Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya

Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya
Dr. Gary Karlin Michelson, Found Animals Foundation, Forbes billionaire, 20 Million Minds, Alya

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gary Michelson paid Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to hire Ed Boks, Edward Boks - really bad choice

Ed Boks, Edward Boks, Ed, Edward, Boks. Below are but a few articles written about Ed Boks, Edward Boks' failures in Los Angeles, Arizona and New York. All of these articles are backed up by facts and data. 

Dr. Gary Michelson read Ed Boks' June 2005 article in Newsweek called "The Dirty Little Secret In Your Community." I have a feeling Matthew Scully ghost wrote this article for Ed Boks. When Ed Boks was having problems here in LA he told me he just needed some positive press. He asked me for $2,500 so he could pay Matthew Scully to ghost write an article for him. I told him no. 

Gary Michelson being naive Gary Michelson believed every word Scully, I mean Ed Boks wrote in the article. Boks claimed to be able to make shelters no kill. He claimed he made AZ and NY nokill when he did no such thing. He left both shelters worse than when he found them.  

Gary Michelson being naive and egotistical Gary Michelson said to himself "I'll use my money to make Los Angeles hire Ed Boks. He will then make LA nokill and I can take the credit for it. Then maybe someone will finally like me." 

Gary Michelson used his money to get Antonio Villaraigosa to hire Ed Boks. Ed Boks really messed up the shelters. It got so bad that a police officer who walked into south los angeles shelter filed a report for animal cruelty against Ed Boks. The animals were totally overcrowded. Animals were dying of disease and cage fights. They were being warehoused just to help Ed Boks pre-summer numbers. 

Here is just one example of the crap Ed Boks pulled in LA. He would warehouse animals from January to June. He would tell employees not to kill any animal no matter what. Let orphaned kittens die of starvation. Let sick animals die of disease. Put a few pitbulls in each kennel and let them kill each other. A dog comes in with fatal injuries from being run over by a car. Let it die on its own. Those dead animals will be recorded as "died" and not "euthanized." This makes it appear that euthanasia is down due to Ed Boks brilliant nokill plans. The number of animals "dying on their own" went from 700 to over 3,000 during one year. 

Ed Boks would then release news stating "euthanasia was down over 25% from January to June!" Everyone was very happy with the news except the people who went to the shelters and saw what was happening. The second half of the year he had to start killing the animals. Even with kennels crammed at triple maximum capacity, there still was not enough room. Euthanasia went sky high. He was killing way more animals than ever before. He just wouldn't release any news about his statistics from July to December. Then he'd start the same thing all over again. That is just one tactic he used to make it appear that he was successful. 

Dr. Gary Michelson chose Ed Boks. He is the reason LA's animals were forced to suffer at the hands of Ed Boks. Gary Michelson is responsible for this. This also shows that Gary Michelson does not research anything. He just believes whatever he reads in Newsweek. Obviously, a complete and utter idiot.

March 2007

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised to make LA a NoKill City. He hired Ed Boks as the new General Manager. In his first year Boks has failed to reduce the euthanasia rate. Fewer animals made it out alive, fewer were adopted. What went wrong? And what is the Mayor going to do about it?
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is not keeping his campaign promise to our animal loving City 

When Antonio Villaraigosa was running for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2005 he promised the citizens of Los Angeles that if elected, he'd "hold the new General Manager (of LA Animal Services) accountable for creating a legitimate plan to reduce euthanasia." He said he would "demand better performance and real accountability from the Department." Well, the truth is in the statistics and the statistics show that his new General Manager Ed Boks failed. In 2006 751 fewer animals made it out of the shelter alive than in 2005. The euthanasia rate did not go down from the previous year. This is the first time since they had public records available that there was no improvement. What went wrong? And what is the Mayor going to do about it? 

In January of 2005 then Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa told a packed room of animal activists, rescuers and welfarists that if he became the Mayor, he would hire a new General Manager with experience, compassion and the knowledge to make LA a NoKill City. NoKill basically means that no adoptable animal will be euthanized for lack of space. Only animals that are dying or dangerously vicious would be euthanized. At the time LA City shelters were euthanizing 41% of all animals that came into the shelter, over 22,000 animals a year. 

A few months after Antonio became the Mayor of LA he fired then General Manager, Guerdon Stuckey and immediately appointed Ed Boks as the new GM. Ed Boks has over 20 years of animal shelter experience whereas his predecessor had none. Boks believes in NoKill sheltering and was even a NoKill consultant. We've been told that Boks reduced the euthanasia rate and increased animal adoptions in Phoenix, Arizona and New York City. More importantly, animal people seemed to like him whereas they hated his predecessor. He seemed like the man for the job and by coincidence, he was in need of a job as his animal control contract would not be renewed in New York. Should this have been a red flag? 

Boks started his new job officially January 3, 2006. He immediately "introduced" a host of new programs with catchy names like Big Fix, S.T.A.R. and FELIX. He opened his arms wide to the rescue groups and activists. He said yes to every request and offer. He wrote Op-Ed pieces for the local newspapers. In front of City Council he swore LA would be NoKill by 2010 if not 2008. He even started a blog, and the activists rejoiced. Well, maybe not all of the activists. The Animal Defense League of Los Angeles (ADLLA) was still on the fence about Mr. Boks. 

Month after month he was churning out positive reports about the new programs and progress. His six month report came out and things looked good. The euthanasia rate was dropping and dog adoptions were up. He made some rosy projections of continued success by the end of the year. Meanwhile, ADLLA started to send out negative emails about Boks' past in New York, accusing him of "fudging the numbers," spinning the news, sleeping with female rescuers, boozing it up and other general misdeeds. They started to demand that he be fired even though his numbers looked okay at the time. 

