Mary Cummins redid LA Animal Services website in 2006 for free, Animal Advocates

This is old news but I redid the website for the Department of Animal Services in February 2006 as a volunteer for free. Below is a link to the before/after image of the website. I pulled the images from the Wayback machine which is why two images are missing. Click the image below to see larger.

Before/After image of LAAS website

I redid the website because their web designer was on maternity leave and no one else in the Department was available to do it.  After her maternity leave she quit and went to work in private practice. They offered the paying job to the public but no one applied while I was there. The Mayor’s office approached and asked me to redo the website because I’d offered a free website to previous GMs. 

I kept the main navigation the same so people would not get lost or lose their bookmarks. I used a basic outline similar to the  main LA City website because I knew the City approved it. As you can see I changed the colors, banner and quite a few other things.

Most importantly I added a new title and meta tags for keywords and content and submitted them to the search engines. Within two weeks the Deptartment’s website  pulled up  number one for “buy” “adopt” “purebred” “puppy” “breeder” and “pet store.” The goal was to have people looking for purebred puppy store animals to go to the shelters instead. It also pulled up  number one for adopt animals, ahead of LA County Animal Control and other shelters.

I made sure that “free spay and neuter” was the most important item on the main page. I added a section in Spanish and a translate button for other languages. I also added a feedback form, donation page, articles on pet care, General Manager’s section, news…and many other sections. The website grew exponentially.

I added the “adopt a pet” module which is featured on the start page of the current Department website. Every time you reload the page you get a different animal. Click it and you can learn more about the animal. This can be customized to only show certain types of pets from certain shelters or all pets from all shelters. We were able to get LA City to put this on the main LA City website page. A few other councilmembers and City agencies added the feature. This can be used by any shelter which uses Pet Harbor.

I also made a new search by breed in all shelters or at select shelters. I gave this to the Department May 2006 but they never put it in the website.

When Boks approved the new logo made by an ad agency he was attacked by the commissioners and employees. I finally saw it later that day and agreed the colors were horrible as was part of the design. The colors had nothing to do with the colors of the website. There was no bright green in the website. It was also an image of a dog house. Dogs should be in our homes, not outside in dog houses. I instantly redid the logo and sent it to him. I used the colors from the website and turned the dog house into a home. The logo you see today is the result. I actually liked the original LAAS logo. I just thought they should be done using the websites current colors and not green/orange.

Even after I was no longer working on the Department website I was frequently contacted to fix the animal search on the Department website, not Pet Harbor. I gladly helped out every time I was asked. There was no way I would let the animal search stay down on a weekend. Someone would not be able to find their lost pet and it could be euthanized.

Boks put up the “Hooters for Neuters” poster late on a Friday without my knowledge. I saw it that night and told him instantly to take it down. He refused. I told him it was riddled with typographical, spelling and grammatical errors besides being too risque for a City website. I told him he should use a photo of a cute dog in a bikini, not the photo of the woman in a bikini sprayed with water. I told him the City would not approve. He replied with his usual motto “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”

By Sunday morning the complaints were pouring in. He finally sent his employee to work to remove the poster. He replaced it with one with the errors fixed. Two days later he finally removed the poster and event information completely when Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman ordered him to do so.

I never had the user name or password for the website. I told them I did not want the user name or password. I would send the new pages to the Dept and they would load them. Just clearing up a few things in case anyone was confused about my involvement in the Department website. I may be making a few more posts to clear up some other misconceptions about my involvement with the Department.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

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About Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Real Estate Appraiser

Mary Cummins is President of Animal Advocates. She is licensed with the California Department of Fish & Game, USDA and the City of Los Angeles to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Cummins speaks to local community groups and students about respecting wildlife and humane wildlife control. She is also a Humane Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. She has written manuals on small mammal rehabilitation besides numerous articles. She was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Beverly Hills Good Shepherd Catholic School and Beverly Hills High School. Besides being a member of Junior Mensa and on the Dean's list, she was a top ten national swimmer and competed on the men's water polo team. She began college at the age of 15 attending the University of Southern California on scholarship, majoring in Psychology/Sociology. After college Cummins became a licensed real estate agent specializing in income property in Los Angeles. She obtained her real estate appraisal license, real estate brokerage license and currently does real estate consulting, expert witness testimony and review appraisals at Cummins Real Estate Services.
This entry was posted in animal services, department, ed boks, general manager, laanimalservices.com, los angeles, mary cummins, new, old, volunteer, website. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mary Cummins redid LA Animal Services website in 2006 for free, Animal Advocates

  1. Anonymous says:

    According to an ADL alert, the website is changing. I noticed that Barnette took off easy access to spay/neuter info awhile back. I find the website before to be user friendly myself. Except for the "Reading" site pimping Karen Delise's biased books, the site looks good to me. Seems a waste of time to change it, but then again Barnette is a waste of time anyway.

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