was the first Long Beach media outlet to urge putting photos of adoptable animals online on LB's animal shelter webpage.
(Dec. 10, 2013, 1:20 p.m.) -- urges the City Council to ask the city manager [who works for them] to schedule a study session in the coming weeks and invite presentations on the merits -- pros and cons -- of the "No Kill Equation" urged by Stayin' Alive Long Beach and advocated by Dr. Patricia Turner, Ph.D., to increase the save-rate/decrease the kill-rate of animals at Long Beach's city-run shelter.

In an October 2013 report, Stayin' Alive Long Beach cited kill rates/live releases at LB's Animal Shelter, (visible here) and last night (Dec. 9) followed-up with a public meeting presentation (on-demand VIDEO of extended salient portions at this link.) In her presentation, Dr. Turner commended workers and volunteers at LB Animal Care Services; supported continued spay/neuter programs; backed the city's licensing revenue measures BUT said more can be done in Long Beach that Long Beach isn't doing. She cited with specificity measures she said other cities have successfully implemented that produced significant reductions in shelter killings.

Dr. Turner challenged what she called "no kill myths" (seen in our video coverage above) and said LB animal shelter killings could be reduced with programs implemented in other cities, some using volunteers, others entailing some costs (which she didn't quantify.)

We saw people in the audience nodding their heads in agreement with Dr. Turner's points, although some others seemed more intent on picking a fight with her rather than applying her suggested methods that might save animal lives. One audience member said he disagreed with her "attacks" on LB Animal Care Services. Huh? Facts aren't attacks if they're accurate. If they're not accurate (and the speaker challenged her assertion in one cited instance) then saying so is fair, but the matter on which the audience member challenged her was one among many she cited and didn't undercut her main points.

Another critic relied on a TV news report found on the internet, indicating that last summer, the Austin, TX animal shelter (cited by Dr. Turner as an example of a city achieving an over 90% save-rate) was overflowing with animals. Dr. Turner responded by pointing out that Austin TX shelter officials acknowledge this periodically happens, and when it does, they go public with the situation (through TV news stories and the like) and seek the public's help with adoptions...and they say it works.

Pettifoggery and reflexive opposition are the wrong responses when data show that roughly the animals (3/4 of cats) entering the Long Beach animal shelter leave dead. (Dogs have a significantly higher live-release rate than cats.) On this issue, we care more about saving the lives of creatures on four legs than protecting the status quo defended by some on two legs.

What takes place at LB's Animal Shelter is ultimately decided by the City Council...which is why we oppose one of Dr. Turner's suggested actions: creating an advisory animal shelter committee. We don't want another powerless Council-chosen advisory body that we expect will include people who have already spayed and neutered their views to suit the Councilmembers who appoint them. It's better to encourage the public to interact directly with their elected City Councilmember, not through Council-chosen intermediaries. We agree with Dr. Turner that the decisions on whether to maintain or improve current outcomes are for Councilmembers to make...and they're the ones who should be held accountable.

In our view, LB Animal Care Services chief Ted Stevens, and his predecessor John Keisler, deserve much credit for doing making LB animal shelter policies more animal and user friendly. The only question is now is whether what's being done now can be made better and (big item) at what costs and with what expected benefits.

Good minds are like umbrellas; they work best when they're open. We urge the City Council to direct the city manager to schedule a study session on the "No Kill Equation" that includes podium presentations by Dr. Turner and Mr. Stevens, with Council questions. Our experience is that both of them are able to handle pointed questions and give plain spoken answers.

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