Francis Battista—a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, who helped form a coalition of 70 L.A. organizations in 2012, working with Los Angeles Animal Services, launching NKLA, or No-Kill Los Angeles—discusses the history of the city’s shelter landscape. He describes how Brenda Barnette’s arrival in 2010 as general manager of L.A. Department of Animal Services significantly altered that landscape (after such tumultuous turnover in that position that she was the seventh g.m. hired since 2000) was the key catalyst for launching an effective No Kill initiative, following a series of what Battista called “false starts.” For one thing, Barnette’s resume included considerable No Kill experience and credibility. Battista explains how this not only accounted for a mutual admiration society with Best Friends, but a sense of acceptance from the array of otherwise gun-shy shelters and animal organizations as No-Kill Los Angeles was being forged. He also outlines that, nonetheless, the formative stages of NKLA were still marked by wariness and challenges aplenty, detailing some of the steps taken to overcome those things—including Best Friends occupying a new building and itself operating a shelter—and some of the financial incentives offered to coalition organizations. Addressing the tangible results of the initiative, Battista presents hard numbers that indicate, since NKLA was formed in 2012, that shelter deaths have decreased by just under 50%. He speaks to the singular situation regarding feral cats in L.A., given that there’s an injunction in place that prevents the city from implementing trap/neuter/return TNR (or even officially recommending the practice), but several coalition members are quite active in TNR. (http://bestfriends.org, http://nkla.org, www.facebook.com/NKLA.org)
COMEDY CORNER: Jake Johannsen’s “Whale Watching” (portion) (http://jakethis.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Laura Veirs’ “The Fox,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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