Monthly Archives: August 2013

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

“Congratulations to Marcia Mayeda” is not a phrase you would expect from this writer, but yes, there it is starting off my weekly blog.  Mayeda has finally launched a new Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control website and it is pretty good.   We’re not going to quibble about the new site taking three years longer than Mayeda promised (and in the interim hundreds of pets were killed because of her stubborn refusal to fix flaws in the old site), the new website is a vast improvement.

One of the interesting things which was not migrated over to the new website was the DACC’s mission statement, particularly the following paragraph  “As the agency responsible for animal-related public safety, our mission is achieved through shared county values including professionalism, responsibility, compassion, commitment, integrity, accountability…”   Evidently one of the DACC’s pit bull lawyers must have warned Mayeda about laws pertaining to fraud and truth in advertising.

‘Responsibility’, ‘compassion’, ‘integrity’ and ‘accountability’ are not words used in sentences involving the DACC, as recent incidents at the Lancaster shelter recently proved.  On July 28th, Marley A4506684, a ten month old Labrador Retriever was impounded.  Marley had been owned by a woman named Sabrina, whose son was hospitalized for cancer and required constant care.  Sabrina gave Marley to a friend to take care of while she was indisposed.  Unfortunately Marley and the caretaker’s puppy did not get along and the caretaker took Marley to the Lancaster Shelter on July 28th.  Marley had been originally adopted from the Lancaster shelter and had a registered microchip number 981020007252000.  This chip was registered to Sabrina.

The DACC’s written policy mandates all incoming pets to be scanned to see if they have microchips.  If a microchip is found, the chip is to be traced and the shelter is supposed to verify that the person relinquishing the animal is the pet’s registered owner.  If not, a phone call is to be made to the registered owner, and if they do not answer the call, a registered letter is to be sent to the owner’s address notifying them of their pet’s whereabouts and giving them ten days to claim their pet.

The Lancaster shelter never scanned Marley and never sent a certified letter.  On August 5th Sabrina discovered that Marley was at the shelter and tried to reclaim him.  She was told that Marley had attacked another dog and killed him (this information was false) and that he was rescue only.  The owner reached out to one of Lancaster’s stellar volunteers to help her reclaim the dog.  The Lancaster volunteer called Sgt. Chavez of the Lancaster shelter on August 6th and told him that she was working on getting the dog out.  On August 7th Lancaster gave Marley a Marcia Mayeda cocktail and killed him.    The Lancaster volunteer was so revolted by this and other Lancaster misdeeds that she resigned after 14 years of service.

There were so many criminal errors committed by the shelter on this matter.  They never scanned the dog upon impound, they never scanned the dog upon killing him.  They never went through the formal notification process, and most importantly they knew Marley was going to be rescued.

Harry Truman is revered for his “The Buck Stops Here” quite,  taking responsibility for everything happening under his administration.  With Marcia Mayeda when you’re talking about Buck’s stopping, all you get is a dead dog named Buck lying dead on the side of the 105 Freeway.

It’s time that a civilian oversight commission be established to watch over Marcia Mayeda and the DACC, because clearly this out of control agency is not willing or trustworthy enough to watch over themselves.

  

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

It’s cocktail hour at the Los Angeles County Shelters, but it is definitely not happy hour.   The venue isn’t even open yet, but there are already long lines at the door, and the uniformed staff  are busy carefully checking everyone’s identification.   As the line worms its way through the entrance, the place looks very industrial minus the laser shows and techno music to dance to.   It’s the worst club in the world.  There is only a steel table and a rusty barrel.  There is only one item on the menu – the Marcia Mayeda cocktail, a lethal combination of sedatives which is used to snuff out the lives of unsuspecting pets.  The staff have would like to be anywhere but here and try not to pay attention while they do the job they are being underpaid to perform, holding the pet still while its life is snuffed – and then to place the carcass in the barrel and wheel it into a freezer where it is kept until the truck comes to take the bodies to a rendering plant.

The rusty barrel making industry has been thriving under the reign of Marcia Mayeda.  Since she has been head of the Los Angeles Shelter system she has ordered the killing of over 550,000 pets.    She claims they are sick, unwanted or vicious as her rationale for killing them.   Sometimes she is right, but way too frequently she isn’t.  The pets are wanted, it’s just Mayeda has some sort of personal vendetta against them.

One such case is JoJo, a two year old shepherd mix who finally bit two kids after they had tormented and tortured him by throwing concrete debris at him, and spraying him with hoses.  The dog has been evaluated by a protégé of Cesar Milan, who found him to be a highly adoptable family pet.

Under the terms of the Hayden Act, (California State Law SB 1785) any 501(c)3 rescue has the right to take custody of an impounded pet at any California municipal shelter prior to the pet’s destruction.   A 501(c)3 rescue, the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC), tried to get JoJo released to their custody.

