• 2014

Yearly Archives: 2014

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

The Los Angeles County Shelter system has a mission statement posted on its website. According to the DACC, “our mission is achieved through shared County values including professionalism, responsibility, compassion, commitment, integrity, accountability and community partnerships.” If truth in advertising laws were enforced, Marcia Mayeda would be rotting in a jail cell.

Let’s examine it one value at a time:

Professionalism – If Professionalism is the opposite of “Amateurism” and means that you are being paid for your “work” the $209,100 (before benefits) Marcia Mayeda sucks out of the taxpayer’s wallet each year, she is indeed highly professional. If “professionalism” means handling your job to your best possible ability, this bureaucrat fails spectacularly – like the Titanic failed the float test.

Responsibility – Mayeda avoids all responsibility altogether. Mayeda is so paranoid that anyone finds out what she is doing (or often not doing) that she has demanded that no minutes be taken in meetings, so that she can minimize her fingerprints on the arsenal of smoking guns pointing to her culpability and futility. As one DACC insider put it, “Mayeda apparently only makes good decisions, it’s all of us peons who make the bad ones and get thrown under the bus.”

Compassion – Mayeda has killed over 600,000 pets in her reign of error as head of the DACC. She hired Pat “Google Me” Claerbout as Baldwin Park’s manager knowing her disastrous employment record. Mayeda has violated the Hayden Act repeatedly and prevented pets from being rescued by qualified rescues. She has a history of failing to provide medical care to pets in her shelters not just to celebrated cases like the recently euthanized horse Ballo Ballo from Baldwin Park, but to all shelter pets. Mayeda has staunchly refused to have licensed veterinarians on duty on weekends and any pet impounded after two o’clock on a Friday fails to receive quality medical care.

Commitment – Here the argument could be made that Mayeda has lived up to her goal – she has been committed to inertia. She has done nothing to improve the welfare of the animals in her department’s care and if she argues to the contrary – well, ironically, she could finally secure a real commitment – to a mental hospital.

Integrity – The old joke, how can you tell when Marcia Mayeda is lying (When her lips are moving) is applicable. On May 13th, four days after jogger Pamela DeVitt was killed by a pack of pit bulls in Little Rock, Mayeda knowingly lied to the Board of Supervisors when she stated, “We received two reports about (the dogs that killed DeVitt) one in January of this year and one of April this year. We responded to the January report. We did not locate any of the dogs that had been reported.” Then in the very next serntence she says “the owner was cited for violations of animal control ordinances regarding rabies vaccination, licensing, spay and neuter and microchip.” Notice the contradiction, if you are to believe Mayeda’s testimony, she says no dogs were seen, but the owner was cited for having unaltered, unlicensed and unvaccinated non-existent dogs! However to compound Mayeda’s lies – nowhere in the DACC’s records entered in their Chameleon tracking program nor in the testimony of the two officers Daniel Dibene and Cornelius Chisom Jr. is there any mention of citations being issued. Mayeda showed a complete lack of integrity when she boldfaced lied in front of her bosses, the Board of Supervisors. Mayeda has a long history of lying about her actions, inactions, and her vendettas against her staff and volunteers.

Accountability – Rather than fix problems when they are brought up, Mayeda’s tactic is to blame and vilify the bearer of the bad news. When staff members recently brought up Mayeda’s expensive purchase of trailers which required employees driving these trailers to have special driver licenses to operate them – she retaliated against the whistle blower rather than admit she was endangering the safety of not only the pets and employees in her vehicles but the safety of anyone else sharing the road. Mayeda has tried to run the whistleblower out of the DACC and is now wasting the taxpayer’s money trying to defend a lawsuit against her and the department for so doing.

Community Partnerships – The City of El Monte is now considering passing spay/neuter legislation which is monumental considering this city contributes approximately 20 percent of all strays to the Baldwin Park Shelter. Was it Marcia Mayeda who opened the door and called the mayor or city council to put this on their agenda? No. It was a school teacher from El Monte, an avid reader of my blog, and me who managed to get this measure on the city’s agenda. Mayeda is famous for eschewing any contact with the public.   Where are her valued community partnerships?

It amazes me that the Board of Supervisors continues to employ a morally bankrupt bureaucrat who consistently lies to them. It causes one to wonder about their integrity as well.

Baldwin Park & Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help!


