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.