Against the advice of her Executive Assistant Patricia Learned, Marcia Mayeda refuses to release JoJo and ordered him to be killed immediately –  despite having the DACC having been forced to sign a consent decree five years ago, agreeing to adhere to all the provisions of the Hayden Act, to settle the case of Cathy Nguyen et al vs . County of Los Angeles,).

On August 14th – the day JoJo was to be killed – attorney Talitha Wegner, acting on behalf of SPARC, filed suit and  obtained a temporary restraining order preventing Mayeda from killing JoJo until an impartial hearing is held on September 5th.   The goal of this lawsuit is not only to have JoJo released safe and unharmed to SPARC’s care, but it is also to get the DACC to obey the laws of the State of California.  Too many pet owners, 501(c)3 rescues, and most importantly pets unfortunate enough to be impounded in Los Angeles County Shelters  are being denied due process and their fundamental rights.  We should not need a court order to get the DACC to obey the law.  It is time to impose a court ordered conservatorship to oversee the DACC until this rogue governmental agency can be trusted to carry out the will of the people.

It amazes me that the Los Angeles County Government is going to shell out thousands of dollars to fight this costly case.   Even if Mayeda wins this case and JoJo is killed, the DACC and the County government will have been publically humiliated and have lost the respect of the people it allegedly serves.

No matter what the verdict, Marcia Mayeda must be removed from office.   There are too many carcasses in rusty barrels.

  

Preserving JoJo’s Life and the Hayden Act

  

It shouldn’t be necessary to take an agency of the Los Angeles County government to court to force them to obey the law.  However when dealing with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control, and its autocratic leader Marcia Mayeda, that is precisely what is required.

California SB 1785, popularly known as “The Hayden Act” requires all municipal shelters to release an impounded animal to any 501(c)3 rescue on request.

JoJo, a Shepherd mix and much loved family pet, was impounded at the Lancaster shelter after he bit two children who, according to eighteen separate notarized affidavits were taunting and throwing chunks of concrete at him.  The dog’s owner hired a trainer to evaluate JoJo and the very reputable Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) then consulted with the trainer   Based on the trainer’s findings SPARC felt JoJo was a good dog, who had been provoked into biting, and decided to try to rescue the dog.  They filed papers asking that the dog be released to SPARC.   Mayeda refused and convened a “PDD” (potentially dangerous dog) hearing.   These are presented to DACC employees – her subordinates.  This cannot result in an impartial hearing as Mayeda has a reputation for being fiercely retaliatory when opposed and her employees are aware of the consequences of failing to agree with her.    Witnesses and evidence was ignored – the hearing was nothing but a whitewash and to no one’s surprise, JoJo’s execution was ordered.

Usually rescues give up at this point because they don’t have the funding to take matters to court.  Today was different.  and Case # BS144497 was filed in Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles.  Attorney Talitha Davies Wegner, on behalf of SPARC and JoJo, filed Case # BS144497  in Superior Court and won a temporary restraining order under which the DACC is prohibited from killing JoJo pending a decision on the matter by an impartial judge.  To see the plaintiff’s motion please click here:

Five years ago the DACC, as part of the resolution of  Cathy Nguen et al, vs. Los Angeles County, et al. Case No. BS 112581, was forced to sign a consent decree guaranteeing compliance with the Hayden Act.  The decree – which expired on December 31, 2012 – received only lip service from Mayeda.   Her actions have made it clear that the only way to ensure the DACC complies with the law is to place the department under a conservatorship.

We urge the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to intervene and either discharge Mayeda or order her to comply with the law.  If legal intervention is required hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used for the welfare of animals will instead be spent on costs of discovery, court costs and legal fees.  In the meantime, all eyes are on Mayeda who is rolling the dice on this one.  How good a gambler she is remains to be seen.

Although the lawyers involved in this lawsuit are working on a pro bono basis, the expenses for this lawsuit to uphold the Hayden Act and keep JoJo and the untold number of JoJo’s who we do not know about from being executed by Mayeda is expected to cost approximately $10,000.  Anyone wishing to make a tax free contribution to the “Preserve JoJo’s life and the Hayden Act Fund” can do so by making a Paypal donation to jay@rockandrescue.org or by going to www.rockandrescue.org.

 

  

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

The Los Angeles County government does not consider the shelter system a high priority and the result is that the DACC’s funding has been slashed in the wake of recent budget woes.   To balance its books the DACC  has had to examine its priorities, cut back on certain programs and raise fees for other services.

