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Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Los Angeles County taxpayers will have every right to be pissed off when one day soon they report an emergency and a first responder is unavailable, or if they go to a county hospital and there is no one to treat them – especially when they discover the reason is that the County will have spent somewhere in the vicinity of half a million dollars futilely appealing the case of Benjamin DeVitt et al vs Los Angeles County Animal “Care” & Control & Marcia Mayeda to the California Supreme Court.   The case hinges over Mayeda’s failure to impound a pack of dogs, who had at least six prior attacks against people on their records, before they killed jogger Pamela DeVitt on March 9th, 2013. To compound Mayeda’s negligence, she then proceeded to obstruct justice by withholding evidence and falsifying records to hide both her and her agency’s wrongdoing.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  After losing two rounds in Appellate Court, Mayeda insanely hopes that the higher court will fall for her Trumpesque defense of lies and obfuscations and will dismiss the case before it is tried in front of a jury of twelve honest people.

Because Los Angeles County self-insures we, the taxpayers of Los Angeles County will be deprived of vital services as Mayeda appeals while continuing to collect her $238,000 a year salary plus benefits to continue her reign of error as head of the DACC.

As if her legal shenanigans were not enough to have her dismissed, her mismanagement of her animal control agency should alone merit her being terminated.  Traditionally her animal facilities receive the highest number of impounds in the summer, while during the winter and early spring her kennels operate at only 80 percent of capacity.  Baldwin Park has been down one kennel building for over a year as it is being slowly renovated (the project is over five months behind schedule). Meanwhile the Downey Shelter badly needed a renovation that was estimated would take only four to five months.  Instead of waiting for Baldwin Park to finish its renovations and thereby having 40 extra dog kennels available to transfer pets to, or even choosing a period when there would be fewer pets languishing in her facilities, Mayeda elected to start renovations in May – and as a result Downey has been killing at unprecedented rates  Over 700 cats and 75 dogs were executed by team Mayeda during the month of June – and though the official results have not yet been made available, anecdotal evidence is that the killing was even worse in July.

Also rescuers and transporters working with Downey have noticed lack of quality veterinary care provided at the facility.  We personally observed several dogs suffering from infections from botched spay/neuter surgeries this past weekend.  Meanwhile we saw several dogs who had tumors on their undercarriage that were not picked up by the medical notes.  Many dogs were infested with ticks – and it was questionable as to whether the shelter was applying any of the tick or flea medication that they have on hand.  Having lost 40 kennels, holding as many as 80 dogs, due to the construction the Downey veterinarians should have far more time to devote to treating the shelter’s pets – but instead they have been providing substandard care – if providing any care at all.  The laziness of Downey’s veterinary staff has been complained about often – but when you have an uncaring head of the badly misnomered Department of Animal “Care” and Control” things slide and pets die.  This has never has bothered Mayeda – after all she has cheerfully ordered the deaths of over half a million pets during her stewardship of the agency.

All this leaves us wondering what it takes to get one fired from a position in Los Angeles County’s bureaucracy?  Clearly ineptitude, corruption and criminal behavior aren’t enough to raise the ire of the County Board of Supervisors.  But perhaps one should expect no more from them than one does from the Trump White House.

Downey Shelter Pets Need Your Help & It’s Time to Show Marcia Mayeda the Door

In 2016, Los Angeles County spent $132 million defending itself from lawsuits, which was an eleven percent increase over 2015. County Supervisor Hilda Solis released a statement calling the report an “urgent call for introspection and action… Every cent the county spends on litigation is precious funding that we cannot use to house the homeless, promote better health and wellness for children, upskill our workforce and provide countless other needed services to our communities. It is simply a waste of money and it doesn’t make sense.”

