• 2013

Yearly Archives: 2013

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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     On May 9th 2013 Pamela Devitt was attacked and killed by a pack of six Pit Bulls and two mixed breed dogs while jogging in Littlerock, a small town in Los Angeles County.  Ms. Devitt’s death was tragic and the dog’s owner, Alex Donald Jackson is facing murder charges… but from newly secured official documents, it seems that Mr. Jackson was not the only one whose misconduct rose to criminality.   A good deal of the blame for Ms. Devitt’s death, and we believe a good deal of the legal liability, rests squarely on the shoulders of Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control and her chief deputy, Derek Brown who have either directly ordered their Lancaster staff to  engage in a massive cover-up, or watched in tacit silence while they engaged in a cover-up,  in an attempt to shield themselves from a potential multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit from Ms. Devitt’s estate.

           On January 17th, 2013 the DACC received a complaint that Epifanio Maldonado was attacked by Pit Bulls, in the same area where Pamela Devitt was killed, while riding his horse with a friend.  The call was assigned activity number A13-004228, and the then-acting head of the Lancaster shelter, Raoul Rodriguez, ordered his officers to handle the call that day.  A Lancaster officer, badge number 251, went to the address where the pit bulls were alleged to live to investigate the complaint.  According to his notes he observed that “the owner was out there with at lease (sic) 8 pits in the front yard.”  On January 18th, a different Lancaster officer, Badge number 144, visited the property and entered a note saying he observed “3 large pit bulls on the property.”  

           The record shows no further attempt to investigate the license status or the ownership of the Pit Bulls until April 12th, when the next note was entered by the DACC’s Call Center.   The entry says that Alex Jackson called in response to a notice he had received and stated that he did not own any animals and that the dogs seen on his property were local strays.”

           The DACC uses a database system called “Chameleon” to track its information.  All entries into this database are automatically time stamped.   Policies and Procedures at the DACC require that all investigation notes be entered promptly, and failure to complete investigations can, and often does, result in employee suspensions.

           The next notes sequentially are dated on May 10th – the day after Mrs. Devitt was mauled to death by the dogs.  In the notes entered by Officer Rachel Montez-Kemp, the Officer recounts arriving at the scene of the tragedy and discovering Ms. Devitt was dead.   She spoke with Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Brandenburg and received a description of the attacking dogs.  Quoting Officer Montez-Kemp’s note (Memo No M13-063626)  “I went to the location of 37397 115th East to see if these dogs matched the description of the dog (sic) that attacked because we had several complaints of these particular dogs getting off the property and attacking, charging horses and riders, and other people.  We went to the location and did not see any dogs at the property, which was odd because every time the officers went or I went the dogs were running in the front yard.” 

           Officer Montez-Kemp’s notes make it clear that the DACC knew about these dangerous dogs in advance of the attack.  Realizing how potentially culpable the DACC’s lack of action was, the DACC went into cover up mode.   On May 21st, Officer Montez-Kemp entered additional, backdated notes.  On May 21st, (Memo No M13-068923) Officer Montez- Kemp says she arrived on April 3rd and did not see any dogs on the property, and that she posted a notice stating that Animal Control needed to speak to Mr. Jackson about his dogs.   Again on May 21st (Memo M13-068925) Officer Montez-Kemp says she went to Jackson’s address and this time “saw 2 brown pitbull (sic) mixes in front yard, they were barking but unable to get out of fenced in yard.  I was unable to make contact with anyone on the property” and goes on to say she posted a note demanding the owner of the property to get in touch with animal control.  

           From April 12th to May 9th, the record shows the DACC did nothing.  

           Mr. Jackson told Animal Control on April 12th that the dogs were not his.  There are multiple post-dated entries saying that various officers had observed the dogs, who they were supposed to be investigating.  If Mr. Jackson was taken at his word, and the dogs were not his, it was the DACC’s duty to impound the dogs as strays.  If they had suspicions that the dogs belonged to Jackson, the officers should have cited him for having more than three dogs, having unlicensed dogs, and failing to have his dogs neutered.

           In an e-mail sent by Marcia Mayeda to Attorney David Casselman on August 9th,  Mayeda claims “We made several visits to Jackson’s home to find the dogs but never saw them.”  This statement is inconsistent with the notes which were timely entered into Chameleon.         

