Monthly Archives: September 2013

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

  

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.

  

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

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

  

For most people the choice between doing the morally right and wrong thing is easy and obvious especially when it’s a matter of life and death.  For a select few, like Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control, making a morally correct choice is such an alien concept to her that it requires the services of several lawyers, most of the public screaming loudly that she should be fired (and those are just the calm and reasonable ones) and an unfavorable restraining order from a California appellate court for her to finally decide to release JoJo, the two year old German Shepherd and family pet who bit two juvenile delinquents after they were observed throwing concrete blocks at him.  JoJo languished in the Lancaster Shelter for 73 days while at least five reputable rescues tried to rescue the dog and offer him sanctuary.  Each day he was at the high kill Lancaster shelter, JoJo occupied a kennel which could have housed up to four dogs, who were instead killed for wont of kennel space.

Rather than follow the terms of the Hayden Act, which require municipal shelters to release dogs to legitimate 501(c)3 rescues, Mayeda forced JoJo’s would be rescuers to litigate knowing it would be  extremely expensive for them to do so.  However due to the extreme generosity and passion for justice from outstanding lawyer Talitha Wegner of the firm Davies Wegner, who worked on a pro bono basis, JoJo’s team did not fold up the tent as Mayeda expected and litigated.

Mayeda and her mouthpiece Los Angeles County Counsel Diane Reagan, tried to throw every legal obstacle they could in front of JoJo’s legal team, and they came up short.  They even tried to claim JoJo is a pit bull mix when he clearly is a German Shepherd mix, to try and influence the judge who might have preconceived prejudices against America’s most misunderstood breed.   Mayeda does not have one qualified dog behaviorist in her whole department, so to find an ‘expert’ witness she had to suborn one of her employees a young veterinarian named, Jennifer Kwan, fresh out of veterinary school with no credentials on dog behavior whatsoever to say JoJo was vicious.  Meanwhile JoJo’s team produced the expert testimony of Dr. Richard Polsky, a famous expert on bite cases – who is a favourite expert witness usually for dog bite victims.  Dr. Polsky submitted a declaration saying JoJo was no threat to society, and then went further – blasting the DACC for their unprofessional conduct in designating JoJo a pit bull, and conducting a piss poor investigation of the bite circumstances and their concluding him to be vicious.  To read Dr. Polsky’s declaration please click here:

Finally the world renown Best Friends Animal Society  joined the party and offered sanctuary to JoJo.  Rather than jump at the offer, Ms. Mayeda took six long days, meaning that  up to 24 additional dogs died, before she felt the heat and agreed to release JoJo – but even then, she tried to attach such onerous conditions on the dog’s release that the dog will be denied what he most likes and needs – human companionship for the rest of his life.

According to the law when a party to a lawsuit persists in trying to litigate a matter when there is a fair and equitable settlement already on the table – one which the party eventually chooses to accept, the litigious party must pay the court costs and legal fees of the opposing counsel.   So in addition to killing up to 200 dogs to try to satisfy her bloodlust, Ms.  Mayeda may also have to take $40,000 out of her already tight budget to pay for her arrogance.

Ms. Mayeda is paid $200,000 a year of our tax money to use common sense and to do the right thing.  Instead she just gambled more than one year’s salary for a kennel attendant, and may have lost.
This is not the sort of leadership the people of Los Angeles County want or deserve.  It is time for Ms. Mayeda’s patrons and enablers, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, to replace Ms. Mayeda with someone who actually cares about the pets entrusted into their care.

  

September 11th – the Latest on JoJo

Often statements and news releases from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control read like proclamations from the North Korean government.  Glorious Leader Marcia Mayeda announces she takes credit for a success that she had nothing to do with, or one of her underlings clumsily tries to defend one of the agencies actions based on half truths and misinformation.

Today many people who sent in questions and comments concerning JoJo received a letter from DACC spokeswomen Paula Blackwell, which not too deftly avoided telling the true story.  Please find the DACC’s statement on the attached document with the Justice for JoJo team’s response in red below each false or half true statement by clicking here.

The DACC is relying heavily on Dr. Jennifer Kwan, their paid “expert” witness, a veterinarian who has deemed that JoJo needs to be killed.  When a competent attorney is trying to hire an expert witness they look for the most qualified person they can find – and then fork over some money and get them to parrot the company line.  The DACC’s crack lawyer evidently could not find anyone with the least bit of pedigree who would take their money (or should I say “our tax money”) to say JoJo should be pushing up the daisies.  Instead they went out and found Dr. Kwan, one year out of veterinary school and with no dog behavior credentials. We invite you to read the declaration of Dr. Patrick Malese, who eviscerates Kwan by clicking here:

While the DACC leadership tries to manufacture a case based on lies and smoke and mirrors,  JoJo is wasting away in a DACC holding kennel at their Lancaster facility.  Every day he is confined, between one and four dogs die for wont of a kennel space at this high kill facility.  Today is Day 73 of his captivity meaning that as many as 292 dogs have died because of the DACC’s refusal to obey the Hayden Act and release JoJo to a reputable rescue.