Marcia Mayeda must look enviously at North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Mayeda may have eclipsed Kim in terms of sheer body count, having killed over 600,000 sapient beings in her pet gulags but when the Korean dictator issues disingenuous propaganda proclaiming his righteousness it goes unchallenged in his country. When Mayeda issues a document full of half truths and boldfaced lies on her Los Angeles Animal Care and Control web site, it’s veracity is checked… and proven for all to see that it is just another serving of misinformation that has symbolized her reign of error as Supreme Leader of the DACC

The Mayeda cover up version of what happened to Ballo Ballo, the poor quarter horse was woefully treated at Baldwin Park avoids the naked, unvarnished truth that this horse was severely damaged by the negligent care personally provided by Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. The DACC’s timeline totally ignores the facts that the horse was brought in by their own admission on August 2nd and needed medical care. It was not until August 7th that they brought in a veterinarian, who recommended care that the DACC never provided up until the time that renown horse rescuer, Betsy Bueno expressed interest in saving the horse.   In fact Claerbout personally ordered aghast shelter workers to not give the horse the proper care he needed because she claimed she knew more than they did. She administered the wrong food to the horse, and to compound her errors she placed the horse in a stable where he was kicked and injured by another horse, and where she negligently allowed the horse access to a storage room where he was able to eat alfalfa which damaged his kidneys.

Somehow to no one’s suprise, Supreme Leader Marcia Mayeda’s version of the Ballo Ballo tragedy does not gibe with reality. It’s a matter of credibility. Who do you believe? Marcia Mayeda and Pat “Google Me” Claerbout whose only talents seem to be in self preservation or the facts as presented by Betsy Bueno and verified by Baldwin Park staff members and the outside veterinarian.

Claerbout’s piss poor management of the ‘shelter’s’ animals was not confined to horses. She ordered the shelter’s dogs to receive less food.   Dogs started getting thinner, and the staff feeders at Baldwin Park grew alarmed and started documenting this through a series of photographs.   Claerbout got wind of this and then in a remarkable violation of one particular staff member’s civil rights, retaliated against the kennel attendant who was involved in the photographs. First Claerbout tried to claim that the kennel attendant had given poor treatment to a kitten she was fostering who had panleukopenia – a fatal disease. Claerbout illegally extorted the employee telling her that she would be jailed if she did not resign immediately.   When it was exposed last week that under that same logic then Claerbout herself should be fired, if not jailed for the tragic number of cats under her care who have died of panleukopenia at her shelter, Claerbout changed her tune and charged that the employee had not returned foster kittens to the shelter. As usual with Claerbout, this too was a lie, as the employee had always returned the kittens – as they were taken on transport. Baldwin Park’s cat volunteers and other staff members have confirmed they saw the employee return the kittens, and the transporter has reportedly also said she took the alleged missing kittens to no kill shelters.     The shelter had clearly messed up on its paperwork which is not surprising for Baldwin Park given that they had “misplaced” over 100 pets according to a kennel inventory report I was given three weeks ago. These pets are designated in the Chameleon as “BOFFICE”.

Then to cap off an eventful week for “Google Me” Claerbout , she let it be known that she no longer wanted to cooperate with the transporters who have literally saved thousands of Baldwin Park dogs in the last several years. Already the Heigls and my Wings of Rescue/Shelter Me/Bark Avenue Foundation transports have abandoned Baldwin Park for the rescue friendly Downey Shelter.  At a shelter which historically sent approximately thirty percent of its live releases on transports we can guarantee the carcasses will be piling up in the barrels in the back of the shelter.

For “Google Me” Claerbout this behaviour was entirely predictable. One had only to examine her previous employment history, which saw her discharged from both Sacramento and San Bernadino.

What makes it more appalling and galling is that Mayeda knew full well what she was getting in Claerbout. According to theories floated by several Baldwin insiders Mayeda’s motivation in hiring “Google Me” was to hopefully disillusion me from trying to help Baldwin Park’s pets and stop writing this blog about the goings on at Baldwin Park and other DACC shelters. If Mayeda is that Machiavellian and blackhearted, you will have to add stupid to the long list of non-admirable adjectives used to describe this horrific bureaucrat.

