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.