The last two weeks have been the worst two weeks in recent memory for the unfortunate animals impounded at the high intake Baldwin Park and Downey shelters. Overcrowding has been severe as adoptions have tapered off while the tidal wave of surrendered and stray animals has not abated in the least. As a result far too many pets have been taken to the back and given Marcia Mayeda cocktails – the widely used nickname for the lethal drugs used to dispatch these unfortunate souls to their deaths.
Can we fault the shelter system for the carnage? The Baldwin Park Shelter only has 192 kennels and despite all the people who say they want Los Angeles County to become no kill, not one of these no kill advocates has come forward with an address where the excess pets who cannot be stuffed into the kennels can be dropped off.
However, this does not remove the shelter system from a partial share of the blame. Even in the winter months when the Baldwin Park Shelter routinely had forty to fifty empty kennels the shelter was ordered to kill. The reason given was the shelter did not have adequate numbers of kennel attendants to take care of the dogs who would have inhabited these kennels. Compounding this Marcia Mayeda’s head veterinarian, Dr. Salcito, has divined that on the 22nd day of incarceration pets become inexorably depressed and want to be euthanized – and she is only too glad to accommodate their wishes.
The lack of personnel to take care of the pets is particular appalling – and the word “Care” in the Department of Animal Care and Control has become an oxymoron. The Castaic shelter recently did not have enough personnel to feed or clean their cat cages – and the cats went hungry for a day. Notwithstanding the financial drain that Marcia Mayeda’s bloated salary takes, and frivolous spending – such as the money wasted by requiring volunteers to watch a collection of irrelevant training videos which cost the DACC fifty dollars per person to view. However the best way for the DACC to raise money is to hire more canvassers to walk the streets of Los Angeles County and enforce licensing requirements and concurrently educate people on the need for spay/neutering their pets. It is estimated that only ten percent of all pets are properly licensed in Los Angeles County. According to our sources, the average canvasser pulls in approximately $3,000 per day in revenue. Yet these canvassers cannot possibly cover the whole Los Angeles County area and are not being directed into affluent communities. The positive revenue brought in by the canvassers could pay for animal care and fewer pets would die.
A drop in the killing would be welcome. It’s time to put the word “Care” back into the DACC, and the only way that will happen is with a change of leadership at this bloated government agency.