This petition is intended to address the recent proposal to eliminate night staff at the LA City Animal Shelters and instate a security patrol. We acknowledge the need for additional support at the shelters during operating hours as the intakes, shelter capacity and demand has grown over the recent years creating a greater strain on the already limited budget.
In a letter circulated by Brenda Barnette, LA Animal Services GM, she stated “Sadly, we have had increased complaints about the shelters not being clean, not having phones answered, difficulty in getting someone on staff to show animals to adopters or to help our rescue partners.”
We propose a REINSTATEMENT OF THE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR position at each of the shelters and an EXPANSION OF THE EXISTING VOLUNTEER AND TRAINING PROGRAM.
In recent history there has appeared to be a pattern of disempowering the shelter staff at the LA City Shelters. Many of the staff at the shelters go above and beyond their duties when assisting the public in locating lost animals, finding a new companion, working with volunteers, spending extra time with animals who need additional socialization, and aiding rescues in getting the information needed to make an efficient and effective pull. It is time to acknowledge the experience, compassion and contribution these staff members contribute and once again utilize them more effectively for their experience.
Eliminating the New Hope and Volunteer Coordinators in May of 2012 has clearly made an impact on the efficiency of the shelters. While it would be a long term hope to see the New Hope Coordinators position reinstated as well it seems that to address the immediate concern it is prudent to focus on the volunteer coordinator position and program.
Here is what we propose:
1) Immediate reinstatement of the Volunteer Coordinator Positions at all LA City Shelters. (These staff members were transferred into general ACT positions so many of them still work for the shelters, this would not mean the need for additional hires.)
2) There are MANY pending applications for volunteers at the shelters. The first order of business should be to get those applications reviewed to create a stronger volunteer team at each of the shelters.
3) Develop and implement a stronger volunteer training program that encompasses everything from basic phone answering, socialization and training of dogs, animal intake photos and updating the website, participation in mobile adoption events, and animal introductions to prospective adopters.
4) Create set calendar for volunteer training dates to continue to enroll volunteer assistance on a consistent basis. Incorporate continuing education programs for volunteers to establish a stronger volunteer team.
5) Utilize community service participants to account for the need for additional cleaning staff.