Monthly Archives: June 2014

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Pat Claerbout has been on the job as the new Baldwin Park Shelter manager for only a week and has already permanently disqualified herself from receiving any “Miss Congeniality” accolades.  As anyone with access to Google knows, Marcia Mayeda’s new hire arrived with a lot of excess baggage  and a dismal reputation from her past stints as head of the high kill Stockton and Sacramento shelters.

In her first week on the job Claerbout has been overheard complaining that there are too many rescues coming to the Baldwin Park Shelter.  She has also made it known that she thinks the shelter is keeping pets alive for too long.   For those who follow the plight of the networking dogs at Baldwin Park – seven dogs from the most recent list were euthanized last week – the highest number ever in the five and one half year history of our networking lists.

Someone needs to remind Ms. Claerbout that the Los Angeles Department County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control’s policy and procedures manual specifically states that “it is our policy that all adoptable pets be adopted.”   The term ‘adoptable’ may be debatable to some people.  Some might define the term as pets who aren’t sick or injured.  Others might define it as pets who are not aggressive.   Perhaps Ms. Claerbout’s definition can be summed up best as “pets I haven’t killed yet.”

Like all new Los Angeles County hires, Ms. Claerbout is subject to a six month probationary period during which she can be fired for any reason.  We are hoping that Baldwin Park’s needlessly rising euthanasia rate and Ms. Claerbout’s apparent antipathy towards the rescue community will be protested loudly and often and lead to both her and the person who hired her being dismissed.

The best way to register your complaints is to vote for Bobby Shriver for the 3rd district Board of Supervisor’s seat, and to call your local mayor and city council members if you live in the Baldwin Park Shelter’s service area and bombard the sitting Los Angeles Board of Supervisors with written complaints demanding an investigation of how Ms. Claerbout was hired in the first place – given the results of any Google search on her name.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Marcia Mayeda, the embattled head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has firmly signalled to Los Angeles’ volunteers, staff and rescue community that the word ‘Care’ needs to be removed  from the department’s moniker with this week’s hiring of Pat Claerbout as the new head of the high-intake Baldwin Park Shelter.

It was with great dismay that we read the results of a Google search on her name.   The first entry is from Sacramento’s local television Station KQCR which investigated her tenure as director of the Stockton Animal Shelter and concluded “a months-long investigation into the Stockton Animal Shelter finds laws were broken…” and that she euthanized pets in violation of the Hayden Act.  The second story is headlined “Pat Claerbout killed 996 animals her first month on the job, and in a television interview said that will continue.”   The third story is an article from the Stockton Record from January 2014 detailing her stewardship of the Stockton Animal Shelter.

The oft-criticized Stockton Animal Shelter is under fire again, this time from three local citizens and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national advocacy organization that is preparing to take its grievances to court.

                  The organization alleges in a 27-page complaint an “ongoing pattern and practice of abuse” that has resulted in “the unnecessary and wrongful killing of numerous impounded animals in direct contravention of Stockton’s municipal code and the laws of the State of California.”

Our search showed multiple petitions seeking to remove her (which might make her a kindred soul to Mayeda – since there are plenty of well-deserved petitions demanding Mayeda’s ouster) and not one flattering story.   Marcia Mayeda must have done her due diligence before hiring Claerbout.  She knows and approves who and what she is bringing into her shelter system.

We would like to keep an open mind about Claerbout’s hiring – but the available information makes us doubtful at best.

In other Baldwin Park news, rumors are swirling around the shelter that Mayeda is trying to demoralize the shelter staff and will soon be implementing transfers to break up the committed, proactive team.  Her alleged reason for instituting the transfers is that the shelter, under its popular previous manager, was getting too much positive recognition nationally and not just within the community it serves.

Temporary Baldwin Park Shelter manager Gayle Miley, who has worked diligently to alienate staff and volunteers at Baldwin Park, is rumored to have been tapped by Mayeda to head up the Carson shelter which leaves the fate of Carson’s manager Gil Moreno in question.

This all coincides with the city of Bradbury terminating its relationship with the DACC and hiring another agency to handle its animal control, and with the city of La Puente allegedly also dissatisfied and looking to leave.

When asked about the developments, a DACC insider who is not a member of the Marcia Mayeda fan club reminded me that all new hires are subject to a six month probationary period, and urged everyone to make their opinions of Ms. Claerbout’s performance known not just to Mayeda, but to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and every Mayor and City Council member that the Baldwin Park Shelter serves, before shaking her head and wondering aloud, “I think it’s time to teach Marcia how to use Google.  I know it works on her computer the same way it does on yours and mine!”

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Yesterday was a surreal experience for many volunteers as they were invited to meet the new acting shelter manager of the Baldwin Park Shelter, Gayle Miley.  Many of them had heard reports that one of Ms. Miley’s first acts upon taking over from her popular predecessor, Lance Hunter, was to complain that the shelter had too many volunteers.

Also attending the meeting was Dr. Salcito the chief DACC veterinarian, and chief county volunteer coordinator Rohmi Reed – the author of the recent e-mail inviting prospective Downey shelter volunteers to tour the shelter on June 31st!

A few of the volunteers came with hard questions for Ms. Miley.  The first of these was why euthanasia rates at Baldwin Park had risen since she took over.  Ms. Miley denied that it had, which flew in the face of the evidence – as the volunteers had seen four of their networking dogs euthanized (the polite way of saying killed) in the last two weeks, after not losing a single dog in the preceding several months.

They also heard Miley, Salcito and Reed insinuate that Hunter had not adhered strictly enough to DACC policies and procedures during his tenure and that they were going to “improve” things.  This was hard to stomach for veteran volunteers who knew that Lance Hunter had fostered an unprecedented degree of cooperation amongst volunteers, staff, rescues and the community at large, as a result of which adoptions, rescues and transports soared and euthanasia rates fell dramatically during his tenure.  Evidently fostering live release of pets was not following procedure.

This led to anger, disbelief and silence from the frustrated volunteers.  Many of them shook their heads knowing that they were getting smoke blown up their collective rear ends.  How could they trust Gayle Miley, who had fallen asleep at an important May 7th meeting at DACC headquarters where shelter managers, veterinarians and transporters met to discuss implementation of new transport policies?  How could they believe her sincerity when she refused to even respond to a high school that had e-mailed and called her to ask if they could help raise money and awareness for the shelter?  How were they to respond to a person who was observed through the back window of the manager’s office taking naps in her office with her door closed and the lights off?  Why had they frequently overheard her screaming insults at her staff who they knew to be hard working and conscientious – especially since rumor had it that she had been removed as head of the Agoura Shelter for exhibiting the same behavior several years earlier?

Many of the volunteers spoke about transferring to the volunteer-friendly Downey shelter whose manager welcomed their help while others spoke about quitting as DACC volunteers altogether.  Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and they remembered what motivated them to volunteer in the first place was to help the pets.  Gayle Miley is scheduled to retire in seven months – and they joined the majority of Baldwin Park’s staff in looking forward to her retirement party.