• 2015

Yearly Archives: 2015

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Need Your Help

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One can accuse Marcia Mayeda, the Teflon coated sadist running the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control of many things, but lack of perseverance is not one of them. No matter how stupid, shortsighted, illegal or ethically challenged a decision she and her inept band of DACC misfits make Mayeda will obstinately refuse to budge and act in the morally correct manner.

Such is the case with Larry, a three year old husky who was adopted by the Zavala family from the Downey facility on June 13th during the DACC’s successful “Sleepover at the Shelter” promotion. As previously reported in this blog, Larry quickly endeared himself to his new family and all was well until August 26th, 76 days after his adoption, when the DACC’s Omar Pinto, called the Zavalas to tell them that Mayeda & Company had made a mistake in adopting Larry, because he had allegedly gotten into a fight and in the process killed a Chihuahua. Pinto, who had gained fame for ordering the death of a Castaic cat who he knew rescue was on their way to pick up, demanded that the Zavalas return the dog to Downey so Mayeda’s henchmen could kill him. In exchange Pinto, offered the Zavalas a coupon for a replacement dog. – because evidently according to the DACC ‘s way of thinking all dogs are fungible. When the Spanish speaking Zavalas did not immediately agree, Pinto tried to intimidate them by stating that they would have to appear at a Potentially Dangerous Dog (PDD) inquiry and they would have to bring identification – an overt attempt to try to intimidate them into complying should they not be legal immigrants.

Things seemed to die down after a rescue group intervened on the family’s behalf – but this past week the Zavalas were notified that they were required to attend a PDD hearing to be held on December 22nd. The DACC did not give the Zavalas adequate time to examine any evidence or secure counsel. Several current and former DACC employees have confided that the DACC often manufactures evidence for these hearings because most people involved in them are either poor or non-English Speakers, as well as minimally educated and are often not equipped to challenge the DACC officials. These employees have confirmed that the PDD hearings are merely kangaroo courts, staffed entirely by DACC employees beholden to Marcia Mayeda and the verdicts are preordained. Consequently chances are extremely high that Larry will be ordered to be killed and the DACC never will adequately explain or be held accountable for either knowingly placing a dangerous animal into someone’s home, or how the agency can claim the right to repossess a pet they adopted out – as the DACC includes a release of liability in their adoption agreement and there is no language in the aforementioned agreement allowing them to repossess a pet once he/she has been adopted.

Speaking of killing and discriminating against Spanish speakers, notorious pet killer and Marcia Mayeda hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout is still in the DACC’s employ. She has been moved to the Lancaster call center, and is presiding over the construction of another Marcia Mayeda folly, the forthcoming Palmdale Shelter. The DACC is spending millions of dollars to build a facility which has been until now served by their Lancaster facility.  Since Palmdale is a high intake/low adoption area, the DACC will merely be adding another pet concentration camp with a fairly low adoption rate. If the DACC leadership were truly interested in the live release of the pets that came into its custody (which they aren’t), they would be expanding their Agoura facility, one of the few open admission shelters in Southern California that adopts out more pets than it impounds (thanks to transfers from other DACC facilities). With only 48 dog kennels, Agoura has less than one third of the kennel space than the DACC’s Baldwin Park, Lancaster, Carson and Downey facilities.

Finally of note the DACC recently suspended Baldwin Park’s lead cat volunteer, Stephani Broviak, for one month for what they described as “compassion fatigue”. For the last four years Broviak has volunteered 7 days a week for 8 hours a day.  However she ran afoul of Baldwin’s shelter manager, Sherri “Goldilocks” Koenig, when Broviak replied to a post on her own personal Facebook page and confirmed that Baldwin Park had indeed killed most of its cat and rabbit population – leaving the facility with more empty than occupied kennels.   What is particularly galling is that Broviak was due to return on December 2nd, but the DACC refused to reinstate her upon the expiration of her suspension. Confirming the truth is also something that the Marcia Mayeda’s DACC refuses to allow.

Ironically I am writing this from the airport in Guangzhou China, where Google and Facebook are (along with this website!) banned websites.   Perhaps, Marcia Mayeda and her cronies should relocate their offices to here, where the constitutional rights of citizens enjoyed by Americans are not considered to be of any importance.

