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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”.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

One of the primary functions of any animal control agency is to respond to the public’s calls when they report injured pets in distress, dangerous dogs and dead animals needing removal.   Los Angeles County has two call centers, operated 24 hours a day to receive such calls. Unfortunately under the feckless leadership of Marcia Mayeda, the DACC does not have the manpower to respond to these calls and as a result not only pets, but sometimes even people die.

DACC sources have confirmed that over 5,000 calls in 2016 were not responded to in the South County (the shelters served by Baldwin Park, Downey and Carson) alone.  Often overworked, but occasionally lazy, officers could not (and still cannot) handle the volume of daily calls assigned to them. Instead of investigating these calls were merely “no-timed” and, instead of being followed up by the next shift, these calls were ultimately outright ignored.  According to DACC sources the problem is even more acute in the North County which is serviced by the Lancaster, Palmdale, Castaic and Agoura Shelters.

As many readers of this column will remember, the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt in Littlerock in May 2013, was the direct result of the DACC’s failure to respond to citizens’ complaints about the dogs who fatally mauled Ms. DeVitt. Mayeda and the DACC have brazenly tried to cover-up their involvement in DeVitt’s death by backdating notes and hiding documents. This case is currently being litigated.

However the shocking thing is that rather than learn from the lessons of DeVitt, Mayeda is steadfastly refusing to do anything about the problem. Instead of hiring more staff to allow them to respond, Mayeda and her chief aide Betsey Webster instead went on a vendetta against the person who discovered the DACC’s malfeasance.   They have demoted him and are seemingly trying to railroad this senior executive out of the DACC. It will be interesting to see how this plays out now that Ms. Mayeda no longer enjoys the protection of former County Supervisor Mike Antonovich who finally was termed out of office.

In other interesting news, the city of Visalia, an upstate community with a huge stray problem, is to be commended for enacting the most sensible spay/neuter laws we have seen. In addition to requiring mandatory altering of pets, the city is providing free spay/neuter services for all cats, Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls.   It never ceases to amaze us that progressive and innovative thinking never emanates from Mayeda and the DACC. Instead of leading and trying to solve Los Angeles County’s huge stray animal problem, Mayeda would rather divert much needed funds to build a private dog park for her pets at DACC headquarters.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Usually this blog is devoted to covering the widespread mismanagement at Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control – and there will be some coverage of new developments included herein. However there is news today that threatens all pet owners and rescuers that this column feels obligated to cover.

Today’s announcement that VCA veterinary hospitals is being sold to M&M Mars, the candy maker and owner of Banfield Pet Hospitals is highly disturbing. Even though personally I am a VCA stockholder and will financially receive a huge windfall from the merger, this will be terrible for those seeking honest and quality care for their pets. The merger will give the combined company a virtual monopoly on the veterinary business.

Banfield already has a horrible reputation as its veterinarians are directed by corporate officials to upsell their clients. VCA has been buying veterinary clinics throughout California at an alarming rate.  At VCA, many veterinarians are being directed to perform three billable procedures on your pet – whether they need it or not.   How often have you gone to a VCA vet and been told that if you care about your pet that they should run a panel on your pet – and been billed between $200 and $300 for the process. According to several ex-VCA veterinarians 90 percent of the time there is no reason to run a panel other than to make money for the veterinary clinic. Veterinarians’ will be compensated over their billable procedures, so your pets’ interests will not coincide with that of the person you are supposed to trust – your veterinarian!

The combined Banfield – VCA company will give a stranglehold on America’s veterinary industry. They will have over 1,600 clinics and 20 specialty hospitals. You will have virtually no choice in finding an independent veterinarian and prices will be both fixed and higher.   Hopefully the government will block this merger – but with the Trump regime’s takeover of the reigns of power things look bleak for pet owners and pets.

In this week’s DACC news, rumors are that a complaint was filed with the County’s Equity department about Baldwin Park Shelter manager, Sheri Koenig’s harassment of a well-respected Major Case Unit (MCU) employee. The significance of this complaint is that it was filed with Equity rather than the DACC’s human affairs department. This reduces DACC head Marcia Mayeda’s ability to interfere with the investigation as Equity conducts its investigations outside the DACC’s jurisdiction.   To date Koenig has been able to skate through a series of scandals as investigations were squashed by Mayeda  – but according to DACC insiders this one might stick.   Meanwhile there are reports that Baldwin Park employees are considering a circulating a petition demanding Koenig’s ouster – as morale has plummeted to perhaps even a lower level than was there during Pat “Google Me” Claerbout’s reign of error.

 

 

 

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

The end of 2016 could not come fast enough for the Baldwin Park Shelter. Large numbers of employees have become so disgruntled with shelter manager Sheri Koenig that they have feigned illness and called in sick. Several times over the last few weeks, the poorly run facility has had only one kennel attendant to tend to the 144 kennels it has in use. Field officers have also been absent in large numbers and it was not unusual to have only one officer in the field – with several communities receiving no service.

