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.