ANIMAL WATCH-Have you been the victim of a dog attack or witnessed a dog attacking a person or animal in Los Angeles and were unable to reach Animal Services or were told that no officer was available to promptly respond?
Does LA Animal Services adequately address complaints about menacing dogs turned loose by owners to threaten pets and people in your community?
Is your neighborhood plagued by strays or abandoned animals that have been reported to LAAS but not picked up?
Are you alarmed that coyotes have entered your well-fenced yard or are roaming your neighborhood, snatching beloved pets and frightening children and adults?
Are roosters or barking dogs disturbing your sleep and quiet enjoyment of your home?
Do you suspect someone is abusing an animal or hoarding animals but you don’t know how -- -or are afraid -- to report it?
Have you called LAAS at night about a dog or cat hit by a car or injured wildlife and been told there are only two Animal Control Officers available for the entire city?
Or, maybe you have had a great experience with LA Animal Services' field staff and were impressed by their professionalism, compassion, and competence and how quickly an officer arrived.
Do you receive prompt, friendly service and accurate advice when you contact a city shelter? Do you love how the adoption of a pet was handled?
Do city shelters provide a variety of animals that would make you return again to adopt?
Are you convinced and comforted by claims that LA is “almost no-kill”?
Well, here’s your chance to tell Brenda Barnette about any or all of the above!
Critics and supporters of Brenda Barnette’s tenure as General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) -- -and all stakeholders in the city -- -are now promised an opportunity for their ideas, suggestions, and complaints to influence the future of animals and people in Los Angeles (whether or not they are pet owners.)
At a retreat in January, Animal Services Commissioners, LAAS staff and a representative from the Mayor’s office exchanged ideas about a shared vision for the future, GM Barnette announced at the last Commission meeting.
“We are working together to create a Strategic Plan for LA Animal Services that encompasses the Mayor’s initiatives and valuable input from the community to help shape our goals and priorities for the next three to five years.
“We all agreed this means learning how the community perceives the Department -- what they feel they need and what they expect from us . . . and, we want to engage as much of the community as possible,” she said in a personal interview.
To accomplish this, evening community meetings are scheduled in each of the 15 Council Districts (see below).
If you can’t attend a meeting (or if you attend and also want your opinions to be included in the online survey results), here’s the survey link: bit.ly/LAAS-Survey. Participants must live in the city of Los Angeles or be business owners or employees of a business in LA.
Professional consultant and facilitator for the Strategic Plan meetings, Francisca Gonzales Baxa, emphasized, “The goal is to obtain the community’s input and best ideas to help LAAS promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of animals and people.”
The draft Strategic Plan will be compiled from public input and presented to the Commission for consideration and modification before it is adopted for the Department. That meeting is another opportunity for public comment.
Here is the message Brenda Barnette said she would like to share with Angelenos:
“The Mayor and his staff have been very supportive of this process. After we held the retreat and started talking about having a strategic-planning process, developing a strategic plan for the Department became one of my priority performance goals.
“ want to hear from people who don’t have pets, those who are afraid of dogs, those who need help sharing their neighborhood with wildlife and those who encounter animal cruelty and illegal animal activities but don’t know how to report what they have seen.
“I want to work with the community to create a Department that is balanced and one that meets the needs of the entire community.”
Whether this process will result in a valid, viable plan for a well-staffed Animal Services department that fulfills its public safety mandate and addresses the serious and dangerous issues of dog attacks, animal (domestic and wildlife) abuse, illegal animal fighting, abandonment and neglect -- with vigorous criminal prosecution -- will not be known until it is devised and implemented.
But for a very small investment of time and effort, everyone in Los Angeles can and should participate. Skepticism or complacency must be put aside because this plan will be formulated with or without broad public input and directly affects everyone's personal safety (human and animal).
Remember, failure to contribute abdicates the right to future dissent.
Here's the current schedule for Strategic Plan meetings:
Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 7, Pacoima City Hall, Media Room
13520 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, CA 91331
Monday, April 18, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 6, Marvin Braude Bldg., Rm 1A & 1B
6262 Van Nuys Blvd.,Van Nuys, CA 91401
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 5, Encino Community Center
4935 Balboa Blvd., Encino, CA 91316
Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
District Office Community Room
19040 Vanowen St., Reseda, CA 91335
Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 12, Community Service Center
9207 Oakdale Ave., Suite 200, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Thursday, April 28, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 13, Sandra Cisneros Campus
1018 Mohawk Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 4, Hollywood Field Office
6501 Fountain Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90028
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Council District 2, Studio City Recreation Center
12621 Rye St., Studio City, CA 91604
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 14 Field Office, Community Room
2130 E. 1st Street, Suite 241, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 10, District Office
1819 South Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066
Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Council District 8, District Office, Community Room
8475 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 9004
More info @ http://www.laanimalservices.com/community/
(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.