Does Ed Boks Hate Puppies?

I have a pretty strong stomach. I can handle roller coasters, the open sea, and blood, and while the smell of vomit slows me down, it doesn’t knock me over. But this has me frighteningly close to blowing chunks. As “Not An Animal Activist” passionately posted, “The first quarter 2008 numbers are out. Sadly there was a huge increase in cat and dog intake and euthanasia in Los Angeles City animal shelters. Things are now worse than before Antonio Villaraigosa became Mayor, before he hired his friend so called “nokill” guru Ed Boks to head the Department. Today his Director released a statement confirming his dismal performance while blaming others for his failure.”

Dismal performance, indeed. Boks admits to increases in intake and euthanasia on his blog, writing that “we at LA Animal Services are as disappointed with these results as are our critics.” Okay–I guess disappointment is one of the feelings inspired by the news that as of now, euthanasia has gone up 24% since last year, and intake 20%. Better adjectives to describe the range of emotion I’m feeling include outrage, helplessness, and sorrow.

In an analytical rant, “Not An Animal Activist” blames Boks’s “numbers games” and propensity for “warehousing” animals for the surge in intake and euthanasia. Read it and weep, then tell me what the hell to do. As it is I give my time and money to a no kill shelter. What next?

Meanwhile, Boks writes that “marketing is not our strong suit at the moment. We don’t have a public relations staff, nor do we have a volunteer coordinator at the moment to run our mobile adoption program.” Why not? This is Los Angeles. There are a lot of creative, passionate, animal-loving people here with free time and experience in public relations and marketing. Surely Boks could find one, or two, or five to share the volunteer duties of running a mobile adoption program and marketing older, bigger dogs. So, why isn’t it happening? Boks is supposed to provide leadership, not vom-inducing excuses.

6 thoughts on “Does Ed Boks Hate Puppies?”

  1. At first glance, I thought “well, of course increased intake led to increased euthanasia” but you’re right: there’s no reason why a volunteer coordinator couldn’t be hired, why spay/neuter programs can’t be publicized and taken advantage of, why someone with the resources of the city can’t get something moving, when smaller organizations manage to operate on a shoestring.

    I used to volunteer with an organization that sometimes worked with the Riverside shelter. One day we noticed this door marked “volunteer” and we opened it to discover a gentleman who was being paid by the country to coordinate volunteers for that shelter.

    Of course, there were no volunteers, nor did he know a single member of any of the rescues that would come in and pull dogs; he sat and played solitaire.


  2. It all makes for strong arguments for mandatory spay and neuter.

    The problem is with declining revenues what is a city to do?

  3. Especially with declining revenues, the city should be looking at using volunteers more and more. If they don’t have a dedicated volunteer coordinator, they should assign a current staff member to this role.

    I truly don’t understand why Boks is still in that position, besides maybe because nobody is actively calling for his head.

    Animal Services has an operating budget of ~$20 million… surely they can afford some amount of PR and marketing to get things done properly.

  4. I vote for closing down the puppy mills. There are just too many animals around in this city. Get rid of those inhumane, horrifying mall pet stores. If you want a pet- you adopt one from a shelter. Period.

    And as for cats, mandatory spay/neuter, no exceptions. You want a cute pet kitty? You pay to get their bits chopped off. Done.

  5. People are calling for his head, but I doubt the Mayor cares. Ed Boks lives on my street and we get people protesting him all the time. It is somewhat annoying to hear megaphones and people yelling outside your apartment every weekend, although as someone who has volunteered for 6+ years with a dog rescue group, I completely understand their point of view too. Boks needs to be fired and someone more competent needs the job. He never should have been hired in the first place with his track record in Arizona and NY. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of animal rescue groups in Los Angeles because of our dismal system- I’m sure the city could find some volunteers to help them if they tried in the slightest.

  6. Are stray cats really that big of a problem? If the cats are just left to their own resources, won’t the population more or less find a stable level and then take care of itself?

    I genuinely don’t know what happens with stray cats on the street and why/if they’re a problem. I have a bunch of strays that seem to live around my apartment, are they causing damage somewhere? One possible upside: I suspect they keep the rodent population in check (though I have no way of verifying that).

    Can someone who knows more about the issue explain to me why everybody’s always so gung-ho about spaying/neutering cats?

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