More dog walking, volunteer mediation: Koretz calls for reform of LA Animal Services

More dog walking, volunteer mediation: Koretz calls for reform of LA Animal Services

Los Angeles City Council member Paul Kuritz on Friday called for sweeping changes to the city’s animal services management, including regular dog walks, better handling of sick animals facing euthanasia and a mediation process for volunteers.

Kuritz, who is running for city watchdog, A 46-page report was released It called a “roadmap” of recommendations to help the thousands of dogs, cats and other animals that come through the city’s six shelters each year.

The report, which was sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti and city council, followed Times articles about inadequate animal care at shelters. Volunteers and staff accused management of understaffing and mismanagement, and described long waits for dogs to get out of kennels and shelters that had run out of food for rabbits and guinea pigs.

The volunteers, who the city relies on for basic animal care, were also fired after speaking to the media and criticizing the administration.

“What is clear is that animal services need more staff and a significant increase in funding,” Kuritz said, adding that the lack of funds was a “chronic budget problem” that the mayor and city council could address. . Koretz heads the committee that oversees animal issues.

His rival in the control race, Kenneth Mejia, was hammering Kuritz on Twitter. On Thursday, Mejia tweeted a new ad online showing a former volunteer criticizing Kurtz about the state of the shelters.

Koretz Mejia . delayed By nearly 20 points On the 7th of June Preliminary.

At a press conference at City Hall, Curtis repeatedly defended himself, saying that as a council member he “has no power to order the ministry to do anything”. This authority, he said, is vested in the mayor and others.

When asked about Garcetti’s role, Kurtz said he couldn’t criticize the mayor.

“But I can’t say he was really practical or that his department was supervising animal services,” Kuritz added. “This is primarily his responsibility and the responsibility of the mayor’s office.”

Garcetti spokesman, Harrison Wollman, said the mayor’s office is working with animal services on dog walking and employment issues. Wollman said the proposed budget for the next fiscal year contains new funding to hire additional staff.

Koretz said his report was based on comments and suggestions provided by the public, stakeholders, animal service volunteers and staff.

The report covered more than 30 issues, including dogs confined to their kennels for long periods without a walk, long-standing friction between staff and volunteers and a lack of staff and funds to properly manage all six shelters.

The Times review found that evidence dogs, which include dogs who are victims of abuse, neglect or accused of aggressive behavior, were more likely to stay in their homes for weeks and sometimes months at a time.

In the report, Kurtz questions whether the administration might act “extremely cautious” in finding solutions to deal with evidence dogs.

The report said evidence of animals being left in kennels for months at a time was likely “to exacerbate any behavioral problems you put in the situation from the start”.

In the report, Kuritz suggested that the department contract experienced animal trainers with dangerous and guide dogs to increase the number of times they are taken out.

The report also suggests that management make basic playgroups a requirement for every shelter. Playgroups allow volunteers and staff to take multiple dogs out of their homes and interact and play with other canines. The report notes that exercise yards at four shelters need to be modified to ensure they are safe for dog playgroups.

The South Los Angeles shelter recently underwent a pilot program to promote playgroups, and Kurtz suggested in the report that management consider expanding the program to all animal shelters. The report also suggests that the department expand a program that engages state inmates with shelter dogs.

The report also detailed criticism of the cats and small animals at the shelter. The report stated that community cat rooms are underutilized, and that the difference in behavior between cats in community rooms and those in cages is “stunning.”

And while small mammals including hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits require less care compared to cats and dogs, “they deserve first-class care and treatment like any other animal in the department’s care,” the report said.

The report addresses the decades-old tensions between staff and volunteers, which can negatively impact the volunteer program. Kurz said the department is creating the Volunteer Relations Committee as a tool to improve the volunteer program and relationships between the two groups.

The report also addresses the issue of volunteers being suspended or leaving their posts after speaking to the media about conditions at the shelter. Kurtz recommended that the administration consider a “reset” with the suspended volunteers and engage in a dispute resolution process to get them back to work.

The report details recommendations for improving sterilization and neutralization efforts, which much of the public said the ministry is not implementing.

The report notes that Garcetti and the city council allocate funds annually to the Animal Spaying Fund and are considering citing dog owners who do not neuter or spay their pets and have not been licensed by the city.

He also recommended that the department do a better job of notifying groups cooperating with the city about animals that have “serious medical or health conditions” and may require veterinary care that the department cannot provide.

One volunteer said that rescuers and partner agencies are not always alerted to those animals, “which could potentially lead to unnecessarily euthanized.”

Justin Khosrowabadi, an animal services spokesman, said Friday that Kurtz’s report will be reviewed and that “as my home country, there is always an opportunity to do more.”

“LA Animal Services is committed to serving our community by providing programs and resources to keep pets and their families together, and to ensure the safety and well-being of animals, inside and outside our shelters in our communities, and the people who love them,” Khosrowabadi said.

Koretz said Friday that he had visited a shelter in the city in the previous week but had not been to a shelter in the two to three years prior to that.

However, he said he didn’t think he needed to visit shelters to find out about the issues there. He also said he has tackled some problems in the past.

Several former and current volunteers said at recent public meetings that problems have existed for years in the shelters and questioned Koretz’s new focus on them.

Koretz also made several proposals Friday, including a request to transfer $3 million in emergency funding from the city’s reserve fund to animal services.

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