|(Oct. 5, 2013. 4:00 p.m., text updated 7:10 p.m.) -- Seeking to change Long Beach City Council policies (not merely animal control management practices) and make Long Beach's animal shelter a lesser-kill (90% of more animals saved) facility, a group founded by a Long Beach property owner (who now lives in northern CA but remains concerned about LB's animal kill rate) has published a report saying LB Animal Care Services' current euthanasia rates are too high and can be lowered by implementing programs, many of them run by volunteers, now being successfully implemented elsewhere.
"2014 is an election year in Long Beach. We're hoping to make this a campaign issue," says Patricia Turner, Ph.D., in a release from Stayin' Alive Long Beach. "It's not unreasonable for concerned citizens to insist that change happen for the animals of Long Beach and that it happen in a transparent and principled way. ACS receives taxpayer monies. The agency needs to be accountable to the people of Long Beach."
Dr. Turner told LBREPORT.com that she was spurred to act after two meetings (the first in 2012, the second in 2013) with Long Beach Animal Care Services management (the first by her predecessor, the second by her personally). The meetings were unproducive, and Dr. Turner indicated she's now focusing on the policy-setting City Council where occupants of six Council seats are now seeking higher office, and there'll be at least five (and perhaps six) new Councilmembers by this time next year.
Dr. Turner said that as a first step in that process, Stayin Alive Long Beach released its 39 page report -- What's Happening to Long Beach's Shelter Animals: A report on the effectiveness of Long Beach Animal Care Services and recommendations for change. The report (released Oct. 3) can be viewed at www.stayinalivelongbeach.org.
LBREPORT.com spoke at length with Dr. Turner, and provides on-demand audio of our Q & A. To hear it, click here (approx. 25 minutes).
Below is the press release text accompanying release of Stayin Alive Long Beach's report.
[Stayin' Alive Long Beach release text] [headline] ANIMAL ADVOCACY GROUP RELEASES REPORT ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LONG BEACH ANIMAL CARE SERVICES AND MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE
LBREPORT.com provided a copy of the report to LB Animal Care Services chief Ted Stevens on Thursday night Oct. 3. Mr. Stevens indicated on Saturday (Oct. 5) that he's preparing a statement in response to the report. LBREPORT.com plans to add it here as received.
LB Animal Care Services has publicly said that its current euthanasia levels are lower than in previous years but routinely adds that it would like to see them lower than they are now. At its most recent annual open house, Animal Care Services presented data showing fewer euthanasias in some categories but acknowledged they remain high especially among cats.
Under City Manager Pat West, Long Beach City Hall renamed its animal control operation "Animal Care Services." From a facility in ELB near the Nature Center, it operates alongside SPCA/LA to facilitate adopting animals that both entities deem adoptable. SPCA/LA selects animals from LB Animal Care Services that SPAC/LA believes are good candidates for adoption. (These were not counted by Stayin Alive Long Beach in its low cited percentage of adopted animals.) Dogs and cats that aren't chosen by SPAC/LA can be euthanized, although in recent years Animal Care Services has in some cases taken the additional step of contacting private animal rescue groups to try to adopt animals that haven't been chosen by SPAC/LA or otherwise adopted.
The Stayin Alive Long Beach website states:
Each day, thousands of homeless animals are being put to death in animal shelters across the country. No animal should die just because it is homeless. The mission of Stayin' Alive Long Beach is to be a voice for animals and promote an end to the unnecessary killing of adoptable, healthy animals in the Long Beach Animal Care Services shelter. We will accomplish this by advocating for the implementation of responsible, cost-effective policies and programs that will reduce population growth and increase adoption rates. It is our goal to see Long Beach Animal Care Services comprehensively implement these policies of responsible municipal sheltering to make Long Beach a safer place for animals and for humans.
A Long Beach City Council majority sets policies that city management implements.
Update: The initial text of this story has been clarified: (1) the volunteer programs advocated by Stayin Alive Long Beach would be run by volunteers. (2) Of the two meetings with LBACS management, only the second involved Dr. Turner while the first was with her predecessor; (3) text has been added noting that the adoption figure cited by Stayin Alive doesn't include SPAC/LA adoptions; we ask Dr. Turner about this point and she responds in her telephone conversation with us (audio linked above.)
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