Then all of a sudden there were no more monthly reports after August. The reports just stopped. Activists thought nothing of it as the positive news and press releases just kept flowing from the Department in abundance. In early January the annual statistics report was finally released, and a bomb was dropped on the animal community. The annual euthanasia rate did not go down for the first time since they started keeping public records! Fewer animals made it out alive! How could the NoKill King fail? Even though the numbers showed a failure to improve Boks bragged in a press release that "the Kill-Rate hit an all time low in 2006!" and "we will take another giant leap towards No-Kill" in 2007. Was he looking at the same numbers? The rate wasn't down and there was no "leap" of any type. What was happening? 

If you take a look at the reports and statistics, you can see why he failed. It turns out Boks was holding the animals longer than ever before. That is why the euthanasia rate looked good in the first half of the year. He held those animals over into the second half of the year. He was holding animals with little chance of adoption, like large pitbulls which are always in abundance. One can only assume that was done to improve the numbers, not the dogs' chances at adoption. 

Of course the shelters then filled up to maximum capacity. He had to start euthanizing them so the numbers for the second half of the year were horrible. He missed all of his rosy projections by a long shot. This brought the euth rate back up to 41%, where it was in 2005. The euthanasia rate is the number of animals euthanized divided by the number of animals that enter the shelter. This rate is the main number that shelters use to gauge their success, or failure. 

In comparison, the 2004 rate was 47%, 2003 was 53% and 2002 was 56%. All of Boks' predecessors improved the euthanasia rate even though they had less money, fewer employees and smaller facilities. More animals were now dying, getting sick, being stolen and escaping than ever before. The only positive thing he did was increase dog adoptions by a fraction. Cats, rabbits and other animals did not fare as well. Boks was definitely not on his way to meet his NoKill goal, not by a long shot. 

Why didn't all his catchy new "NoKill" programs work? Well, most of them were not new or else not implemented. He took LA's existing programs, gave them catchy new names then rolled them out as his own creations. FELIX was his feral cat program from NY but LA already had one, it just didn't have a name. He put all the current spayneuter programs under his Big Fix name and called that a new program. He started the S.T.A.R. program to help rehabilitate very ill or injured animals. Again, they were already doing this, they just didn't call it a program or give it a name. While using all of his programs in NY he was only able to get their euthanasia rate to 43%. LA was already doing most of these programs and their rate was at 41% when he got here. 

He brought his "new" Foster, Senior 4 Senior, Bottle Baby and New Hope programs. There are only a handful of animals in the Foster program which actually already existed. The Senior 4 Senior program was written before he got here and it is still not even approved or implemented. The Bottle Baby program is an old program with few participants. The New Hope program was just the renamed old Adoption Partner program. What's more, New Hope animals were free to rescuers in 2006. When it was called the Adoption Partner program and rescuers had to pay for the animals in 2005, they actually saved more animals. The drop in New Hope animals was significant. Other programs such as Plus One Minus One, No "e" below the knee and others just fell by the wayside. 

Most of his "programs" were actually not very life saving to begin with. They are more about positive press than saving lives. For instance, Boks says the Bottle Baby program will save the kittens and puppies who die in high number every year. In reality they feed the babies until they can eat on their own and legally be adopted at eight weeks of age. They can't seem to get their current eight week old kittens and puppies adopted so how will adding to those numbers help? They will just have to euthanize them at eight weeks instead of seven weeks or less. Even the Senior 4 Senior program won't save many lives. Low income elderly people are not a huge force in animal adoptions. His TLC program (Teaching Love & Compassion) is not implemented and it is geared to help children, not animals. But, all these "new" "NoKill programs" do look good in the news section. Maybe a fancy new website and positive press is all the Mayor really wanted all along. 

Most importantly, everyone knows that you cannot adopt your way out of pet overpopulation. Boks himself says this. You must stem the flow of animals coming into the system. Spayneuter is the only proven way to reduce pet overpopulation. What did he do for spayneuter in 2006? Not much. He lost one Spaymobile. The opening of the shelter spayneuter clinics is at least a year or more away. He did not increase spayneuter this year by much and baby season is almost upon us. We can expect another bumper crop of babies soon, babies who will have to be euthanized or "murdered" as the activists like to say. 

So what was Boks doing during 2006 if not saving animals? ADLLA sent out countless emails stating he was dating quite a few female members of the local rescue community. That does seem to ring true with reliable sources. His online Match.com profile says he's a "social drinker," "spiritual but not religious," a "successful administrator making a real difference in my field," he only wants to date white women with degrees who make over $75,000 a year who are between 5'4" and 5'8" and not fat, he's into "cuddling" and his politics are "non-comformist." There are quite a few photos of him online hugging female Department rescue-partners with one hand with a drink in the other at parties. He spends time on the Board of Directors of some of the groups run by these women. He was never one to miss a party or event, an opportunity to rub elbows with politicians, celebrities and more cute animal rescuers who looked up to him as the "animal savior." Basically, he had a good time in LA on the tax payer's dime. 

On top of it all, it seems he was involved in a few scandals. He posted a sexy photo of a woman in a string bikini on the Department website to advertise a bikini contest at Hooters. Local women's groups called him sexist. The Mayor and Laura Chick made him end the Department's involvement in the event. He spoke out against a Jewish religious ritual and was called anti-Semitic by local Jewish groups. He was sued by an African American ex-employee for discrimination. Seems Boks fired the African American employee who had years of experience and then hired his white friend who had no experience but did have a criminal conviction on his record. Pissing off women, Jews, African Americans, what next? 

