Monthly Archives: May 2015

Baldwin Park and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

When Marcia Mayeda, Los Angeles County’s head of Animal Control, hired her friend Pat Claerbout to run the Baldwin Park facility everyone knew she was hiring a ticking time bomb. Anyone with access to Google knew there were multiple allegations that Claerbout was a serial animal abuser and it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but only a matter of ‘when’ the bomb would explode.

Last week the bomb exploded. Over 75 percent of Baldwin Park’s employees signed and submitted to the Department of Animal Control’s Human Resources Department a petition demanding that Claerbout be removed. Three quarters of the shelter’s employees were willing to risk retaliation to make their dissatisfaction with the head who is described by Mayeda as being “innovative”. Word of mouth says many other staff members wanted to sign but felt too intimidated.

Also last week a distraught Spanish speaking family showed up at the Baldwin Park Shelter with their beloved Cocker Spaniel. The dog had gone into seizures and was immediately rushed to a private veterinarian who told them any possible treatment would cost between $1,000 and $1,500. Because this was beyond the family’s financial wherewithal, the vet directed them to Baldwin Park where the ASPCA had instituted a program to provide financial assistance for low income families with veterinary needs. The family arrived at Baldwin Park and explained their plight to the shelter’s impound clerk who told them that the ASPCA representative would be arriving shortly and they were welcome to wait at the ASPCA booth in front of the shelter.

Their dog was clearly in bad shape, and the family was crying as they waited for the ASPCA. According to multiple witnesses, this drew the ire of Claerbout who complained loudly to staff members that these people should not be in front of the shelter in this condition because it was bad for the shelter’s image. Claerbout ordered the facility’s impound clerk to impound the dog, even though the family had not legally relinquished their pet. Then Claerbout went out and grabbed the dog from the family telling them she was going to take him to the shelter veterinarian. Claerbout took the dog to the back of the shelter and ordered the veterinary staff to kill him. While Baldwin Park’s medical staff agreed that the dog should be put down, they quickly recognized that the family had not relinquished the dog to the shelter and euthanizing him would be both illegal and immoral, and therefore refused to kill him – apparently unbeknownst to Claerbout.

While this drama was playing out a Baldwin Park officer went out to console the family. The family tearfully said they realized the dog was in bad shape and wanted to take their pet to an outside veterinarian so the pet could die with dignity amongst his loved ones. Claerbout returned and, seeing the officer talking to the family, asked them, “What are you still doing here?” When the officer explained that they wanted to be with their pet, Claerbout replied “It’s just a shot – the same as a veterinarian would give.”

The officer reminded Claerbout that she could not legally kill a dog that hadn’t been surrendered to the shelter. Claerbout, who had already ordered the dog killed, became agitated with the officer and ordered her to secure the relinquishment form. The officer reluctantly informed the family of the dog’s medical situation and persuaded them to sign the form.

Claerbout’s actions were illegal and a violation of department policy. There may have been racial overtones – several people wondered whether she would have treated the family the same way if they were white, educated and spoke English. Her actions were heartless and insensitive and, according to policy and procedure warrant at minimum a 15 day suspension without pay. This case warrants stronger sanctions and possible criminal prosecution.

Marcia Mayeda’s judgment and motives in hiring Claerbout are questionable. Allegations that Marcia Mayeda lied to the Board of Supervisors in open session and instituted a coverup in the fatal Pamela DeVitt mauling have been raised in the case of DeVitt vs Los Angeles County and Marcia Mayeda . This may go beyond Mayeda as there is some evidence that the Board of Supervisors, specifically the office of Mike Antonovich, knew Mayeda was lying and at best did nothing and at worst condoned if not outright sanctioned it.

E-mails and calls to the Board of Supervisors have generated canned responses claiming the Board takes the allegations seriously and cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. Current procedure is that complaints about the Department of Animal Care and Control are sent to Mayeda for resolution. There is evidence of corruption involving Mayeda and we urge the Board of Supervisors to appoint an independent investigator in this matter. We also call on the Board of Supervisors to suspend both Claerbout and Mayeda with pay pending completion of the investigation as there is a real and immediate risk that witnesses will be intimidated and the investigation compromised if they remain actively employed. It is time for the Board of Supervisors to take responsibility and answer to the public.

Meanwhile “Google Me” Claerbout is trying to cut down the number of pets included on the Baldwin Park volunteers’ networking list and also shorten the hold times they are given – despite the fact that historically this networking list has had a 97 percent live release rate – a rate which was even higher before Claerbout arrived. The live release rate for the facility as a whole is down to 79 percent for dogs and only 18 percent for cats – yet Claerbout wants to lower the pets exposure. Anything you can do to help by adopting, rescuing or networking these highly deserving pets is appreciated and urgently needed.

 

BALDWIN PARK SHELTER EMPLOYEES DEMAND PAT “GOOGLE ME” CLAERBOUT BE REMOVED!