One of the areas affected is medical care.   No longer are sick animals being released with enough medication (usually antibiotics) to complete the prescribed course, it is now the adopter’s responsibility to seek medical attention, obtain a new prescription and purchase the medications.    Many DACC insiders have told us confidentially that the cost of medical treatment has been questioned, and rather than treat pets with run of the mill, readily curable illnesses such as kennel cough they have been told to economize by killing sick pets before they can possibly infect others.

Yesterday we walked through the Baldwin Park Shelter and counted over forty empty kennels.  Nonetheless, the shelter had done quite a lot of killing recently, and many of those selected to die were chosen because of their having kennel cough.

To ameliorate the impact of these changes United Hope For Animals has started a tax deductible charitable fund to pay for outside veterinary care for pets at the Baldwin Park Shelter who are adoptable and curable yet facing being euthanized for financial reasons.  If shelter management has a pet they want to save they will be able to call UHA and, if there are funds in the account, UHA will guarantee the outside vet bill so the animal can be treated without delay, which will prevent the pet’s conditions from worsening and will reduce potential contagion at the shelter.   We are asking everyone who wishes to contribute to this fund, and no donation is too small, to go to our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/baldwinparkshelter and make your donation through Paypal.  There are no administrative costs at all and one hundred percent of your donations flows through to the care of the Baldwin Park Shelter’s pets.

  

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

It’s been a humbling week for the embattled head of Los Angeles County’s shelter system, Marcia Mayeda, whose Teflon coating is wearing thin.

Last month, the Agoura shelter impounded a rare and magnificent purebred Black Russian Terrier puppy named Leo, who had nipped his previous owner.  His former owner required no medical attention but decided to dump the puppy.  Black Russian Terriers are one of the largest breeds, and Leo is estimated to weigh approximately 120 pounds.  A rescue immediately notified the Agoura shelter that they would like to rescue Leo and return him to his breeder in Russia.   Agoura refused to hand him over because Mayeda designated the puppy as  a “Potentially Dangerous Dog”  (PDD) and ordered Leo to be killed as she has so many other dogs in the past.  The one thing in Mayeda’s way was California Law SB 1785, known as the Hayden Act,  which requires municipal shelters to allow 501(c)3 rescues to pull any pet prior to it being euthanized.  Mayeda steadfastly refused to release Leo and stonewalled all rescue efforts.

Rescues usually don’t challenge Mayeda, because she is well-known for exacting retribution on anyone who questions her by suspending their pull privileges and otherwise making it difficult for the rescue to operate in Los Angeles County.    This time it was different.  The rescues had a secret weapon in their fight to force Mayeda to comply with the law – they had someone with connections to an influential member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.   A few phone calls and pointed e-mails later, Mayeda obsequiously relented and the dog was released.

It should not be necessary for a member of the Board of Supervisors to intervene in each instance to force the head of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control to obey the law.  The law should not apply only to politically influential people.

To compound Ms. Mayeda’s uncomfortable week, staff members, rescuers and volunteers at the Baldwin Park Shelter finally grew tired of having only two (and lately only one) working microchip scanner at the high intake shelter.  For the last eight months the lack of scanners has contributed to overcrowding in the kennels because microchips could not routinely be scanned at intake and were only discovered when a dog was about to be killed or altered.   A microchip is designed to quickly reunite lost pets with their families, and owners who had done the right thing by microchipping their pets and keeping their information up to date with the registry were angry at not being notified promptly when their pets arrived at the shelter.  They were even angrier at being charged eighteen dollars per day boarding fees for the time their pets were at Baldwin Park prior to their being notified of the impound.  On several occasions, the shelter asked Mayeda to either repair the broken scanners or purchase replacements  (they cost $275 each) but somehow she could not find the funds in her budget.

On July 30th, after perhaps the 20th instance of showing up at the shelter expecting to pull a dog only to discover that I had to wait 10 days because a microchip had been found, I solicited private donations to purchase scanners through the Friends of the Baldwin Park Shelter Facebook page.  In the plea for scanners I mentioned that the DACC could not find the funds to pay for them.   Within 48 hours the post resulted in Baldwin Park receiving two scanners and donations to buy another six.  Coincidentally, on August 1st a straight faced, firm jawed Marcia Mayeda announced that she had just entered into an agreement with Avid, the provider of microchips, and that all the shelters would soon (without specifying whether she was using the word “soon” in geological or human time terms) receive brand new scanners.   Was the timing coincidental or was it a case of the “Emperor’s new Clothes” and Mayeda finally being awakened from her inertia and embarrassed into acting?  The truth will never be known, but the words “truth” and “Mayeda” are generally never used in the same sentence.

We expect our public servants to maintain the public trust and obey the law of the land.   Ms. Mayeda is not providing a good return for the taxpayer funded $200,000 plus benefits salary she is leeching from the Department of Animal Control’s budget.