On December 9th people who have had enough of Marcia Mayeda and her henchwoman “Google Me” Claerbout will be holding a protest march at the Board of Supervisors, 500 Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.  If you want to bring this issue into public focus and have your voice be heard this is your best chance to end Mayeda’s and Claerbout’s reign of error.


Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Prayers and Downey Pets Need Your Help!

Never has the old adage, “A leopard never changes his spots” been more clearly illustrated than by Pat “Google Me” Claerbout’s recent behavior. Appointed by Marcia Mayeda to run the Baldwin Park Shelter she has run it – straight into the ground. Like everyone else, we Googled Claerbout’s name when she was appointed and were stunned by her employment history, which included multiple complaints of illegal euthanizations and abuse of employees. These allegations were substantiated and led to her being dismissed from jobs heading both Stockton and Sacramento’s animal control agencies. In her new position at Baldwin Park the mistress of disaster has managed to outdo herself in abusing pets, employees and volunteers.

Last week we told you about Claerbout’s negligence in caring for a dun gelding quarter horse at Baldwin Park. Further investigation disclosed that staff members warned Claerbout she was giving this unfortunate horse the wrong type of feed. Her response was to berate the staff members and tell them she knew what the horse needed. The results, according to an outside veterinarian, is possible kidney failure. The DACC previously agreed in writing to release the horse to respected horse rescuer Betsy Bueno but reneged when told how bad the horse’s condition is. They ordered the outside veterinarian not to speak to Bueno and appear to be hoping the horse dies before he can be transported so the full extent of Claerbout’s stubborn incompetence at best, and deliberate sadism at worst cannot be proven.

Adding to the controversy, on October 16th ‘Google Me’ discovered that an employee – one of the most respected and liked kennel attendants at Baldwin Park who has a reputation of being a loyal and hard worker – had brought a foster kitten with her to work. The kitten was suffering from Feline Panleukopenia, an often fatal disease that has killed scores of Baldwin Park cats in the last month. On Claerbout’s orders, the cat was taken from the employee’s car and euthanized. Claerbout berated the employee and accused her of mistreating the kitten. She had received only the best performance reviews from her superiors before Claerbout took over at Baldwin Park.

The employee disclosed to her fellow workers that she had seen Claerbout providing substandard care to Baldwin Park’s pets, depriving dogs of blankets and in some instances food. She started photographing the animals to document her case.

Having presumably heard about this, Clarebout reacted swiftly and severely. On November 20th she summoned the employee to her office and threatened to have her arrested for mistreatment of animals if she did not resign immediately. The employee, without a legal education and unaware of the illegality of Claerbout’s threat, tearfully signed the termination papers and left the shelter, to the dismay of virtually the entire staff. Employees and volunteers are upset and morale at the shelter is non-existent.

There is a perverse irony here. If the employee’s kitten being struck by Feline Panleukopenia constituted negligence, shouldn’t Ms. Claerbout be prosecuted for negligently allowing hundreds of cases that have devastated the Baldwin Park Shelter’s feline population? After all, Claerbout’s handling of the epidemic at Baldwin Park has not decreased the incidence of disease, and her banning volunteers and the general public from the cat building has produced no tangible results other than anger at her ill-conceived policies.

We remind people of the Hayden Act, California SB 1786 Section 12 :
(A) All public pounds …. shall treat the animals in their care kindly and shall provide them with all the following:
Protection from accidents and injuries caused by people, other animals, or inadequate housing or treatment.
(5) (all shelters shall provide) …Veterinary care as needed
(B) The duties imposed by this section are mandatory duties for the purposes of Division 3.6 (commencing with section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code and any of the entities subject to this section, or their employees, that fail to perform these duties may, in addition to other liability or penalty permitted by law, be liable for civil damages, including, but not limited to, damages for the loss of a companion animal, and may also be subject to criminal prosecution for cruelty to animals as provided in Section 597 of the Penal Code.

The State Attorney General has received several requests to convene a Grand Jury to look into Pat Claerbout’s appointment and actions. We strongly urge the Attorney General to act on these requests and to prosecute and punish to the full extent of the law this serial abuser of animals.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your help

It must be tough to be Betsey Webster, Marcia Mayeda’s Chief Deputy Director and Whitewasher at the Los Angeles County Department of Animal “Care” & Control. Webster has had the unenviable job this past week of trying to cover up for Mayeda’s trainwreck of a hire, Pat “Google me” Claerbout as Baldwin Park Shelter Manager.

