Kevin James appeals to animal lovers in dog-eat-dog race for L.A. mayor

Recent poll shows James gaining momentum.

(PR NewsChannel) / January 25, 2013 / LOS ANGELES 

Kevin James. (Courtesy:

Gaining in the polls, L.A. mayor candidate Kevin James is focusing on his love for animals to promote a comprehensive plan to protect them in Los Angeles.

From advocating for a “genuine no-kill plan” in city shelters, to enforcement of the city’s ani-cruelty laws, Kevin James offered 11 specific steps to improve the lives of pets in Los Angeles.

Kevin James, a former prosecutor, was once considered a dark horse in the L.A. mayor’s race. But now, according to an ABC7, in collaboration with SurveyUSA, poll, former federal prosecutor Kevin James is gaining strong momentum against his opposition. In fact, he is the only candidate who is gaining in the polls.

The poll shows Kevin James just six percentage points behind City Controller Wendy Greuel. In fact, with a 4.3% margin of error, James is in a statistical tie with Greuel.

James, who has taken an active and vocal role supporting animals for many years, is the guardian of a rescued Dachshund named Lisa-Marie. Lisa-Marie’s previous guardian dropped her off at a Bakersfield shelter with serious injuries to her head and mouth.

Kevin James’ ideas to improve the city’s Animal Services department (LAAS):  

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. LAAS must enforce anti-cruelty laws which includes working with law enforcement and the offices of the City Attorney and District Attorney. This is a serious humane issue as cruelty, hoarding, tethering, and neglect cannot be tolerated. Many animal advocates are concerned that LAAS has no real anti-cruelty plan in place.

8. LAAS must continue to strengthen and expand its outreach and education. Effective public outreach and education strategies will increase shelter adoptions, increase owner responsibility and owner retention, and bring in new volunteers, fosters, rescuers and community resources. Outreach and volunteer recruitment should be open to all segments of our diverse population. An emphasis needs to be placed on helping the public solve animal issues.

9. LAAS must do a better job at accountability. LAAS leadership should be accountable for achieving real results. The public deserves transparency. Better decisions are made with complete information. There are numerous opportunities to partner with non-profit organizations, private companies and foundations that can all provide much-needed financial resources to the department. However, to be successful in such partnerships, LAAS must operate efficiently and effectively and be responsive to the requirements of these organizations as well as to the public at large.

10. LAAS must demonstrate that it respects appreciates and supports its volunteers and each of the individuals and groups working hard to help companion animals, wildlife and other animals. LAAS cannot succeed without their dedicated life-saving assistance.

11.  Create a comprehensive disaster plan for animals: “I am also concerned that our city does not have a comprehensive disaster plan for animals. Our city’s emergency preparedness plan needs to include shelters that allow animals when a family or individual is forced to seek shelter assistance because of an emergency or tragedy. Time and time again we have seen individuals or families refuse to go to a shelter if the shelter will not allow their pets. Pets are part of the family and our city government should recognize this fact when planning for emergencies.”

The election is in March.

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SOURCE:  Concerned Citizens for Los Angeles

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