Unfortunately and soon to be to Solis’ chagrin, Marcia Mayeda, the feckless head of the County’s animal control agency, must have either not read or not understood her boss’ memo. On June 14th, the DACC and Mayeda were handed a clear and concise loss, as a trio of Los Angeles County Court of Appeals judges reversed a lower court ruling and ordered a jury trial be held in the case of Benjamin DeVitt et al vs the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control and Marcia Mayeda. The County had already by our conservative estimate paid over $200,000 in outside counsel legal fees to fight a morally, and in our opinion, legally indefensible defense over Mayeda’s failure to impound a pack of dogs, who had at least six prior attacks against people on their records, before they killed jogger Pamela DeVitt on March 9th, 2013. To compound Mayeda’s negligence, she then proceeded to withhold evidence and falsify records to hide her and her agency’s wrongdoing.

After suffering a defeat in the Appellate court, Mayeda spent an estimated $50,000 – $100,000 of County taxpayers’ money to file a second appeal on June 28th in the same Appellate Court. Mayeda and company offered neither new evidence nor new case precedent to support their appeal – and in less than a blink of an eye their motion was rejected. The money wasted on this fruitless appeal went down the drain and as a result there will be one less sheriff’s deputy, or one less fireman or three fewer animal control officers serving Los Angeles County.

Rumors have it that Mayeda is contemplating appealing the ruling to the California Supreme Court. Such an appeal, which chances are would be a loser, could cost an additional $200,000 – $300,000 in legal fees.

The facts in this case are clear and indisputable. Mayeda and the DACC were lazy and negligent, and compounded things by a clumsy coverup instituted by Mayeda.

Los Angeles County self-insures and a jury trial leading to a guilty verdict would make a significant dent in the County’s funds. According to insiders in the DeVitt camp, the firing of Mayeda and other personnel who tried to subvert justice in this tragic case would be enough to bring them to settlement talks.

Hopefully Hilda Solis and her colleagues are paying attention and will recognize the wisdom of not wasting tax money on losing causes. In the meantime we recommend that all citizens with a few bucks on their hands go to HomeDepot.com and purchase a door. They have doors for less than $100. Have the door delivered to DACC headquarters at 5898 Cherry Avenue in Long Beach. It’s time to show Mayeda the door – and hopefully she will find a suitable one to go through that won’t hit her in the ass on the way out.

 

Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help – and Marcia Mayeda on the Ropes!

On June 14th the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and ordered that a jury trial be held in the case of Benjamin DeVitt et al vs the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), Los Angeles County and Marcia Mayeda. The case was brought after the fatal mauling of jogger Pamela DeVitt on May 9, 2013 by a pack of dogs which had been involved in at least seven prior violent incidents.  (To read the court’s decision please click here)

In their decision the court rightly threw out both premises of the defense. The court ruled that the six month statute of limitations was tolled due to Mayeda and company’s obstruction of justice, thereby tacitly agreeing that the DACC failed to disclose the prior complaints against the dogs and subsequently tried to cover up their inaction by backdating notes into the record. The court also correctly ruled that Los Angeles County Code Section 10:30:010 mandated that the DACC had a legal obligation to impound these dogs – and that the DACC’s claim that the law was discretionary was fatuous.

The facts of the case are clear. The DACC believed the dogs were owned by Alex Jackson. The dogs attacked two men on horseback on January 21, 2013, and on April 3rd, 2013 five dogs jumped over Jackson’s fence and attacked a woman on her horse. There had been five prior incidents involving Jackson’s dogs. After more than two months of repeatedly failing to respond to citizen complaints, the DACC finally went to Jackson’s home and left a notice telling Jackson they were looking for his dogs. On April 12th Jackson called the DACC and denied that the dogs were his – claiming that they were strays. The dogs were never picked up and 4 weeks later Mrs. DeVitt was savagely mauled to death. Jackson was later tried and convicted of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

Los Angeles County and its agencies, including the DACC, self-insure and a jury trial is the last thing any prudent government would want. Governments are usually protected against punitive damages being awarded – except when there was criminal activity involved. In this case there was criminal behavior on the part of Mayeda and her subordinates as they withheld evidence and then backdated notes in their Chameleon tracking software in an attempt to make it appear that they had been using their best efforts to impound the dogs. Mayeda not only sanctioned the coverup, she also lied to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in her May 13th testimony four days following Mrs. DeVitt’s death.

