Report: Long Beach Pound in Dire Need of Reform

A California no kill advocacy group called Stayin’ Alive Long Beach recently published a report analyzing hundreds of documents obtained from Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) via FOIA requests.  The report summarizes findings from these documents and makes a number of recommendations for increased lifesaving at the pound.  Last year’s numbers at Long Beach ACS indicate the facility is killing more than half of the animals in its care according to the report.

In 2012:

  • Long Beach ACS took in nearly 10,000 animals.
  • The kill rate for kittens was 78%.
  • The kill rate for adult cats was 75%.
  • The kill rate for puppies was 18%.
  • The kill rate for adult dogs was 32%.

Puppies were killed at the lowest rate and measurably less often than adult dogs.  With kittens however, it was the opposite.  Not only were they killed slightly more often than their adult counterparts, they were the group most likely to be killed at the pound.

Also in 2012:

  • Long Beach ACS took 0 animals to offsite adoption events.
  • Long Beach ACS placed 8 kittens and 5 puppies in foster homes while officially maintaining no foster program.
  • 104 animals were transferred to 16 rescue groups.
  • 28 volunteers worked at the pound which serves the city of Long Beach, population 450,000.  These volunteers were allowed only to walk dogs and read to the animals.

The primary reason Long Beach ACS isn’t killing every animal under its roof is because of the nearby SPCA LA facility.  Long Beach ACS relies on SPCA LA to take animals for adoption, transferring 28% of its animals to SPCA LA in 2012. Long Beach ACS itself adopted out just 35 cats, 36 puppies, 41 kittens and 212 dogs last year – an adoption rate of roughly 3%.

In response to the report, the Long Beach ACS manager told the Long Beach Press Telegram:

Ted Stevens, manager of Animal Care Services, defended his agency, calling the report’s claims “unfair and false.”
“We’re [sic] adopted more in nine months of this year than all of last year,” he said.

Just to be clear, he is bragging about exceeding a three percent adoption rate.

Among the recommendations for Long Beach ACS included in the report:

  • A comprehensive adoption program
  • Large scale volunteer program
  • Large scale foster program
  • TNR program
  • Expanded rescue program
  • Increased high volume, low cost spay-neuters
  • Increased owner redemptions

It will be interesting to see if city officials take action in response to the report or simply maintain the killing status quo. It seems like the manager’s position is clear. But 2014 is an election year in Long Beach and Stayin’ Alive Long Beach is hoping to capture the attention of voters by highlighting the positions of elected officials and challengers regarding reform at the city pound.

(Thanks Anne T. for alerting me to this story.)

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