City Mgm't/Mayor Cite Fewer Animal Shelter Killings; Stayin' Alive Long Beach Disputes Metrics, Blasts Mayor, Says City Hall Could Do More To Promote Adoptions/Reduce Killings; Mgm't Proposed FY18 Budget Includes Two New Animal Shelter Staffers (Health Tech For Intake + Communications Specialist)
|(Aug. 5, 2017, 12:10 p.m.) -- Long Beach Animal Care Services [animal control] has released figures from the first half of 2017 that (again) show fewer killings (euthanasias) at the City-run animal shelter (details below.)
Within hours, management's measurement methodology was disputed on Facebook by Stayin' Alive Long Beach, a grassroots animal advocacy group that has for several years argued that LB City Hall could and should decrease its taxpayer-paid animal killings with more effective adoption programs.
Within hours of Stayin' Alive's response, Mayor Garcia's office posted a message on the "Long Beach Mayor" Facebook page and Garcia sent a mass emailing from his City Hall domain that didn't acknowledge or answer the points raised by Stayin' Alive, reiterated the metrics cited by city management, thanked unnamed animal advocates for their work and indicated he has proposed adding two animal shelter staffers in City Hall's FY18 budget.
[Scroll down for further.]
City Hall's release (emailed at 9:03 a.m. Thurs. Aug 3) is visible in full at this link and cites "a new record low in impound and euthanized animals and a new record high for Live Release Rate."
[City of LB release text] The following statistics show increasing progress being made at the animal shelter and are the best numbers ever reported:
In the release, Mayor Garcia stated, "I'm proud of the hardworking team at Animal Care Services and the numerous volunteers, rescue groups, animal partner groups, and advocates who continue to save more animal lives...We still have more work to do, but I'm thankful that we've decreased euthanasia every year for the past three years, and will continue to do so."
Just over 23 hours later on Fri. Aug. 4 at 8:25 a.m., Stayin' Alive Long Beach had a detailed response on its Facebook page that said "if Long Beach had a strong adoption and foster program, a medical and behavioral rehabilitation program, and other progressive programs, we would be No Kill by now. If LBACS did just seven more adoptions per day, we'd be saving more than 90 percent of our shelter animals..."
[Stayin' Alive Long Beach FB text]
About an hour after Stayin' Alive's Facebook statement, Mayor Garcia's Facebook page ("Long Beach Mayor") told its followers: "Long Beach hit a new record low in the number of impounded and euthanized pets. How? It's because of people like you who foster and adopt pets in need of a home" and offered a link to the City Hall release and linked to a story on LBPOST.com that cited the figures in City Hall's release without including any response from Stayin' Alive which has previously criticized the city's euthanasia metrics. (A PressTelegram story filed online on Aug. 3 reported both sides of the story with comment from Stayin' Alive before the group uploaded its Aug. 4 Facebook response.)
Shortly after the PT story appeared, Garcia sent a mass emailing from his City Hall (taxpayer paid) email domain citing the Animal Care Services metrics, reiterating his quote from the City Hall release and stating: "In addition, I asked our City Auditor to launch a comprehensive audit of Animal Care Services to ensure we are using best practices to save every animal possible. In the meantime, as we await the results of the audit, I've included 2 more staffing positions in the city budget for Animal Care to prepare for the changes ahead."
However Mayor Garcia didn't exactly include two more staffing positions in the proposed FY18 budget; city management did so and the Mayor has recommended approval of management's proposed budget. City management's proposed FY18 budget indicates the change amounts to 1.33 positions and will cost $77,512 for "an additional Animal Health Technician for a higher level of intake services and a Community Information Specialist dedicated to marketing ACS and better connect with community partners, particularly through social media." [Source: Management's proposed FY18 budget narrative, pp. 343, 345.]
Mayor Garcia's emailing continued:
We are bringing back a popular event, Kitty Hall, on August 11th. Last year we set a record for adoption events, with 38 cats/kittens adopted. Join us at Kitty (City) Hall from 11 am to 3 pm next Friday and help us break our record and take home a new best feline friend.
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