Because Mayeda obstructed justice and failed to impound the dogs, an enterprising prosecutor could make a case against her before a grand jury for being an accessory to Mrs. DeVitt’s murder. The statute of limitations in a felony is six years, and it would not be too late to bring criminal charges.
There is a long list of past and current DACC employees who are eager to testify to Mayeda’s misdeeds. Mayeda and the DACC are unsympathetic defendants and it would not be unreasonable for a jury to return a verdict awarding thirty million dollars to the plaintiffs.

Rumors have it that the DeVitt family would be happy to reduce their financial demands if Los Angeles County would fire Marcia Mayeda and any of her co-conspirators who willingly participated in this tragic dereliction of duty. Mayeda has a long and widely documented career of being an inept and cruel bureaucrat. We would like to think that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are pragmatic and will avert a scandalous and potentially economically ruinous trial by opening up settlement negotiations with the DeVitt family. Getting rid of Marcia Mayeda and her cohorts would not only be a small price to pay for Los Angeles County – it would be a blessing.

Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

On May 12th Los Angeles residents had an opportunity to watch their tax dollars at work as Attorney Justin Sarno from the law firm of Carpenter, Rothrans & Dumont dove head first into the world of alternative facts. Sarno has been retained to defend his clients, the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) and Marcia Mayeda against a lawsuit brought by the family of Mrs. Pamela DeVitt, who was fatally mauled by a pack of Pit Bulls on May 9th of 2013.

The facts of the DeVitt case came to light after a DACC employee leaked computer printouts showing that the DACC believed the dogs were owned by Alex Jackson and had repeatedly failed to impound the dogs and had, following Mrs. DeVitt’s death, backdated records to cover up their inaction. The DACC’s printouts show that the dogs had previously attacked two men on horseback on January 21, 2013 and, in a separate incident on April 3rd, 2013 five dogs jumped over Jackson’s fence and attacked a woman on her horse. After more than two months of repeatedly failing to respond to complaints about these dogs, the DACC finally went out to the property and left a notice telling Jackson that they were looking for the dogs. On April 12th Mr. Jackson called Animal Control and denied that the dogs were his – claiming they were strays. The dogs were never picked up and 4 weeks later Mrs. DeVitt was dead.

At the time Los Angeles County Code Section 10:32.010 stated that the DACC shall impound any stray dogs whether these pets had a license or not. The law was very specific and left no discretion to the agency. Jackson had stated that the dogs were not his and the DACC was required to impound the dogs.

Four days after Mrs. DeVitt’s death, Mayeda made the following statement to the County Board of Supervisors:

We received two reports about these dogs, one in January of this year and one in April of this year. We responded to the January report. We did not locate any of the dogs that had been reported. The owner was cited for violations of animal control ordinances regarding rabies vaccination, licensing, spay and neuter and microchip.

Mayeda was never asked by the Board of Supervisors to explain how the DACC could issue tickets for these dogs if they were never seen. And a few weeks after the fatal DeVitt mauling the DACC’s lawyer, County Council Diane Regan, proposed that the word “shall” in County Code Section 10:32:010 be changed to “may”, thus modifying the law to give the DACC discretion as to whether they had to pick up sick, stray, etc …dogs.

At last week’s hearing Mr. Sarno took the position that the word “shall” did not imply a mandatory duty. Probably in the alternative facts world of the Sarno and the DACC, the 10 Commandments were options rather than duties. All those “thou shalt nots” are just a bunch of suggestions.

Mr. Sarno then argued that even if there was an obligation which the DACC had failed to fulfill, no legal recourse was available to the DeVitt plaintiffs because the harm suffered was not the harm the law was intended to prevent. In other words, the obligation to pick up stray, sick  animals was not intended to protect members of the public from being attacked but was in fact intended to ensure the welfare of the animals. Perhaps Mr. Sarno did not have the benefit of reading any of his client’s numerous policy statements on “potentially dangerous” dogs, which statements firmly insist that it is the DACC’s right and duty to confiscate.