Within the last week there have been new accusations about possible Hayden Act violations. As per the Hayden Act the shelter must hold an animal four days before euthanizing unless the animal is dying or unweaned. Blog "LA Animal Watch" run by a past supporter of Boks has posted charts supplied by Shelter Watch that show over 1,000 violations within the first ten months of 2006 alone. At the time of this posting Boks is stating that it was just poor record keeping, which is still a violation of the Hayden Act besides evidence of poor administrative skills. The final Department response should be out soon. LA Animal Watch used to be a keen supporter until the failure in the annual statistics and the Hayden Act violations came to light. Boks seems to have lost support even from his staunchest defenders. 

There was an accusation that he was in fact behind an infamous blog fan site called "LA Animal Friends." That blog would post positive inside information about him and the Department and basically refute anyone who ever said anything negative about Boks. It seems Boks ordered a volunteer to start and write the blog. He provided the content of the blog and even wrote parts of it. Ghost writing your own fan site? When the volunteer his "number one fan" finally saw the horrible year end statistics, she immediately shut it down. A few other pro-Boks blogs seem to have turned against him and now there are rumors of sexual harassment lawsuits against Boks by some of the female rescuers. Even Gary Michelson the billionaire inventor-surgeon who originally introduced Boks to the Mayor seems to have lost confidence. Earlier he'd pledged to donate large sums of money to the Department but seems to have changed his mind because of Boks failure. A new support group was formed to raise funds named SALA but they too seem to have lost confidence. It was not a very good year for Boks, and especially not a good year for the animals. 

So what has the Mayor done about this mess? He promised to make LA NoKill. He said he would hire a NoKill specialist and hold him accountable. He would make him write a NoKill plan. Boks has never even made a plan and he's been here over a year. Locals talk about another NoKill "guru" named Nathan Winograd but he does the same programs as Boks so what would be the point. He's only a consultant and not a manager. He has no track record making a large City NoKill or even getting one below 41%. Causing more concern, he is very closely aligned with the extremists ADLLA who have been attacking the Department and employees for years. The extremists have been trying to force Winograd's expensive consulting services down the Mayor's throat with threats and angry protests so I doubt he'd be welcomed by the City. 

It's been two months since the horrible 2006 numbers came out which clearly show that Boks has failed, which means the Mayor has failed. Will the Mayor keep his promise to the animal loving public? To the animals? Can he force Boks to do a better job and make LA NoKill? Or is it time for yet another new General Manager? He must do something and soon. This lack of oversight of Animal Services makes you wonder if maybe some of Antonnio's other Departments are also failing. I've only looked at the numbers for Animal Services, what about DWP, LAPD, LAFD? Has Antonio failed LA as a Mayor as a whole? How can he ever expect to run for Governor with a track record like this. 

January 2008

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services just released their annual report for 2007. At first glance it seems euthanasia went down. If one looks at the actual underlying numbers, things couldn't be further from the truth. Thousands of animals were merely refused at the door and thousands more died from neglect.

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services just released their annual report for 2007. At first glance it seems euthanasia went down. If one looks at the actual underlying numbers, things couldn't be further from the truth. Thousands of animals were merely refused at the door and thousands more died from neglect. 

The annual report states that cat and dog euthanasia decreased by 22% or 4,429 fewer died than in 2006. That sounds wonderful but unfortunately it's not true. There are many disingenuous ways to make euthanasia appear to go down, and "NoKill" Director Ed Boks uses all of them. 

The main way the euthanasia number appeared to go down was by refusing the animals most likely to be euthanized. That would be feral cats and nursing kittens. For each feral cat or nursing kitten you refuse, the euthanasia number goes down by that exact amount. 

In 2006 Ed Boks said he needed to "fine tune" the population during the "annual spring/summer crush of neonatal turn-ins." He started an official animal refusal policy. The public ranted on Craig's list about the Department refusing to take in feral cats and kittens. These animals ended up unsterilized on the streets to make even more kittens next year. 

If you look at the statistics you will see that kitten refusal started in March. By September they were refusing almost 50% of the kittens. They refused 2,400 kittens or 33% normal intake. Oddly enough other local shelters had kitten intake go up. What was Boks' reply to the "odd" drop in kitten intake? It's just an "anomaly" he said even though he announced his refusal policy in a press release. 

In Boks' report cat euthanasia went down 3,328. 2,400 of the 3,328 drop in cat euthanasia is attributed to refusing kittens. The rest can be attributed to the increase in animals dying on their own. An extra 470 cats died on their own from lack of care in 2007. 

2,400 refused kittens plus 470 more died is 2,870. That would leave a 458 "decrease" in cat euthanasia. These animals were most likely the refused feral cats. He refused trapped cats saying they had no trapping permit and he refused to give them trapping permits. Cat euthanasia didn't really go down in the real world. It would have actually gone up had he not refused animals and allowed more die. 

Cat and dog euthanasia combined went down 4,229. We have just explained the 3,328 decrease in cat euthanasia. Add to that an extra 188 dogs died in 2007. To what do we attribute the rest of the decrease? If you add up all the possible outcomes for cats and dogs, i.e. adopted by the public, New Hope (given to rescue groups), stolen, euthanized, DOA, died, returned to owner, you will notice that the numbers don't add up. There are 1,500 more animals unaccounted for in 2007 than in 2006. Boks added then deleted the "missing" category two months ago. These animals are either "missing" or still in the shelter system being warehoused. This means that things did not improve at all in 2007. The chart below shows what really happened. 

