Monthly Archives: March 2015

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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.

Downey and Baldwin Park Pets Need Your Help!

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.

 

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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.

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently need your help!

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.

 

 

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

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