A Knapp on the job in L.A.

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2000:

LOS ANGELES––Los Angeles
Animal Services Department general manager
Dan Knapp on June 2 apologized to Los
Angeles mayor Richard Riordan for reportedly
telling news media one week earlier
that the Los Angeles shelters would start
killing more dogs, sooner, to ease crowding
while escalating stray pickups before and
during the Democratic National Convention.
“Currently, animal control officials
put up for adoption about 200 dogs
every day at each of the city’s six kennels,”
wrote Jason Kandel of the Los Angeles Daily
N e w s. “Under the new plan, which could
begin the second week of July, workers will
hold for adoption only about 61 dogs a day
at each shelter, Knapp said. ‘Point A, and
the catalyst for this change, is the
Democratic National Convention. Point B is
the city council, emphasizing getting stray
dogs off the streets.’”

Three witnesses agreed that
Kandel quoted Knapp accurately.
Responded Riordan, “The idea
that we are euthanizing stray kittens and
puppies to clear the streets for the Democratic
National Convention is not only outrageous
but inaccurate, wrong, and must be
corrected for the record. Simply put, in no
way have we ordered additional roundups of
stray animals. We are making every effort
to decrease the department’s euthanasia rate
and increase animal adoptions.”
Riordan said the city council had
actually doubled the Animal Services budget
since 1998, adding 75 staff positions.
Further, council public safety committee
chair Cindy Miscikowski on May 22
endorsed a $139 million bond issue proposed
by Knapp to fund two new shelters to
serve the San Fernando Valley; three other
new shelters in other parts of Los Angeles
which presently lack adequate services;
replacement of the Harbor shelter in San
Pedro, where 14 runs typically house 50-60
dogs; and renovation of three other existing
shelters. It will go before the voters this fall.
Los Angeles city councillor Mark
Ridley-Thomas told media on March 27 that
overcrowding is so severe at the SouthCentral
shelter that 1,185 dogs were
processed through just 54 runs in February,
that 10 serious dog fights occur each day
there, that six dogs were killed in February
by their kennel mates, and that the number
of sick and injured animals housed at the
shelter had increased by 50% in the preceding
several months.
Ridley-Thomas asked fellow
councillors to approve opening a temporary
annex to relieve the crowding.
Knapp, Animal Issues Movement
director Phyllis Dougherty, and others contacting
ANIMAL PEOPLE in response to
our May editorial “Self-defeat in Los
Angeles” blame the crowding and other
problems on California SB 1785, a state law
in effect since July 1999 which requires public
shelters to keep strays not in immediate
need of euthanasia to relieve pain or be
decapitated for rabies testing for at least five
working days before they may either be
killed or be offered for adoption.
Knapp in January 2000 also
blamed SB 1785 for Animal Services’ failure
to implement microchip identification of
all animals adopted from the city shelters,
as the city council directed in January 1998.
The microchipping should have been started
18 months before SB 1785 had any effect on
Animal Services’ operations.
The mandatory holding period
imposed by SB 1785 is the same as the federal
Animal Welfare Act has required since
1966 of any shelter selling animals to labs.
Humane America executive director
David Meyer, whose organization hopes
to guide Los Angeles to no-kill animal control,
on June 27 asked Los Angeles-area
activists to oppose AB 2754, a bill supported
by Animal Services, which would roll
back SB 1785.
(A critique of AB 2754 by San
Francisco SPCA director of law and advo –
cacy Nathan Winograd appeared on page 4
of the May edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.)

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