Saturday, March 16, 2013

LAAS Slashes Graveyard Shift; Impact on Safety Expected

by Elisha Lockhart

In Brenda Barnette's latest act of blatant indifference to the humane treatment of animals and public safety, she has eliminated staff from all LAAS shelters from midnight to 6 am every night (see announcement below).

The consequence of doing so will impact the life of approximately 1,500 animals residing at LAAS and Los Angeles public safety. During those six hours, there will be two Animal Control Officers on duty for the entire city of Los Angeles. Given that the two Officers will be manning the entire city, they will be out working in the field for a good portion of most nights. Therefore, the 1,500 will be in the shelter with no human supervision. Additionally, any incoming animals will either need to be tied to a pole or otherwise left alone in the front of the shelter, with no food, no water, and no medical attention. The hit-by-car animals will have to be left in a box if they are lucky otherwise lying on cold concrete in front of the shelter in bloody agony with crushed bones until the first LAAS employee arrives at 6 am.

Inside the shelter, according to Barnette's claims, we do not need to worry about dog fights with, as she calls them, "dangerous dogs like pit bulls" (see http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22793409/los-angeles-animal-shelters-lose-nighttime-staff) because they will be housed separately. What she fails to mention is that many of the fights that end up with severe injuries are in the overcrowded dog kennels housing the cute little small to medium size dogs (those Brenda would put in the non-dangerous category). So when Snoopy and Poochie get in a fight, and there is no staff to separate them most probably at least one of them will sustains severe injuries, the injured dog will end up lying in their own pool of blood until the 6 am staff members arrive to clean the shelter, and will probably go unnoticed until the full staff arrives for the 8 am opening and find Snoopy and Poochie dying or dead in their cage. And with lucky, no other dogs in the same run will jump into the ring with them.

And should you be coming out of a party or out of a movie one night and an aggressive dog tries to bite or does bite you or your child, good luck getting help. If you call the shelter for help, you will most likely get no answer because the total of two ACOs on staff will most likely be out in the field with no one to answer the phone to summon them to your emergency. In other words, your public safety and the public safety of others are jeopardized by Barnette's decision as well. Even though public safety is a core mission of LAAS.

For those people turning in animals they do not want, if they do not tie them up outside the shelter when they discover "no one is home" at LAAS, they will likely dump the animals at the side of a road or elsewhere. Now these animals can cause traffic accidents, be picked up for dangerous use, procreate and add to the pet overpopulation, get struck by a car as they try to find their way home, or get sick, injured or starve to death.

What is Barnette's excuse for this?

Barnette blames the new South LA shelter opening, claiming she now has so many cages that she does not have enough staff to man the graveyard shift. Yet even though Barnette already moved staff from East Valley and West LA shelters to man the expanded South LA shelter, all of the shelters, although somewhat understaffed, are still completing their work.

Remember, if the staff is not working during the graveyard shift, then the paperwork and animal care work they did not do will need to be done by staff in the morning -- for a net staff savings of none.

What is Barnette's real reason for doing this?

It is telling that Barnette is lying and claiming that she told and got the approval of New Hope Partners to this change. Yet the majority of New Hope Partners, if not all of them, were never told about this change. Now you know and if you are as outraged as I am about the lives of the voiceless souls of our city shelters and the safety of our city then I urge you to speak up and make as much noise as possible.

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