The DACC claims it needs time to effect his release to Best Friends.  Really? A lawyer can copy one of their preexisting release commitments in less than ten seconds on a computer.  It can be e-mailed to JoJo’s legal team in less than ten seconds.  It can be read and signed in less than five minutes and returned to the DACC within ten seconds.  A telephone call can be placed to Lancaster in less than five seconds.  Lancaster can usually answer their telephone within five hours – and we hear rumors if you have one of their employee’s cell phone numbers you can reach them even quicker.  We have heard that at least two of Lancaster’s highly trained kennel attendants have mastered the art of putting keys into slots and unlocking kennel doors in less than ten seconds

Why is this taking so long?   Any bureaucracy that cannot do their job effectively and in the interest of the taxpayers is a bureaucracy which needs to be overhauled from the top down.  Marcia Mayeda must be removed from office immediately and JoJo must be released!

 

Los Angeles County Pets Need Your Help!

  

On Thursday, Marcia Mayeda thought she had it made.  A judge vacated his restraining order and gave her permission to kill JoJo, the two year old German Shepherd mix who bit two juvenile delinquents who had repeatedly tortured the dog by throwing concrete blocks at him.   Killing JoJo would not only let her do what she does best – killing – but it would also allow her to send a middle finger salute to the family who lacked the education, knowledge or means to fight the unbridled power of LA County wielded as though Mayeda is above the law or a duty to the citizens.

On Friday Mayeda’s illusion of triumph was shattered.  A last minute extraordinary writ was filed with the California State Court of Appeal and against all odds, Justice Roger Boren halted Mayeda from executing him until trial or further order from him.

More than five sanctuaries had already stepped up with offers prior to litigation but Mayeda refused to release JoJo.  There was no choice but to litigate.  In the court filing, declarations from those sanctuaries were included stating their willingness to take JoJo – yet  Judge Luis Lavin also disregarded those offers despite the fact that there would be no risk to the public even if JoJo were vicious (which he decidedly is not).

Perhaps more shocking is that Best Friends offered JoJo sanctuary and rehabilitation – as they did for the Michael Vick fighting dogs – Mayeda declined Best Friends offer of sanctuary and rehabilitation.   On Friday, September 6th, via email Mayeda claimed she needed to see what will happen on Monday – no doubt hoping the court of appeal will lift the stay and further devastate JoJo’s family and the rescue community that had embraced this friendly dog who was only trying to defend himself from being tortured.

The definition of a sadist is one who deliberately tortures a living creature.  Mayeda blithely tortures JoJo and his family for over 100 days when a world renowned rehabilitation facility is willing to take him.  Every day JoJo takes up a kennel at the perpetually overcrowded Lancaster facility, between one and 5 dogs who could have been housed in his kennel will be killed for lack of space.  Minimally 70 highly adoptable dogs have already been killed while JoJo has been unjustly confined at Lancaster, and if this case goes to trial in November minimally another 100 dogs will be killed because Marcia Mayeda thinks she is above the law.

What is Mayeda afraid of? Being exposed? She should be, because we all know how much smoke and mirrors it takes for her to fool her bosses into believing she knows what she is doing and that she is running  the Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control in the best interest of the people and pets who she allegedly serves.

She has gone too far this time and has pushed way too hard in the wrong fight. Her house of cards is beginning to crumble.  Witnesses can now be deposed and the truth exposed.  We will learn that Mayeda doesn’t have a single credible expert to support her claim that JoJo is vicious and we will learn that DACC hearings on potentially dangerous dogs are nothing but kangaroo courts and that the DACC employees assigned as judges know that if they don’t deliver a rubberstamp verdict to Mayeda they will be subjected to Mayeda’s “Freeway Therapy” or other acts of retribution.

As of December 2012, when Mayeda ordered me fired me as a volunteer for publicly disclosing how corrupt she is and how she had been flagrantly abusing both the law of California and the animals under her care, she admitted to having killed 549,430 pets as head of the DACC.   Using that number (and not adding any pets to her scorecard for 2013) if you stacked the carcasses of all her victims you would have a pile of bodies at least 7 times higher than Mt. Everest. If you lined them up head to toe you would have a line of death stretching 130 miles, or the distance from the Mexican border to Los Angeles.

As we wait for trial or intervention by a County official with a conscience, Mayeda will need to justify why on August 31st, the Baldwin Park Shelter had 57 empty dog kennels, and still was ordering the shelter to kill dogs.

There is no justification for killing when you have space.   There is also no justification for Marcia Mayeda.

We cannot stop now – please join me in making a tax deductable donation to JoJo’s legal defense fund so we can win this fight for justice, and please petition your elected officials to remove the sick joke that is Mayeda.

UPDATE 9 September 2013!

This afternoon Los Angeles County counsel Diane Reagan formally replied on behalf of her client Marcia Mayeda to Best Friends’ offer of sanctuary for JoJo. She said, and I quote, “We will discuss it within the next few days and get back to you.” Every day JoJo sits in his Lancaster prison between one and four dogs will die for lack of kennel space.   Mayeda has been presented with a clear solution at hand – but instead choose to wait to see if the stay will be lifted so they can kill JoJo and not just kill him, but cause undue stress to his family who loves him. The DACC has had offers of sanctuary since before litigation commenced. Why do they ignore the sanctuary offer when they claim their only concern is public safety?  Letting JoJo go to rescue is an easy, logical. morally and legally the right decision to make.   Instead, Marcia Mayeda is evidently a direct descendent of Scarlet O’Hara – and has adopted “I’ll think about it tomorrow” as her mantra. It is time for her to be Gone With the Wind!