At the end of Ed Boks' 2007 report he basically gives excuses for the increase in animals dying. He said more are dying because they're giving them better veterinary care instead of just killing them? He goes on to state that he's doing everything any NoKill director can to improve things. He says it's now up to the volunteers and public to break through the "wall." 

Even more important than what Boks mentioned in his annual report are the things he intentionally omitted. He omitted "other" animals such as birds, hamsters, reptiles and "bunnies." These animals fared much worse in every category in 2007 than before Boks arrived in 2005. "Other" adoptions are down 50%, New Hope is down 50%, died is up five times as much. 1,500 more died! Euthanasia is the same while intake was down. 

"Bunny" adoptions are down, New Hope is half what it used to be, died is up 50% yet intake is the same. No wonder he didn't mention these other animals. If you add all animals, the number dying on their own has increased three fold. An extra 2,000 animals are now dying on their own, 3,351 animals total, even though total intake is down. Something is very wrong here. 

Besides the actual numbers, 2007 was not a good year for the Department or Ed Boks. Boks gave his ex-girlfriend a consulting contract for $20,000. No one has even seen her report. Boks gave another female friend a consulting contract for $30,000. No one has seen that original report either. An employee summarized that report and reported nothing new. Since then the commission made a motion to make it mandatory for the commission to approve of any consultant paid over $5,000. 

Boks became embroiled in the Pitbull Academy fiasco. The program itself to match parolees with pitbulls was fine but Boks started the program without any approvals from the LA Animal Services Commission, Personnel Department, Union, City Attorney or City Council. City Councilmembers scolded Boks for over an hour when they ordered him to stop the program. 

Because of a Daily News article about the huge increase in animals dying the City's Chief Administrative Officer is now investigating the Department. On top of this Boks got in trouble for starting a Trap Neuter Return program without doing the mandatory environmental report. The City was just notified that it is about to be sued by a few environmental groups including Audubon because of his mistake. 

City Controller Laura Chick is now auditing the financials of the Department because revenue is down and expenses up. Revenue is down because Boks gave away animals for free and didn't collect all dog license fees. Expenses are up because of the extreme warehousing of animals who need extra food and veterinary care. Audits show that Boks had these same financial problems when he worked in Arizona and New York. 

The Animal Cruelty Task Force filmed a mistake filled raid which they aired on public television. They forgot to read the person their rights, destroyed some evidence, lost other evidence, forgot to show up for the hearing and killed most of the animals among other things. All charges were dropped and a lawsuit is now in the making. The Task Force will soon be on Animal Planet's "Animal Precinct" show. Hopefully they won't make these mistakes on the show and embarrass the City even more. 

A recent report out of New York City where Boks worked last showed that he under reported euthanasia by 4,282 cats/dogs or 17% in 2005 alone. He stated his euth rate was 43% when he left in 2005 when it was actually over 60%. He stated his 2004 euth rate was 47% when it was really 66%. His true percentage decrease in euthanasia in New York was the lowest of any Director in the last six years. 

More worrisome was the increase in owner requested euthanasia under Boks. Owner requested euthanasia went from 975 cats/dogs per year to 4,494 during his first year. One person at the Mayor's Alliance stated that this was caused by Boks' intake "methods." Boks preferred owner requested euthanasia so he wouldn't have to include it in his numbers. How many people unknowingly signed over their pet's life thinking that he or she might actually be adopted instead of just dragged to the back and killed? New York blamed Boks for the failures in New York. They have since revised his incorrect numbers. 

Boks wrote a scathing affidavit for an activist group for a lawsuit against New York. He blabbed confidential information then blamed his failures on the City, Mayor, Commission and employees. That group lost the lawsuit. Boks is now blaming his failures here on the Mayor, Commission, employees, activists, the public and even kittens. 

In response to these problems and more Boks has been blogging away telling everyone that he's doing everything any NoKill director can possibly do, even though he clearly is not. He's been blogging about himself in the third person saying that an unnamed "animal advocate" is now writing his blog. In early 2006 Boks started a "fan" blog called LAAnimalFriends where he touted his "success" and attacked all naysayers. He's become his own "number one fan" again it seems. 

Boks performance since he arrived in Los Angeles is more than a mere disappointment. It's become surreal that he can make so many mistakes, lie pathologically and still have a job. His lack of honest progress coupled with reports of alcoholism and sexually harassing female rescuers makes one wonder why Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports him. Is Villaraigosa too busy campaigning for Hillary Clinton to even know what's happening back here in LA? 

This story brings an even bigger concern to mind. If this Director is allowed to lie in his reports to the public, what about the Police, Fire and other Departments? Are their reports also fabricated? Is crime really down or not? What's really happening in Los Angeles? I'm starting to wonder. You should too. 

April 2008


The first quarter 2008 numbers are out. Sadly there was a huge increase in cat and dog intake and euthanasia in Los Angeles City animal shelters. Things are now worse than before Antonio Villaraigosa became Mayor, before he hired his friend so called "nokill" guru Ed Boks to head the Department. Today his Director released a statement confirming his dismal performance while blaming others for his failure.

2008 first quarter 2,391 cats and dogs were euthanized. 2006 only 2,100 were euthanized. 2007 only 1,930 were euthanized. Euthanasia has gone up 24% since just last year. 

