Erickson said the mayor would not respond directly to Brunson’s assertions, but said Villaraigosa is committed to change. Stuckey, whose apartment was smoke-bombed by animal-rights extremists, said Thursday that he has worked to improve the department and is trying to reach a point where the department does not have to euthanize healthy animals. “I think the department has come a long way and we are euthanizing 46 percent fewer animals than when I came on,” Stuckey said. “I have met with the mayor and he has made clear he expects to see our performance improve. “We believe the concerns of a lot of the extremists is misplaced. We are working with the humane community to try to reach a solution,” he said. Stuckey also said he enjoyed working with animal-rights activists but wanted to differentiate them from the individuals involved in recent attacks. “What I’m concerned about is that this could escalate to the point where someone gets hurt,” Stuckey said. “We need to focus on rescuing and caring for animals, not in attacking others.” Rick Orlov, (213) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week As part of that, the mayor’s office announced Thursday that it is replacing Erika Brunson with businessman Glenn Brown on the five-member Board of Animal Services Commissioners. Brunson, who was traveling in Europe, released a letter she said she had sent to the mayor and other commissioners criticizing Stuckey’s performance as general manager. Stuckey was named to head the department nearly a year ago by former Mayor James Hahn, who said he believed Stuckey’s management background would outweigh his lack of experience with animal-welfare issues. Brunson, who has been active in the humane community for more than 20 years, however, said she felt Stuckey had not performed well. “As you yourself have acknowledged, the department is led by an extremely weak and very inexperienced general manager,” Brunson wrote. “You have nothing to gain and much to lose from allowing the status quo to persist and I believe your current inaction to be notably uncharacteristic of your active approach to government.” Animal-rights activists canceled a planned weekend protest at the home of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday after he agreed to meet with them as pressure mounts on the head of the Department of Animal Services. The Animal Defense League said in a statement that it called off the event at the mayor’s Mount Washington home as Villaraigosa renewed a campaign pledge to review the work of Animal Services Director Guerdon Stuckey, who has been the focus of criticism by some in the animal-activist community. “The mayor intends to uphold his pledge to reform the Department of Animal Services, doing what it takes to make it more animal-friendly and responsive,” spokeswoman Janelle Erickson said. “The mayor is working hard to tackle the tough challenges facing Los Angeles, and reforming the department is one of those challenges,” she said.