DeVitt vs. Los Angeles County and Marcia Mayeda being referred back to a lower court for a jury trial is not attractive to the County of Los Angeles for either from a financial or a public relations point of view especially for a government still reeling from the Sheriff Baca and Tanaka scandals. Who would a jury side with? The plaintiffs consist of Ms. DeVitt’s grieving family. Ms. DeVitt was jogging to get in shape so she could enjoy a healthy life of a grandmother. Her husband of 42 years was devastated. Her son, a highly decorated Green Beret was serving his country and her daughter’s child will never have the benefit of knowing her grandmother.   The County and Marcia Mayeda aren’t quite so lovable – as the evidence is clear cut they conspired to obstruct justice.  According to legal experts we have spoken with, a verdict in the neighborhood of thirty million dollars would not be surprising.

Although the case might be entertaining for those who enjoy stopping to look at train wrecks, we hope the County will not allow this sordid case to go to trial.  Offering Ms. Mayeda’s resignation would be the best way for them to open negotiations.

 

Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

It is disturbingly ironic that despite Los Angeles being regarded throughout the world as a trendsetting community where progressive ideas are born and implemented, it fails so miserably when it comes to animal control.  Whereas large cities such as New York have dramatically reduced their euthanasia rates through innovative leadership and programs, Los Angeles, both the City and particularly Los Angeles County fail miserably.

The solution to alleviating shelter overcrowding and thus reducing our tax dollars being used to kill highly adoptable pets is not difficult to implement.  All one needs to do is enact and enforce spay/neuter laws and incentivize the public to buy in to the concept. Our neighboring communities have taken great strides towards this goal.   In Riverside under the excellent leadership of Robert Miller, the County shelter parks a spay/neuter truck at the bottom of a street and sends a team of canvassers to aggressively ticket neighborhood pet owners found to have unaltered pets.  If the ticketed owner takes the pet to the spay/neuter vehicle and has the surgery performed the ticket is cancelled.  If the pet owner refuses to comply there are financial penalties.   Meanwhile, in Bakersfield, under the progressive leadership of Julie Johnson – Wings of Rescue is working with the agency to implement “Operation Pit Stop” where the owners of unaltered Pit Bulls will be able to purchase a low priced raffle ticket for a 72 inch Smart Television, if they bring in their Pit Bull for a free spay/neuter.

But in Los Angeles County, under the “leadership” of Marcia Mayeda – it’s crickets.

She has several communities, including Azusa and West Covina, two cities that contribute the largest number of strays into her Baldwin Park facility, that totally lack spay/neuter laws.  Mayeda has done absolutely nothing to pressure or incentivize these cities to enact spay/neuter legislation.  Two years ago El Monte had no mandatory spay/neuter laws – and an El Monte school teacher and I went to the City Council and persuaded them to enact one.  Did Mayeda or the DACC offer to help – by even writing a letter of support for the effort?  Of course not.  It would have required Mayeda to do something proactive rather than reactive – something that is not in the DNA of this overpaid ($238,000 per year plus benefits) morally bankrupt bureaucrat.

Los Angeles County’s shelter systems are adopting out hundreds of unaltered pets each week to the public under “health waivers”.  Pets who are sick with diseases such as kennel cough are exempted from surgery and the adopters are charged a $50 spay/neuter deposit – which they can get refunded when they later provide a certificate of sterility, which can be secured by either taking the pet to a private vet for surgery, or by returning the pet to a DACC facility within three months of adoption when the pet is deemed healthy enough to be altered.  We do not criticize the DACC for the concept of the program, however the problem is that less than 50 percent of the pets are ever sterilized and the DACC does not have a single employee following up on the scofflaws who have not had their pets altered.