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Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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It looked like Marcia Mayeda and her Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) finally did something right when they raided the home of Assistant School Superintendent Pauline Winbush on November 26, 2014. Aided by Los Angeles County deputies they found 19 pit bulls locked in crates in abject filth – covered with feces – all showing signs of being used for dog fighting..  Unfortunately the dogs were in such bad condition that they all had to be euthanized.   Winbush and her accomplice Kevin Williams were arrested and charged with 4 felony counts of dog fighting, 17 felony counts of animal cruelty and one count of felony child endangerment. You might think a good strong pat on the back and a round of kudos would be in order for the much maligned Mayeda, the Teflon coated DACC head, but it would be extremely unwarranted.

The DACC had sent Lancaster Sergeant Rachel Montez-Kemp to the very same address seven years previously. Montez-Kemp had observed a bleeding pit bull with wounds all over his body, and nine pit bulls chained in Winbush’s backyard. Allegedly Winbush claimed to Montez-Kemp that the injured pit bull was suffering from a rare disease and was being treated. Evidently the dog’s disease turned out not to be so rare – he was only allergic to being bitten! Despite the fact that it was bleeding obvious, Ms. Kemp made some cursory notes in Chameleon, the DACC’s computer databse, and handed Winbush a “fix-it” ticket- saying that she would be back to re-inspect the property in another few weeks, and then left – never to return.

There were a few more visits by DACC officers to Winbush’s property in regards to an emaciated horse that was continually escaping the property – and each time the responding officer had the ability to read the previous comments concerning Montez-Kemp’s findings.   However apparently no officer, while they were on the property, followed up by investigating the status of these Pit Bulls’ welfare, or lack thereof.

What makes this horrific animal abuse even more poignant, is that the Lancaster officers sent to investigate the Winbush fighting dogs, are the very same people who in 2013, failed to impound a pack of pit bulls owned by Alex Jackson. These dogs generated multiple complaints for attacking Littlerock residents in separate incidents in January and April of 2013. These unaltered, unlicensed and unmicrochipped dogs were knowingly left at Jackson’s house by the DACC for four months – until they fatally mauled jogger Pamela DeVitt on May 10th.

Marcia Mayeda routinely fails to impound dangerous pets until its too late. Sometimes it is for lack of manpower, more often it is for lack of caring.   In the DeVitt case an eminently likable 62 year old woman died. In Winbush’s case dogs suffered horrific abuse – while evidently a child suffered on the Assistant School Superintendent’s property.

In any other universe, and I would like to think, in any other county, the head of Animal Control would be called on the carpet for the abject failure of both themselves and their employees. Supervisor Mike Antonovich portrays himself as a huge dog lover on his website – and even forces the DACC to waste valuable human resources by having one of their field officers removed from the field to bring the cutest pet at each shelter to BOS meetings. If he really cared about dogs or any other pets, the first thing he would do is remove the scandal plagued Marcia Mayeda from any position having to do with the care of animals.

Instead Antonovich and his four BOS colleagues do their best ostrich imitations and steadfastly refuse to hold their at best ineffective – and in reality morally bankrupt appointee, Marcia Mayeda as head of Animal Control accountable for her abject failure as its leader.

How many more grandmothers will need to die, and how many children’s lives be put at risk before the Board of Supervisors decides that they get rid of their fatally flawed $238,000 employee, Mayeda, and replace her with someone who can perform the job with  skills she lacks, including but not limited to having compassion, dignity and a moral compass to guide them?

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Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Two weeks ago, readers of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control’s (DACC) website saw an announcement claiming that the Marcia Mayeda led agency was not killing pets for time – only for space. When we went back to the DACC’s website to quote it for this blog the item was no longer there – most likely because it was a blatant lie, as opposed to the merely disingenuous statements usually issued by the agency.