The number of cats and dogs dying of illness and injury has increased almost two fold in the last year from 748 to 1,242. Even more alarming first quarter 2008 cat and dog intake was 9,820. It was 8,129 in 2006. It's up 20%. The last time it was this high was 2003. We've gone five years backwards even though Boks promised City Council in 2006 that we'd be "nokill" by 2008. We're now worse off than before Villaraigosa was elected even though the Department's budget is higher, there are more employees and they opened the long awaited $150,000,000 larger shelters. 

In Ed Boks' blog post today he admits to the huge increase in intake and euthanasia. He states that he is "disappointed" with this "anomaly." He wrote that "finger pointing does not save lives" then he goes on to finger point at his employees and the public. 

Boks states that most of the failure happened in four of the six shelters. He finger points to those shelter managers saying that they are the ones making the euthanasia decisions, not him. Oddly enough when euthanasia seemed to go down when he first arrived he took all of the credit personally. At that time he merely instructed all shelter managers to just hold on to all animals, even if they are dying from illness or injury in overcrowded cages. He was able to show short term progress with his warehousing trick. Warehousing has finally caught up to him and some managers are rebelling against this cruel practice. 

Boks states that he has no idea why more animals are entering the shelter system. He proffers up the possibility that it's all due to an increase in foreclosures. While foreclosures do indeed play a part in the increase the main reason is probably because he refused to take in unsterilized cats and other animals last year to artificially keep his intake and euth numbers down. These animals had babies which are now arriving at the shelters by the hundreds. The intake of kittens and puppies is up. It's not just adult pets who lost their home to foreclosure. 

While talking about the effect of foreclosures on pets he states that various rescue groups are trying to figure out a solution. He is the Director. It's his job to find the solution. He is a personal friend of the Mayor. The City has the power to find the solution be it through an ordinance to make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against responsible pet owners or for some incentive for landlords who rent to responsible people with pets. Every City director must be able to sail their ship in calm and stormy seas. You can't just blame the weather, do nothing and let the Department sink. 

Besides refusing animals last year he also failed to increase free or low cost spay and neuter surgeries in the City. Today he states they have funded upwards of 40,000 surgeries a year when he'd previously said he'd be doing 56,000 if not 120,000 per year. Spay and neuter surgeries should have gone up, not down. Had they gone up there would be fewer animals today. 

He mentions his many surgery coupons in his blog but forgets to mention that these coupons are only for $30 or $60 when the surgeries today cost $100 to $600. The cost of surgeries has gone up while the coupon prices have stayed the same for years. Of course the number of surgeries will go down. 

He recently admitted that transportation to the clinics is important. Then he admits that he did not provide transportation to the clinics. If someone can't afford a $200 surgery, they probably don't have a car. You cannot take a pet on the bus or metro in LA. It's the director's job to overcome these problems, not just blog about them and expect others to find the solutions. How about making it legal for people to take non-aggressive pets on the bus or metro in a carrier or on a leash if they are going to a veterinarian. How about free shuttle or taxi vouchers. 

Near the end Boks states that he wants to do TNR (trap neuter return) with feral cats. He blames an environmental group for threatening to sue the City as the reason he can't do TNR. He states that this group is opposed to TNR. It is not one group buy many of the nation's largest environmental groups including Audubon. They are not opposed to TNR and don't want the cats killed. Boks points his finger to the environmentalists so that the activists attacking him for poor job performance will hopefully attack the environmental groups instead. The environmental groups just wants Boks to follow proper procedure for approving all new programs. Boks is still free to encourage private sector to do TNR without the city's stamp of approval in the interim. 

Lastly Boks states "I don't offer these explanations as excuses for what we have experienced in our shelters so far in 2008." His blog reads like a top 14 excuses list. He states he will have a community meeting to discuss ideas. Every time there is a problem in the City they "bring the community together to discuss ideas." Having been a part of some of these groups, I can tell you first hand that they don't work. The people are happy to be involved thinking that they will improve things. Over time members get busy and drop out. In the end the few remaining members just write a list of ideas that gets filed away somewhere. By then people have just forgotten about the problem and the City can always say "We formed a community group. Blame them if the problem isn't solved." 

There are a few reasons for the increase in intake and euthanasia. First and foremost is that a few of Boks' number tricks from the last two years finally caught up to him. Numbers games are not sustainable. 

Last year he was refusing the animals most likely to be euthanized, i.e. unsterilized feral cats and kittens. These animals are also the ones most likely to reproduce in large numbers. The animals refused last season had many babies which ended up in the shelter this season. 

Boks had a warehousing program. They would keep animals in the shelters as long as possible. Instead of humanely euthanizing a dying animal they would allow it to die on its own so it wouldn't have to be counted as euthanasia. He'd put three aggressive pitbulls in a cage and an hour later there'd only be one alive. He'd put one sick puppy in a cage with others and soon they'd all be dead of Parvo or pneumonia. 

Animals dying on their own went from 1,000 to over 3,000 last year. This was at Boks' orders. The shelter employees were finally sick of witnessing this inhumane treatment and refused to warehouse the animals to death. Animals dying on their own is now back to normal levels so naturally humane euthanasia is up. 

Early this year the employees signed a letter of no-confidence in Ed Boks. They stated that Ed Boks is not a good manager or leader. They refused to continue his warehouse and refusal policies. Boks in turn is complaining that the employees are refusing to follow his orders. He's said to rescuers that the employees who signed the letter of no confidence are refusing to follow his "life saving" policies and are the main reason why LA is not nokill. I've been told that the employees just don't want to be a part of inhumane treatment of animals or deceptive practices to the public. 