At the beginning of the week Baldwin Park had three horses. One was a small black mare, who had been abandoned for two months, living off weeds and dirty water, before she was impounded at Baldwin Park. A respected horse rescuer named Betsy Bueno of Lost Hearts and Souls Horse Rescue, contacted a Baldwin Park officer and told them she was willing to rescue this horse. During their conversation, the officer – who has a huge heart and has always been a big advocate for the animals – told Bueno there were two other horses at the shelter in need of rescue. One was a lame and unridable dun Gelding with damaged legs, who had been used in Charro events. The other was a 22 year old Thoroughbred, who was blind in one eye and difficult to touch. Ms. Bueno agreed to take all three horses. All appeared to be well for the horses.

The following day, Pat Claerbout called Bueno. Without checking Bueno’s impeccable references, Claerbout was rude and aggressive over the phone and said she and she alone makes the decisions at the DACC about where the horses go – and she wasn’t letting the horses go to rescue.

By then Bueno had discovered that the dun Gelding had been treated by an outside veterinarian, Dr. Lindsay Brown, after Claerbout had negligently allowed the horse to get into some feed that he should never have had access to. According to Dr. Brown due to Baldwin Park’s negligence, “There are high levels in the horse’s blood work showing possible kidney failure.” Several Baldwin Park insiders think that Claerbout’s reluctance to allow Bueno to have these horses was due to the substandard care they were receiving, which is a violation of the Hayden Act, California SB 1786 Section 12:

(A) All public pounds …. shall treat the animals in their care kindly and shall provide them with all the following:
Protection from accidents and injuries caused by people, other animals, or inadequate housing or treatment.

(5) (all shelters shall provide) …Veterinary care as needed

(B) The duties imposed by this section are mandatory duties for the purposes of Division 3.6 (commencing with section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code and any of the entities subject to this section, or their employees, that fail to perform these duties may, in addition to other liability or penalty permitted by law, be liable for civil damages, including, but not limited to, damages for the loss of a companion animal, and may also be subject to criminal prosecution for cruelty to animals as provided in Section 597 of the Penal Code.

Bueno – who has spent her career in law enforcement – promptly circulated the story and the wrath of the public was such that Betsey Webster was forced to defend Claerbout. In an e-mail to Michael Bell, Webster wrote:

After reading Betsy’s E-mail and speaking with Pat it appears to me that Betsy may have misunderstood how our organization works with networkers. Some social media sites have been critical of Pat Claerbout, and have based their position on social media complaints and some news reports from a couple years ago. Regrettably, the information provided is incomplete. Pat is a compassionate, dedicated animal welfare professional who is working towards making the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center a model for animal care. We always take the responsibility for the ultimate placement of shelter pets and will favor adoption to rescue – as rescue is an interim solution. Additionally, we will always look into organizations who seek to rescue our animals to ensure they are capable of providing necessary care and are not organizations of concern to their local animal control agencies. Of course, this is in the best interest of the animals.’

Ms. Bueno’s response was curt and to the point:

…you claim Ms. Claerbout is “a compassionate, dedicated animal welfare professional who is working towards making the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center a model for Animal Care.” Perhaps you need to reread my credentials. I have had a long career in law enforcement – which means I know how to conduct investigations. Rather than rely upon your word, or even the noise from the social media you seem to want people to ignore, I made direct contact with the governmental officials in both Stockton and Sacramento. They told me that the allegations against Ms. Claerbout are true, and that she was dismissed from each department. They are also waiting for this investigation and outcome from L.A. County, since their case is still pending for the same issues. It is clear that you hired a person who is clearly unfit to be allowed to be involved in sheltering animals and is a liability both civil and criminal.

