Monthly Archives: June 2013

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

  

Driving through the fascinating city of Baldwin Park today, I noticed that at least six fireworks stands had been hastily built to peddle explosives for the rapidly approaching 4th of July holiday.  For the next two weeks Baldwin Park, La Puente, Azusa, El Monte and several other nearby cities are going to resemble Damascus at night with loud explosions from dawn to dusk.  Unfortunately a great number of these cities’ residents leave their pets outside at night, with no identification on their collars (if they have collars at all!) and only a few of these pets are microchipped – and of the few that are microchipped many of the owners have not kept their registrations current.  The result is that every day during fireworks season the Baldwin Park shelter impounds scores of frightened animals and those are just the lucky ones.  The number of dead dogs and cats in the roads is appalling and the number of profoundly injured animals coming into the shelter urgently in need of care is tragic.

Equally appalling is the fact that because the Baldwin Park Shelter is down to two working microchip scanners, neither of which is kept at the intake window, the Baldwin Park Shelter does not have the ability to scan incoming pets on impound.  Microchips are often not discovered for two weeks, as in the case of Anton, A4588204, who sat in the kennels for two weeks before a potential adopter tried to adopt him and the microchip was located.  Within hours he was reunited with his family.  I personally have tried to rescue five pets in the last two weeks only to discover that the shelter located a microchip as they were readying the dog for release.

If a microchip is found, the pet must be held for ten days from the date on which the shelter sends a letter to the owner.  This takes up space that could be used for other dogs who were instead euthanized for lack of space.

A Universal Microchip scanner, capable of scanning all brands of microchip, costs $340 retail.  We urge the DACC to examine their budget priorities and allocate funds to where they are most needed and will be most useful.    If the DACC’s management cannot find the money, we are sure that we could make many welcome suggestions on whose salaries or positions could be eliminated to make room in the budget for things which are actually useful and help the animals!

  

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

“No kill” is an admirable goal for Los Angeles County’s shelters.  Reaching it is complicated.

The DACC has the ability to dramatically reduce the number of pets being euthanized.  Supporting foster and bottle feeding programs, creating assistance programs to help owners keep their pets, increasing enforcement of spay/neuter and licensing regulations, utilizing existing DACC spay/neuter clinics to full capacity and maximizing the benefit of their 501(c)3 rescue partners by working cooperatively with them are all within reach.  But there are still too many pets and too few homes.

Achieving no kill requires enacting and enforcing statewide spay/neuter legislation  – something which has been opposed by the Republican party, the American Kennel Club and the National Rifle Association.  Subsidized low cost spay/neuter clinics need to be opened and will cost taxpayers less than is currently spent running the overflowing shelters.

Laws banning puppy mills are needed, and compliance monitored.   Tenants living in rental properties should have the right to have pets – the landlord should not make that decision.  Legislation requiring all pets to be microchipped needs to be enacted, and fines levied against the owners of pets found as strays whether they claim their animal or not.

Then and only then will we have a realistic chance of getting to no kill.  It is up to us to demand legislative changes from our elected representatives.  It is also up to us to demand a higher level of leadership from the DACC.

However in the meantime we just have to demand that the DACC improves its dismal record and unfortunately the only way this is going to happen is by removing this poorly run agency’s management.

In other notes the DACC is held in such low esteem by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department that the Sheriff’s don’t even call in Animal Control to rescue dogs locked in sweltering cars at Magic Mountain. To read about this we invite you to click: www.signalscv.com/section/36/article/97868/.    It amazes us that the perpetrators of this animal abuse were not even fined and got their pets back – and the DACC has not issued a press release criticizing the Sheriff Department for their poor handling of this matter.

Also the DACC has increased the rescue and adoption fees for pets altered by the agency by ten dollars per pet to cover pain medication for the altered animals.  However most of the pets are released without the medication and the pets are not receiving the medication in the shelters.  There is a word for being charged for services which you don’t receive, but I can’t seem to remember what it is!

  

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

Since the economic collapse of 2007, federal, local and state governments have seen tax revenues plummet. The polarization of Democrats and Republicans has caused gridlock throughout the county, and there seems to be no issue that either party can agree upon… except for one. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that we will have to do more with less. Government agencies have seen their budgets slashed, employees have been furloughed and services curtailed.

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) has lost a significant portion of its budget. In the DACC’s case it wasn’t fat that was trimmed, it was essential services. Marcia Mayeda, the controversial head of the DACC, is paid well over $200,000 of our tax dollars in annual salary and benefits. Has she earned her money? To answer this question you have to look at the challenges her agency faces and see if her priorities are straight.

Nearly everyone agrees that the DACC’s top two priorities should be protecting public safety by removing dangerous animals from our community and reducing the killing in the shelters by decreasing the number of pets coming into the system and increasing the number of adopted and rescued pets going out of the system.

The DACC has not come up with an effective policy on the public safety issue. Nearly everyone agrees that truly aggressive dogs should not be allowed into the public. However the DACC has not been able to accurately identify what is an aggressive dog. Dominant breed dogs (Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Shar Peis, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, Staffordshire Terriers, Jindos etc.) are presumed by the DACC to be dangerous and have to prove themselves, by means of a temperament test, to be suitable for adoption. Pets who fail are routinely killed for failing the tests. However according to most professional pet behaviorists the test is highly flawed, and often poorly administered and does not yield reliable results. Interestingly the City of Los Angeles does not require temperament testing of these breeds – having determined them to be highly non predictive of future behavior.

The DACC has a dismal record on reducing the number of pets coming in to the shelters. The head of the DACC should be simultaneously using her position to get her bosses at the Board of Supervisors to implement a county-wide enforceable spay/neuter law, and enforcing the spay/neuter ordinances in communities where there are laws. Currently when irresponsible pet owners discard their puppies and kittens they are rarely ticketed – and even more rarely are officers sent to their addresses to check and see if there are unaltered pets on the premises.

The DACC is supposed to promote adoptions and rescues. But the DACC does not have a viable foster program (to be authorized as a foster for bottle babies requires completing a class that is virtually never offered) and nearly all unweaned puppies and kittens are immediately given a “Marcia Mayeda cocktail” the popular euphemism among shelter workers for the lethal injection given to kill pets. The DACC has made it more difficult for rescues by implementing policies which make it increasingly difficult for rescues to work collaboratively to rescue pets from the shelters. (You can read more about this in previous blog posts on www.ricbrowde.com/dogrescue)

Also as discussed in my previous blog posts, the DACC has made it harder for volunteers to donate their time to support the shrinking kennel staff. At Downey, Baldwin Park, Lancaster and Carson potential adopters are often told that pets cannot be taken out of their kennels and shown due to staff shortages.

If Mayeda’s leadership was held to the standards of CEOs in the private sector, she would be forced out by the stockholders. If she were an elected official, she would be shown the door by the electorate. Mayeda has proved she is not worth two hundred thousand dollars a year. It is time for her to go – and be replaced by a smarter, more collaborative and more innovative leader.