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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chick Finds Animal Services “Ill-Prepared”

This week, Controller Laura Chick issued another brutally sharp audit on the shelter’s failure to prepare the city for the upcoming mandatory spay & neuter law. Just two months ago, she issued a severe assessment of the shelter’s fiscal problems.

Mr. Ed Boks is the shelter General Manager who wrote a long reply challenging Chick's conclusions on the city blog.

He also says that the new $16 million shelter in Councilman Richard Alarcon's district is loaded with animals, but not open to the public. There are also supposed to be free spay & neuter clinics at the shelters, but they still haven't opened years after Prop F funds were given to the city.

This link goes to an article by former City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who wrote, "The Animal Services portion of the bond, $154.1 million, will be used to replace three existing animal shelters, build two new shelters, and expand and renovate three others, provide more kennel space to reduce pet overcrowding in shelters, create more spay and neuter clinics to help reduce overpopulation on the streets, and increase adoption opportunities."

This was written all the way back in 2000.

Mr. Boks blames the problems on staff & budgetary cuts, but if those cuts haven't yet been made, and he has been given hundreds of millions of dollars, how can he blame these problems on the cuts?

A blogging dog rescuer named Ed Musika has some interesting views on related matters.

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

In February 2008 at City Council when this ordinance passed, Councilmember Alarcon asked Ed Boks three times, "do you have enough employees and money to enforce this program?" Boks replied "yes." Alarcon then said "400,000 animals need surgery in the City to comply with the ordinance. Do you have enough employees and money to do all these surgeries?" Boks said "yes." Alarcon then said "Good, because I don't want you asking for resources later." The ordinance would not have passed if Boks said he needed resources. Boks just wanted it to pass. Go look at the video from February.

Since then the animal services budget was cut, but nothing related to enforcing this ordinance was cut. ACOs enforce this ordinance. None were fired, only ACTs which work in the shelter caring directly for animals. The spay neuter budget was not cut. The Department currently has the same resources as when the ordinance passed. How can Boks cry that he has no resources to enforce the ordinance when he said on camera that he had all the resources he needed? We all knew this was impossible at the time.

August 21, 2008 10:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The prop F bond money of $155M was used to build new shelters. They closed the old shelters when the new shelters opened. The new shelters have lots of art, landscaping, community areas, a park but the same if not fewer cages. When they moved the animals from the old East Valley shelter to the new one they ran out of cages. Does everyone realize that the new shelters are only prettier, more expensive to maintain and larger total size? The area for animals is the same if not less. Now these new shelters are too expensive to operate so two are not open to the public. I'm talking the Mission and annex shelters.

August 21, 2008 10:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How does Ed Boaks have enough time to sit and play on his blog all day?

Did you see the length of his response? That must have taken two days!

Better that he roll up his sleeves and work instead of play on his blog.

August 21, 2008 11:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This dog's face is haunting me! Is she in the LA shelter?

August 21, 2008 11:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

just in.

Boks is telling people he's happy about the negative press about the mandatory spay ordinance. He wants the Mayor and City to look as bad as possible, like they're cheapies who don't care about animals. His goal is to get more money from the City, and he thinks he can do it. Boks was overheard saying "I have the Mayor wrapped around my little finger. In City Hall the Mayor gave me a big bear hug and said he'll give me anything I want. I just have to ask. This bad press should do it."

Anyone care to wager on whether or not this will get the Mayor to give him more money?

August 21, 2008 11:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The dog in the photo is from an LA Times article. The dog was killed. I really hoped having that old dog in the photo in the Times would save its life. Nope.

August 21, 2008 11:29 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The only things cut in the animal services budget were food for animals and animal control technicians. ACTs feed, medicate, clean, walk, care for the animals. They cut the food budget by 20%.

It was up to Boks what to cut in the budget, and this is what he chose. In the meantime he got a raise, hired two Assistant General Managers, a PR person and four new supervisors. This makes no sense when he's warehousing more animals than ever before. Every cage is at maximum capacity. We're talking five dogs per cage. That's a lot of feeding and scooping of poop. How's he supposed to care for them properly with less food and fewer people who care for them? He doesn't care.

