News: Point / Counterpoint

Mayor Garcia Cites Fewer LB Animal Shelter Euthanasias And Upcoming "Kitty Hall" Adoption Event; Counter-Point: Stayin' Alive Long Beach Minimizes Figures, Hits Garcia's Record is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(July 6, 2016) -- On July 5, Mayor Robert Garcia sent a mass emailing (using his political email domain) citing fewer LB Animal Shelter euthanasias, a record year for dog and cat adoptions and touting an upcoming "Kitty Hall" cat adoption event.

Mayor Garcia's email arrived just hours after City Hall issued a release that LB's Animal Care Services Bureau (ACS) had "achieved a record year in 2015 with saving animals, and so far 2016 is proving to be even better...The following statistics are the best numbers ever reported for the first six months of any year, and show increasing progress being made at the animal shelter in 2016, compared to the first six months in 2015":

  • A 15 percent reduction in the number of cats and dogs impounded at the shelter, from 3,783 to 3,219.
  • A 37 percent reduction in the number of cats and dogs euthanized, from 1,156 to 725.
  • Live Release Rates of 89 percent for dogs and 63 percent for cats, compared to 85 percent and 54 percent, respectively. (The Live Release Rate is the percentage of animals that come to the shelter and leave with a positive outcome such as return to owner, adoption or transfer to a rescue group.)"

On the morning of July 6, the political advocacy group Stayin' Alive Long Beach [self-description on website] "composed of concerned residents who want to see the progressive, fiscally-responsible programs of the No Kill Equation put in place at the Long Beach Animal Shelter"] put a statement on its website critical of LB's figures compared to those of Sacramento's shelter and criticized Mayor Garcia's record in particular. publishes their words side by side below. [See also's Amnesia File comments which follow.]

Mayor Garcia email July 5Stayin' Alive Long Beach July 6
Today [July 5], our Animal Care Services (ACS) Department released its mid-year report on dog and cat adoptions, and the news is great. In fact, as the graphic below shows, 2015 was a record year -- and so far 2016 is even better.

And, this Friday [July 8] is one of my favorite events, Kitty Hall, where cats and kittens are available for adoption in the City Hall lobby.

Animal Care Mid-year Report

Over the past year, dog and cat euthanasia has dropped by 37% and impounds are down by 15%. We are releasing more pets to loving homes, and our spay and neuter efforts are working to reduce our stray population. Over the past 5 years, total euthanasia is down more than 70%.

Live release rates are now 89% for dogs and 63% for cats -- compared to 85% and 54% last year.

As Mayor, I've pledged to work with our animal advocacy partners and the ACS Department to reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoptions. Thanks to the work of our Animal Care staff, and many committed volunteers, we are making progress. My thanks to ACS leadership for their successful efforts.

And I want to thank all the community members who advocate for our furry friends, including some of our partner organizations; Friends of Long Beach Animals, Fix Long Beach, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, Long Beach Spay and Neuter, Stray Cat Alliance, West Coast Animal Rescue, Zazzy Cats Kitty Rescue, and all the many residents looking out for animals: Your voice makes a difference.

With your help, we will continue to work hard to reduce our numbers even more.

Kitty Hall

This Friday, July 8 from 11 AM - 3 PM, we are holding our next Kitty Hall event, right here in the City Hall lobby at 333 West Ocean Blvd. Kitty Hall is a great opportunity to find loving homes for some adorable cats and kittens. We will have many adoptable cats and kittens for you to meet. I hope to see you there!

Go Long Beach!

Mayor Robert Garcia

Stayin' Alive Long Beach has been reporting on LBACS' statistics since 2013, acting as a monitor on the public's behalf...

The Mayor's Strategy -- Passing the Buck Instead of Stepping Up

An adoption is not shipping a shelter animal by plane thousands of miles away to another shelter for yet another shelter stay. An adoption is not releasing an animal to an overworked and underfunded rescue that is working desperately to make up for LBACS' lack of an adoption program. An adoption is not giving an animal to neighboring SpcaLA so the animal can spend more time in yet another shelter...

While it's true that euthanasias are down at LBACS, it is largely due to these "pass-the-buck" strategies that show no real commitment to getting animals into good homes, and that in many cases result in extended stays in other shelters, where the animals often fall ill and then are euthanized.

Our neighbors to the north at Sacramento Animal Care Services know the difference between passing the buck and finding animals good homes -- Sacramento did more than 4400 adoptions in 2015 [source: click here.] LBACS did 471.

Mayor Garcia seemed to understand the distinction between adoptions and non-adoption outcomes back during the mayoral election when he was promising folks that he would increase adoptions at our shelter. He got elected on that promise, and now he's claiming to have made good on that promise without actually having fulfilled it, and without reporting real adoption numbers.

Long Beach's Shelter Animals Are Dying Needlessly

By the Mayor's own numbers, 725 animals were euthanized in the first six months of 2016. Yet many of these animals could have been saved if LBACS had a strong adoption program and a foster program. These suggestions are not unreasonable. Sacramento has strong adoption and foster programs. LA Animal Services has a foster program. If other cities can have such programs, surely, Long Beach can, too.

Actual Adoption Numbers at LBACS are Extremely Low

Here are the actual adoption numbers at LBACS, obtained by Stayin' Alive Long Beach through the California Public Records Act.

LBACS Adoptions 2015 - 2016 *

MonthAnimals Adopted out by LBACS in 2015Animals Adopted out by LBACS in 2016
*Source: Long Beach Animal Care Services Kennel Statistics Reports. Data from May and June 2016 have not yet been provided by the City and are not included in this table.

As you can see, adoption numbers are low across the board, and the increase since 2015, if any, has been minimal.

This Friday, Mayor Garcia is holding a "Kitty Hall" cat adoption event at City Hall. At last year's event, LBACS reported placing 14 cats. Such events are great photo ops for our Mayor, but they're no substitute for a real adoption program.

It is a sad day indeed when our elected officials use shelter animals' plight to get elected, and then abandon them once again by failing to put into effect even the most basic of lifesaving programs -- lifesaving adoption and foster programs.

The good news is that voters in Long Beach can mobilize the political process to elect compassionate people into City Council and the Mayor's office so that this can change. There is hope for shelter animals in Long Beach -- Long Beach is a compassionate city. It's up to us to make sure that we elect leaders who reflect our compassionate values.


Advertisement Amnesia File

During the 2014 election cycle, Stayin' Alive Long Beach endorsed Robert Garcia for Mayor over multiple other candidates, indicating [paraphrase] that after speaking with him it came away convinced of his commitment on issues that mattered to them.

During Q & A at an Oct. 28, 2014 public meeting, Mayor Garcia (elected with roughly 52% of the vote in June and took office in mid-July) indicated he'd visit Sacramento's animal control facility, noting he'd have opportunities to do so as he'd be visiting Sacramento on city legislative matters. As of July 6, 2016, has been unable to confirm with the Sacramento shelter that he's done so.

By 2015, Stayin' Alive Long Beach had given Mayor Garcia a "One Year Animal Welfare Report Card" with a D in Lifesaving Programs, and F in campaign promises and an F in transparency (grades detailed at this link.)





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