          The inconsistencies, and the entry of post-dated notes offering a revisionist history of how the matter was handled, strongly suggest that Mayeda and her Lancaster underlings are at best clumsily engaging in a cover-up.

           As a lawyer said upon examining the DACC’s records, “I would love to be the one representing Mrs. Devitt’s estate in a lawsuit.  The verdict could reach well into 8 figures”.  This does not bode well for Los Angeles County which we have been told does not carry insurance and has elected to self insure – and it bodes even worse for the taxpayers who are going to have to cough up the dough to pay the verdicts, and the shelter pets who will die because there isn’t enough funding to take care of them.

       In other news concerning the Lancaster shelter, for the third time in the last few months money has gone missing from the facility.   Things have gotten so bad that the County Auditor was called in to take a look.  We do not know what his findings are, but the Lancaster shelter has changed all the keys to its locks, and now is required to send two people, from their understaffed shelter, to the bank to make all their bank deposits.  This comes at the same time that rumors are rife that there is a great deal more money missing from their licensing department… but in more cheerful Lancaster news, the shelter did win Marcia Mayeda’s services as a kennel attendant for one day on January 3rd.  So if you want to meet Ms. Mayeda, and let her know what a wonderful job she is doing – this will be a rare opportunity to meet this elusive public servant.   Of course she will probably be traveling with security paid for with your hard earned tax dollars, but quite frankly given the amount of stuff gone missing at Lancaster – we totally understand!

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your

 

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              Perhaps the number one reason why Marcia Mayeda should be fired from her $200,000 a year job as head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control is her disgraceful euthanasia policy.  

              There are four reasons for a municipal shelter to kill an animal.     If the pet is irremediably suffering or has demonstrated aggression towards humans – that is understandable.   If the shelter has reached its capacity and no longer has room to kennel its pets, it is tragic, regrettable – but understandable.   The one totally unacceptable reason to kill an animal is because the pet has been at the shelter “too long” and has exceeded the arbitrarily set number of days permitted by the head of the shelter system.

              The Castaic shelter has 48 dog kennels.  Last week the Castaic Shelter had 42 dogs, many of whom were Chihuahuas who were sharing kennels.   According to volunteers there were over 15 empty kennels – and had they combined kennels as they usually do, they could easily have had 25 empty kennels.  Yet the shelter ordered four dogs killed, solely for time – not for space.

              The Baldwin Park Shelter, the shelter I used to volunteer for until I was fired for writing this blog, has 192 dog kennels.   Last month on a Tuesday afternoon I walked through the shelter and counted 42 empty kennels.  Wednesday morning the shelter was killing dogs, several of whom had been at the shelter only the four days mandated by the Hayden act.

              Killing pets solely for time, rather than space is indefensible.  However, this is the policy of the $200,000 a year unelected bureaucrat Marcia Mayeda, who runs the Los Angeles County shelter system.   Marcia Mayeda spends enormous effort furtively sweeping her department’s dirty laundry under the table and avoiding public scrutiny.  We wish she would spend one-tenth of that effort finding homes and fosters for the animals.

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Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Desperately Need Your Help

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Many of us have been following the case of JoJo, the two year old German Shepherd mix who Marcia Mayeda, the inept bureaucrat running the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control wanted to execute after he finally bit two juvenile delinquents who were persistently tormenting him by pelting him with chunks of concrete.   Several rescues, including the Best Friends Animal Society, came to JoJo’s defense and offered sanctuary, but Mayeda showed nothing but contempt for the rescue offers and California State Law, when she refused to release JoJo forcing Team JoJo, led by attorney Talitha Wegner to take the matter to court.  To pursue the legal case, Mayeda and her mouthpiece, Diane Reagan, successfully demanded that Team JoJo post a $10,000 bond which would have been forfeited if they lost.    

 

After being defeated in preliminary court proceedings and faced with mounting media scrutiny and public outcry, Mayeda relented and handed JoJo to Best Friends.  This week we received word from Best Friends that, and we quote  “JoJo is doing great! He has quickly become a staff favorite. He is social and comfortable with everyone he meets and is very smart. JoJo is now living with a shy female dog named Amina.  Amina has bonded with JoJo and he is helping her to build confidence and be more trusting of people.”