I think last year the councilmembers got a raise which had been approved years earlier. Two councilmembers donated their raises to charity. Why doesn't Boks and his AGMs do this? They should donate their raises to the ACTs who got fired.

August 21, 2008 11:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anyone notice that euthanasia has gone up 37% under Ed Boks? This is worse than any manager in the last 50 years. All of the previous GMs were able to reduce euthanasia though good times and bad.

Boks is blaming it on foreclosures. Most of the increase in intake and euthanasia is from kittens. Kittens are not the result of foreclosures. They are the result of his kitten refusal policy last year. He refused kittens. Six months later those kittens had kittens and he had six times as many kittens. There was an increase in adult dogs. That's probably from foreclosures. Adult cats, puppies stayed the same.

Other shelters around the nation have noticed an increase in adult large dogs. None of them have had a huge kitten increase like LA. How does this guy still have a job? And why didn't anyone check out his references? He's failed every where he's been.

August 21, 2008 11:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bill Rosendahl needlessly voted against mandatory spay neuter "on principle."

What a jackass. He even breeds his own dog, bringing more of them into the world, and then had her spayed.

August 21, 2008 11:39 AM  

Blogger Shelby York said:

Yes, 11:10, the dog is at the e. valley shelter on vanowen street. At least it was there a few days ago.

Please tell your friends about this wonderful old dog, and all the others. There are even more cats than dogs!

You should also go and see the s. los angeles and other city shelters. www.Laanimalservices.Com

August 21, 2008 11:43 AM  

Blogger Shelby York said:

My bad, 1129. I thought she was still alive. Is she in the s. los angeles shelter?

August 21, 2008 11:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

haikula, that dog was in the shelter a while ago. that's an old photo from an older Times article. I followed that dog hoping it would be adopted. then I saw it on the red list. then I didn't see it any more. a shelter person told me it was euthanized. now the Times did put photos of two kittens in the paper. those two kittens were adopted.i followed those kittens hoping the press would save them.

August 21, 2008 11:48 AM  

Blogger Shelby York said:

That is so gut wrenching! Who couldn't respond to this face? I can't get it out of my mind, either.

August 21, 2008 11:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Go to the shelter. You will see thousands of faces just like that dog. I volunteer at the shelter. My first day there I just cried and cried. I didn't think I could go back, but I did because I know they needed my help. If I could just make their last few days a little happier or find them a home, it would be worth it, and it is.

Everyone, if you're looking for a pet, adopt a shelter animal. It will be the most rewarding thing you do. Work with an adoption counselor so you pick the right pet for you.

If you really can't stand going into the depressing shelter, adopt from a local rescue group. They adopt from the shelter, get the animals healthy, tested and trained. Either route will be cheaper than a pet store, and you get to save a life. What could be better than that? :-D

August 21, 2008 12:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Boks wrote ”The Department has always welcomed and invited the closest scrutiny to how these numbers are collected and reported. To date, no one has taken us up on our invitation.”

What a crock of poop!

August 21, 2008 12:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Does anyone know why the LA Times doesn't have an article on this?

August 21, 2008 12:56 PM  

Blogger Shelby York said:

If anyone is keyed into the rescue people, ask them to come here and post their thoughts on this.

It'd be great if they write about the animal issues instead of attacking Mr. Boks. But he does have a history of fueling the fire.

August 21, 2008 1:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

We are animal rescuers posting here. Most local rescuers and employees don't like Mr. Boks. The employees signed a no-confidence petition against Boks. They will be presenting it to Council soon. The employees don't like him because he is firing much needed ACTs. He also gave them four times as much work because the shelters are at 4x capacity, 4x the poop, 4x the cleaning, 4x the dogs fighting each other in cages. The number of animals dying from cage injury and illness is 3x what it used to be, over 3,000 animals dying a year. Twice as many dogs dying from fights in their cage. They fight over food.