  

On the morning of May 18th a distraught Spanish speaking family showed up at the Baldwin Park Shelter with their beloved Cocker Spaniel. The dog had gone into seizures and was immediately rushed to a private veterinarian who told them any possible treatment would cost between $1,000 and $1,500.   Because this was beyond the family’s financial wherewithal, the vet directed them to  Baldwin Park where the ASPCA had instituted a program to provide financial assistance to help low income families with veterinary needs.   The family arrived at Baldwin Park and explained their plight to the shelter’s impound clerk who told them that the ASPCA representative would be arriving shortly and they were welcome to wait at the ASPCA booth in front of the shelter.

Their dog was clearly in bad shape, and the family was crying as they waited for the ASPCA.   According to multiple witnesses, this drew the ire of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout who complained loudly to staff members that these people should not be in front of the shelter in this condition because it was bad for the shelter’s image. Claerbout ordered the facility’s impound clerk to impound the dog, even though the family had not legally relinquished their pet.   Then Claerbout went out and grabbed the dog from the family telling them that she was going to take him to the shelter veterinarian.   Claerbout took the dog to the back of the shelter and ordered the veterinary staff to kill him, even though the shelter had not secured his custody.   While Baldwin Park’s medical staff agreed that the dog should be put down, they quickly recognized that there was no signed relinquishment form. and to do so without the document would be both illegal and immoral, and therefore refused to kill him – apparently unbeknownst to Claerbout.

While this drama was playing out a Baldwin Park officer went out to console the family. The family tearfully said they realized the dog was in bad shape and wanted to take their pet to an outside veterinarian so the pet could die with dignity amongst his loved ones. Claerbout returned and upon seeing the officer talking to the family asked them, “What are you still doing here?” . When the officer explained that they wanted to be with their pet, Claerbout replied   “It’s just a shot – the same as a veterinarian would give.”

The officer explained to Claerbout that Baldwin could not legally kill the dog, without having the dog relinquished first. Claerbout became agitated with the officer and ordered her to secure the relinquishment form, as she had already ordered the dog killed.  Reluctantly the officer informed the family of the dog’s medical situation and persuaded them to sign the form.

Claerbout’s creating an impound number for the dog without a relinquishment form was clearly illegal and a violation of department policy. Her actions were heartless and insensitive – and according to policy and procedures warrant a minimum of a 15 day suspension without pay – but in this case should garner far worse sanctions – possibly rising to the level of criminal prosecution.

A petition calling for the Department of Animal Care and Control to remove Claerbout for this and other abuses of  the law, her employees, the public and most importantly the pets entrusted into her care, was circulated amongst the Baldwin Park Staff, and over 75 percent of the employees signed.   This unprecedented petition has been turned over to the Department of Human Resources at the DACC.

There is no way for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control  (DACC) to save face here.   Pat Claerbout has been publicly labeled a progressive and innovative leader by Marcia Mayeda, the head of the DACC.   Claerbout’s two previous employers, the cities of Stockton and Sacramento strongly disagree.  Had Mayeda used Google or done any due diligence she would have realized she was hiring a ticking time bomb.  The bomb has predictably exploded.  Hopefully this will cause the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors to actually perform the job they were elected to and exert some supervisory authority over the DACC and  see them immediately remove both Claerbout and  Mayeda whose  judgement clearly cannot be trusted and whose actions cannot be justified.

For those members of the public who would like to add their voices to those calling for Claerbout’s and Mayeda’s dismissal here is the contact information for the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors:

Mike Antonovich:  fifthdistrict@lacbos.org
Mark Ridley-Thomas – markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov
Sheila Kuehl: sheila@bos.lacounty.gov
Hilda L. Solis:  firstdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov
Don Knabe :  don@lacbos.org

 

UPDATE

As pressure mounted from an angry Baldwin Park staff and the public, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout responded by retailiating against Baldwin Park’s pets! For the last seven years pets included in the Baldwin Park “Shelter” networking list have been given automatic 10 day holds so that they could be adopted. Claerbout has now decreed that only 20 networking pets can receive holds – despite a 97 percent adoption rate since the networking list was instituted (it would be an even higher number if we took out the year Claerbout has been at Baldwin Park) The normal live release rate on dogs at Baldwin is 79 percent and on cats a miserable 18 percent on cats. Why would Claerbout destroy her number one most effective tool at getting pets out of her facility? Please note that the Downey Shelter which also has a networking program which was cloned from Baldwin Park’s has no such restrictions. Pat “Google Me” Claerbout is a serial abuser of animals and needs to be removed from any position where she comes into contact with pets. Please make your opinions heard by contacting your elected Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors;

Mike Antonovich: fifthdistrict@lacbos.org
Mark Ridley-Thomas – markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov
Sheila Kuehl: sheila@bos.lacounty.gov
Hilda L. Solis: firstdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov
Don Knabe : don@lacbos.org

 

  

 

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Need Your Help

  

It is 20.75 miles between the Downey Shelter and it’s sister facility in Baldwin Park. However in terms of attitude and concern for the pets in their care it may as well be light years.   Whereas the philosophy at Downey that radiates from its manager, Danny Ubario and his capable number two, Maria Rosales on down the chain of command is “you need to give me a good reason to kill a pet”, at Baldwin Park it is “you need to give me a good reason not to kill a pet.”

