Monthly Archives: October 2014

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.