 

So much for JoJo being vicious.  The same cannot be said about Marcia Mayeda, who has refused to release the $10,000 bond back to the Friends of JoJo, prompting another court hearing.  The Appellate Judge hearing the case expressed outrage that the DACC is holding onto the money, and chastised the DACC’s counsel for wasting the taxpayer’s money by forcing them to litigate an indefeasible position, before sending the demurral motion back to a lower court for litigation.

 

Mayeda contemptuously is still trying to litigate because she knows it costs team JoJo real money – and to her inflicting the maximum amount of pain to deter others from seeking justice is worth wasting our tax money on a losing case.  It doesn’t come out of her personal pocket so she doesn’t care.  This of course comes at a time when she does not have enough money to provide proper care for the pets entrusted into her shelter system’s care or to provide adequate compensation for her employees.

 

It again forces the question that nearly everyone who deals with the DACC asks every day – why does this venal woman still have a job, and what level of incompetence and failure does one need to exhibit before a derelict “public servant” is fired? 

 

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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This was a good weekend for shelter pets as the NKLA coalition staged a well run two day super adoption event at the LaBrea tar pits which led to the adoption and rescue of four hundred pets.  For me as a former volunteer from the Baldwin Park Shelter it was especially gratifying to see Baldwin’s employees and volunteers elect to stay an hour after the event was officially over in order that every one of the 42 dogs and 15 cats that the shelter brought ended up being adopted or rescued.  Watching the trucks head back to the shelter empty was a delightful experience and everyone who participated deserves to be congratulated.

What was disturbing was that the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control proved yet again that its leadership just doesn’t care.  The Carson, Lancaster and Agoura shelters did not attend this event where every single shelter pet brought was adopted or rescued.   The Downey Shelter team came on Saturday and were able to adopt every one of their dogs, and volunteers from the Castaic shelter showed up to adopt out all their pets on Sunday.

Given the fact that Lancaster is famous for being a high kill shelter, and Carson’s euthanasia rate is still unacceptably high, one has to wonder why the DACC’s management failed to recognize the opportunity to alleviate shelter overcrowding by sending shelter personnel and volunteers to a super adoption event where they knew that most, if not all, of their pets would be adopted or rescued.

I think it speaks volumes as to the mindset of the DACC ‘leadership’ when adoption is not a particularly high priority, and is yet one more reason why Marcia Mayeda and her henchmen need to be fired.

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Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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In a perfect world I would never have walked into any Los Angeles County Animal shelter, because there would be no need for them.   All pets would be loved and all shelters would be no kill.   Unfortunately, that perfect world does not exist in Los Angeles County.  Municipal shelters are needed, and the impounded pets need volunteers and rescuers coming into the shelter to publicize their existence and to help get them adopted and rescued.   In a perfect world the DACC would be well-funded and run by good, kindhearted and caring people, whose mission was to increase adoptions and stem the tide of incoming pets by implementing diversionary programs which would allow people to retain their pets without surrendering them to the shelters – as is done by the well run, open admission, no kill SPARC municipal shelter in Santa Paula California.  Unfortunately that perfect world does not exist in Los Angeles County.   The DACC is underfunded and  barely has enough staff to take care of its pets, and often does not have enough staff to show pets to people wanting to adopt while the people running the Los Angeles County Shelter system are clearly more interested in sweeping their failures under the carpet and protecting their salaries than about saving the lives of shelter pets.

I never intended to start a blog about the DACC’s failures; in fact I would far prefer to publicize the good they do.  The hard working staff at many of the shelters do amazing things with meager resources and even more meager support from the DACC leadership.  But, nearly every day my phone rings and the caller is either a DACC volunteer, employee or a rescue who wants to either complain about some failed policy or about the conduct of DACC employees.  It would be cowardly not to investigate the charges and if there are serious questions of wrongdoing not to act.  I always ask them why they are calling me, rather than take these issues up with the DACC directly.   Always I get the same two answers, “I tried and they didn’t do anything,” and the even more popular, “You can’t trust those people, they can only be publically shamed into doing the right thing.”   When animals are mistreated, when employees are being falsely accused of misconduct, or when the DACC promulgates bad policy, such as the death of the one-time pull, someone needs to speak up for the voiceless and that person has – much to my own dismay – been me.

www.ricbrowde.com/dogrescue has become a trusted source for information on what is really happening with the DACC.  Much to the chagrin of Marcia Mayeda and her minions, the website has become heavily trafficked and every weekend people tune in to find out the DACC scandal of the week.   The DACC wants to silence my website and over the next week are going to try to remove it from the public eye.  It won’t work, but they are welcome to try.