The rescuers don't like him because he's making rescue more difficult. Now we must pay more for the animals we are saving. Yes, we must pay to save animals at the pound. We pay to get them out then pay hundreds more getting them healthy. They're all sick from overcrowding giving each other diseases. He is making us give him the home addresses of all of our volunteers and the people who adopt the dogs. No one wants to do that. It's illegal to have over three dogs per home in the City. Rescuers have on average five dogs that they're fostering. If the city came to our homes they would impound and kill our dogs. They won't give us kennel permits because we rescue out of our homes.

There's a reason why people attack Ed Boks. He does bring it on himself. Read his blog entry today. He says even though euthanasia is up 37%!!!! LA is already nokill. Come again? He's killing more than any other Director in the past seven years. How is that better?

August 21, 2008 2:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm a rescuer. Why did euthanasia go up under Boks? A small part of it is increased dogs surrendered by owners because of the bad economy. The main reason intake and euthanasia is up is kittens, thousands of kittens. This is Boks' fault.

Last year kitten intake went down a remarkable 33%. Boks said it was just an "anomaly." It was not. Boks instructed employees to tell people to keep the kittens, raise them, get them spayed and adopted out. If someone is dumping kittens at a kill shelter, do you think they are responsible enough to get them neutered and adopted? No. The people did not get them kittens neutered. Six months later they had babies. There are now six times as many kittens which came into the shelters in droves. The employees fed up with Boks stupid refusal plan refused to refuse these kittens. They took them in.

Why did Boks refuse kittens? Boks refused the animals most likely to be euthanized to improve his numbers to better his image. He refused kittens, feral cats. These animals weren't just the most likely to be euthanized but also the most likely to procreate. Edward Boks caused the huge increase in intake, and now the huge increase in animals dying. All those dead animals are on his head. He ought to be ashamed of himself. He should resign and apologize.

August 21, 2008 2:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This is from the Animal Services report filed by Ed Boks with the City. He said there was no fiscal impact. No fiscal impact report was filed. He swore to (and made a fool of) Councilmember Alarcon that it wouldn't cost a dime.

"The Deparent already manages a $ 1.2 milion spay/neuter program, redeems anmals back to their
owners at an unprecedented rate, processes licenses and permits, and handles anmal-law enforcement
and administrative hearngs. The changes recommended would have mior costs related to perform a
few additional steps to existing fuctions, but would be offset over time as the nwnber of animals and
anmal-related calls dropped when more animals are unable to reproduce."


No fiscal impact was ever filed

"Fiscallmoact Statement: None submitted by the Department of Animal Services. Neither the
City Administrative Offcer nor the Chief Legislative Analyst has completed a financial analysis
of this report."


and now he says he needs money and employees to enforce this? Why didn't he say this on February 1, 2008 in front of council?

This is Boks' favorite saying. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission." He knew he had no resources to enforce this ordinance. He knew when the time came the City would cave and give him more money so they don't look ridiculous. That's how the guy operates.

August 21, 2008 2:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Villaraigosa stacked the animal services commission with people who wouldn't challenge Boks after Marie Atake left.

This is the type of failure that happens when you have a dishonest Mayor who wants headlines without effort.

August 21, 2008 3:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Alarcon is always bitching about "what does this do for my part of the city."

So here he is with a brand new shelter, and it's not open to the public?

Let's get Alarcon on the record about why. Talk about an area in need of leadership!

August 21, 2008 3:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Go online and chat live with Michael Moore on "Meet the Bloggers," tomorrow, Friday, August 22nd at 1:00 PM ET.

Join the discussion with Mike by logging onto the live blog at http://meetthebloggers.org/.

You can also submit a video question for Mike by clicking here.
Filmmaker and Brave New Foundation

President Robert Greenwald will host the event.

See you on "Meet the Bloggers!"


August 21, 2008 3:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

February 1, 2008, city council. I'm watching the video. The councilmembers start their debate at 2:24 min. I'll post exactly when they talk about fiscal impact. Everyone keeps saying "the price is right" because Bob Barker is in the audience. Everyone's patting each other on the back.

August 21, 2008 3:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Haikula Ho - Your concern is really turning me on.

