Annette Ramirez will continue her position as interim general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services. MNLA staff photo

Annette Ramirez will continue to serve as interim general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services after her re-appointment was confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday, though council members expressed a desire to install a permanent head of a department facing accusations of animal neglect and insufficient staffing.

Ramirez has been serving as interim general manager since Dana Brown left for another role with the city earlier this year. The council voted 13-0 on Tuesday to extend Ramirez’s term by six months, after which the council would have to renew her appointment.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield reluctantly voted in favor, lamenting that the city has yet to appoint a permanent general manager. Blumenfield blamed the “unfortunate situation” of an incoming transition between mayoral administrations. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is termed out, is scheduled to leave office in December.

“We’re not getting the strong direction that we need to get,” Blumenfield said. “So, as a council, we need to step up and make that happen.”

Harrison Wollman, a spokesperson for Garcetti, said the mayor “recognizes that the current conditions at shelters are unacceptable, and has directed his office to increase staffing levels as quickly as possible.

” The Mayor’s Office is also working with the department to overhaul its activity tracking process, which will help the animals receive more attention and physical activity, and is in the midst of ramping up mobile pet adoptions,” Wollman’s statement continued.

Ramirez has worked at Los Angeles Animal Services for 22 years and was most recently the assistant general manager of lifesaving.

Councilman Paul Koretz, chair of the committee that oversees animal welfare, said Ramirez shouldn’t be blamed for the “systemic” issues at the department. Last week, Koretz introduced a motion asking city officials to determine the budgetary needs to fully staff seven animal shelters.

Koretz said the city only has enough General Fund money to operate four shelters, instead of the six it currently runs, along with a seventh operated under contract with a nonprofit group.

His motion would explore additional funding options such as a possible parcel or sales tax, and options for using general obligation bonds.

The council’s Personnel, Audits and Animal Welfare Committee held the second of two special meetings last week on conditions at the animal shelters. Callers to both meetings bemoaned alleged animal neglect and insufficient staffing at the city facilities, and accused the department of dismissing multiple volunteers for blowing the whistle about various issues at the shelters in a Los Angeles Times article in July that widely exposed the problems.

“The problem is that the mayor sets a budget and the GM is very hesitant to not be a team player,” Koretz said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “The fact is this is a department that has never been funded adequately.”

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