The black horse was rehomed. Yesterday, after much drama, Bueno was finally allowed to rescue the thoroughbred who was in deplorable condition. The dun Gelding is still in need at Baldwin Park.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park is buzzing with the news that Claerbout has been illegally adopting out stray animals during their legally mandated hold periods. Recently an orange snake was brought to the shelter as a stray and the very next day Claerbout adopted the snake out to a snake rescuer friend of hers who is not a County adoption partner. This is a suspendable offence and it will be interesting to see whether Mayeda will take action or whether poor Betsey Webster is going to have to get out her bottle of Maalox, hold her nose, and write another disingenuous e-mail.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

It was a generally unpleasant week for those of us wishing to improve shelter conditions in Los Angeles County. Bobby Shriver, who was campaigning on a platform that included a promise to fire Marcia Mayeda, the fundamentally damaged head of County Animal Control, lost to spay/neuter foe Sheila Kuehl.   Meanwhile, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, Mayeda’s terrible hire as Baldwin Park Shelter manager, is rapidly approaching the end of her probationary period and despite demonstrating the same behavior that got her fired from previous stints in Stockton and Sacramento, appears likely to gain tenure at this formerly well-run facility.   Staff discontent with Claerbout is rampant and the number of people calling in sick just so they don’t have to deal with her draconian policies is at an all time high, as is the number of employees actively seeking transfer out of this once rescue-friendly shelter.

Medical care for Baldwin Park’s pets has declined. Under the shelter’s previous manager, a large percentage of the dogs coming into the shelter with broken bones and other serious injuries were submitted to the “Dreams Come True” program. This program grants approved pets $1,500 in medical bill coverage so they can be operated on by outside veterinarians who have the medical equipment and expertise to save these pets. Under Claerbout’s regime the number of injured dogs funded by “Dreams Come True” has dramatically dwindled.

Meanwhile. staff at other shelters have been voicing their own complaints. In a widely circulated scathing e-mail, former Castaic Shelter employee Wendy Sue Mesny explained to the Board of Supervisors and DACC employees why she was leaving the DACC after five years. According to Ms. Mesny:

… the experience I had with the DACC management and supervisors has been less than enjoyable. This is largely due to a level of unprofessionalism that has been tough to understand, work with, and at times has been embarrassing. This is a fact that has been felt by staff, volunteers, and the public, and has affected the welfare of the animals in our care, and a few times has even resulted in wrongful euthanasias. Why this has been allowed to continue is tough for all to understand. Our mission statement, is appreciated and followed by most, but sadly is not adhered to by management. My feelings about management and supervisors is also the same feelings most all staff has about them, but are afraid of rejection, retaliation, or “Freeway Therapy”.

There was one great piece of news this week coming from the Downey Shelter, where Manager Danny Ubario announced that due to an increase in adoptions and rescue transports the shelter was no longer drawing up euthanasia lists for dogs, unless there was irremediable suffering or significant temperament reasons.   I applaud Danny Ubario, Maria Rosales and the Downey staff and especially their lead volunteer, Debbie Tittle, for this huge positive development and hope they can continue down this pathway to success.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Many employees of Los Angeles County Department of Animal “Care” and Control have joined volunteers, members of the rescue community and the general public in wondering how Marcia Mayeda could have hired Pat Claerbout to run the Baldwin Park Shelter given her horrific track record which is easily accessible to anyone with Google. As one DACC insider opined, “Perhaps Mayeda hired Claerbout to distract everyone from examining Mayeda’s own appalling record.”

Certainly Claerbout misdeeds can be distracting. The DACC uses the designation “BOFFICE” for pets who are missing. When we checked today, Baldwin Park was missing an incredible 65 cats and 20 dogs. Where are these pets? According to DACC employees it is the largest number of missing pets in recent memory.

Ms. Claerbout, an avid reader of my blog, reacted to a recent post criticizing her for not bringing enough dogs to the Bow Wows and Meows Super adoption. Evidently Ms. Claerbout does not want to get criticized again – so she has promulgated that Baldwin Park not send any dogs on transports to no kill shelters until after the NKLA Super Adoption on November 8th and 9th. Although she has 249 dogs listed as being in the shelter, Clarebout apparently is clueless at multi-tasking and cannot find thirty dogs to go to the NKLA event, where they may or may not be adopted, while still sending 50 dogs on transport to guaranteed safety.  It was only three years ago that her predecessor managed to bring 100 pets, all of whom were adopted, to the NKLA event – and he still had pets ready for transport both the preceding and following weeks.  It’s the difference between good and poor management and clearly Pat Claerbout falls into the latter category.