Mayeda’s shelters have also been automatically deferring pets if they are over eight years old.  The rationale behind this is that older pets require bloodwork analysis before being subjected to anesthesia.  Blood machines are relatively inexpensive – but Mayeda refuses to provide her veterinarians with most basic diagnostic equipment beyond a stethoscope.  The other huge problem that has caused hundreds of pets to be released unaltered is that a few of her staff veterinarians are lazy.  When I was a Baldwin Park volunteer our vets were capable of altering 40 pets a day; now the vets have reduced their surgeries to 25 per day and will often do even fewer by claiming healthy pets are too sick to be altered.  Considering that Downey is now routinely adopting more than 25 pets a day this creates enormous backlogs in the spay/neuter clinic and pet owners who have adopted deferred pets cannot get spay/neuter appointments at the shelters.  More often than not these pets are never altered.

As a result of the Mayeda-led department’s failure to track the unaltered pets released by her own department thousands of pets are born each year who ultimately flood the shelter system – and cause the continual cycle of killing that has been the trademark of Mayeda’s reign of error.  We would like to attribute this failure to Mayeda’s laziness and incompetence, but also muse that it may be due to a more sinister and venal reason – that Marcia Mayeda would rather keep the unclaimed trust deposits and use these monies for her pet projects like her $60,000 private dog park by DACC headquarters, rather than have to pay for the surgeries to be done by hiring additional veterinary help.

Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

The last few weeks have not been kind to the Marcia Mayeda run Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control as seemingly the mismanaged agency has done everything short of taking out paid advertisements to demonstrate its contempt for the public, the rescue community, the pets it is supposed to be protecting and California law.

DACC Deputy Director Danny Ubario’s sent two rescuers an e-mail which stated:

“All animals that are deemed not safe for placement due to behavior will no longer be made available to rescuers. You will not receive notifications on these animals, and animals that fall under his category will be euthanized after their holding period is up.”

Ubario’s position directly violates California law SB1785 popularly known as the Hayden Act, Section 12 which amends California Section 31108 of the Food and Agricultural Code to read:

Any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to the killing of that animal for any reason other than irremediable suffering, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled killing of that animal.

Under Mayeda’s stewardship of the DACC, the agency has routinely violated the Hayden act and refused to release pets that they have deemed aggressive to rescues. It is important to note that the DACC does not have a single trained animal behaviorist on their payroll – and therefore does not have anyone qualified to deem a pet as “aggressive”. On the rare occasions that rescues have had the resources to sue the DACC for violating the Hayden Act, Mayeda has used the legal tactic of having Los Angeles County Attorney, Diane “the Laughing Grandma” Regan delay, obfuscate and lie, to force the plaintiffs into spending as much money in legal fees as possible, without allowing the case to come to judgement. Once the DACC’s delaying tactics had run its course and the case was nearing a verdict, Mayeda has always quietly dropped the case, so that there would be no legal ruling which would have set a precedent for future litigation. We personally witnessed this tactic in action three years ago in the infamous JoJo and Leo litigations.

Ironically a few weeks ago, Mayeda’s poorly run Baldwin Park Shelter impounded a dog who was deemed a dangerous dog. The dog had a microchip which was registered to a family living in San Diego. The San Diego family claimed that the pet belonged to them and Baldwin Park released the pet to its legal owners. After reading the new DACC policy Baldwin Park tried to get the dog returned to them – but by virtue of the living in San Diego, outside LA County’s jurisdiction, the agency had no legal authority to do so. They tried to get San Diego County’s Animal Control department to confiscate the dog so they could kill it – but San Diego’s animal control agency does not trust the DACC’s assessment and the dog is still safe and sound in his home.

Meanwhile at the DACC’s Downey shelter, A5044036, a Chihuahua named “Brownie” was surrendered on March 25th. As noted in the DACC’s Chameleon tracking software, the initial assessment by Downey’s veterinary staff on Brownie was that he was too fearful and would bite anyone who came near him. Notes were added on April 1st that Brownie would bite and he was labeled ‘rescue only’. Downey’s new volunteer coordinator, who has been at odds with nearly every volunteer and staff member at the shelter, ordered a new volunteer to take Brownie out of his kennel on April 15th. Veteran volunteers warned the volunteer coordinator that the dog would bite, but he insisted that he knew better despite his having demonstrated no dog handling abilities. On the volunteer coordinators orders, the new volunteer took Brownie out of his kennel and was promptly bitten. A bite report has been filed and is working its way through the system. According to one volunteer who is a lawyer, the bitten volunteer has an excellent legal case against the DACC and its volunteer coordinator for refusing to heed the warnings.