August 21, 2008 3:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

When the ordinance went before public safety, Boks said "Boks estimated that it will cost $380,000 to $400,000 to implement the ordinance." That was in online press release by CBS. Why didn't he say that in city council?

August 21, 2008 3:56 PM  

Blogger Shelby York said:

Thank you 346. I just recently I saw how bad things are, but forgot until one of you sent me the Laura Chick release.

But I'm not Hawaiian. Does Haikula Ho mean something in Hawaiian? I'm Finnish and Asian. Haikula is in Finland, but I've never been there. How does the song go, "I've never been there, they tell me it's nice!"

August 21, 2008 4:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I was at an event last night where Ed Boks was extolling the virtues of LAAS in its attempt to go "no-kill"...during the Q&A, he said that there was no money allotted for the enforcement of spay neuter. He never said HE didn't ask for it, but made it sound like the cruel city council didn't fund the mandate. There is no way the city will enforce this law. Ed Boks said that the department is complaint driven (what about complaints against him!) and so that means you have to call on your neighbor's dog Fido who still has his family jewels. Then, I guess you HOPE that LAAS is not out rounding up poor strays all day long and has time to come visit your neighbor and write a "warning", then come back and check, then write a notice to comply. It will never work.

August 21, 2008 4:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What about the City's policy on feral cats? Ed Boks has an entire workshop devoted to TNR (trap neuter return) yet the city's policy is to fine people who feed cats. Isn't this a conflicting message? Where is the pressure on city council members, and the Mayor who cares absolutely NOTHING about the animals????

August 21, 2008 4:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Mayor needs to be held accountable. He runs all the departments. More than once, mayors have instructed GM's to take the hit and protect them from criticism. If the Mayor did stack the commission with people who would be Bok's "yes people" then he really is pulling the strings.

What if Bok is just following orders? What if Alarcon instructed Bok on the answers to give so that the ordinance would pass?

If the ordinance passes, some Councilmembers can add this to the list of their accomplishments, so why let bad news and hard facts get in the way? If the department can't produce the promised results, it will be the GM, not the Councilmembers or Mayor who get shot at.

The problem is our desire to find one person, one easy target at whom to point the finger of blame.

If Bok is operating independently of the Mayor and Council, then blame him. If he lied to the Mayor and Council, then he'll pay a price for that later.

But what if he's acting under orders?

August 21, 2008 6:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Having talked extensively about this subject with several city council people (those who are elected, not their staff people), I can tell you that they all distrust him, and most dislike him.

Boks IS doing all of this on his own. This is evidenced by the dozen and a half articles about his foibles in L.A.

Do we really need to list them all? Let's start with his hairbrained HOOTERS idea, to his hiring FELONS without consulting HR or the SEIU.

Then add about 15 more doozies in between these landmark events.

He's doing this on his own. But it's Villaraigosa's asswipe Jimmy Blackman who has kept the truth from Villaraigosa.

You'll have to trust me on this.

August 21, 2008 7:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Mayor needs to take responsibility. If Bok is out of control, it's job to deal with him one way or another. If Blackman is keeping information from him, which I doubt because he isn't the only person in that office who has the Mayor's ear, then the Mayor needs to deal with Blackman.

The buck needs to stop at the top. Now you trust me on this one: AV isn't the first Mayor who says one thing publicly, and another thing privately to a General Manager.

August 21, 2008 8:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Alarcon proposed the spay and neuter ordinance. Like most Councilmembers, he wants to see his proposal enacted. Often this means ignoring the realities, such as how it will be implemented. Their private answer to the departments is "just do it." It's easy to imagine Alarcon, not wanting to take any chances when the ordinance came before the City Council, taking to Bok and demanding, as only Alarcon can do, that Bok not say or do anything, including telling the truth, that would scuttle the ordinance.

I've seen this happen all my life. It's common practice at City Hall.

August 21, 2008 8:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:48, it's twice as bad.

If you didn't catch what Haikula wrote, there is a brand new animal SHELTER in Alarcon's district that is not open to the public.