Today, 51 of the 192 dog kennels at Baldwin Park are empty, yet Ms. Claerbout is still ordering staff to draw up euthanasia lists. The live release of pets, as repeatedly demonstrated at her previous employment stops at Stockton and Sacramento, has never been too high a priority with Claerbout. Perhaps that explains why both cities discharged her from her duties, and why Sacramento’s top animal control officer, Jaleh Janatpour, resigned citing poor treatment of the animals at her shelter and Claerbout’s indifference to improving the live-release rate. The shelter’s veterinarian, Cindi Delaney, resigned too, because of the shelter’s poor leadership and lack of interest in saving animals, saying, “The newer idea is to have people who have a heart and save the animals, not just kill them to save public money. I thought this was not what a shelter should be doing in this day and age.”

Here’s a memo to Ms. Mayeda: Standing next to the ugliest girl in the beauty contest is not going to make you any prettier. You hired Pat Claerbout knowing full well what you were getting. It was a deliberate middle finger salute to your critics, but like most of your edicts the people you intended to harm were only enraged. It’s the unfortunate pets trusted into your care who are suffering.

On Tuesday Los Angeles County voters have the opportunity to elect two new members to the Board of Supervisors. Bobby Shriver has made a campaign promise that he will investigate and reform the DACC. The only way to reform the DACC is to fire Marcia Mayeda and her cronies. Because of this alone, Bobby Shriver has won my vote and endorsement.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help


Sometimes I feel like I should start this blog with a greeting of “Hi Marcia and Pat” since it is apparent that the two worst employees of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control are such avid readers of this blog!

On October 23rd the DACC sent an e-mail to Baldwin Park Shelter volunteers signed by Director of Volunteer Services, Rohmi Reed disputing claims made in my blog of last week about Pat Claerbout’s  management of this once well run shelter that has skidded woefully off track during her brief stewardship. The first part of Reed’s e-mail addressed the DACC’s handling of cats and was one of the most disingenuous pieces of unadulterated bull that the Mayeda regime has come up with in quite a long time.   Reed arbitrarily selected the feline statistics from October 11th to October 23rd 2014 and compared it to the same 12 day period from 2013 to show that they euthanized 26 fewer cats during the corresponding period.  The problem is that Clarebout ordered a mass killing of 64 cats on September 30th who were conveniently not included in her conveniently manipulated statistics.  Secondly Reed goes on to claim that the DACC has instituted a new protocol ‘isolating new cats for 14 days to observe them for signs of {panleuk} infection.” When you consider that the average hold time before an impounded Baldwin Park cat is killed is less than ten days you can immediately understand how this is just another DACC smokescreen.

The second part of Reed’s e-mail deals with Pat Claerbout, the new Baldwin Park Shelter manager who obviously did not read, “How to Make Friends and Influence People” judging by the number of disgruntled employees and departed shelter volunteers. Reed claims that the results of Google searches on Claerbout’s name are unfair and that she is an innovative leader. Memo to the DACC: Claerbout was fired from her job at Stockton. If they thought she was competent and innovative, logic would dictate they would have kept her in their employ.

Under previous manager Lance Hunter’s watch, Baldwin Park led all Los Angeles metropolitan shelters in the number of mobile adoptions held each month. Mr. Hunter’s philosophy was since a vast majority of the public are scared to come to the shelter then he would bring the shelter to them. Since Claerbout took the reins at Baldwin Park there have been virtually no mobile adoption events. Under Hunter, the shelter had monthly volunteer training classes and both new and old volunteers were made to feel welcome. Under Claerbout’s “innovative” leadership there have been no volunteer training classes and volunteers have quit in disgust at her barely hidden antipathy towards them. Mr. Hunter involved the local communities in the shelter and was able to get many needed items donated which his budget couldn’t afford. Amongst these items were blankets for the pets to sleep on, which Claerbout has announced are no longer required, and food to supplement what he was given by the DACC. After being chastised for not using the donated food in last week’s blog, Ms. Claerbout instructed shelter workers to put the food in wheelbarrows outside the shelter with a sign saying “free donated food which the shelter can’t use”. Even if we accept the unrealistic premise that the shelter couldn’t directly use this food, an innovative shelter would have done what the well run Animal Friends of the Valley Shelter in Wildomar did and kept the food on hand, to be donated to low income citizens who were turning in their pets because they could afford to feed them.

Finally Ms. Reed hypocritically states “Sadly, some people involved in animal advocacy choose to demonize other people, rather than work cooperatively together towards our common goal.” The DACC leadership has steadfastly stifled collaboration or working together with its stakeholders to improve its woeful live release rates. Employee, volunteer and rescue groups concerns and suggestions are unwelcome. Anyone, employee or volunteer who questions the DACC command is fired. Does anyone remember the DACC ever having an open town hall meeting to openly discuss its policies – or has there been any governmental or civilian oversight over Ms, Mayeda’s horrific performance?

