L.A.'s Animal Services general manager Ed Boks left a City Council committee hearing with his tail between his legs yesterday, after being grilled about his unilateral decision to suspend his agency's spay-neuter voucher program. Last week Boks, claiming his department had to plug a huge budget gap, abruptly ceased issuance of the department's $30 discount coupons and $70 full-fee vouchers. The G.M.'s action came barely half a year after a City Council ordinance mandated sterilization of most cats and dogs became law. The vouchers are seen as essential to persuade low-income pet owners to fix their animals, especially those in chronically under-served areas of L.A.
Councilmen Dennis Zine, Greig Smith and Jack Weiss formed a conga line of critics in Monday's Public Safety Committee session. They were especially irate over Boks not consulting the Board of Animal Services Commission, as well as an animal-sterilization committee before acting.
``You have a tendency not to work with anybody, and what you've done is
alienate a whole bunch of people -- the folks that love animals, council
members,'' City News Service quoted Zine as saying.
Boks has been a controversial figure
from the day he replaced the previously controversial Animal Services
G.M., Guerdon Stuckey. He also maintains a high profile through his
extensive blog, From the Desk of Ed Boks.
"I don't know of any general manager in the city of Los Angeles that
has time to do a blog with all their responsibilities, yet you find
time to do a blog ... I don't care if it's your time off or your time
on," Zine said, according to CNS.
By the end of yesterday's hearing a contrite Boks admitted he'd gone
about fixing his budget shortfall the wrong way, while KNX Radio
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
reported he would begin reinstating the spay-neuter vouchers. It's
expected to be back in place by week's end, with the City Council
apparently ready to overturn Boks' decision if he doesn't. Whether this
will promote a truce between the council and Boks remains to be seen.