According to several Baldwin Park employees the shelter has been killing an average of fifteen dogs per day despite having numerous empty kennels. The shelter workers have become increasingly disgruntled as the result of the heartless and often inexplicable if not downright asinine decisions made by new Baldwin Park Shelter manager, Sheri Koenig. Koenig has repeatedly stated that the shelter is not a pet warehouse, and implied that slow moving merchandise needs to be removed from inventory. They questioned why despite having a kennel full of dogs needing rescue, Koenig made only 38 dogs available to last week’s 1035 dog Wings of Rescue transport after the shelter had been asked to contribute 50 dogs – which was already far less than the 65 dogs that the rescue friendly Downey shelter contributed to the nationally televised flight. It wasn’t only dogs who suffered the wrath of “Goldilocks” Koenig. Koenig ordered the staff to kill nearly every cat and rabbit in the shelter, causing a great deal of angst amongst staff and volunteers, and a great deal of overtime for the people from the rendering plant who had to dispose of the carcasses that were being “warehoused” in the shelter’s freezers.

Meanwhile several Baldwin Park volunteers have been complaining that Koenig has been stalking them on their private Facebook pages, trying to discipline those who have committed the sin of publicizing or even merely confirming the ongoing carnage at Baldwin Park.

The general fear amongst Baldwin Park’s staff and volunteers is that Koenig is a more attractive, but less intelligent version of disgraced former shelter manager Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. There are similarities between the two. Seventy-five percent of Baldwin Park’s staff had banded together to sign a petition demanding Claerbout’s removal. Reportedly at the time of Koenig’s transfer from the Lancaster shelter, her former shelter’s staff were circulating and signing their own petition demanding her immediate removal from the North County shelter. Supposedly things were so hot for Koenig at Lancaster that Mayeda had no choice but to either fire or reassign her. Given Mayeda’s contempt for the “uppity” Baldwin Park staff and volunteers it makes perfect sense that Mayeda would derive a perverse pleasure in giving the shelter a middle finger salute by depositing Koenig in their midst.

Baldwin can take solace in the fact that Mayeda’s contempt is not solely directed at them. It also extends to the pets she is supposedly trying to shelter. The DACC had previously allowed rescues to telephone their shelters to rescue pets once they had been made available to the general public for one day. In a stunning new policy directive issued to her shelters, rescues are no longer allowed to phone county shelters to rescue pets until after their “due out” date has passed. The “due out” date is the first day a pet is eligible to be killed. Instead of phoning the shelters and arranging to rescue a pet and pick the pet up when he/she is altered, now rescues must make the choice to either making two long trips to a county shelter of first to get a “Commitment to Adopt” (which they previously could have done by telephone) and then again to pick up the pet after he/she has been altered, or they can gamble and hope that a heartless bureaucrat like Mayeda or Sheri Koenig hasn’t decided to kill the pet as some sort of “warehouse inventory liquidation.”

 

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Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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   Sometimes we have to face the sad fact that there are a lot of scumbags who delight in torturing animals, and quite a few of them are not the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control or the longest serving member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. On August 19th KTLA, Channel 5, in Los Angeles, reported that four dogs had been discovered in the Antelope Valley suffering from severe third degree burns, and two of them had to be euthanized. (to read the story please click here: http://ktla.com/2015/08/19/more-dogs-doused-with-acid-brought-to-lancaster-animal-shelter-two-dead/ )

On October 15th KABC, Channel 7, reported that according to Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office, that the dogs may not have suffered intentional chemical burns, but instead could have been affected “solar thermal necrosis,” which translates as chronic sun damage. Like so many things involving pet care and safety that involve Supervisor Antonovich – including his office’s participation in the deliberate cover-up of the Pamela DeVitt fatal mauling and his blind support of the morally bankrupt and inept leader of County Animal Control head Marcia Mayeda, there is a possibility of some truth and integrity somewhere in his statement, but it strains credibility. If this indeed was the case, we should expect thousands of dogs throughout the Southland to suffer from the same sun exposure and be similarly injured. According to insiders the reason for Antonovich’s office’s statement may be disingenuous and more related to the DACC being so short-staffed that they were unable to devote the proper resources that might lead to an arrest. Because the DACC had no clues (having no clue is a Marcia Mayeda trademark) the Department and Antonovich would prefer to close the case and act as there was nothing there, rather than admit the truth that the department is so mismanaged that very few successful animal cruelty prosecutions ever occur.