It is stuffed with animals who, since they won't be seen by the public, are all going to be killed without a chance of being adopted.

Those animals are not counted in the kill rates because it'll make everything seem even worse than they already are. That's why Boks shuffles animals to that location. They won't be counted.

Further, the people in Alarcon's animal-riddled neighborhood continues to go underserved. Packs of animals roaming the streets. The animals and the people are all scared.

Alarcon just wants to get his photo taken without getting the job done.

If any of you know Alarcon, ask him why the brand new multi million dollar shelter in his 'hood isn't open to the public, but stuffed with animals.

Let us all know what he says.

August 21, 2008 9:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The answer is that it's much easier and more benefical for the polticians to get pictures taken, speak at news conferences, and hob nob at parties and political conventions than it is to address real problems and try and make the city a better place.

And, worse, it's our fault for letting them get away with it. The truth and the pressure need to expand beyond this blog. Is there any reason why Alarcon and the Mayor can't be asked about this at every community event they attend? At every City Council meeting during public comment time? At a picket in front of their offices?

August 21, 2008 9:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Politicians and bureaucrats lie? Wow, what a revelation! Al Gore invented the internet so we could find that out?

There is so much dishonest crap posted in this comment column that not even the lazy animal shelter workers who hate Boks because he tries to make them do their damned jobs could possibly clean it up! That is if they'd get off their lazy asses and even try.

None of them have been laid off yet and what do you want to bet that, like all the other departments threatened with layoffs, they won't be laid off from this department either.

And what idiot would post here claiming the new shelters have less space for animals than the old ones? There are something like three times as many dog kennels as there were in the old shelters, and at least the same space as before for cats and rabbits. Ed Muzika and the others who keep drowning us in BS numbers to discredit Ed Boks and Villagarosa may know how to use their calculators but their brains are so dysfunctional that if the state was still in the mental asylum business, that's where they'd all be living.

We have the money to build animal shelters but not to fully staff them, and we don't have money enough to staff insane asylums so we close those. And that leaves the animal nuts running around on the streets complaining about the size of the cages in the animal shelters. Whew, what a society!

Instead of finding ways to help the animals, these humane-iacs waste all their time ragging on the department - they've been doing it for 25 years no matter who the GM was. Ask them to do something to help and they say, "I don't want to make the department look good."

So this isn't really about the animals, is it? What is it about? Who gives a crap about Ed Boks? Do something for the animals instead of pretending you know how to run the friggin' government, because you don't. And apparently you don't know how to help the animals either. Mayor Sam was right when he stopped allowing you idiots to post here in the past because you're not doing one whit for the cause you claim to bleed for.

What a waste!

August 23, 2008 8:03 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Go look at the old east valley shelter. Count the cages and kennels. That shelter had been adding cages and kennels for years. The bond person only counted what it was built with. They added a whole portable section to the shelter full of caging. When they moved from the old EV to the new one, they didn't have enough kennels for all the dogs. They didn't have enough cages for the cats. They had to go back to EV and the north central shelter to rip out cages and kennels to add to the new EV shelter. Rescuers go to the shelters every day. We can count cages and kennels. I have photos of the old and new dog kennels and cat cages. Anyone can count

August 23, 2008 9:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I've attended a few commission meetings this last year. If not, I listen to them on the air. Not every commissioner is a yes person for Boks and the mayor. Listen to the commission tapes and find out for yourself. Given the small audience at these meetings, I doubt half of these posters even attended a meeting in the last several months.

About the s/n ordinance, the previous posters are correct. The s/n ordinance is Alarcon's. I was at the meetings and it was clear that the back room negotiations for this one were at the Council level and never the department. I heard that the department was told to butt out. I assume that had to do with the fumbling-bumbling GM.

I'm a bit neutral on the Chick audit. She may be right about being ill prepared. Then again, what percentage of speeding tickets are issued in relation to the number of speeders on the road at any given moment? Also, how many laws out there actually expend tax dollars to aid people in compliance? I suppose it doesn't really matter since anyone can be exempt, so what's the point?

August 24, 2008 6:02 PM  

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