What scares us is that the DACC is a reactionary agency – and will likely formulate a draconian policy towards all dogs, due to the arrogant decision of an unpopular employee. Our eight year experience with the DACC is that when the agency announces a new policy it is always driven by a desire to protect its own ass, rather than a desire to help the pets – who are always the first to suffer under any edict issued by Marcia Mayeda.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

This week the head of the DACC’s Human Resources department resigned.  According to multiple sources, the resignation was due to her being dissatisfied with Mayeda’s squashing investigations into rampant misconduct by employees favored by the DACC Director.  One of these employees is reportedly Baldwin Park Shelter manager Sheri Koenig, who was caught red handed personally adopting a purebred Yorkshire Terrier who had not been made available to the public.  Koenig is so widely despised around the DACC, that two employees recently took the unusual step of filing complaints against her with the Los Angeles County Equity Oversight committee.  This enables them to circumvent having their complaints heard by DACC employees reporting to Marcia Mayeda, and instead have their cases heard by independent investigators reporting directly to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile the Downey Shelter’s capable Acting Manager, Fred Agoopi was told that he was not going to be made permanent manager of the facility.  The Downey Shelter had by and large run fairly smoothly under Agoopi’s stewardship, which is, as one Downey insider remarked, probably the reason Mayeda did not give Agoopi the job – as she prefers to have turmoil and dissension at her shelters – so that employees are too occupied fighting with themselves to mount a united campaign against the corrupt bureaucrat, Mayeda.

Also at Downey volunteers were told that they were no longer able to photograph and video dogs on their stray holds for their successful networking list.   The DACC’s rational is that the pets do not belong to the DACC during their stray hold – and therefore for legal liability reasons cannot be taken out of their kennels by volunteers.   This is of course stupid thinking on the DACC’s part, because pets are considered chattel property by the legal system and their value is set at $50.   When you are a high kill facility and you have lost one kennel building for renovations, as Downey has, you would think doing anything possible to quickly move pets through the system would be optimal – but not in the dysfunctional world of Marcia Mayeda and the DACC.  As a result of this asinine regulation, only 24 dogs, as opposed to the normal 40 – 60 pets, were photographed for the volunteer’s new networking list this week.

It was not all gloom and doom at the DACC.  Impounds are dramatically down over the last few months, possibly due to a combination of the new spay/neuter law in El Monte and spay/neuter programs – instituted of course by private rescues rather than by Mayeda’s department.

The last bit of news is Allison Cardones, formerly of the ASPCA has been appointed the new Deputy Director in charge of the South County Shelters – Carson, Downey and Baldwin Park.  She replaces Aaron Reyes who is being demoted for whistleblowing after he discovered that the DACC had failed to respond to over 5,000 calls from the public requesting emergency assistance.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

As reported last week, the Downey Shelter is starting badly needed renovations this week and will be losing one entire kennel building for the next six months according to Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda.   Everyone who knows the way that Los Angeles County government contractors work, knows that the renovation project will not run on schedule and the renovations are likely to drag on for over a year as they have at Baldwin Park.

The DACC leadership is trying to mitigate the loss of 40 kennels at Downey by transferring dogs to all the other DACC facilities.   Downey staff and volunteers could understand transferring pets to Agoura and Castaic, the two low-kill DACC shelters, and could even see the wisdom in sending pets to Carson – which thanks to the effective marketing job done by Saving Carson Pets has an 87 percent live release rate so far this year for dogs.  However, it was mind boggling to see Downey dogs being transported to Baldwin Park which under the piss poor leadership of Marcia Mayeda and her successive cronies Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Sherri Koenig has become a killing field – especially since Baldwin Park’s own shelter renovations are already nearly one year behind schedule and the facility has been down 48 kennels since June of 2016.  Dogs are also being transferred to the DACC’s Lancaster facility.  As one Downey volunteer said in disgust while watching the facility’s dogs being loaded into a van headed for Baldwin Park yesterday, “I feel like I’m watching a train leaving Berlin for Auschwitz.”

