• 2015
  • (Page 4)

Yearly Archives: 2015

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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This blog often targets the fetid management of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) and unfortunately there is rarely a shortage of material for us to assail Marcia Mayeda, the agency’s uninspired and myopic head. Mayeda’s mismanagement of the DACC has led to the implementation of poorly conceived policies which have caused countless thousand of wanted pets to be needlessly killed in her ‘shelters’.

However many of the most shortsighted DACC regulations have come as knee-jerk reactions to the misguided and sometimes unethical actions of a small minority of those of us who call ourselves rescuers.   Several years ago a rabbit rescue authorized someone to go to the Carson shelter and pick up a blind senior Pit Bull named Buck from the Carson shelter. Buck had a considerable amount of money pledged to save him. A few weeks later Buck was found dead in Compton.  There are conflicting reports as to who exactly was responsible for Buck’s being dead. but as a result the DACC revoked its “one time pull” policy and rescues could no longer send transporters who were not on their pull lists to pick up shelter pets . This had the unintended, but nonetheless real effect of causing many legitimate rescues to scale back their efforts at shelters that weren’t close to their central operations – and many dogs from Lancaster were consequently ignored by the a large percentage of Los Angeles based rescues.

What is disturbing to me is that over the past several weeks, I have received reports about a so called rescue group pulling pets from several Southern California shelters who had considerable pledge dowries and then dumping them in other shelters.  Sources at Los Angeles City’s Harbor Shelter have confirmed that they have received more than thirty dogs from this so called rescue group, and Long Beach has banned the  group from dumping any more cats at their shelter.  Meanwhile a lady with cancer recently offered this same rescue group one thousand dollars if they would rehome her beloved pit bull because she could no longer take care of the dog.  The woman had been attracted to the rescue’s website because it had a picture of Demi Moore posing with one of this rescue’s dogs.  This unethical group took the lady’s money and then drove the dog to the Carson shelter and dumped her. Happily my friends and I were able to somewhat mitigate the damage and pull the dog from Carson – but this does not obviate the fact that there are unscrupulous people posing as rescuers – and these people not only give us all bad names – they cause the DACC to adapt even more draconian rescue policies that effect and hobble us all.

We rescuers need to internally police ourselves. One way we can achieve this is to discourage people from pledging money for individual pets. Most pets, except those with medical needs or pets being transported to out of the area locations, do not need pledges.  Rescues have kenneling and maintenance expenses, and need donations, but people offering pledge money deserve the right to know exactly what their money is being used for.

Meanwhile shelter systems need to establish better communication not only with each other, but within the rescue community itself. We cannot continue to let unscrupulous people pollute the waters for all of us… because as we all know somewhere in Long Beach there is a morally bankrupt bureaucrat frothing at the mouth to overreact and use this as an excuse to make things even more difficult for all of us to save pets.

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Downey and Baldwin Park Pets Need Your Help!

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The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control issued a revised “Adoption Partner Program” last week and although Marcia Mayeda’s inept department managed to finally get a few things right for which they deserve a modicum of credit, they by and large failed as the agency seemingly cannot get it through their incredibly dense bureaucratic skulls that rescue is a collaborative effort of many people working together rather than individuals operating in a vacuum.

Since it is so rare that the DACC does anything right , I would like to start off by lauding Mayeda and company for giving priority to individual adopters rather than rescues.   Rescues and transporters should not be able to snatch up every fluffy dog and cute puppy before the general public gets an opportunity to adopt.   Although 95 percent of the rescues are run at an economic loss, as the rescues have huge veterinary bills to pay, many rescues in essence sell their rescued pets who they get for free (as long as the ASPCA subsidy holds out) to the public for upwards of $400.   The public deserves the right to adopt highly sought after dogs.

Beyond that the DACC is still clinging to failed policies that only lead to higher euthanasia rates.

The DACC is still insisting that their adoption partners “Only place animals adopted under the AP program into private homes and not transfer them to other rescue groups without (sic) DACC’s advance authorization.”   This means, according to the myopic Mayeda regime, that my rescue cannot transfer a dog that would be a perfect for sniffing out peanuts and protecting children who otherwise might go into anaphylactic shock and die if they should come into contact with the substance – solely because the therapy dog trainers are in Colorado and aren’t DACC adoption partners.   Of course, like virtually everything the DACC does, there is a loophole and the DACC cannot prevent me from outright adopting a pet to another rescue as a private adopter, rather than doing a rescue to rescue transfer – thereby thwarting their poorly conceived policy.

