In defense of L.A.’s Animal Services

first_imgThe Daily News has printed a couple of ill-informed letters to the editor in recent months exaggerating the veterinarian shortage in L.A. Animal Services. A recent piece claimed L.A. Animal Services veterinary vacancy rate is at a “cruel 84 percent.” A significant fact omitted from this dire description is that the 12 veterinarians budgeted are to staff our six new spay/neuter clinics, five of which are still under construction. A seventh Spay/Neuter Clinic in South L.A. will soon be staffed. While we await the opening of our six additional clinics, we now contract with over 25 local private veterinarians to provide this important service. The charge was also made that L.A. citys veterinarian compensation package is not competitive. While that was true a year ago, that problem has been rectified, and we are conducting yet another compensation review to ensure we remain competitive. I have managed the three largest animal-control programs in the United States, and never had more than four of five veterinarians. A noteworthy difference between the other programs and L.A. Animal Services is that in the other communities the shelter veterinarians were required to perform nearly 20,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year in addition to animal care and treatment. In L.A., our staff veterinarians perform no spay/neuter surgeries, allowing them to devote all their time to the care and treatment of the animals. In addition to our staff veterinarians, L.A. Animal Services has over 20 medical staff members who are licensed veterinarians in other countries. This allows them to perform in L.A. as very highly skilled Registered Veterinary Technicians. L.A. Animal Services supports all of these individuals as they prepare to take their California State Board Examinations. L.A. Animal Services has 149 private veterinarians available to provide care to animals in need. We routinely use 30 of these veterinarians as needed. The misinformation suggesting Animal Services was suffering from a vacancy crisis was used to find fault with our exceptional adoption program. L.A. Animal Services is placing more animals into more loving homes than ever before. L.A. citys euthanasia rate is also at a historic low, and we are committed to reducing it even further. No other city has committed $160 million to construct seven award-winning state-of-the art animal-care centers and spay/neuter clinics. Los Angeles is the most progressive city in the United States for its commitment to animal welfare. — Ed Boks is general manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services Department, 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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