As a result this could be the last networking list that I send out.  If it is, who will have won?  Will it be the pets?  Will it be the public?  Will it be the best interests of the employees and volunteers… or will it be the interest of Marcia Mayeda, the highly paid bureaucrat who runs the DACC with the same transparency, integrity and public relations acumen that characterizes the North Korean politburo?  My goal is to put the rendering plants who profit on collecting the dead carcasses of pets killed by the DACC out of business.

Attached please find the latest Downey Shelter networking list composed of 52 dogs who desperately need your attention.  Anything you can do to help by adopting, rescuing or networking these fabulous pets is appreciated and urgently needed

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your help!!!`

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On June 10th 2012, a seven year old Labrador Retriever, A3597897, was turned in at the Lancaster shelter.  The dog was determined to be suffering from seizures and needed veterinary attention.   Because Marcia Mayeda refuses to staff the shelters with veterinarians on weekends, the shelter’s officer in charge filled out an “ETF” (Emergency Treatment Form) and at 3:30 P.M. assigned a staff member to take the dog to an outside veterinarian for treatment.    The outside temperature was 91 degrees and the assigned officer loaded the dog onto his truck and promptly never made it to the veterinary clinic.  For 8 hours the dog went through convulsions in the back of the truck while the officer found better things to do than take the dog to the veterinarian.   Sometimes the air conditioning may have been on – but much of the time it wasn’t and the inside temperature of the truck was most likely well over 100 degrees while the officer took other calls, went on several breaks and just plain hung out at the shelter.  It was not until the next shift came on at midnight that the dog was discovered and was finally brought to the veterinarian.  The officer involved had reportedly repeatedly engaged in such conduct and had been suspended previously for other misconduct.  Today he is not only still employed by the DACC,  but has a job working the “graveyard” shift in Lancaster interacting with animals without any oversight whatsoever.

In 2009 KCBS reporter David Goldstein aired a report on Channel 2 showing Officer Felix Reyes dragging a dog who had just come back from an outside veterinarian with a hip injury.  As a family of five walked by in the tape, Reyes dragged the dog on a rope across the floor and then yanked him over the threshold and deposited him inside a kennel.   Reyes was suspended, and thankfully no longer works at the Baldwin Park Shelter.  However he still has a DACC job and works at the call center in Downey.

Nearly all of the employees at the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control who come into daily contact with pets care deeply about the animals they work with and for.  They pride themselves on the care and compassion they provide not only to the pets unfortunate enough to end up in the shelter system, but to the public at large.   When an employee does something egregious to the animals they take great offence because they know it is all too easy for the public and rescues to see them as all the same – and unjustly disdain them for something they find morally repugnant.

What makes it even more galling for many of these employees as well as the public is that Marcia Mayeda, who has fired people capriciously for lesser offences, knows about these transgressions and has kept these employees on the county payroll.

Life goes on as usual for the high paid leadership of the DACC – for the shelter pets – not so much.

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Being an animal control officer, or kennel worker in the Los Angeles County Shelter system is not a glamour job.  If you are in the field your job includes picking up injured animals who have been hit by cars and transporting them to emergency veterinary clinics, or if they are dead bringing them to the facility for disposal, investigating cases of animal cruelty and making the tough call as to exactly when someone has crossed over the line of providing inadequate care for their pets, and picking up stray pets and bringing them back to a shelter where you know the pet may be euthanized due to lack of space.   For this work you can make between $33,864 as a starting salary and if you are there long enough and get every promotion max out at $60,615.24 per year before taxes and union dues.