While on the subject of lack of credibility, it was disclosed this past week through a freedom of information act, that Marcia Mayeda is receiving a $22,038 per year “Cafeteria Benefit”.   This translates as a $60 per day assuming spread over 365 calendar days or $88 a day assuming spread over her 251 working days per year. Considering the fact that there is no cafeteria anywhere near DACC headquarters or any of its shelters, one can only think that Antonovich and his Board of Supervisors cronies are adding insult to injury by rewarding their most corrupt and inept employee and allowing her to get fat on a disingenuous bonus at the taxpayer’s expense.

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Marcia Mayeda Causes Pets and People to Suffer and Die

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Marcia Mayeda, the failed bureaucrat running the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has steadfastly refused to provide proper veterinary care for the unfortunate pets impounded in her shelters and as a result of her contempt for the pets, Baca, A4779267, a two year old Australian Shepherd impounded at Carson on September 18th is dead.

It is not the quality of the veterinarians working at the shelters that is the problem. Downey’s veterinarian, Dr. Carissa Jones is a fabulous veterinarian who I would take my own pets to, and there are several other dedicated, caring and knowledgeable veterinarians at other DACC Shelters. The fault lies in Mayeda’s staffing. Each of her four high intake shelters – Carson, Downey, Baldwin Park and Lancaster – have two veterinarians; but both of these veterinarians work Monday – Friday shifts from 7 A.M until 3 P.M.   If a pet comes in after 3 o’clock on a Friday he/she will not be seen until 7 A.M. on the following Monday.   There are RVT’s on staff but they are not allowed to administer medications that have not been prescribed by a veterinarian.

When there is no veterinarian on duty the shelters have the ability to send animals to contracted private veterinary clinics, but they are only allowed to authorize $75 in medical treatment. As any pet owner knows $75 does not buy you much in the way of treatment. There is an exception to this $75 minimum which allows shelter managers to authorize up to $300 in treatment – but this rarely occurs because shelter managers work either Monday – Thursday, or Monday – Friday depending on what week it is.

Baca was impounded on Friday, September 18th and there is a note in Chameleon, the shelter tracking program, diagnosing the dog to be suffering from peritonitis. He was placed in Kennel C324.   On Saturday, September 19th there was no veterinarian on duty and a concerned rescuer named Krista Place, observed through the kennel bars that Baca was in great pain and struggling for life.   Ms. Place dutifully reported it to staff.  Carson’s staff paid no attention to Place’s report and there are no notes showing that anyone checked his condition. The next note in Chameleon was made the following morning on September 20th, when a member of the public reported to the that Baca was dead in his cage.   It is poignant to stress that no staff member, either kennel attendant or RVT had noticed the dog was dead in his kennel – it had to be reported by a member of the public.  He could have been dead for more than 12 hours.

If this was one isolated incident at a Los Angeles shelter it would be merely tragic and perhaps someone would be disciplined for their failure to act and their failure to notice. However this happens routinely at DACC shelters. It does not take a proposition from Wittgenstein to understand that the DACC could easily solve this problem by having one veterinarian work Tuesday – Saturday and the other work Sunday – Thursday. Anyone with common sense could come up with this easy solution, but Marcia Mayeda has nothing but contempt for the pets entrusted into her care and Baca is dead because of this.

Given the constant scandals her lack of leadership has caused, it is anathema that the Board of Supervisors keep Marcia Mayeda as head of the DACC. Her failure to do her job causes pets – like Baca and the infamous Zephyr before him to suffer and die;  and it also kills people, specifically jogger Pamela DeVitt. How many more pets and people need to suffer and die while Supervisor Mike Antonovich and his four colleagues play ostrich, keeping their collective heads buried in the sand. ignoring the cancer that is Marcia Mayeda?  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor’s failure to remove Mayeda as head of the DACC makes them equally culpable. The blood of Ms. DeVitt and the countless number of Bacas is squarely on the Supervisor’s hands – and they need to be held accountable for their misdeeds.

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It’s time for Marcia Mayeda to either resign or be fired as head of the DACC

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One of Marcia Mayeda’s many failures as head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control has been her inability to supervise, motivate and discipline her employees.

