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Cost Estimates for Animal Shelters Not Based in Reality

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Meet Milo & Zumi. They live with Malingering | Photo by Malingering

$150 million in voter approved money toward animal shelters was the subject of the latest audit by City Controller Laura Chick today. Her letter to the Mayor and City Council wasn't as scathing as other audits (think about LAPD's rape-kit backlog audit), but she did reveal some problems:

  • "The City's estimates for building costs were not reality based and were exceedingly low, and resulted in redesigning and scaling back projects," Chick wrote. "For instance, design flaws at one shelter include a lack of a required misting system for the outdoor dog kennels."
  • "The third most common animal in City shelters are rabbits. However in one shelter, space is so minimal it resulted in many rabbits being housed in storage with no air conditioning. At the same time there is a quite large reptile room which contained only two snakes."
  • "The Northeast Valley shelter is operating below its capacity and is not open to the public for adopting animals. This is extremely disconcerting since a major goal of Prop F was to provide centers which fostered greater public access to increase animal adoptions and community involvement."
  • "Design changes, cost escalation and budgetary constraints all contributed to each of the eight projects being delayed an average of about two years. Additionally, the South LA project is not expected to be completed until 2012."

Propistion F was passed by Los Angeles residents in the 2000 election. In addition to giving money to fire and emergency issues, it earmarked the money for the repair, expansion, replacement and construction of animal care facilities. Chick wrote that, "prior to this the City's animal shelters were found to be obsolete, overcrowded and below standard." The whole 56-page audit can be downloaded from the Controller's website.