The DACC is still maintaining that it will temperament test dogs based on the pet’s breed or previous behavior before releasing the dog to rescues. If the dog should fail the temperament test the DACC will issue an indemnification waiver for the pet which the head of the rescue must sign.   Since the DACC does not have a single qualified dog behaviorist on its payroll there is not one person at the agency qualified to correctly administer a temperament test. Furthermore since the individual shelters are all understaffed (much of this due to Mayeda’s keeping many of her animal control officers doing menial work at DACC headquarters such as having an ACO2 animal control officer as her secretary rather than working in the shelters) temperament tests often take over a week to administer. During much of the year at Mayeda’s high intake shelters this means that these wanted dogs just take up kennel space that could be used to provide shelter for incoming pets. As a result each day these dogs wait for their poorly administered temp tests, as many as five anonymous dogs will die per day waiting for the DACC to get around to issuing the waiver. The logical and more effective alternative to the DACC’s policy is to make all rescues sign an indemnification waiver and release of liability for all dogs they adopt – be they fluffy puppies or dominant breed dogs. The Hayden Act, a statewide law, does not give the DACC the right to turn down a rescue who wants a dog – and it is high time the DACC stopped started following the law rather than promulgating law on its own.

Again the DACC is insisting that rescues send only a person from its pull list to pick up dogs rather than sending a designated person to provide transport. This makes it harder for rescue groups to cover more than one DACC shelter and punishes smaller rescues. Well run shelter systems including Riverside County, Long Beach and Ventura County – and even poorly run shelter systems like Los Angeles City accommodate their rescues and allow them to send representatives to pick up pets – and even make thing easier for the rescues by allowing them to call in their pulls and charge any fees to their credit cards.

The DACC also announced that they now will grant rescues an appeal process should they be suspended. The hearing officer of course will be picked by the DACC and will an employee of the DACC. Given that the Mayeda run DACC is run on fear and intimidation there is virtually no chance that any  Marcia Mayeda vassal is going to rule against her agency.

The DACC exhibits unmitigated gall by calling rescues its “Adoption Partners”.  The Mayeda led DACC operates in a vacuum far removed from any of its shelters and rescues and does not partner with anyone and if any of us are DACC partners we are “mushroom partners” – always kept in the dark and fed shit.

 

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Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control is responsible not only for sheltering animals but for making sure that pets are not mistreated in the communities the agency serves.   Among the DACC’s duties is ensuring that hoarders are not allowed to amass large numbers of pets and keep them in squalid conditions.   When complaints come in about hoarding situations, officers are supposed to be dispatched to the scene to impound the pets and bring them back to the shelters.

A few weeks ago the DACC received reports that there were 50 Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas living in filth on a property located at 10337 R6 in Littlerock.   The Lancaster shelter took its time going there, noticed the dogs, and ended up catching only one mom and her puppies.  The other dogs were left behind – and it was left to a handful of rescuers to catch the remaining dogs. As of this writing at least 24 dogs who were in clear view of the Lancaster officers have been collected by the rescuers – dogs the DACC was too lazy bring in.

Back in September of 2013, the Lancaster shelter received complaints about a trailer in the Golden Sands Trailer Park in Lancaster.   They were told that there were sixty cats inside the trailer.   An officer went there and discovered a crack pipe, seven cats, a strong aroma of urine and noted that it looked like a lot of cats had been there but had vacated.   According to eye witnesses the alleged hoarder had been tipped off and had moved the cats to a trailer next door. The DACC did nothing. When follow up complaints came involving a naked woman in front of the trailer handing out free kittens, and other less salacious but nonetheless disturbing reports came in, the shelter did little to investigate or bring in the pets. They showed up once in August and once in September of 2014 and posted some warnings, but failed to follow up.

