Audit: Limited staffing, uncollected fines have led to lack of care for animals in Long Beach shelter

The second phase of an audit of Long Beach’s Animal Care Services department found that limited staffing has led to improper feeding and cleaning of animals, a lack of veterinary care and not enough adoption support.

The report, released by Auditor Laura Doud’s office Monday, found:

  • Animals received on average six minutes of care per day, versus the industry-standard of 15 minutes.
  • ACS had one veterinarian to every 235 animals, less than the average of one per 170 animals.
  • The Long Beach agency had one full-time staff member charged with adoptions, for 2,716 animals, compared to the average of one staff member for 1,923 animals.
  • The shelter lacks “a robust volunteer program to provide needed support to almost all shelter functions,” the audit found. In 2016, ACS volunteers logged just over 6,000 hours, almost 16 times fewer than the shelter in Sacramento, where volunteers spent 97,147 hours caring for shelter animals.

The auditor recommends ACS make better use of volunteer manpower and improve efficiency to generate more revenue.

The shelter had almost $1 million in uncollected fines since 2009, the audit found. An 8 percent increase in collecting fines could generate as much as $262,000 in new revenue per year, according to the review.

Doud said in a written statement that management at ACS has “taken steps to address the 186 recommendations from both phase one and two, and we will continue to monitor the implementation of these important recommendations.”

Phase one of the audit was released in December 2017. The review was requested in early 2017 by Mayor Robert Garcia and conducted by JVR Shelter Strategies, an independent animal-shelter-consulting firm hired by the City Auditor’s office.

The initial audit recommended a number of improvements to day-to-day operations, as well as long-term planning.

ACS has an annual budget of $5 million and cares for roughly 8,000 animals per year.


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