For many years she had only one Chief Deputy, and this particular employee developed a reputation for claiming every Tuesday that he was going to leave the DACC’s Long Beach headquarters to visit the Carson Shelter. Somehow he rarely managed to arrive at Carson, and ironically his car was spotted parked in a driveway in nearby Inglewood. Coincidentally the aforementioned driveway was attached to the house in which the Deputy resided. On Wednesdays the same Deputy claimed he was going to the remote Lancaster shelter. Evidently traffic between Long Beach and Lancaster was very heavy and the Deputy never arrived.

Another big problem has been sexual harassment.   Seemingly several male employees had thought “harass” was two words, and have inappropriately touched female officers. One Senior Sergeant was recently transferred from Baldwin Park to Downey because of repeated allegations of sexual misconduct. Several female employees at both shelters are concerned that this is merely a case of Mayeda kicking the can down the road, and there are concerns that this particular employee will still be in contact with women.

Another employee at Lancaster has trashed three county vehicles, left a dog locked in his truck with no air conditioning for 8 hours in 110 degree heat and is the one who clumsily backdated notes in Chameleon, the shelter system’s tracking program, stating that he had responded several times to Alex Jackson’s address, prior to Jackson’s dogs fatally mauling jogger Pamela DeVitt. According to Jackson, the officer never visited his property – and it was a part of Mayeda’s poorly conceived attempt to cover-up both her and her agency’s complicity in Ms. DeVitt’s death. However even if we accept that the notes were entered accurately and several months late – it was a clear violation of DACC policy – and the employee is still on the payroll.

The vast majority of DACC employees are hard working, underpaid and fundamentally decent people. However Mayeda’s unique ability to overlook major transgressions of certain employees while relentlessly carrying unjustified vendettas against good ones like Lieutenant Eillen Hill, former kennel attendant Erika Valles, and former Officer Fernando Perez-Garcia from Baldwin Park, calls her leadership ability into serious question – and that is before taking into consideration her reckless hiring of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout – who managed to live down to her reputation and bring disrepute onto the entire DACC during her brief tenure

Ms. Mayeda needs to clean house – and the first person who should be swept out the door is herself.

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Mike Antonovich’s legacy destroyed by Marcia Mayeda & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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Under the failed leadership of Marcia Mayeda the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) frequently acts so ineptly that one wonders if they have any written regulations which they are supposed to adhere to. Surprisingly enough the DACC has an “Administrative Policy and Procedure” manual – and its Police Number HR 131 states

…disciplinary action is appropriate when the following occurs: The failure of an employee to perform his/her assigned duties as to meet fully explicitly stated or implied standards of performance may constitute adequate ground for discharge, reduction or suspension. Where appropriate, such grounds may include, but are not limited to, qualitative as well as quantitative elements of performance, such as failure to exercise sound judgment, failure to report information accurately and completely, failure to deal with the public, and failure to make productive use of human, financial and other assigned resources. Grounds for discharge, reduction or suspension may also include any behavior or pattern of behavior which negatively affects an employee’s productivity, or which is unbecoming a county employee or any behavior or condition which impairs an employee’s qualification for his or her position or for continues county employment.

Allegedly after Marcia Mayeda began leaving early from work several years ago, claiming she was suffering from vertigo, she was observed riding her American Shire horse. Horseback riding is not on the American Medical Association’s recommended therapies for people suffering from vertigo. If true, this would fall constitute a pattern of behavior which negatively affects an employee’s productivity and would be grounds for dismissal.
For the last two years there have been a spate of emergency calls that were not responded to because there were not enough employees on duty. Both animals and people have been hurt by the DACC’s failure to respond. At this writing there are seven staff positions that are unfilled, including four field officers. Allegedly Mayeda has been receiving a bonus for failing to fill these positions. This certainly would fall under the category of failure to use sound judgment and would be grounds for her dismissal.

Four days after jogger Pamela DeVitt was killed by a pack of marauding dogs in Littlerock Mayeda was called in front of the Board of Supervisors to testify.  According to Mayeda:

We received two reports about these dogs, one in January of this year and one in April of this year. We responded to the January report. We did not locate any of the dogs that had been reported. The owner was cited for violations of animal control ordinances regarding rabies vaccination, licensing, spay and neuter and microchip.