In an e-mail to the person reporting the hoarding situation, a Lancaster sergeant wrote:

…because when we do these (hoarding) calls the animals have to be examined the day of impound which takes time. This means it takes the medical staff away from everyday jobs. It is not that we are ignoring it, but we know what we are getting into when we get calls like this. As far as me going out to take care of these, it goes by priority, right now I have a search warrant in the works for a location with approx. 200 dogs, I also have a search warrant for approx. 300 roosters, then I have another cat hoarder with approx. 100 cats and 20 dogs, then another one with approx. 30 cats that I have had longer than yours and then I have yours. That is the order I am working in. I am not upset it’s just that you don’t understand how it works.

We think that in the space of a year and a half the DACC could have found the time to investigate this hoarding complaint.   When asked what it would take to get the cats out of this horrific situation, a DACC insider responded curtly, “It takes either a television crew – where Marcia Mayeda and her inner circle can dive in front of a camera – or a phone call from County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office. He’s the one who protects Mayeda, and lets her get away with all her bullshit. She knows if Antonovich calls she better jump.”

For the animals’ sake, we hope Supervisor Antonovich hasn’t lost Mayeda’s phone number.

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently need your help!

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Approximately three years ago, a new spay/neuter clinic was built at the Baldwin Park Shelter to replace its former clinic which had been closed by health inspectors for numerous violations of the health and safety codes. Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, ordered that the clinic be operated Monday – Friday to alter the facility’s pets.   The clinic has sat idle on weekends since its construction.  Several of us approached DACC management and asked if we could fund bringing an outside veterinarian to staff the spay/neuter clinic and provide free or low cost spay/neuters to the public on the weekends.   We were told it was impossible due to insurance and security reasons.

Therefore it was something of a welcome surprise when we discovered the DACC has reversed itself and is now considering opening the spay/neuter clinics at several of its shelters including Downey and Baldwin Park on the weekends staffed by outside veterinarians for altering non-shelter pets.

What changed, we wondered.   Was it that Ms. Mayeda is beginning to feel the heat from the Board of Supervisors for her abject failure to formulate any innovative policy to reduce the number of unwanted pets in Los Angeles County, or was it merely Mayeda waking up one day with an innovative idea as to how to improve the plight of shelter animals?

And speaking of innovative, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, Baldwin Park’s widely despised shelter manager, who Mayeda has ordered DACC staff to describe as an “innovative leader” in their replies to the numerous letters and e-mails demanding her firing, has been at it again.   Last week Claerbout stated that she had twenty to thirty idiots working for her every day – which has further raised tensions at a shelter where staff discontent is so high that workers are routinely calling in sick so that they don’t have to deal with their abusive manager. Also Claerbout was overheard complaining that shelter pets were getting too much food again. This comes after some staff members had taken it upon themselves to increase the amount fed to shelter dogs following the disclosure in this blog that “Google Me” had tried to save money by substantially reducing the portions fed to the shelter’s dogs.   “Eating is the only thing dogs have to look forward to,” grumbled one Baldwin employee, “it’s the least we could do to give them enough to eat before we kill them.”

In the last week Claerbout has ordered five dogs from the shelter volunteer’s networking list to be killed despite a plethora of empty kennels.   What irked both staff members and volunteers was that several of the victims were young Chihuahuas who were killed for being initially timid when meeting new people.  Evidently Ms. Claerbout’s innovative leadership style is making sure that you don’t read anything about Chihuahua’s standard behavior – which is to be initially shy when meeting new people.

 

 

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Unlike the County of Los Angeles, the city of Irvine’s government values the input of its animal shelter’s stakeholders. On January 27th in an open Irvine City Council meeting, Council members listened to several shelter volunteers and former staff members complain about the mismanagement and inhumane treatment of animals at the Irvine Shelter. Irvine’s Council acted swiftly and decisively, ordering a 60 day moratorium on killing pets at the Irvine Shelter and recommending the hiring of a certified animal behaviorist to assess animals. Two days later Michelle Quigley, the shelter head resigned under pressure.

It was a stunning development for those of us focused on the badly mismanaged Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control (DACC).   Complaints are received on a daily basis about the DACC and its feckless manager, Marcia Mayeda.  The complaints are either forwarded to Mayeda for self-investigation or summarily dismissed altogether.   Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s Communications Deputy Tony Bell has repeatedly informed constituents complaining about the DACC’s horrific management that Mayeda had the Board’s unqualified support and they did not need to investigate any charges against the failed bureaucrat – even when the charges came from employees with evidence of corruption and illegal activities, volunteers with allegations of improper euthanasia and rescuers with complaints concerning Mayeda’s staunch refusal to release animals in violation of the Hayden Act.