Quite a few articles have been written about Mayor Villaraigosa and Ed Boks' dismal failure with LA's animals over the last year. Just about every weekend local animal activists protest at the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman, Chief of Staff Robin Kramer and Director Ed Boks' houses. They demand that Ed Boks be fired. They point to his failures in New York, Arizona and now here. Why isn't the Mayor doing something? 

The Mayor said he doesn't want to "cave to terrorists." What terrorists? People calling Ed Boks a "puppy killer" are "terrorists?" He's told people he doesn't want to appear "weak" by "giving in to the activists demands" and firing Boks. If an animal activist came to my house and told me my house was burning down, I would look to see if my house was indeed burning down. If it was, I'd get my dogs out then try to put the fire out. I wouldn't sit there and deny the fact that my house was burning down just because the person was an "activist." Look at the message, not the messenger. 

The activists are no longer the only people yelling about the problems. What about the employees and members of the public that are now yelling "fire!" Isn't it the Mayor's job to listen to the needs of the public, investigate and react? The Mayor is actually looking weak and uncaring by not taking any action to improve things. He needs to wake up and smell the smoke before more animals die needlessly in our dear City.

October 2008

The Los Angeles City Personnel Committee has called a special meeting to discuss firing General Manager of Animal Services Ed Boks. The meeting will take place Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. in the Van Nuys Civic Center located at 14410 Sylvan St., Van Nuys, CA 91401. Council members Dennis Zine, Tony Cardenas and Bernard Parks will be presiding. City file number 08-2377.

On September 9, 2008 the employees showed up at the City Council meeting to share their problems with Ed Boks with Council members. Euthanasia has increased 37%, the number of animals dying from illness and injury has increased 300% and animal bites to employees have increased. They blamed these problems on Boks' forced overcrowding and warehousing of animals in order to try to improve his numbers. Employees stated that the conditions were inhumane. 

Council member Dennis Zine stated "I've had my issues with Boks' management activities and the shelters that were ill-equipped to maintain custody of the animals. I believe these employees' concerns have legitimacy." Council member Zine made a motion for the special meeting seconded by Council President Eric Garcetti and Council member Bill Rosendahl. A video of that meeting is located on You Tube here 

Boks in response sent a letter to the Councilmembers stating again that these problems are all caused by the employees, not him. He again stated that they are just lazy, their "concerns have no merit" and are "unfair." He does at least admit to some mistakes. Then he states that all is well with the department incorrectly claiming that "LA is the number one pet adoption agency in the world." LA is not even the biggest in Southern California let alone the world. A copy of his letter can be found in the link below along with a rescuer's rebuttal to his letter. 

We ask that all employees, rescuers, activists, animal lovers, members of the public please attend the meeting to express your issues with Ed Boks. This is one time when we all must come together for the good of the animals.

April 2009
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hired Ed Boks the Director of Animal Services without checking out his references. He did not know that Boks had just been sued for racial discrimination and unlawful termination a month before he hired him. When the City was apprised of the lawsuit in January 2006, Boks told the Mayor that the lawsuit "had no merit." Antonio did not investigate and took him at his word. Judge Kimba Wood in New York has ruled otherwise.
In an opinion and order dated March 27, 2009 Judge Wood stated that "Viewing the available evidence as a whole, the Court finds that a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendants terminated Plaintiff because of his race." Since the judge's ruling the City of New York has decided to settle with the plaintiff Wesley Artope. The exact amount is unknown at this time.

November 1, 2005 Wesley Artope filed a lawsuit against Ed Boks and New York City Animal Care and Control for racial discrimination and unlawful termination. African American Artope claimed that he was fired so that Boks could hire a personal friend, Richard Gentles who was white and had no experience. On top of this Gentles had recently been fired from the Parks and Recreation Department after being arrested and charged with a felony work-related crime. To make things even more awkward Gentles was a friend of the woman Boks was "seeing" who sat on the board that over saw his Department.

As per the lawsuit Artope had been with the Department for many years and was better qualified than his replacement. "Plaintiff was promoted regularly to positions of increasing responsibility. Plaintiff has an Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Plaintiff also has licenses and certifications as a veterinary technician, animal handler, and animal rehabilitator, and work experience in animal training, handling, and treatment." Gentles who replaced him on the other hand had no animal-related experience at all. In deposition Gentles admits that his “only experience with veterinary personnel was when he took his pets to the veterinarian.”

Boks initially told Artope that he was fired for "budgetary and restructuring reasons." After Artope filed suit Boks changed his story and stated he was fired because of "poor performance." Oddly enough Artope had never been told his performance was lacking. In fact he was told his performance was "great." The Judge did not believe Boks' claim that he fired him because of poor performance.

Boks tried to make the case that he did not discriminate based on race because he also fired two white people and demoted another. The records show that he only demoted one white person. Boks also failed to state that the white person was offered to be demoted instead of fired, and they accepted. Boks did not make this same offer to Artope. The Judge did not believe Boks' argument.

Artope claimed that when he was fired he was not given the chance to apply for the new position which replaced his. In fact Boks gave the job to his friend Gentles without making it available to anyone which is against City policy. Boks had no explanation for this action at all.

A source close to Boks said Boks gave them this explanation for why he fired Artope and hired his friend Gentles. Boks stated that Artope was "just a lazy black employee." He wanted to fire him but couldn't because of the union. He decided to get rid of his position, then recreate his position with a new title. He wanted his personal friend to have the job because he was "like-minded" and needed a job.