If you are a kennel attendant your life is even less glamorous.  Your job description includes cleaning kennels, assisting the public in turning in unwanted and dead animals, and the worst job of all, taking healthy pets to the back of the shelter and holding them while they are killed and then placing their carcasses in barrels inside a freezer so they can be transported to a rendering plant.  For this job the starting salary is $30,426.60 and you can rise through the ranks to a salary of $41,943.24 per year before taxes and union dues.

These under-appreciated shelter workers have not had a raise or cost of living adjustment in over four years.

You can only imagine the emotions of these hard working people when they discovered last week that Marcia Mayeda, the head of Animal Control received a hefty raise last week – while they didn’t receive one cent.  Mayeda, who in many of their opinions has as well as ours has done a piss poor job of running the shelter system, makes over $200,000 a year in salary and benefits, while a kennel worker has to support his or her family on a salary that has seen it’s buying power dwindle precipitously over the last four years.

It’s inexplicable and unjustifiable, but business as usual at the DACC.

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Marcia Mayeda, the unelected bureaucratic head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal “Care”  and Control, displays such utter disdain for her employees, volunteers, the rescue community, the public and most importantly the pets entrusted into her care that this poorly functioning governmental agency is now in a major crisis.

On Tuesday, the Union representing the kennel workers at the six Los Angeles County Shelters are planning a protest rally, to complain about poor pay, poor workplace conditions and arbitrary and illogical discipline meted out against them (often as a punishment in retaliation for disagreeing with her capricious and spiteful treatment of the staff, public and animals).  Mayeda employs the age old tactics of dictators – silence dissenters at all costs… which usually works, until it eventually doesn’t – and when it stops working – things get uglier than Mayeda’s conscience.    Many kennel workers are planning on calling in sick to attend the rally, and the shelters will be staffed by management, volunteers, and petty criminals who have been assigned to community service to avoid jail terms.   It is one of the rare times when many of us are actually thankful that the DACC has a bloated staff at their headquarters in Long Beach, because many of these people can hopefully spend one day at the shelters performing real work, rather than their tedious real job of preserving their cushy job of doing nothing.

Meanwhile Mayeda’s war with the rescue community rages on.   Rescue is a collaborative labor and often rescuers from two or more rescues work together to save pets from being given Marcia Mayeda cocktails and needlessly killed.  Since Mayeda ended the “one time” pull policy which allowed heads of rescue to designate a person to pick up a pet from the shelter on their behalf,  rescues have had to work collaboratively (e.g with Rescue A picking up a pet at Lancaster and transferring him to Rescue B, because Rescue B did not have anyone near this off the beaten track shelter.)  Mayeda doesn’t want rescues transferring pets to other rescues, and has threatened several rescues with loss of pull privileges if they continue to do so.   As a result pets are dying by the hundreds for wont of transportation.  Oddly enough, if a private adopter transfers a pet to another person, the shelter cannot prevent the transfer and has no way of keeping track. Yet Mayeda holds rescues to a logically unacceptable different standard.

Mayeda’s history with volunteers is equally troubling.  She fired volunteer Cathy Nguyen several years ago for publicly disclosing Carson shelter’s negligent care of a dog named Zephyr who froze to death.   She also fired this author, Ric Browde, in December for questioning and publicizing the DACC’s inhumane and/or cruel actions.  Now Carol DeBoer, the lead volunteer at the Lancaster shelter for the last 12 years has resigned. Why? Same old story: she was treated with contempt when trying to help the unfortunate, often neglected pets at the Lancaster facility.  Mayeda and her minions need to keep the facade up – and those with a work ethic and who actually care about the animals are treated as a nuisance.

The public is continually sneered at by the Mayeda regime.   Poor and inadequate staffing at the shelter causes ridiculously long lines at the shelter. Hearings on dogs deemed “vicious” by Mayeda are nothing but kangaroo courts and anyone who questions their results is hassled by Mayeda’s henchwomen until they surrender out of fear and exhaustion.   Recently in the case of JoJo, the poor German Shepherd mix, who had been tortured by two concrete block throwing juvenile delinquents until he was forced to bite them in self defense,the DACC was taken to court to stop them from killing the dog.  Mayeda’s ego and power were threatened, so rather than turn JoJo over to one of several 501(c)3 rescues who offered him permanent sanctuary – before and during litigation – she refused to back down.  When a judge granted an injunction preventing the DACC from killing JoJo, coincidentally the Lancaster Sheriff’s Department began a harassment campaign against JoJo’s owners and their supporters and banned the family from visiting JoJo. JoJo’s mom became despondent and so distraught, she attempted suicide.  Thankfully she did not die and is getting the support she needs to cope.   DACC could easily have had to defend themselves against a wrongful death action – all because Mayeda will go to any length to silence dissenters.

