New Orleans is at the centre of a storm today after it has been announced by Mayor Mitch Landrieu that the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA) will continue to provide animal control services for the city after a new four-year co-operative endeavour agreement was signed.
The SPCA has been at the heart of animal control in New Orleans for the past 60 years, but talk with the city financiers and the SPCA broke down after the latter said they would be unable to continue offering their services on the budget of $1.7m which the city was offering.
The city has stumped up a further $200k, offering $1.92m to seal the deal which they believe is a good investment.
“This is a big win for the residents and animals of New Orleans,” said Mayor Landrieu. “As was done with so many other contracts, our negotiations have been guided by my fiduciary responsibility to secure quality services for a price the city can afford. The LA/SPCA has been providing quality animal control and enforcement services for decades. As great community partners, their board, volunteers and donors have stepped up. We are pleased to have a fiscally responsible agreement in place for the next four years.”
Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the LA/SPCA told the press, “The LA/SPCA is nationally recognized for the standards we set in animal care and sheltering, we look forward to continuing these high quality services our citizens have come to expect for the animals of New Orleans.”
There is now however a public backlash with many citizens questioning the quality of service provided by the LA/SPCA, and many feel that comments made by Zorrilla prior to the new deal were nothing short of scare-mongering.
Zorrilla, when appearing before the city council in October, tried to manipulate events using the threat of, “packs of dogs running through the streets,” biting people and threatening children, and feral cats “terrorizing people’s gardens.”
[adsense]This was her way of squeezing more cash out of the city. Questions about where the money goes have also been raised by the public, after many reports claim that untrained volunteers were working in the SPCA facility, and that cats and dogs were being euthanized for the most mundane of illnesses.
Others have stated that the SPCA is only interested in housing pure-bred cats or dogs, and has little or no time for strays – presumably because there is little profit in housing or re-homing them.
Zorrilla said the SPCA takes in 7,000 stray, unwanted and problem animals a year. Allowed to roam and breed freely, she said, the stray animal population in the city could increase to 320,000 in three years.
The SPCA has recently cut some of its services and no longer responds to calls about attacks by animals, or to collect strays, made outside working hours or on weekends. Those situations are now handled by the police.
Please let us know what you think of Ana Zorrilla and her SPCA, or share an experience you had with them by leaving a comment.
images: usbuzzblog.blogspot.com, la-spca.org