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Lax dog licensing costing L.A. millions, audit says

May 27, 2008 |  5:56 pm


The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services has lost $2 million because of uncollected fees on dog licenses -- the largest source of revenue for the agency -- City Controller Laura Chick said in an audit released today. The Times' Francisco Vara-Orta reports:

She also said the department needed to tighten spending on equipment -- citing two X-ray machines that cost $150,000 each and are sitting in storage -- and contracts with outside firms without sufficient paperwork.

"The department is not taking advantage of what they're supposed to," Chick said at a press conference at her City Hall office this morning. "I'd say this audit is a strong reprimand to the department."

Chick said the $2 million in losses occurred between July 2005 and this March.

While this audit focused on the fiscal responsibility of the department, it is the agency's sixth audit in the last 10 years. Earlier audits have narrowed on adoption, licensing, and spaying and neutering programs, and the process for hearings on problem pets.

Animal activists, upset over what they view as a lack of reduction in the number of animals euthanized, or "kill rate," in city shelters, have for years been critical of the department.

Chick said a performance audit this summer would focus on the department's spay-neuter program.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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