One has to ask was there any planning done on the part of the DACC leadership before they started their renovations?  How did the Mayeda regime, between Downey and Baldwin Park, allow ten percent of the DACC’s total kennels to be unavailable at the same time?  Why didn’t she build temporary kennels to house the displaced pets during the renovation.  Baldwin Park’s under- utilized barn could easily have been transformed into the kennel with minimal disruption to shelter operations.  At Downey, they could have transformed their storage barn into temporary kennels and moved the contents into containers.  Unfortunately saving lives has never been a priority at the DACC and never will as long as current management is allowed to remain in power.  It is estimated over five thousand additional dogs will die because of Mayeda’s poor leadership.

Meanwhile the DACC’s schizophrenic war against its own volunteers continues, especially at Baldwin Park.  Shelter staff there are demoralized and calling in sick, because they despise Baldwin Park’s management, and the facility is chronically understaffed.  As a result, the shelter is begging volunteers to give more hours of their time performing vital operations which are usually handled by staff.  Concurrently, volunteers are being fired for not performing eight hours of volunteer service per month. Volunteers should not be terminated because they went out of town, had a baby, had work obligations, or just didn’t have the time.   We maintain that when you have obligatory service to perform you are by definition an employee.   Employees are paid for their service.  Whether a volunteer gives four hours a month or one hundred hours a month, their service should be valued and gratefully accepted.  Ironically Baldwin Park volunteers, including the facility’s lead cat volunteer who was volunteering 8 hours a day 7 days a week, have been told that they are performing too many volunteer hours and have been ordered to work no more than 20 hours a week.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

After a few months of being mysteriously unavailable, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) suddenly decided to allow its dismal euthanasia statistics to be published again on its web site. The DACC tried to explain the statistics’ absence as being due to “technical difficulties” but, like anything that the Marcia Mayeda led agency states, no one believed them. Mayeda’s obsession with secrecy and penchant for obliterating and erasing any records of both her agency’s and her own poor performance has been frequently noted on this blog and other outlets. Whether the restoration of the euthanasia statistics was due to this blog, other shelter activists barbs and threats of lawsuits, or whether the agency’s computers finally were magically fixed is immaterial.

The fact is the agency’s statistics suck big time and abjectly illustrate how piss-poor Mayeda’s job performance is. Baldwin Park’s kill rate is 45 percent, the brand new Palmdale Shelter which was supposed to be the model shelter is at 41 percent and the overall kill rate throughout the County is 37 percent.

The DACC’s impounds dropped to a low of 37,855 animals in the current fiscal year 2016-2017. They killed 14,040 of these pets. Most major animal control agencies have much better rates. New York City only kills 10 percent of its pets, Chicago kills 27 percent, Detroit dropped its euthanasia rate three fold in 2016, and other major animal control entities saw similar successes. Meanwhile Mayeda’s department failed miserably.

Further offending both this reporter’s and most DACC employees’ and volunteers’ sensibilities is the new DACC website feature “Meet the Director”. The highly white-washed four page bio starts with the story of little 5th grader Marcia Mayeda being offended by conditions at a pet store near her home in Illinois. She supposedly called the local humane society and a few weeks the pet store was closed. Fast forward to the present, and if grown-up Marcia Mayeda called her own agency to report animal cruelty she would have had her call ignored and “no timed” – the DACC euphemism for not responding to calls. Over 5,000 calls to her South County Shelter Call Center were ignored last year alone.

The bio goes on to claim “Marcia and her staff have transformed DACC from a traditional animal control operation to a progressive agency that maintains public safety and animal life saving as its top priority. She credits the outstanding work of DACC’s staff and volunteers for this achievement. “Although I have established a vision of how our agency should operate, this would not be attainable if it weren’t for the dedication and team work of DACC staff and volunteers”.

