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!”