While in New York and Los Angeles Boks had a singles ad on Match.com. In his profile he stated that he is only interested in "white/caucasian" women. No Hispanic, African American or even Asian need apply. Was this whole thing a case of racism or croneyism, or perhaps a little of both?

What is most disturbing is that Antonio Villaraigosa hired Ed Boks immediately after he'd been sued for racial discrimination, immediately after he'd been fired from New York. In deposition it was stated that the Mayor's Office in New York "hated" Boks and frequently reprimanded him for bad behavior. Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman was in charge of vetting Boks. Why didn't he talk to the people in New York before hiring Boks? Why did LA hire a man who was fired from his previous position because of bad behavior?

Since Boks has come to LA he's managed to garner the wrath of personnel, volunteers, animal rescuers, the public and even City Council, a first for any Director. It's been one mistake after another from the "Hooters for Neuters" bikini contest to the Pitbull Academy run by ex-cons to incurring countless lawsuits. Through all of this Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has stood by his side, even after Boks was reported for driving the City vehicle drunk and sexually harassing female rescuers. This is on top of Boks' poor performance with increased euthanasia and three times as many animals dying on their own in the shelter from illness and injury. It really makes one doubt the abilities of our Mayor. How many other "Ed Boks" has the Mayor appointed to top positions in our City? Does the Mayor even know what is happening? Is he even in town?

November 2009

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Ed Boks as the Director of Animal Services even though Boks had been fired from his two previous jobs for poor performance. After many, many mistakes and costly lawsuits the Mayor continued to stand by his appointment. Finally, City Council made a motion of "no confidence" in Ed Boks' leadership in 2009 and demanded that he be fired. Finally Boks was forced to resign. Why did the Mayor appoint Ed Boks, a man with no college education and a bad track record? It seems a local billionaire offered Villaraigosa $10,000,000 if he would hire Boks, and the Mayor accepted.

Mayor Villaraigosa wanted the animal community's vote in the 2005 Mayoral election. At their CHULA convention he promised if elected he would fire the current Director and appoint a "No Kill" candidate to save the city's animals. "No Kill" means that an animal will only be killed if it is dying or is extremely aggressive, not because of lack of space. Animal lovers rejoiced at his promise, donated to his campaign and voted Villaraigosa into the Mayoral office. 

After Villaraigosa was elected the animal community asked him to keep his campaign promise and hire a "No Kill" director. After a couple of months the Mayor met with key players in the animal community. He asked them whom they thought would make a good Director. A few names were thrown about though none of the names was "Ed Boks." 

During this time local billionaire Dr. Gary Michelson became involved. Orthopedic surgeon Michelson is known for winning a 1.3 billion dollar lawsuit settlement against Medtronic over a patent dispute. He started the Found Animals Foundation after the settlement to help reduce pet overpopulation. Forbes magazine refers to Michelson as the "animal nut." He is locally known for letting his unneutered dog roam the streets, racking up multiple dog off-leash tickets and walking around LA in tank tops to show off his veiny biceps. 

Michelson met with local animal activists in mid 2005 at his home. Besides meeting with moderate activists Michelson also met with militant activists. Two such militant activists were Jerry Vlasak, the Press Officer for the Animal Liberation Front and Pam Ferdin, the head of Animal Defense League. ADL had been attacking the City for years. The local ALF cell targeted the previous Directors and Mayor with death threats, smoke bombs, graffiti and other acts of vandalism. 

Michelson wanted to help make Los Angeles a "No Kill" city. He'd heard of Ed Boks in a magazine when Boks was working in New York. He asked local animal activists how much money he'd have to give the Mayor to make him appoint Ed Boks. They told him he'd need to offer the Mayor at least $10,000,000. 

Michelson set up an appointment with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman. Michelson asked Villaraigosa to appoint Ed Boks. The Mayor and his aides had never heard of Ed Boks. Then Michelson offered him $10,000,000 if he would appoint Boks. Without thoroughly checking out Boks' background the Mayor agreed. Even after many others stated that Boks had a murky past based on faked numbers, had no college education, was just sued for racial discrimination and was fired from his previous two positions, the Mayor officially appointed Boks January 3, 2006. 

Within a few months the complaints began. Boks was overcrowding cages to lower his euthanasia rate on paper. Animals were dying of disease or cage fights in record numbers. Boks gave away animals for free to improve his numbers which caused already limited revenue to plummet. He tried to hold a "Hooters for Neuters" bikini contest and was forced by women's groups to cancel the event. He started other programs with no City approvals and had to terminate them. He made a derogatory comment about Jewish people in a press release. Boks started controversy with his blogs viciously attacking any and all detractors. His first annual report ultimately showed that he was the first Director in over 20 years that had not reduced the euthanasia rate. Villaraigosa ignored all complaints and stood by his appointment Ed Boks. 

Boks' second year he simply refused the animals most likely to be euthanized in order to improve his numbers on paper. The public complained and Boks denied his actions. City Council was forced to step in and reprimanded Boks time and time again. Boks continued to make huge public blunders. He started the "Pitbull Academy" without City approval pairing ex-prison inmates with Pitbull dogs for training in the City shelters. That program was instantly terminated for liability reasons. Finally Boks was sued for sexual harassment by an ex-employee and volunteer in 2007. She accused Boks of "inappropriately touching, grabbing, feeling, hugging, holding Plaintiff, showing up at Plaintiff's home unannounced, uninvited, and drunk, after being told by Plaintiff not to come, among other things." Villaraigosa still stood by his appointment Ed Boks. 