Mayeda was never asked by the Board of Supervisors to explain how the DACC could issue tickets for these dogs if they were never seen. A reasonable person would think that Mayeda failed to report information accurately and completely – which is again another reason for her to be discharged.
Mayeda’s hiring of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, would certainly fall under failure to again use sound judgment. Mayeda’s attempt to fire Lt. Eileen Hill for pointing out Mayeda’s policies breaking California and Federal Law, certainly would violate her duty to meet fully explicitly stated or implied standards of performance. The list goes on and on… yet for some inexplicable reason Marcia Mayeda still is taking home $238,000 a year plus benefits from the gravy train provided by Los Angeles County taxpayers.

Why? The reason Marcia Mayeda still has a job despite his colossal failure as both a human being and a leader of the DACC, is she is being protected by the Board of Supervisors. Evidence in the ongoing DeVitt case against the DACC and Marcia Mayeda show that Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office knew full well that Mayeda was not telling the complete truth, and that the DACC had routinely failed to respond to complaints about the dogs that eventually killed Ms. DeVitt.

Like Marcia Mayeda, had Mike Antonovich done his job and responded to complaints made to his office prior to the DeVitt mauling, Pamela DeVitt would be alive today. Mayeda’s continued employment as head of the DACC despite all her misdeeds is entirely offensive, and if Mike Antonovich and the Board of Supervisors do not act to ameliorate the situation by removing their failed department head, it would not be unreasonable for the DeVitt family to add Mr. Antonovich as a co-defendant in their lawsuit, Benjamin Devitt, Tad DeVitt, and April DeVitt, vs Count of Los Angeles (Cola), Cola Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) Marcia Mayeda and Does 1 through 10.

It would be a shame, but totally understandable, if after 35 years as a County Supervisor, Antonovich’s legacy was that he was just another corrupt, venal and unethical politician whose refusal to investigate his handpicked deputy for corruption, caused Pamela DeVitt to die.

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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When the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) fails to respond to an emergency call or follow up on an investigation, they reflexively cite lack of staffing as the justification for their failure to adequately protect Los Angeles County’s citizens and their pets. Several times in the past when the shelters have killed pets despite having plenty of empty kennels, shelter managers have claimed that they did not have sufficient staff to operate their shelters at full capacity. What makes this so galling and offensive is the revelation that Marcia Mayeda, the $238,000 a year civil servant running the DACC, has been earning bonuses for keeping her headcount low.   There are plenty of unfilled staff positions that Mayeda has routinely refused to fill so she could earn extra money – which she probably used to try and teflon coat her body since nothing ever seems to stick to the feckless bureaucrat. Not only have cats and dogs been dying, but it has been alleged in a lawsuit that jogger Pamela DeVitt was killed because Mayeda cares less about her duty to keep the community safe and adoptable pets alive than she does about how much money she can personally siphon from Los Angeles County taxpayers’ wallets.

Meanwhile at Baldwin Park there are 192 dog kennels and most kennels used for small dogs are shared by three or four pets. Baldwin Park’s canine population was under 190 dogs earlier in the week, yet new Baldwin Park Shelter manager Sherri Koenig ordered her staff to kill dogs despite a plethora of empty kennels. One of those killed was a dog that one of Baldwin Park’s veterinarians wanted to spend his own money to operate on and then place into foster care so the pet could recover and be adopted. Several Baldwin Park staff members were nervously calling this reporter to complain, wondering why after two months of tranquility and progress under Danny Ubario’s leadership, Marcia Mayeda had allowed the shelter to apparently backslide back to the bad old days of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. As more than one Baldwin Park staffer angrily stated, “The only justifiable reasons to kill are for irremediable suffering, dangerous behaviour and space – and very few of the dogs we killed fit into any of these categories.”

The news was no less disturbing at the Downey Shelter where a gorgeous eight month old plush coat German Shepherd puppy vanished into thin air one evening last week from the Downey Shelter. Strangely many other purebred puppies who could easily be sold for more than the shelter would charge the public to adopt, have disappeared late at night from Downey and coincidentally it has always been when the same employee was the only person on duty. Rumors of drug use and debts surround this particular employee – yet he still has a job.