What made Irvine’s move even more impressive was that two days after Quigley was ousted from her job, Assistant City Manager Sharon Landers was on the telephone soliciting opinions from a wide-range of shelter workers, volunteers and activists, including surprisingly myself, as to how they might better take care of their pets and work with both their volunteers and the rescue community and who they should hire to run their department.

A responsive government interested in solving problems, bettering its pets’ lives and serving its constituency better, rather than perpetually obfuscating, stonewalling and covering it’s rear end is a novel and welcome concept for those of us who deal with the DACC on a daily basis. We can only hope that this is the beginning of a shelter version of an “Arab Spring” and that morally bankrupt shelter heads like Marcia Mayeda and her Los Angeles City counterpart Brenda Barnette will be toppled.

In other DACC news, Baldwin Park announced in an e-mail to its volunteers that they will not be scheduling any more volunteer training classes for the remainder of the year. According to several Baldwin Park volunteers the poorly run facility, already understaffed because of workers not wanting to work under Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, doesn’t want more volunteers who help their neglected pets for free – because they might ask questions about the facility’s policies and notice the neglegent care provided to its animals

 

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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The mismanagement of the Baldwin Park “Shelter” under the feckless team of Marcia Mayeda and her tragic hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout is an affront to human decency.   It’s not just the unjustifiable slaughter of dogs that outrages us – it’s the lack of care and opportunity for public adoption given to the pets who Claerbout permits to live that makes us apoplectic.

On February 10th Baldwin Park had 71 empty kennels. Sam, A4161086, a four year old spayed female Shepherd mix was being moved by staff into the ready for adoption kennels in Building 2.   The dog was scared from being suddenly moved and refused to walk.   Anyone with the least bit of knowledge of dog behavior knows that dogs will often freeze when put into new situations, but rather than either patiently coax the dog into a new kennel, or carry her, Baldwin Park’s management ordered Sam to be dragged to the back of the facility and killed.

Baldwin Park does not have a single trained dog behaviorist on their payroll – yet they continue to have unqualified people deciding whether a dog should live or die based on momentary behavior.   Being scared of hulking employees in loud environments should not mandate a death sentence. These same employees conduct poorly designed and administered temperament tests to determine whether certain dog breeds will be made available to the public or killed.  If a pet’s life is being evaluated on behavior, we at least owe the pet that the evaluator has been adequately trained to understand the behavior he or she is observing.

Last year Mayeda chose to fence off Baldwin’s Building 4 and place its 48 kennels off limits to the public.   Building 4 now houses dogs that are being quarantined for bites, dogs who are pregnant, injured and sick, as well as dogs being held for transport to low kill shelters.   The rationale for kenneling transport dogs in Building 4 is to keep them healthy as there had been complaints that Baldwin Park dogs were frequently arriving with upper respiratory disease (a/k/a “Kennel Cough) and contaminating the receiving shelters. So Mayeda’s genius solution was to keep the transport dogs that they are trying to keep healthy (the question of why all dogs shouldn’t be kept healthy notwithstanding) kenneled next to dogs who are already sick! These quarantined transport dogs, usually the cutest and most adoptable dogs at Baldwin Park, are hidden from owners who may be looking for them and from potential adopters. If these dogs get sick and are rejected for transport, which happens frequently, their lives are at risk because rescues and the public aren’t aware they exist.

Claerbout and Mayeda have teamed up to put the building housing the shelter’s cats off limits to the public for the last four months, because of a panleukopenia outbreak that killed hundreds of the shelter’s cats.   Although there has not been a reported case of panleuk at the shelter for several months and the disease is not carried by humans, the cats are still being hidden – and cat adoptions are dramatically down and cat euthanasia is dramatically up from previous years.

There are many viable solutions to reducing euthanasia and increasing adoptions at Baldwin Park.   All of them necessitate the removal of Marcia Mayeda and her disastrous minion, Pat Claerbout.

