Monthly Archives: April 2013

Baldwin Park & Downey Pets Urgnetly Need Your Help

  

There would be no one happier than me if I woke up tomorrow and discovered that Los Angeles County’s shelter system had decided to go no kill. I would also be delighted if I won the Power Ball lotto.    The odds for me to win  Power Ball are, according to statisticians,  one chance in 175,223,510.  The odds of Los Angeles County going no kill aren’t much better.

It’s a simple problem to understand- too many animals coming into the system, and not enough going out.   Until someone can reduce the intake numbers, which will only happen with strong spay/neuter laws, microchip laws, a ban of puppy mill dogs  being imported into our community, and landlords being refused the right to discriminate against pet owners, we have no chance.

However even if I can reluctantly condone something I abhor, the killing of innocent pets by the government – I can do so only if it is done for cases of irremediable suffering, pets who are dangerous (and so called “dangerous” pets need to be evaluated far better than they are now) and when the shelters are so overcrowded that it is the only way to alleviate the condition.   However when a shelter has forty empty kennels, there is absolutely no justifiable reason to kill a healthy pet.

For the last two months all of the Los Angeles County Shelters have had the smallest number of impounded pets since we have been able to tabulate the shelter populations on the internet.   Baldwin Park, Downey, Lancaster and Carson shelter volunteers have been reporting record numbers of empty kennels – yet the shelters are being ordered to kill – and the barrels in the shelter’s freezers are full of carcasses.

If anyone asks DACC officials why they are ordering pets to be slaughtered, they are accused of demoralizing the staff and threatened with dismissal if they are a volunteer.    However when one talks to the staff they tell us the only thing that is demoralizing them is that they are being ordered to kill pets who don’t need to be killed.

In a follow up to my last week’s blog about Downey’s failure to microchip pets, Marcia Mayeda in e-mails to activists accused me of lying.   She was then sent just a few of hundreds of impound numbers of pets (A4278450, A4386464, A4485782, A4465980, and  A4560366)  who were verified by DACC officials to have been released without microchips by Downey.   Ms. Mayeda has to – no one’s surprise – neither apologized nor responded.   We predict that she will blame the problem on an underling and discipline them – because with Mayeda the buck never stops here – it’s always someone else’s fault.

The DACC has published a mission statement on their website.  This mission statement says,  our mission is achieved through shared county values including professionalism, responsibility, compassion, commitment, integrity, accountability and community partnership.”

When you prove yourself to neither have responsibility, compassion, integrity nor accountability as Marcia Mayeda has demonstrated with this and hundreds of other incidents, you create a crisis in confidence amongst the public and your employees – and the only way to ameliorate the situation is to discharge the perpetrator.    If she had any integrity Marcia Mayeda would resign.  Since she doesn’t want to give up her $200,000 a year job and won’t go on her own – it’s time for the County Government to restore credibility and fire her.

  

Downey & Baldwin Park Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

I have been involved in rescuing shelter pets for nearly a decade – and I’ve constantly been struck by the number of well intentioned people involved in rescue who are incapable of working collaboratively for the welfare of the pets because of petty grievances, personality clashes, and all too often, the need to prove that they love animals more than anyone else possibly could.   To me this is all irrelevant – all I care is that pets get out of the shelter and are placed in loving situations.

That is why my spirits have picked up recently upon observing what is happening in the City of Los Angeles.  It appears that the rescue community has actually managed to unite, and express their opposition to Brenda Barnette, the clueless and autocratic head of the Los Angeles City Shelter system.  You don’t have to be a psychic to realize that Ms. Barnette’s days are extremely numbered.   For those of us whose attention is focused on the unfortunate pets in the Los Angeles County shelter system (DACC), we can only hope that this is the beginning of a shelter version of “an Arab Spring”.   Hopefully the County’s rescue community will learn from our city brethren, and come together to motivate the Board of Supervisors into ending Marcia Mayeda’s mismanagement of the DACC.

