Bernstein lays down LASPCA law

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:

LOS ANGELES––Hired to
revamp the Los Angeles SPCA, executive
director Madeleine Bernstein is already
dodging backstabs from some of the board,
which in April pushed Bernstein’s prede-
cessor, Ed Cubrda, into retirement after 25
years. In July, American Humane
Association west coast office director Betty
Denny Smith quietly quit the board, after
11 years. Soon afterward at least one other
board member intimated to media that
Smith quit because of Bernstein’s policies,
which Smith denied, and issued other
charges about Bernstein’s activity that fact-
checking soon disproved.

Starting at a salary of $110,000 a
year, far more than Cubrda’s $68,000,
while cutting almost $500,000 from the
LASPCA budget, Bernstein irked critics
by paring staff and suspending Cubrda’s
Litter Abatement Program, which spent
about $10,000 a month on neutering aid for
the needy, including cat rescuers. Jamie
Pinn of the Pet Assistance Foundation told
ANIMAL PEOPLE that the suspension
sharply increased the demands upon her 39-
year-old group, which mainly does low-
cost neutering referral. The 11 chapters of
the PAF field about 100,000 inquiries per
year, Pinn said, while “struggling along
from garage sale to garage sale.”
“I am going to put it back togeth-
er again,” Bernstein said of the neutering
program, noting liability, accountability,
and funding problems that in her view
made the old program risky. An in-house
neutering clinic is to be opened soon,
Bernstein said, adding that she hopes
resume helping rescuers, but under closer
control, to insure that cats in neuter/release
programs are released only to good sites,
with the permission of property owners.
Bernstein also pledged to
increase humane enforcement, beginning
by hiring another cruelty investigator. She
said the LASPCA now has just five investi-
gators, down from 10 a decade ago, plus
six animal control officers, who have lim-
ited law enforcement power but do not
carry weapons or make arrests. They cover
nine Los Angeles suburbs to which the
LASPCA provides animal control and/or
sheltering service.
A criminal attorney by back-
ground, Bernstein was formerly an
enforcement specialist and west coast rep-
resentative for the American SPCA. “We
hope to become the best humane law
enforcement department in the U.S.,”
Bernstein said, “and to be a resource for
the rest of the humane community.”
Other initiatives underway at the
LASPCA, she said, include creating an
outreach department; expanding a “cycle
of violence” program, which promotes
awareness of the relationship between ani-
mal abuse and family violence; holding a
humane day camp for inner city children;
and starting a volunteer program for men-
tally handicapped adults.
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