Meanwhile in a follow up to last week’s DACC news. The Lancaster employee who refused to leave the shelter to answer a call to help an injured dog who subsequently bled to death, allegedly tried to alter the timestamp in the shelter’s tracking software to make it look like the call was properly responded to. However the employee did not learn anything from the fatal Pamela DeVitt mauling case and failed to realize that all entries into the record are time stamped. Somehow even with all this evidence, Marcia Mayeda still has neither fired nor suspended the employee and he still comes into regular contact with shelter pets.

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Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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According to well placed DACC insiders, Marcia Mayeda, the beleaguered and morally challenged head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control, is losing it.  Already a defendant in a lawsuit for her alleged role in allowing a pack of vicious dogs to fatally maul Pamela DeVitt and for conspiracy in trying to suppress the investigation, Ms. Mayeda is said to be a little bit testy lately. Her top deputies have let it be known that Mayeda’s administrative meetings have disintegrated into their boss “going off the deep end – yelling and ranting and demanding things be done, one way or another she doesn’t care how just do it.” The deputies are scared because, as more than one of them has admitted, the last thing they want is for David Hou, a DACC Human Resources employee pressed into service as chief Mayeda hatchetman, knocking on their door.

David Hou is perhaps the one DACC employee with the most job security. A civil servant with a law degree, his always-in-demand services have been redirected by Mayeda. On February 11th at 8 o’clock in the evening the Lancaster shelter was notified that a dog had been seriously attacked ten minutes from the shelter and required emergency treatment. The incident number was A15-009068. The sole Lancaster field officer on duty was deployed over an hour from the incident, so they asked the Officer in Charge at the shelter to respond. He declined saying he had better things to do, and three hours later the shelter received a call telling them that the dog had bled to death. The Officer in Charge has a rather unspectacular resume including leaving dogs on trucks in 100 plus degree heat…yet David Hou hasn’t paid him a visit.

Mr. Hou has, however, been ordered to go after employees who have not done anything wrong.   He’s been a frequent visitor to Baldwin Park, where he recently served their hardworking Lieutenant, Eileen Hill, with papers announcing that she was placed on administrative leave pending termination for “insubordination” and was forbidden to talk to any DACC employees pending her case’s outcome. Ms. Hill’s crime? She was a whistleblower and reported that the DACC was violating OSHA safety regulations and sending DACC vehicles on the road with drivers who were not licensed to operate them. Mr. Hou was also brought in to intimidate popular Baldwin Park kennel attendant Erika Valles into resigning after a kitten she was fostering came down with panleuk. According to Valles, she was summoned to a meeting with Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Hou and threatened with jail if she did not resign. The real reason Valles was fired was she too was a whistleblower – and was photographing emaciated dogs who were losing weight at the shelter after Claerbout ordered a reduction in pet feeding.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park is abuzz with the news that new supervisor Hilda Solis dropped by the facility and was not impressed. We hope she will be sharing her observations with Marcia Mayeda, who this time will not be able to solve her problems by ordering David Hou to get into his car and go fire the whistleblower.

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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Over the last month we have been privately auditing the Baldwin Park “shelter”. Our analysis has confirmed our worst fears – that Baldwin Park has been transformed from the most rescue friendly ‘shelter’ into perhaps the worst animal facility in Southern California. As of today, 74 dogs and 166 cats are either designated as “BOFFICE”, “BVET”, “BClinic” or “BFoster”. We have only included “BFoster” animals who have been fostered for more than the maximum three months allowed by the DACC. We have not included in this number recent fosters who are hopefully safe and accounted for.

Many of these 240 pets have been missing for nearly a year. This painfully high number does not include the considerable number of pets that Baldwin Park took out of their active inventory to dodge red flags which might cause potential audits by the Los Angeles County Auditor. All of these pets have been lost by the horrific facility manager, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, who was hired with malice of forethought by Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) head Marcia Mayeda.

Claerbout has worked diligently to win the title as the worst shelter manager in Western Civilization: as of yesterday the “shelter” had 67 empty dog kennels, but was still killing dogs for “time” -amongst them two dogs from the Baldwin Park volunteers’ networking list. Killing a dog when there is no need to do so is not euthanasia – it is premeditated murder and potentially a felony under California law. Anyone who does a Google search on Claerbout will see that bumping off dogs for sport, rather than exigency is nothing new to Mayeda’s minion, the Baldwin Park manager, who is being publicly touted as a “innovative” leader by the DACC’s chief apologist, Chief Deputy Betsey Webster.

