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Los Angeles animal shelters have a new head: Brenda Barnette

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday morning unanimously confirmed Brenda Barnette as general manager of the Department of Animal Services, the city's municipal shelter system, which Councilman Greig Smith said had been "under siege for a long time."

The previous general manager resigned under fire. His predecessor was fired by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Barnette, referring to an animal-welfare community that is passionate and often critical of the municipal shelter system, said everyone only needs to agree on a few things: "We need to save more animals' lives in the shelters. We need to spay and neuter more animals in the community."

She said she would not tolerate animal cruelty.

Asked about her past criticism of mandatory spay-neuter laws -- which L.A. has -- she said she supported spaying and neutering pets "100%."

As chief executive of the private Seattle Humane Society, Barnette reached a 92% live-release rate, and no animals were killed for lack of space. Villaraigosa cited this statistic when he announced he was appointing her.

But the Seattle Humane Society took in about 5,900 cats and dogs last year — about a tenth of L.A.'s number.

"That's less than the animals that come into the San Pedro shelter in my district," said Janice Hahn. "Tell us how you would be up for the job?"

"I very much want to spend time with the staff formulating ideas," Barnette said. She also noted that the Seattle organization had an extensive foster program that helped increase the number of adoptions.

"I'm very pleased that you want this job," Hahn told her. "It's one of the more difficult jobs in the city."

Several council members noted that they got more calls and e-mails on this appointment than they did on the appointment of Police Chief Charlie Beck.

"There's going to be a microscope on everything you do," said Councilman Dennis Zine. "We're giving you that green light. But be cautious. ... Include the community groups, the staff workers."

-- Carla Hall

Comments () | Archives (4)

Barnette comes with more skeletons in her closet than Boks did. She is still under a lawsuit in King County for refusing to relinquish public records even under an order from the Attorney General of Washington State. Those numbers given by the Mayor just shows his lack of understanding animal control. Those numbers are from a CLOSED DOOR shelter, a shelter that turns animals away, a shelter that picks and choses the animals that come in. Seattle Humane contracts with two small cities to house but otherwise is a CLOSED DOOR shelter. When you don't have to take animals with problems, you don't have to euthanize. Unlike the LA shelters that take any and all and have to euthanize for time and space. The medical director at the Seattle Humane has a record of prescribing medication under his dead dog's name for his own personal use. Barnette and two other women are the No Kill King County coalition. One of those women, Kim Sgro, gave Katrina dogs to a hoarder and they were found later dead in the same crates. And Sgro collected donations on those dogs while they languished for months in the same crates they came from Katrina. The employees at Seattle Humane that Barnette HIRED, not the fired ones, asked to be organized under the union in order to speak freely of the horrors of Seattle Humane which they have been doing. Barnette chose to import dogs when dogs in the local shelters were being euthanized instead of helping the local animals. She took dogs from LA already altered at LA taxpayer expense, never offered to reimburse the City of LA when she SOLD them for $300-400 each. All of this is easily obtained online, why didn't the Mayor research Barnette? Or is he neutered by the ADL-LA and Nathan Winograd? Let's not mention how she campaigned against mandatory spay/neuter in order to satisfy her affiliation with the AKC. A breeder who surrounds herself with animal abusers and drug abusers is not a person who should be in this position.

She's a BREEDER. When are people going to realize that there are too many animals because too many are born - regardless of whether they're bred by "responsible" breeders or not.

Welcome, Ms. Barnette. I for one am glad to see you have taken this position; I hope and pray you will be able to do for L.A. what you have done for Seattle. Please emphasize spay/neuter and TNR of CATS and saving CATS' lives. Cats are by far the more popular companion; conversely, they are also losing their lives senselessly as the media shoves dogs down our collective throats. Enough of that! Let's turn the tables. Thank you.

There should be an all out campaign for spay/neutering AND getting rid of pet shops throughout California


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