In shelter news, the DACC still cannot get its act together on the medical front.   If a pet is deferred from spay/neuter surgery at the Downey shelter – the medical staff refuses to microchip the pet (although adopters and rescuers are charged $15 for the microchip they do not receive) – and approximately fifty pets a month are being released without the ability to track them.  According to Los Angeles County Code 10.20.185 all dog over the age of four months must have a microchip.  Yet the DACC, under Marcia Mayeda’s, leadership does not follow this code.

Again we would like to remind you that   on April 25th the second episode of the PBS television program “Shelter Me” is being previewed at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica.   Marcia Mayeda has announced that she will be in attendance.  Ms Mayeda rarely goes anywhere in public and back in January when she was supposed to visit the Baldwin Park Shelter for a well publicized publicity stunt, she quietly changed the date of her appearance and brought security people.   For those of you who would like to finally be able to congratulate Ms. Mayeda on the wonderful job she is doing, or perhaps offer some suggestions, it might make an interesting and highly entertaining evening.

Every two weeks volunteers from the Downey Shelter and United Hope For Animals gather to photograph and video the pets at the Downey Shelter.  Normally they take photos of cats, rabbits and dogs, but Downey’s management has now issued an order that no photographs can be taken of cats during the shelter’s public hours – something they did not notify the volunteers until after the shelter was open.   Therefore this week the volunteers were only allowed to add dogs.

  

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

If you go to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control’s website, (www.animalcare.lacounty.gov) you will  be immediately struck by two things.  First, the DACC doesn’t move stray dogs over to the “adoptable” listings after their stray hold periods are over.  Second, the high intake shelters (Baldwin Park, Carson, Downey and Lancaster) have fewer dogs listed than at any previous time in their history.  As I write this on April 12th, Baldwin Park has 200, Downey has 230, Carson has 132 and Lancaster has 142 dogs.

DACC officials are patting themselves on the back for these low numbers, wondering out loud where all the dogs have gone, and marveling at the number of empty kennels at their shelters.  On a recent day Baldwin Park had 48 empty kennels, Downey had 20, and our Lancaster and Carson sources were reporting similar numbers of empties.

 

Why are there so many empty kennels?  For the last several years the rate of intakes slows from February – May and this accounts somewhat for the drop in population.  Our networking programs at Baldwin Park, Downey and Carson have increased rescues and adoptions, and the Heigls and Best Friends have been transporting pets to no kill shelters in record numbers.  Unfortunately these positive developments do not fully explain the declining shelter populations.

 

The County’s head veterinarian has been quoted as saying that dogs become so stressed and depressed after spending 21 days in one of the DACC’s shelters that it more humane for them to be euthanized (polite way of saying “killed”) than to remain in the shelter and possibly be adopted or rescued.   Given the absurdity of this statement I halfway expect to hear of the DACC issuing a directive prohibiting kennel attendants for putting blankets in the dogs’ kennels for fear that the depressed dogs will start committing suicide by hanging themselves.

 

When this was first publicized the DACC denied it, even though staff members, dismayed at having to carry out these orders, confirmed this was the policy.  But when you look at the DACC’s web site there are very few dogs who have been at the shelter longer than 21 days  – and those dogs who have been there longer are evidence dogs, networking dogs or dogs whose microchips were not discovered until they were checked one final time by a RVT before they were to be euthanized.

The DACC is killing for time and time alone.   Staff members have been ordered to use a new euphemism for this policy – calling it “unable to kennel” – which has joined “Irremediable suffering” and “aggressive” as grounds for killing dogs.

On April 25th the second episode of the PBS television program “Shelter Me” is being previewed at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica.   Marcia Mayeda, the head of the DACC, has announced that she will be in attendance.  Ms Mayeda rarely goes anywhere in public and back in January when she was supposed to visit the Baldwin Park Shelter for a well publicized publicity stunt, she quietly changed the date of her appearance and brought security people.   For those of you who would like to finally be able to congratulate Ms. Mayeda on the wonderful job she is doing, or perhaps offer some suggestions, it might make an interesting and highly entertaining evening.