Meanwhile the shelter is at war with its staff and volunteers. Personal vendettas are now rampant against employees who have maintained exemplary disciplinary records until Claerbout arrived to destroy Baldwin Park and all animals who enter the facility. The well-respected and compassionate 28-year veteran of DACC, Eileen Hill, has been suspended – yet again – on trumped up charges. The real reason Lt. Hill is suspended is because she follows the law and reports violations. Marcia and her minions don’t like sunlight shined upon their mistreatment of animals and DACC’s multiple violations of both OSHA safety regulations and California law. .

Kennel attendant Erika Valles claims she was illegally threatened and forced to resign, when she started taking pictures of emaciated Baldwin Park dogs, who were victims of Claerbout’s order to reduce feedings of the pets entrusted into her care. To make things worse Claerbout has waged war against Valles by allegedly phoning other municipal shelters and trying to blackball her to any that would consider hiring the popular former employee.

When I recently visited Baldwin Park, I was swarmed by employees wanting me to publicly air their grievances and telling me of Claerbout’s vendettas against both the pets and the ‘shelter’ workers. Court referrals, people who have been sentenced to community service rather than jail for committing crimes are now wearing vests saying “Staff” and handling pets. It’s bad enough that Claerbout is allowed to handle a pet, but do we want convicted criminals coming into unsupervised contact with the facility’s animals?

Back to the missing pets! Where are the missing pets? No one knows – and Claerbout’s negligent care is being swept under the rug by her protector and benefactor, Marcia Mayeda. Anyone who has access to Google knows Claerbout’ prior history of inhumane treatment of shelter pets, staff and volunteers. Last time we checked, Google is not a blocked website on DACC computers, yet Mayeda chose to hire Claerbout anyway.
Albert Einstein’s famous definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results comes into mind. We must conclude that Mayeda welcomes this controversy and the dismantling of her former flagship shelter. The reason? Several DACC insiders have opined that Mayeda wants to deflect the public’s attention away from both her own abysmal record and her upcoming trial concerning her alleged recklessness and negligence that resulted in the death of jogger, Pamela Devitt. She is gambling that shelter activists will instead focus on Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. Mayeda’s thinking has one fundamental flaw: Mayeda knowingly, willingly and deliberately hired Claerbout despite her appalling reputation and that is a fact that no one can deny or forget – and by “no one” we include the Los Angeles County Auditor.

 

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Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

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At the end of the classic movie, Animal House, a young Kevin Bacon is yelling “Remain calm.  All is well” as his little street descends into total chaos. Watching that scene today I am reminded of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC).

Both the DACC and Marcia Mayeda individually are being challenged in court for their roles leading to the tragic death of jogger Pamela DeVitt. The complaint also alleges that Mayeda and the DACC committed intentional fraud by trying to cover up their culpability in Ms. DeVitt’s death and claims that she knowingly lied in her testimony on the tragedy to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Ms. Mayeda has told close associates that she is not worried about this lawsuit.  She should be.

She should also be worried about several other events going on in her crumbling realm. Word is filtering out that this past week an officer at the Lancaster shelter received a call to assist an injured dog who had retreated under a dumpster after having been hit by a car. The officer arrived at the scene and told onlookers that she didn’t see the dog and wasn’t going to get her uniform dirty by trying to crawl behind the dumpster to get a better look. The officer then left the scene. The next day the dog was found dead under the dumpster, probably from a combination of internal bleeding and exposure.

The news isn’t much better for Mayeda at Baldwin Park, the facility that had somehow ‘misplaced” over 100 animals during Pat “Google Me” Claerbout’s tenure, as a surveillance camera caught one of its senior employees stealing cash from the shelter. The alleged culprit is one of “Google Me’s” favorite employees and the incident, much to the consternation of Baldwin Park’s already demoralized employees, is being swept under the table rather than being actively investigated.