Since the DACC ridiculously doesn’t carry liability insurance (which resulted in huge chunks of their budget  being lost after a mauling at the Agoura shelter), one could only wonder where they would have found the money to pay off a wrongful death lawsuit – that was squarely caused by Mayeda’s vicious treatment of JoJo’s family – because they dared to question her and exercise their right to appeal.  Mayeda does not recognize the rights or the dignity of the public, the shelter employees or the animals – she is a mini dictator using your tax dollars to wage her personal wars.

The JoJo case perfectly illustrates why the DACC has no credibility.  The DACC in all their court pleadings and internet posts have branded JoJo as a Pit Bull/Rottweiler mix.  Although they have been corrected by experts and amateurs as to Jojo being a German Shepherd mix, they continue to deceptively play out this bogeyman narrative in order to influence opinion in their favor given the general public’s misperception of these two bully breeds. Above please find a picture of JoJo which the DACC was forced to take last week to prove they had not killed him (they moved him to an undisclosed destination).  JoJo is clearly a German Shepherd mix.  If this inaccurate ‘Pit Bull/Rottweiler’ breed designation is an innocent mistake, then the DACC who portrays themselves as animal experts is apparently so incompetent that it cannot correctly recognize the difference between a Pit Bull and a German Shepherd.  Can these so called experts be trusted on anything substantive?

The ones who ultimately suffer are the poor pets entrusted to the DACC.  They have no voice, unless we as taxpayers decide to stand up and send a clear and unrelenting message.  The Justice for JoJo team that has been working literally day and night to save not only JoJo but all the future JoJo’s that come into Mayeda’s site is now $15,000 in debt due to Mayeda and her mouthpiece, County Attorney Diane Reagan’s disingenuous attempt to use the court system as a weapon rather than as a fair and independent arbitrator for two parties trying to settle an issue.  People who wish to donate to the cause of saving JoJo and shelter pets can do so by clicking here:  http://www.gofundme.com/40nyjs

Marcia Mayeda is a walking liability to the county.  She even more dangerous because she has lulled her superiors with her facade, smoke and mirrors.  Understandably, her superiors probably want to have one less problem to deal with and are no doubt an eager audience for her pantomime.

Mayeda is pretending to do her job. It is time for her underpaid employees to rise up – together – and speak up about what they endure under her boot heel. She can’t give them all “freeway therapy” at once, she can’t punish them all for speaking up and tearing down the cathedral of illusion she has erected for the Supervisors.

Imagine a DACC with thoughtful leadership?  Spay/neuter clinics and violation enforcement; partnership with volunteers and rescues; resources spent on education and not harassment of the public? Animal control might be freed up to stop dog fighting rings, abuse and neglect of animals!  Money would be spent on programs to fix problems rather than on a remote building in Long Beach filled with do nothing management!  We can dream…and we can fight.  Please make your voice heard.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Realizing that here is a deep partisan divide in government these days, pragmatic people try to find a common ground which will unite them – without respect to political affiliation.  It is these common core fundamental values that unites us as a country.    I like to think that one of these common values we all share  is that  we all want our government to be built on compassion for its citizens.  I am a liberal Democrat, but I am almost positive even the most strident Republican does not want a government built on hate and contempt for its citizens.

It is this common principle which binds us as a society and what makes the conduct of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control’s leadership so galling and offensive in the case of JoJo, the German Shepherd who bit two juvenile delinquents who taunted and tortured him by throwing concrete blocks at him.

Not only has the DACC refused to obey the very clear terms of the Hayden Act and immediately release JoJo  to 501(c)3 rescue groups who offered him sanctuary, but when the world renown Best Friends Animal Society offered sanctuary, the DACC rather than accept it without qualifications – put so many restrictive clauses that you would think they were dealing with Hannibal Lecter rather than a family pet trying to protect himself from being tortured.

