“Los Angeles to hand over animal shelter to nonprofit group; The Los Angeles City Council, in another move to privatize some longtime city functions, voted to turn over management of a Mission Hills animal shelter to Best Friends Animal Society.” By Kate Linthicum. Los Angeles Times. August 17, 2011. In another move to privatize some longtime city functions, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to hand over management of a Mission Hills animal shelter to a nonprofit group. Under the plan, Best Friends Animal Society will provide adoption and spay and neuter services at the Northeast Valley Animal Care Center, built three years ago for more than $19 million but never fully staffed because of budget cuts. The deal with Best Friends costs the city nothing and will save the lives of thousands of animals that would otherwise be euthanized each year, according to Brenda Barnette, general manager of the Department of Animal Services. But the plan has its critics, including some who said they wished the city had been more transparent in its selection of an operator. Best Friends, a national animal rescue group that has been active in L.A. for more than 20 years, was the only nonprofit to apply for the contract. Several other animal groups have said they wished they had been approached by the city to make a bid to manage the shelter. “We don’t know what their proposals would have been,” said City Councilman Richard Alarcon, the only council member to vote against the plan. “Something smells wrong.” Jake Miller, an animal care technician at the East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys, said he thinks Best Friends is a good organization but shouldn’t be running a taxpayer-funded facility.