Meanwhile rumors have it that the Castaic shelter’s operations are being investigated by the County Auditor. Apparently the complaints made by Wendy Sue Mesny, an ex-Castaic officer, concerning poor DACC management and retaliation against those who spoke out about bad euthanasias and other misdeeds, are being looked into by the independent County Auditor since Mayeda has repeatedly stonewalled any attempts to investigate her or her inner circle’s performance – or lack thereof.

Adding to Ms. Mayeda’s bad week is the disclosure that one of her senior employees unintentionally, or perhaps not, e-mailed DACC employees’ confidential disciplinary files to several outsiders, including myself.  One of the files belonged to a Lancaster employee who adopted an unaltered white German Shepherd to her husband so she could try and breed the dog.  In this case the DACC is actually to be commended as they did the right thing and acted swiftly and properly.  However other files sent to us show a different side of the DACC which will be the subject of future blog entries.

DACC insiders observe that Mayeda seems more concerned about trying to figure out where all these leaks are springing from rather than addressing and fixing the cause of her agency’s problems. Many, if not most of these problems stem from Mayeda’s capricious management style and her inability to inspire loyalty from her employees.  This could easily be fixed if Mayeda and her inner circle resigned or were fired and replaced by a professional management team with integrity – a quality which is sadly missing from the director and her few remaining loyal minions.

“Remain calm, all is well,” is what DACC stakeholders are being told – but it’s not the message that is getting through. Instead we are hearing another more apropos line from Animal House, “You fucked up – you trusted us!”

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Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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Over the last year I have shifted my focus from exclusively working to save Los Angeles County Shelter pets to coordinating large scale transports involving many of the larger Southern California shelter systems and it has been eye opening. One doesn’t need to have an adversarial relationship with municipal shelters to help save their pets! No open-admission shelter system is perfect, they all have problems – and nearly all except for the impeccably run no kill S.P.A.R.C. shelter in Santa Paula kill pets (at S.P.A.R.C. “no-kill” means that they don’t kill any pets ever as opposed to the disingenuous definition advocated by the “No-Kill” movement allowing you to kill ten percent of your pets and still claim that you are “no-kill”). However the difference is some shelter systems actually try their hardest to rehome pets as opposed to the Los Angeles County and City shelter systems which are still run by inept bureaucrats who, as one shelter director said, “run their systems as if they were still in the 1960’s.”

Innovative leadership and programs abound in other communities. Ventura County has dramatically dropped its euthanasia result, largely due to S.P.A.R.C and a progressive shelter director. Long Beach will move hell or high water to effect a safe rehoming of its pets, Riverside County is perhaps the most innovative shelter system we’ve dealt with, while Animal Friends of the Valley in Wildomar has forged close bonds with its community to try and reduce the killing. Seaaca has made significant strides to improve and has devoted considerable effort to lessen the tidal wave of incoming pets by offering spay/neuter services within its community, and Orange County, Kern County and Bakersfield have always been eager to remove any roadblocks to rescuing their pets.

Meanwhile back in Los Angeles County it is not all doom and gloom. The Downey shelter, under Danny Ubario’s capable leadership, has taken over the “Rescue Friendly” mantle that was abandoned at the Baldwin Park “shelter” when it was taken over by the brutal Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. The DACC claims Claerbout is ‘an innovative leader’. We had never considered the definition of “Innovative” to mean that you alienate your staff, volunteers and rescues but it seems that bureaucracy tends to employ its own vocabulary.

The good news is that throughout Southern California and the Pacific Northwest the month of January has been kind to shelter pets. Impounds are dramatically down in Southern California and nearly every shelter is reporting lower kill rates and high releases. Shelters in the Pacific Northwest are reporting back to us that they are not just low on dogs, some are even out of dogs – and all the Southern California transports, including my colleagues at Wings of Rescue, are scrambling to transfer at-risk pets to shelters in Washington, Idaho and Oregon where these pets will be quickly adopted. The sad part is we know this is the calm before the storm, and the tidal wave of owner turn-ins and strays will hit us again very soon.

Some Southern California shelter heads are already preparing for this oncoming deluge and are working tirelessly to institute programs to save these incoming pets. History has taught us to not expect Marcia Mayeda and Brenda Barnette, the respective, but not respected, heads of the Los Angeles County and City shelter systems to be doing anything other than following their age old tried and tested failed methods.

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