JoJo’s family was intimidated into signing a document releasing their ownership of the dog, by being told that the DACC would kill him if they refused.  To add injury to insult this financially strapped family had to pay nearly one thousand dollars, twice their monthly income to the DACC to save his life.  Once the DACC received the money, coincidentally the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department embarked on a bumbling but highly effective strategy to harass JoJo’s family, banging on their doors early in the morning, and chasing them away from the Lancaster facility where JoJo was being held.  Denise Wheeler, one of JoJo’s owners, and a mother to an infant daughter became so distraught from the strain of the DACC’s constant barrage of attacks and threats and the Sherrif’s harassment that she attempted suicide.

Marcia Mayeda, the head of the DACC, not only wants to kill JoJo, but through her reprehensible conduct she nearly had the hopefully unintentional effect of nearly  destroying his family.   Is this compassion?  Is this morally tolerable?  Is this the governmental conduct we want to subsidize with our hard earned tax dollars?

We hope not.

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JoJo the latest as of September 18th

Here is the latest on JoJo, the two year old German Shepherd mix who Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control  (DACC) wants to kill because he bit two juvenile delinquents who had been tormented him by throwing concrete blocks at him.    The DACC has put out a statement on their website trying to explain their reasoning for wanting to kill JoJo.   It of course ignores all evidence put forth by JoJo’s defense team and all evidence put forth by witnesses from the community where JoJo lived, as well as any evidence put forth by qualified “expert” witnesses who have examined JoJo, such as that offered by Dr. Richard Polsky, a well recognized dog behaviorist – and to date, the only behaviorist with any recognized credentials to examine JoJo.   In his opinion Dr. Polsky eviscerates the DACC’s designation of JoJo as being vicious, criticizes their designating him as a Pit Bull/Rottweiler mix when he is clearly a German Shepherd mix, and further points out the unfairness of the way the DACC has handled this case.

Mayeda and the DACC finally offered to accept the world famous Best Friends Animal Society’s offer of  sanctuary for JoJo – but put on odious restrictions which basically made JoJo a canine version of Hannibal Lecter, a family dog who had to be kept cooped up without any public interaction with anyone other than certain staff members and no chance of being adopted.   The Michael Vick fighting dogs, who Best Friends rehabilitated had no such restrictions and many of them actually met the legal definition of vicious – unlike JoJo.

According to the DACC, some, as yet unidentified, people made threats to forcibly remove JoJo from their Lancaster facility where he had been sitting in a kennel for 73 days (and between 1 and 4 dogs were dying daily at Lancaster because the kennel occupied by JoJo was not available for their use).   As a result they asked the Lancaster Sheriff station to “protect” their facility and the police acted by harassing JoJo’s owners, Travis and Denise as well as anyone who were a “Justice for JoJo T-shirt”.   This pattern of harassment explains why the United States Justice Department has been conducting a Civil Rights Investigation of the Sheriff’s station in the Lancaster/Antelope Valley region.   Despite the questionable legality of the harassment it was very effective, and on Monday Denise who was already despondent over losing her beloved pet, attempted suicide.  Thankfully she was found in time and rushed to a hospital – where she was successfully revived.

Who are we to believe, the DACC or our version of the above events?  It all comes down to credibility, who has more?  Marcia Mayeda who admits ordering the deaths of over 549,000 pets through December of 2012, or JoJo’s defense team composed of rescuers who have dedicated their precious time and financial resources to save pets from Ms. Mayeda?

Meanwhile JoJo has been moved to an undisclosed kennel, where JoJo’s defense team has been unable to interact with him – and had to pay $1,000 for his kenneling, while the Best Friends settlement agreement is negotiated (a mediation on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday).   Interestingly enough when the DACC impounds a dog they charge the public $18 per day.  We are assuming by this extortionist fee that the DACC wants to hold on to JoJo for another 55 days.

Despite Justice for JoJo’s lawyers, led by the incredible Talitha Wegner, doing the case on a pro bono basis, we have already had to spend $14,000 and have exhausted our funding.  Anyone who wants to make a tax deductable donation to help JoJo and help set a precedent against bullying and kangaroo courts conducted by Mayeda can do so by clicking here: http://www.gofundme.com/40nyjs