Several years ago a large corps of volunteers would be there to eagerly fill the void. But, under the successive leadership of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Koenig the shelter has been hemorrhaging volunteers due to the hostility they have been shown by management. For the last year the shelter’s lead cat volunteer had been ordered to reduce her hours from the average 60 hours a week she had previously donated to the county to 12 because she had the audacity to complain when the facility’s felines were receiving improper feeding and insufficient care. Volunteers who were previously welcomed as long as there were staff members on duty, were banned from Baldwin Park during hours when the shelter was closed to the public. To top that off the shelter’s popular and diplomatic lead volunteer, Rӧke D’Amico resigned two weeks ago. D’Amico will be sorely missed as among her numerous contributions, she had been the facility’s most reliable foster and was in charge of driving the shelter’s pets to, and running the mobile adoption program .

Baldwin Park was supposed to have a new volunteer coordinator starting work on December 19th. The affable and extremely qualified gentleman who took the job showed up as scheduled and within hours was transferred to the Downey Shelter. A large number of Baldwin Park employees have filed transfer papers and have been waiting for months to be transferred away from Koenig; so it raised eyebrows when a new employee could be moved that quickly to a new facility. According to DACC sources, the new volunteer coordinator was told by a senior manager at Baldwin Park that the shelter already had enough ‘lesbians and homos’ and was made unwelcome. According to rumor DACC leadership got wind of the manager’s homophobic rant and quickly moved the new employee to hopefully avert legal challenges. DACC hatchet man David Hou, has a thick dossier on this manager’s misconduct but has been ordered to stand down by Mayeda. Los Angeles County has professed to have intolerance for homophobic slurs and if this report is indeed true, we will see if the Board of Supervisors will keep doing their ostrich imitation and keep their heads buried in the sand rather than investigate the rampant misconduct within Mayeda’s fiefdom.

If that wasn’t bad enough the shelter’s washing machine was broken for nine days and pets were not given blankets and towels to keep them comfortable and warm. Every officer at every southern California Shelter knows that there is a fabulous charity, Operation Blankets of Love who will gladly for free deliver blankets and other supplies at a moment’s notice, but Baldwin Park’s management never made the call.  The rise in upper respiratory ailments affecting Baldwin Park’s pets has not been officially released but sources reveal a rise in the number of pets, who were selected for transport to no kill facilities, failing health certification during this outage.

Meanwhile there was other news coming out of the DACC. For the last several years the DACC had been posting its euthanasia statistics on its website. Last week the DACC decided to discontinue this practice, posting a notice stating:

The statistical reports are currently unavailable. To request statistical information in the meantime, please email legal@animalcare.lacounty.gov and specify exactly what statistical information you need (There may be a charge).”

Considering that the reports are automatically generated by the shelter’s Chameleon software and are readily available by anyone with access to the DACC’s computer system, and Marcia Mayeda’s penchant for secrecy many people are wondering what she is trying to hide.

However it was not all doom and gloom in DACC land. After years of being roundly criticized by this reporter and others for her failure to have any qualified pet behaviorists on staff, Mayeda circulated an e-mail to DACC volunteers announcing that she was finally hiring someone with the proper credentials to perform the job. Tens of thousands of dominant breed dogs have been subjected to poorly administered temperament tests which determined if they would live or die. Many were killed for failing tests which were given by employees who not only did not have a clue as to how to either properly administer or score a test – but were also scared of dogs to begin with! We do not know who the new behaviorist will be , but welcome the development – as long as the person is allowed to perform their job both without interference from above and with compassion.

 

mayedaAt least one of these images is a photo of Marcia Mayeda   mayeda2

 

Downey Shelter & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Marcia Mayeda, the morally casual head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has recently become quite the prolific reTweeter, taking time off from her job to tweet several times a day and we’ve been enjoying the banalities that she has been sending into the Twittersphere. Judging from her retweets, Mayeda has most likely enrolled, at the taxpayers’ expense of course, in a motivational program called EntreLeadership. Our first instincts was that the DACC führer was up late one night watching television when some Tommy Vu like infomercial came on, and she was seduced into “acting now because the first 10 people responding to the sales pitch would receive a fence, a $60,000 retail value, to put around their office” – but, no, it turns out EntreLeadership is a well-reviewed program.

We’ve particularly enjoyed the following recent Mayeda retweets of EntreLeadership principles:

  • “In the absence of alternative information, people come to their own conclusions.”
  • “What determines whether your company is going to get better or worse, is not who you lost. It’s who you replace.”

Given Mayeda’s penchant for secrecy – such as ordering that all e-mails be deleted from employees’ computers and no further communication be done in writing lest it can be subpoenaed in a legal action when the DACC was caught violating the law – and then add her refusal to hold open town meetings and answer directly questions from either the public or rescue community – we have severe doubts about her ability to control either the message or the conclusions people reach about her agency’s myriad of failed policies.

As for judging whether the DACC is going to get better or worse by who they replace let’s use Mayeda’s Baldwin Park facility as a microcosm of the DACC. There have been a myriad of complaints concerning the misconduct of the facility’s manager, Sheri Koenig. According to our sources internal investigations conducted by the DACC have recommended that Koenig be suspended if not outright removed. Yet Mayeda has blocked any discipline being meted out.

