City of Irvine Takes Action to Improve Conditions at Shelter after Community Complaints

After shelter pet advocates went public by bringing their concerns about the Irvine Animal Care Center to the City Council last month, changes are afoot.

The chief veterinarian at IACC, Dr. Lawrence Kosmin, whom shelter pet advocates allege has been botching surgeries and refers to himself as “Dr. Death”, will be leaving at the end of the month.  A vet who worked under Dr. Kosmin will take his place.

City officials plan to establish a clear euthanasia policy that ensures no treatable animal is euthanized. A policy will also be set to create an atmosphere in which shelter staff and volunteers can come forward about issues without fearing retribution from their management.

A number of other changes are in the works as well:

  • A behaviorist will be hired to evaluate pets and get them ready for adoption.
  • Staff will be given one day’s notice on the kill list.
  • The Third Chance program, which advocates allege has been misused resulting in the needless killing of “rescued” pets, will be re-evaluated.
  • A veterinarian who trained in shelter medicine at UC Davis was slated to begin an independent evaluation of the Irvine facility this week.

The mayor says it will take 4 – 6 months to fully implement the changes.

Former shelter staff and volunteers are encouraged by the city’s plans but worry the independent evaluation will rely on information provided by current shelter management, who deny wrongdoing.

That’s always a challenge.  But any reasonable shelter evaluation is going to include input from community stakeholders.  In this case, since the city only took action after the community dropped the problems on its doorstep, I would think the evaluation would have to include input from those who got the ball rolling.

We’ll be watching.

One last noteworthy bit from the article, regarding “Dr. Death”:

Kosmin is serving as president-elect for the California Veterinary Medical Association during 2014-15.

The CVMA must be so proud.

(Thanks Arlene and Clarice for the link.)

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. mikken

     /  December 16, 2014

    Seems like damned slow progress, but for community government, I guess it’s relatively speedy in its timeframe.

    One hopes that the issues will be truly identified and addressed. Dr. Death needs to pull a “physician heal thyself”… or at least treat thyself as thou has treated others. The idea of him is just foul. I do hope that the vet under him hasn’t been tainted by his aura of ick.

    Reply
  2. Jean Dixon

     /  September 15, 2015

    The current staff and new vet need to be fired. They will just carry on as usual. So you will have Dr. DEATH Jr. Really the Mayor of Irvine set us a independent watch dog committee to make sure they are following proper procedure and cate. Least you be sued for breach of Hayden Law, just like the OC shelter.

    Reply

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