I agree  we should be working together towards our common goal of improving the lives and prospects of shelter pets. This of course can only happen when Marcia Mayeda and her appointees, including Pat Claerbout are fired.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Most people would agree with the premise that if you have a task to perform you should do it to the best of your ability.   I believe this is the case with Patricia Claerbout, the new Baldwin Park Shelter manager, who has worked diligently to become the worst shelter manager in the history of not just Los Angeles County but all of Southern California.

In the past three weeks she has alienated her staff and volunteers to such an extent that several staff members are seeking transfers, we know of at least two staff members who are consulting their union about taking legal action, two of the senior volunteers have informed the shelter that they are quitting on December 31st and a number of other volunteers have stated their intention to quit.

A major insult came on October 17th when, as “part of the effort to stop the spread of panleukopenia” she banned all volunteers from the cat buildings apparently believing that volunteers spread the disease. The lead cat volunteer, who has been coming to the shelter every day, eight hours per day, for three years and on whom the shelter and rescues have always relied for information on the cats has not been exempted from this ban. Members of the public are not allowed to enter the cat buildings unless accompanied by a shelter employee which is a tall order in the understaffed shelter. We have all watched with dismay as the number of cats at Baldwin Park dropped from 227 on October 17th to 154 on October 20th.    These cats did not walk out the front door.

Additional insults include no longer allowing staff members to bring their pets to work (although she brings her dog with her), rebuking staff for petting impounded pets, ordering that blankets not be laid out for dogs and stockpiling donated canned food in a storage room instead of feeding it to the dogs and cats at the shelter. As an extra middle finger extended to shelter volunteers she did not bother to provide them with lunch, which had been promised, at the Bow Wows and Meows super adoption event. Speaking of adoption events, Baldwin Park used to do at least one off-site mobile adoption event every week and now does almost none

Anyone with Google would have been able to predict Ms. Claerbout’s behavior. Her zeal for destroying staff and volunteer morale goes hand in hand with her penchant for destroying animals – a trait that has followed her from Sacramento to Stockton and now to Baldwin Park.

Marcia Mayeda, head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control, knew what she was getting when she hired Claerbout. A cynic might conclude that the hiring is a deliberate attempt to demolish the Baldwin Park Shelter’s reputation (under prior manager Lance Hunter) as the most rescue and adoption friendly shelter in Southern California. Perhaps Ms. Mayeda thinks she can deflect criticism for her poor job performance by turning Baldwin Park back into the high-kill, hopeless, demoralized shelter it used to be.  Maybe, Mayeda thinks, her critics will grow disillusioned and give up trying to have her and her regrettable hires removed.

The answer is a resounding ‘no’. The truth will out, criticism will crescendo and public opinion will force the Los Angeles County government to focus on and eliminate the manipulative, destructive force that is Marcia Mayeda.

Ms. Claerbout’s probationary period ends in approximately six weeks, after that it will be difficult to have her removed. If you have had enough of Marcia Mayeda and Claerbout we urge that you both call, fax and e-mail your views on Ms. Mayeda and Ms. Claerbout’s performance to the 5 members of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and the mayors and city council members of the following cities: Baldwin Park, El Monte, La Puente, Rowland Heights, Walnut, Covina, West Covina, Azusa, Duarte, Hacienda Heights and Rosemead – cities which the Baldwin Park facility services.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

On August 27th, Pat Claerbout, the new Baldwin Park Shelter manager, asked me to meet with her. During our polite but contentious conversation Ms. Claerbout accused me of scaring away Baldwin Park Shelter volunteers because of the blog I wrote suggesting that people Google her name and learn about her previous employment history at both the Stockton and Sacramento shelters.   She stated that she valued and needed volunteers and blamed me for their decreasing numbers, despite her having failed to schedule a single volunteer training class since she took over (volunteer training classes had been held on a monthly basis for the last three years) and her having been overheard by staff members complaining that the shelter had “too many volunteers”. She also claimed that the shelter had improved since Lance Hunter, her well respected predecessor, departed.