The website www.thesimpledollar.com reviewed EntreLeadership favorably – and one of their quotes is especially poignant:

The best thing you can do as a leader is to make decisions quickly based on the information you have and be able to explain why you made those decisions. “Leaders” who don’t make decisions tend to lead organizations that fall apart. Leaders who make decisions without basing them on information tend to make horrible decisions. Leaders who make decisions based on information but can’t explain them tend to sow mistrust with their team.

The vast majority of the DACC employees think that Mayeda is a corrupt and autocratic leader who both tolerates and promotes favorites who are either unwilling or unable to competently do their jobs. Until Mayeda adapts the above fundamental principle of EntreLeadership any money that the DACC is spending trying to teach her is a waste of taxpayers’ dough – because as the old adage says, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help~

It is no secret that Marcia Mayeda, the widely detested head of Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) has contempt not only for the pets entrusted into her care but for most of the dedicated people involved in pet rescue. Mayeda has continued to flaunt the provisions of California SB 1785, popularly known as the Hayden Act, by refusing to allow 501(c)3 rescues to adopt certain pets from her facilities.

Mayeda has mandated that certain breeds, including Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Shar’ Peis and Jindos be temperament tested by DACC employees. If the pet fails the temperament test it cannot be adopted without an indemnity waiver signed by the head of an official DACC adoption partner.

Mayeda’s temperament tests are poorly conceived and often poorly administered, and have fundamental flaws:

1.). Dogs are tested for food aggression by giving a dog a can of food, and then taking a wooden hand to nudge the food. If the dog pushes back against the hand, he is deemed to be “food aggressive”. Hundreds of dogs, many of whom have been underfed, if not starved or who have never been given wet food before, fail and are condemned to death because they are so excited to finally have some good food that they will nudge the hand which is trying to take away the food. We suggest you try it with your own dog and see how they do. If they nudge the hand, according to Mayeda’s standards your dog is dangerous and should be killed.

2.) The DACC does not have a single certified animal behaviorist on its payroll. The tests are being subjectively administered and graded by unqualified and often burned out employees who just don’t care and are making the scores up based on their mood. One shelter worker jokingly claimed to have become so disillusioned with the DACC that the employee was passing all pets in the vain hope that the dog would turn vicious and get lucky and have the chance to bite Mayeda.

3.) Under Mayeda’s edicts, any dog who is ill, even with something as mundane as kennel cough, cannot be tested and automatically will require an indemnity waiver to be released. This means that a member of the public is prohibited from adopting the pet, as is a 501(c)3 rescue which has not submitted additional paperwork and gone through the DACC’s arbitrary approval process.  This causes many wanted pets to needlessly be killed in the back rooms of DACC facilities.

Nowhere in the Hayden Act does the State of California grant a shelter to deny the right to pick which rescues it will work with.

To further impeded adoptions and promote the killing of pets in her overcrowded facilities, Mayeda has implemented a byzantine system for waiver pets to be released to rescues. Only the head of a DACC rescue adoption partner may request a waiver – and it must be requested in writing. Once it is requested the waiver must be drafted by a DACC employee who only works four days a week from Monday – Thursday. If the waiver is requested on a Thursday the dog will linger in the shelter, taking up valuable kennel space until at least the following Monday when the waiver may be issued. Sometimes the process of issuing the waiver will take over a week. Then once the indemnification waiver is drafted (and in reality all waivers are basically the same), it is sent to the rescue who requested it for signature. To verify this person’s identity, the shelter also requests that the person remit a copy of their driver license. It is a lengthy process and if the DACC really cared they would have a standard liability waiver which each shelter could issue on the spot.

However we would argue that it is ridiculous to insist that rescues sign indemnity waivers in the first place. The standard DACC adoption agreement signed by the public and by rescues specifically indemnifies the shelters against all liability arising from pets biting or causing damage. Mayeda’s indemnity waiver adds no legal protection for Los Angeles County – it merely is used to hinder adoptions of pets that Mayeda and her minions have a rooting interest in killing.

Meanwhile in happier news – in a case of “even a blind squirrel gets an acorn sometime” department, the DACC finally managed to do something right and provided 195 pets (54 cats and 141 dogs) for transport to no kill shelters as part of the Wings of Rescue Holiday Airlift of 785 pets from California and Louisiana shelters.   Full kudos are due to the rescue coordinators at the various DACC facilities for their efforts in making this the biggest single rescue event in the agency’s history. Somehow Marcia Mayeda wasn’t on hand at the airport to celebrate these pets being flown to safety. Perhaps her absence was due to this reporter being one of the organizers of the airlift, or perhaps it was that frankly she doesn’t give a damn. It doesn’t matter either way – because she wasn’t missed.

In other notable DACC news after years of sexual harassment charges having been leveled against them two sergeants are finally being discharged, and a top deputy is rumored to have been demoted for as yet undisclosed reasons.