Boks performance continued to plummet in his third year. Intakes increased as did euthanasia. The employees complained that three times as many animals were dying from illness and injury in their cages from overcrowding. Employees even reported Boks for "animal cruelty." The Union and almost every employee signed a letter of "no confidence" in Boks. Villaraigosa ignored their letter so they took it publicly to City Council. Boks told Villaraigosa that the complaining employees were just "lazy." Boks blamed his failure on the employees refusal to follow his commands. The Mayor was not pleased that anyone would question his appointment publicly. His office called the complaining employees "lazy" "whiners" who "don't want to work." Villaraigosa still stood by his appointment Ed Boks. 

Finally, after an expensive settlement in Boks' sexual harassment lawsuit the City Council made a motion of "no confidence" in Ed Boks. The councilmembers berated Boks over and over for his poor performance and major public fiascos. A few days later Boks was found guilty by a judge in a racial discrimination lawsuit from an African American. Boks fired an experienced African American and hired his white friend who had no experience but did have a criminal record. Finally, the Mayor forced Boks to resign. He gave him two months of paid leave as a golden handshake. Boks even negotiated a letter from the Mayor "thanking" him for his service. 

Soon after settlement of the sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuits another lawsuit settlement became public. Dr. Gary Michelson was sued by the ex-Director of his Found Animals Foundation for fraud and defamation. A statement in that lawsuit was physical proof of Michelson's and Villaraigosa's illegal agreement to hire Boks in exchange for $10,000,000. Case Number: SC095697, David T. Loftus VS. Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Et. Al., Filing Date: 10/18/2007, Case Type: Contractural Fraud (General Jurisdiction), Status: Dismissed. This lawsuit was settled very quickly when this pay to play information came to light. This is from a sworn statement in that lawsuit. 

"Michelson told Plaintiff that he had agreed to fund seven spay and neuter clinics and donate a million dollars to the city of Los Angeles as incentive for Ed Boks, a proponent of the "nokill" policy, to head the department of animal control. Plaintiff advised Michelson that a million dollars would not be enough money. Other animal welfare advocates agreed, and Michelson promised to donate $10,000 ,000 to implement a "nokill" policy in LA. Michelson promised city officials, including mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman, that if Ed Boks were to be hired as  head of the department of animal control, he would donate $10,000,000 to the department and millions more to animal welfare agencies and animal rescue groups." 

Employees and animal advocates who worked for and spoke with Michelson admitted that Michelson told others that he "paid" the Mayor to appoint Ed Boks. Michelson also told others that he offered to "make sure" Villaraigosa became Governor if he "followed" Michelson's wishes if he ran for Governor. People who worked for the City stated that Villaraigosa did agree to accept the money. In fact the Mayor grew impatient that Michelson was not giving the money fast enough. The Mayor's office even went so far as to state in writing that Michelson was "cheap," and a "flake," when the money didn't come in fast enough. 

This financial deal between Michelson and the Mayor was actually made public by the Animal Liberation Front in early 2006. From their website "the ONLY reason Boks was hired by Villariagosa is because billionaire Gary Michelson offered the Mayor a large contribution to his campaign--pay to play. ADL-LA knows this to be true because two board members (Jerry Vlasak, Pam Ferdin) were witnesses to Michelson's push for Boks to be General Manager of LAAS and were also told about secret meetings he had with the Mayor's office. ADL-LA and others begged Michelson to realize that by his pressing for Boks to be hired, he would be indirectly killing thousands of animals, but Michelson wouldn't listen to anyone but his own ego and Villaraigosa was more then (sic) happy to enter into a pay to play with Michelson since all the Mayor cares about is money to fund his political career." Because it was posted in the ALF website, no one believed it. 

Michelson's deal was also mentioned in an LA Weekly interview December 22, 2005, "A Billionaire's Bark." "A series of serendipitous events that began just months ago put Michelson in touch with Boks and then Villaraigosa, helped lead to Boks’ hiring here and made Michelson a key player in the latest effort to overhaul the way the city handles wanted and unwanted pets." "Mid-October (2006) began a period of intense activity. Villaraigosa was in contact with Boks and with Michelson." 

February 2006 another article in LA Weekly entitled "Did Villaraigosa hire Ed Boks to run Animal Services without checking his background?" delved further into the dirty deal. Union President Julie Butcher who represents LAAS workers had this to say, "[SEIU] continues to advocate the broadest and most open, fair process for hiring," says Butcher. "Anything else is a de facto slap in the face to every worker within the organization; in the absence of an equitable promotional scheme, these decisions become - or appear to become - ones based on back-scratching, name-dropping, and glad-handing - and lord knows there's already way too much of that in local government." 

Currently Los Angeles is in need of yet another Director for Animal Services. The Mayor has supposedly hired a head hunting company to lead the search. In October the Mayor sent out a questionnaire on SurveyMonkey to "stakeholders" in the animal community. These "stakeholders" included local bloggers, activists who dislike the Mayor, animal rescuers and others. The survey asked respondents such easy questions as "should the Director have" the "ability to analyze," "be objective," "have interpersonal skills," "have a vision," "care about animals," "have integrity" and "have experience." Some worry that this "search" is actually just to appease the locals and make the search appear to be unbiased and objective. Some say the Mayor's already sold the position to the highest bidder. 

Los Angeles is closely watching the Mayor in this selection process. Whom will he appoint next? A friend of a benefactor or someone actually qualified for the job? In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good candidate for the position, instruct them to send their resume to Steve.Rivera [at] lacity.org who is heading the search. It may be a waste of time but then again, you never know.

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