Whoever wrote this must have been choking on their own words. The DACC is the agency that repeatedly “no timed’ calls and failed to impound a pack of pit bulls in Littlerock who later fatally mauled jogger Pamela DeVitt. To hide their involvement Mayeda and her cronies backdated computer records to make it appear that they had responded to repeated complaints about the pack of marauding dogs. This is the same Mayeda who has repeatedly ordered her staff to ignore California law and has refused to release pets to 501(c) rescues as mandated in the Hayden Act. This is the agency that has steadfastly refused to give its veterinarians the diagnostic equipment to save lives, and routinely kills pets for having minor, easily treated ailments which could be easily cured.  This is the agency that routinely fires volunteers for not putting in 8 hours a month unpaid labor at their facilities.

This is the agency that can even fail when it tries to upgrade its own facilities. Rather than start a badly needed renovation of the Downey Shelter during the low impound season which starts after Labor Day, Mayeda elected to start renovations on the first of March. These renovations will see Downey losing one kennel building for at least six months – including the high intake period between Memorial and Labor Days. With the loss of 40 dog kennels euthanasia will increase dramatically as there will be no space for this high intake shelter’s impounded pets.

As one high ranking DACC official told me after reading Mayeda’s bio, “If Mayeda was held to the same standard as her volunteers she would be fired for not putting in enough hours… but she is like Trump, she knows she is lying and doesn’t really care if anyone notices, because she can and will crush any internal investigations into her own misdeeds.”

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Somehow, despite the rampant mismanagement of Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda, the Downey Shelter has become a fairly high adoption center.   Although it still kills pets – nowhere near as many as Baldwin Park, but far more than Carson – Downey has managed to increase its live release rates thanks to its rescue friendly policies and strong networking team.

However, the shelter is still plagued by unfathomable stupidity.   California law requires all pets released from public shelters to be sterilized. Despite Downey’s soaring adoption rate the facility’s medical staff has reduced the number of spay/neuters they will perform each day – and has limited the number of large dogs that they will alter to three per day.   The medical staff claims they have broken cages in their spay/neuter clinic and have no place to put the dogs.

This is ridiculous.

If the clinic’s cages cannot be quickly fixed (and they likely can be) the shelter could use plastic crates like many facilities use to hold their dogs while they are in recovery. Because of the number of transports being done from Downey there are always large crates available for the task at hand.

As a result of the Downey veterinarians’ slowdown on neutering, people adopting pets are sometimes having to wait over two weeks for their pets and these pets are occupying much needed kennel space while they wait.  It is lack of kennel space which leads to euthanasia in high intake shelters.

This same medical team was also recently caught not doing hands on examinations of Downey’s pets because the veterinarian claimed she did not want to get germs on her scrubs. Consequently she was only performing cursory observations and deciding whether pets were ill from peering in from outside of the kennels. Recently Downey’s veterinarians wanted to kill A5001531, Captain Jack Sparrow, a three year old Chihuahua, because they claimed he had kennel cough and hadn’t responded to two courses of antibiotics. They never actually examined the dog with a stethoscope – they merely heard him snorting. The shelter deferred him from neutering and I had to rescue Jack Sparrow or he was going to be killed.   I took him to my veterinarian. We discovered that the dog was entirely healthy – but had the habit of snorting when he was happy and receiving attention!

We have heard of countless number of Downey dogs being labeled as ill just so the veterinary staff did not have to alter them. Some of these dogs were killed and others were adopted. Those who were lucky enough not to be killed were adopted on trust deposits. The adopter had to pay $50 and then could bring the pet back to be altered at a later time.   Many of these adopters and their dogs are never seen again and Mayeda and her cronies have not been tracking these pets – many of whom are procreating on the streets.

A few years back Marcia Mayeda, renamed her facilities which had previously been called “shelters” to “Animal Care Centers”.   Thankfully for Mayeda, we live in a Donald Trump world where lies and fraud are rewarded, as in any decent society she would be sued and prosecuted for the sheer chutzpah of calling her facilities, “care centers”.