On September 30th Ms. Claerbout managed to scare away far more volunteers than I ever could by ordering the killing of 66 cats and 10 rabbits.   She followed that up by sanctioning the killing of Peaches, a two year old six pound Chihuahua whose life was ended because, according to the shelter’s notes, ‘they had no kennel space’ although there were twenty empty kennels in Building 4.   Peaches was the 51st dog from the shelter’s networking list killed since Claerbout took the reins of Baldwin Park in late May.   During Mr. Hunter’s last 15 months there were only 23 networking dogs killed.

At today’s Bow Wows & Meows event which usually is a big day for adoptions from Baldwin Park, the shelter brought fewer pets to the event than any other County shelter – and had more than 50 percent fewer adoptions than any previous year. Several volunteers had to work very hard to contain their disgust with having so few pets at Bow Wows and Meows. Surely, they said, if the shelter has to put dogs down because of no kennel space they could have managed to bring more than 6 dogs to the event. But the worst insult came to the volunteers when all the other Los Angeles County shelters’ volunteers were treated to free pizza for lunch as promised by the DACC.   Baldwin Park’s volunteers were promised free pizza as well, but the County did not receive an order from the shelter – because the shelter manager was apparently too busy ordering that no blankets be put in the cold kennels for dogs to lie on and forgot.   Instead the lead volunteer, who is on a fixed income from Social Security, reached into her pocket to purchase lunch for the Baldwin Park volunteers… who left with a bad taste in their mouth – and it wasn’t from the pizza.

According to several sources, Ms. Claerbout has been grilling employees trying to find out how so much information about the shelter is being leaked to me.   I suggest that Ms. Claerbout spend more time worrying about adopting out the pets entrusted into her care, and less trying to suppress the truth about her continuing the same failed policies that led to her being run out of Stockton and Sacramento.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

There are two primary reasons why the Los Angeles County Shelter system is not killing as many dogs as it has in previous years. First is the economy has somewhat improved and fewer people are losing their homes and being forced to leave their pets in the shelter, and the second is because of the many transports. Under former shelter manager Lance Hunter’s adept leadership, Best Friends, the Heigl’s and my own, Wings of Rescue/Shelter Me/Bark Avenue Foundation transport team have moved thousands of dogs from high intake/high kill shelters to safety at no kill shelters from where they are quickly adopted – and recently the ASPCA has joined in to take even more pets out of county shelters, creating kennel space for incoming dogs.

All of the transportation groups are in close contact with their receiving shelters and know what breeds and ages of dogs these shelters are willing to accept – as none of them want to tie up their own kennels with pets who cannot be easily and quickly adopted. Generally all the receiving shelters have a high demand for relatively young fluffy and scruffy dogs under twenty-five pounds.  All of the transporters try to get the receiving shelters to accept as many Chihuahuas (the number one most euthanized breed in California) as possible – but there is not as huge a demand for them.

Transports leave the shelter nearly every week and Baldwin Park ‘s management has taken to moving the dogs selected for transports into Building 4 which they have made off limits to the public – often for a week to ten days in advance. The dogs in this building cannot be readily seen. Often dogs are ‘cherry picked’ for these transports from the moment they enter the shelter – and these dogs are never seen by the public – or even potentially by their owners if they are strays.

In my opinion this is wrong. The public should have the right to see and adopt any dog at the shelter – whether the dog is going on transport or not.  As transporters we do not need to transport dogs who have a local home waiting for them. Unfortunately the intakes are sufficient in Los Angeles County that we can always go get another dog from one of the other nearby County shelters, Downey and Carson, to fill in for any dogs who were lucky enough to be adopted – and if for some reason there are not enough dogs to transport – that in my opinion would be cause for a major celebration and we would be able to turn our rescue efforts to other shelters.

Because of the transports, Building 4 often has up to twenty empty kennels. Meanwhile Pat Claerbout and her mistress Marcia Mayeda. are still ordering dogs to be killed because of what they claim to be shelter overcrowding. As transporters trying to save as many lives as possible, it is our duty to stop cherry picking, and to commit to making all dogs adoptable to the public until the day before our transports are due to leave and our health certificates are issued. Our mission as transporters is to save as many lives as possible and not to tie up kennel space.

The Baldwin Park Shelter has 192 kennels and all of them should be used to house dogs in need of homes – and all of these kennels need to be in clear view of the public.