Finally in a rare bit of good news, Baldwin Park Lieutenant Eileen Hill was ordered back to work last Thursday after Marcia Mayeda and her vassal, Pat Claerbout, conspired to try and have the hard working and uncompromisingly honest Lieutenant fired for a series of trumped up charges, when the real reason for her being in hot water was her having pointed out the DACC’s violation of California and OSHA regulations.   We cannot wonder if our mentioning Lieutenant Hill’s being paid her full salary for the last six months while being wrongfully disciplined had anything to do with her reinstatement or if it had to do with possible overdue impending discipline being meted out to a senior Baldwin employee who has routinely been misappropriating donations and harassing female staff and thereby leaving Baldwin Park rudderless, but either way Marcia Mayeda’s headcount is up one person at Baldwin Park – for now…

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Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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On June 13th the Downey Shelter staged a hugely successful “Sleepover at the Shelter” event which produced nearly 100 adoptions. One of these lucky pets was a three year old husky named Larry who was adopted by the Spanish speaking Zavala family from East Los Angeles.   The Zavalas filled out all the shelter’s adoption paperwork, including an indemnification clause, releasing the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) of any liability for any behavioral or medical conditions pertaining to their new pet. Larry settled right in to his new home and quickly became a cherished and integral part of their family.

On August 26th, a full 76 days after the adoption,  DACC Officer Omar Pinto called the Zavalas to notify them that Larry had previously been involved in a dog fight and had killed another dog.   Pinto told Ms. Zavala that he was coming by to pick up Larry so he could take him back to Downey and kill him, and offered a consolation prize – a free replacement dog of their choice in exchange.   Ms. Zavala was horrified and contacted Sleepover at the Shelter’s sponsors to see if they could intervene and stop the DACC from killing Larry.

A letter was written on the Zavala’s behalf, and it drew an immediate phone response from Pinto. When faced with an English rather than Spanish speaker, Pinto was more respectful but no less hopeless.   Pinto denied that he had ever said he was going to seize and kill Larry, but then in his next sentence stated if the Zavalas refused to surrender their dog that he would conduct a Potentially Dangerous Dog (PDD) hearing and after receiving a verdict would then come, seize and kill the dog.

Everyone involved with the DACC knows that PDD hearings are kangaroo courts, staffed entirely by senior DACC employees beholden to Marcia Mayeda.  Several ex-DACC officials have confided that Mayeda tells them exactly how they are to rule, and that any failure to toe her line would be costly to their careers – and several current and active employees have revealed that they try to avoid these kangaroo courts by using the same strategies a member of the public might use in escaping jury duty!   If Larry is subject to a PDD hearing his fate is as good as sealed.

When asked why it took 76 days for the DACC to notice that they had adopted a potentially dangerous dog into a family’s home, Pinto explained that the DACC is severely undermanned and behind in their investigations.

The conversation ended without resolution. However many questions linger.

The DACC and Mayeda are being sued for allowing a pack of potentially dogs to kill Pamela DeVitt. How could Mayeda’s agency knowingly have placed another family at risk by placing an alleged ‘dangerous’ dog into their home for 76 days?

Equally importantly, how can a public safety department like the DACC be so understaffed? The answer is that Marcia Mayeda has so poorly managed her budget that numerous positions are unfilled. Mayeda has suspended numerous DACC employees who she wants to fire, but due to civil service regulations must retain until long and protracted termination hearings can be held. Currently the manager positions of the Baldwin Park, Downey and Lancaster shelters are technically vacant and being manned by temporary employees.   Also, Baldwin Park’s capable Lieutenant Eileen Hill is being wrongfully persecuted by Mayeda and is on indefinite suspension while Downey and Lancaster’s lieutenants are acting as shelter managers, while their positions are vacant. The list goes on and on.   Meanwhile many capable and qualified employees are in the DACC’s inertia bound Long Beach headquarters performing menial jobs.   Mayeda’s secretary, Paula Blackwell is an animal control officer. Why isn’t she in the field protecting both animals and the public?

