Kevin James is one of eight candidates Los Angeles voters will choose from to lead the city for the next four years as its mayor. James is a former assistant U.S. attorney, radio host, community volunteer, and most important to us, an animal lover. He is owned by Lisa-Marie, a dachshund.
"Lisa-Marie was a special needs rescue because of injuries sustained prior to her adoption. She has become a completely devoted companion, whose favorite things in life are chasing squirrels (she's never caught one) and Runyon Canyon,” says James.
James also says, “Animal issues must get priority in the mayor’s office.” He feels so strongly about this that he has devised an 11-point plan. He has given Examiner.com permission to reprint his objectives if elected. Due to space limitations, it is being divided into two parts. This is part one.
Here are James' first six priorities:
- First, LAAS must implement a genuine "no-kill" plan to bring down the killing of animals in our shelters. This is an important humane goal on which almost everyone agrees. Reportedly the recent "No-Kill December" relied heavily on transports and was not "no-kill" at all. We must be honest with Angelenos about the numbers.
- Second, LAAS must work harder to reduce the number of homeless animals. With fewer homeless animals, the shelter intake numbers will be reduced. Lower shelter intake obviously results in lower LAAS costs, and less killing. Emphasis should be placed on animals at highest risk: Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas and cats.
- Third, LAAS must increase adoptions to the public. This saves animals' lives, and with animals leaving the shelters, LAAS costs go down. LAAS must also develop strategies to help owners keep their companion animals. Educating the public about the wonderful animals for adoption in LAAS shelters is a big part of increasing adoptions, as are more strategic marketing and better customer service. Deep discount adoptions often result in returns, so public education is key in avoiding this problem. Positions supporting New Hope Partners and volunteers should be restored.
- Fourth, LAAS must restore spay/neuter as a top priority and enforce the city's ordinances. This is a key remedy to the high number of impounds, high kill rates and high LAAS costs. Enforcement of the city's ordinances will bring revenue which can then be used to provide greater access to more affordable more spay and neuter services.
- Fifth, LAAS must work to solve the animal services challenges rather than relying so much on transports. Transported animals are reported to the public as "live release" when in fact many of the animals are simply being moved from LAAS shelter cages to other shelter cages. The actual outcomes of the transported animals are not known. Transports save lives, but such heavy reliance on transports should not enable LAAS to postpone solving its own problems.
- Sixth, LAAS must enforce the city's animal license law. This is a significant revenue generator for the city. Conservative estimates put the number of dogs in the city at 750,000, yet only one out of six is licensed. At $20 per license, the unlicensed 625,000 dogs would bring in at least $12.5 million in revenue each year. Having a consistent working knowledge of our dog population through licensing is also a public safety benefit, and an effective licensing program will increase spay/neuter through the license fee structure. Furthermore, animal license fees should not be cost prohibitive.
James is a Republican. If elected, he would be the first Republican mayor since Richard Riordan, although the seat is non-partisan.
What makes James’ party affiliation interesting is that in reviewing his first six priorities, one can see the emphasis on fiscal responsibility AND providing a more humane approach to animal control. This is what animal activists have been pointing out for decades.
The current high-kill scenario that most municipalities fight so hard to maintain is costing taxpayers more than many low-kill alternatives. Generally, it is “fiscally responsible” Republicans who vote against animal welfare reform despite its potential for saving taxpayer money in the process.
We will list James’ remaining animal welfare priorities in an article tomorrow. Also, watch for an in-depth interview in the near future with James regarding other issues facing the city of angels.
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