The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control self-insures, and after a mauling at the Agoura shelter resulted in a settlement reputed to be close to half a million dollars, the DACC implemented a system where all volunteers and staff were required to watch a series of videos (at a cost to the taxpayers of $50 per viewer) and pass a hands-on test of their animal handling skills before they were allowed to interact with animals.
Despite these training videos having been filmed in a veterinary clinic and having very little to do with the shelter environment the highly paid public servants who run the DACC thought they had all the bases covered. Except as usual they didn’t.
The County court system refers petty criminals to the DACC for community service in the shelters. At the Castaic shelter, these completely untrained workers are, according to volunteers, being allowed to handle cats because of staff shortages. According to volunteers one of these court referral workers mishandled Bella, A4542088, which caused her to bite and be deemed rescue only. Despite the fact that Castaic officials knew a rescue was coming to pick up the cat on the following day, they euthanized her as we reported in last week’s blog post.
The reason the rescue did not pick up Bella in time to save her was the discontinuance of the ‘one time pull’ policy. Prior to the end of 2012, the head of a rescue could fax or email a shelter authorizing an individual, whose name, address, telephone number and driver’s license information they would provide in writing, to pick up an animal on the rescue’s behalf. The DACC’s service area is geographically spread out, and this was the only way rescues could save animals both in terms of time and cost. When a rescue is advised at noon that they have until 5:00 pm that same day to get an animal out of the shelter, often the only logistically possible way to do it is to “deputize” someone who is near the shelter to pick up the animal on behalf of the rescue. Nearly every other shelter system in Southern California honors a “One time pull policy” but Marcia Mayeda’s DACC doesn’t. As a result pets die. Bella was far from the only one to suffer this fate.
In other shelter news, the Downey Shelter continues its policy of refusing to microchip certain adopted animals (sick dogs and dogs which have been deferred from spay/neuter surgery) in direct violation of Los Angeles County Code 10.20.185, which requires that all dogs over the age of four months must have a microchip.
The DACC is still killing adoptable dogs, and not just Pit Bulls, despite having numerous empty kennels. We do not know if this is a financial or philosophical decision – but do know it is an unpopular and heartless decision.