Is Larry dangerous? We don’t know any more than the DACC does. The DACC don’t have a single qualified dog behaviorist on staff – so they are unqualified to make any decision.   The critical issue here is not whether Larry is or is not dangerous – it is how the DACC repeatedly can demonstrate how poorly run it is.  Marcia Mayeda has failed to manage her $38,000,000 budget as badly as she has failed to manage her shelters.  For this alone she should be fired or in the time honored tradition of the DACC suspended – and her position should be left vacant to be filled in by an unsullied underling.

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Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Need Your Help and the DACC is being investigated

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The Downey and Baldwin Park Shelters are outdated and irremediably dirty structures. With sixty years of grime caked on the walls, these shelters can no longer be adequately cleaned.   The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has ignored the crumbling infrastructure of its two oldest animal shelters for years – and the only times they seemed to ever focus on the Department of Animal Control was when there was a photo opportunity that might get their faces next to a cute dog in the media.

Ironically, a photo of a dog with feces in its kennel, something that happens several times every day in every shelter across the county, triggered a protest which went viral; the organizers were able to gather 5,000 signatures from people angry with the filth.   When you get that many angry signatures career politicians will pay attention – and Supervisor Don Knabe pushed through a resolution ordering the County’s Interim Chief Executive to investigate the safety and cleanliness of the shelters and report back in 15 days with a specific action plan to improve the shelters, customer service and ensure accountability within the shelters.

Whether this is just a lip service, “I made a photo op statement and now I can ignore it again” winking glance at, or a sincere investigation of the DACC, we don’t know yet. If it is the latter the Board will quickly discover that Director of Animal Control Marcia Mayeda has badly mismanaged this agency, which routinely violates State laws and OSHA regulations, tramples the rights of its employees and members of the public, provides substandard care to its animals and routinely kills pets who did not need to die.   If it is the former, the BOS will quickly lose the forest for the trees and fall for Mayeda’s snake-oil saleswoman’s pitch, and be told that the lack of care is caused by too many animals in the shelters – and Mayeda will then order her underlings to lower the kennel populations through mass killings. We would like to hope that the BOS and Knabe are sincere, but years of experience have not left us overly optimistic.

To further demonstrate how pernicious, mendacious and morally corrupt Mayeda is, last week former Baldwin Park kennel attendant Erika Valles was sent a letter signed by DACC Sergeant Rachel Montez-Kemp informing her that criminal charges have been filed against her for animal cruelty. After disgraced former Baldwin Park Shelter manager Pat “Google Me” Claerbout ordered pets to be fed less in a cost cutting move, Valles began photographing the shelter’s pets getting thinner.   Valles was also fostering pets for the shelter, and when one of her foster kittens became ill, she brought the pet to Baldwin Park for its veterinarians to examine. Because it was a cold day and Valles thought that the kitten might be contagious, she placed the kitten in her car as she waited for the veterinarian to be available. Claerbout had Valles’ car illegally broken into and claimed that having the kitten in the car constituted animal cruelty. The kitten turned out to have panleukopia, a common but nearly always fatal disease that claims hundreds of cats’ lives at Baldwin Park each year.   Claerbout blamed the death on Valles, and sent Montez-Kemp, who works at the Lancaster shelter to Valles’ home in Riverside County, far out of the DACC’s jurisdiction for an illegal inspection.   Claerbout also summoned the DACC’s hatchetman, David Hou, to illegally threaten Valles with animal cruelty charges if she refused to resign immediately.   Valles had no legal representation and tearfully quit.   The DACC reneged on its deal and now is pushing for prosecution.

Ironically the same day Valles’ kitten died, five other kittens at Baldwin Park died of panleuk, yet no one was prosecuted. Equally ironically at the Lancaster shelter, an animal control officer left a dog on his truck, parked in the sun for 8 hours in 115 degree heat. The dog died a horrible death. Interestingly, it was this very same officer who backdated the Chameleon notes that are the key evidence of the DACC’s cover-up in the fatal pit bull mauling in Littlerock which claimed the life of jogger Pamela DeVitt.  Oddly enough Sgt. Montez-Kemp never managed to secure a criminal charge in her own backyard.

Mayeda and the DACC’s leadership cannot be trusted on any level – and if it’s a small pile of dog shit at the Downey Shelter that triggers some sort of shelter reform, we can only wonder what kind of reform should be inspired by the huge pile of stinking manure residing in the DACC’s Long Beach headquarters.

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