This point was driven home last week when Oliver, A4808314, an eager to please two year old white Pit Bull who had originally been adopted from Downey at the NKLA event was returned to Baldwin Park because his adopters did not realize you had to walk and take care of their pet.   At Baldwin Park, Oliver quickly won fans amongst the facility’s volunteers and they chose to include him on their networking list which for the last seven years has given a dog a ten day safety hold for him/her to be adopted. However Oliver is a vivacious and happy dog who wags his tail so enthusiastically whenever he sees people, that within the confines of Baldwin Park’s narrow kennels his tail was injured and started bleeding from striking the wall too hard.   Rather than react by going “Wow what a fabulous, highly companionable, highly adoptable dog,” like most people, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout decided this was a reason to kill Oliver and told the volunteers that his hold was being prematurely removed.

Baldwin’s volunteers were outraged and thankfully their Downey counterparts came to Oliver’s rescue and had the amazing dog transferred back to the progressive shelter – from where he will soon hopefully adopted.

Had this been an isolated instance one could perhaps excuse it as “Google Me” having a bad hair day.   But unfortunately this is daily life – and death at Baldwin Park.  Baldwin Park has 192 dog kennels. Baldwin Park has 197 dogs listed on its website, and over half of these dogs are classified as being small. Small dogs generally share kennels, either two or three to a run and sometimes up to four.   There was a plethora of empty kennels, yet “Google Me” was observed by volunteers walking through Baldwin’s buildings and designating dogs for death. At Baldwin, Claerbout apparently kills for sport not for exigency.

Meanwhile in a universe far away at Downey, the shelter was in overdrive trying to save all its dogs. Dealt a body blow by the Heigl Foundations’ decision to abandon transports – the shelter was on the phone trying to solicit replacement transports for their pets – and given Downey’s much deserved reputation as a rescue friendly shelter many of the big transporters are eagerly trying to fill the void.

Unfortunately Oliver and other pets don’t chose which facility they enter when they are discarded or found as strays, but we are sure that if they did, they wouldn’t chose Baldwin Park.

Marcia Mayeda knew exactly what she was getting when she hired “Google Me” Claerbout as manager of her once flagship shelter. We can only assume that Mayeda is proud of Claerbout’s  innovatively poor performance, which would make me worry if I was doing my job well – like Downey’s management definitely is.

  

 

Baldwin Park & Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Four years ago former Baldwin Park shelter manager Lance Hunter, brought 100 pets to the two day NKLA super adoption event. Each of the 100 pets was adopted or rescued at the well advertised and attended festival. Every subsequent year Baldwin Park was there for both days, and although they never again matched their record of 100 adopted/rescued pets, each year they were happily able to drive home with empty trucks and over 60 pets adopted or rescued. Baldwin Park, then the flagship shelter of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control was the subject of jealousy within the DACC, and more than one county shelter manager as well as its incredibly untalented Deputy Director Derek Brown complained that Baldwin Park had unfairly raised the bar too high for the other county shelters and accused Hunter of grandstanding.

This past week there was certainly no grandstanding by Baldwin Park. Despite the facility having 222 dogs and 139 cats listed as being impounded at Baldwin Park, manager Pat “Google Me” Claerbout decreed that Baldwin would skip Saturday and bring only 10 dogs and 10 cats or 5 percent of her facility’s population for the Sunday session.  On Sunday Baldwin managed to adopt seven dogs and 10 cats.  Meanwhile the well run and rescue friendly Downey Shelter showed up both days bringing sixty of their shelter’s pets – nineteen percent of its shelter population – all of whom were adopted.

When asked why Baldwin was bringing so few pets and only showing up for one day, “Google Me” Claerbout replied that it was due to staff shortages – which was of course, as are most things coming out of Claerbout’s mouth, a lie.   There are the same number of employees assigned to Baldwin Park this year as have been toiling there in previous years.  The difference is when the facility was well run and deserved to use the sobriquets “shelter” or “Care Center” – terms which cannot ever be applied to a Claerbout run gulag – the shelter’s former manager could rely upon a huge volunteer corps who were more than happy to help out at this landmark event as well as all other mobile adoptions. After having had her volunteers humiliated at last fall’s Nuts to Mutts super adoption event, Claerbout has so few volunteers – most of whom cannot stand being in proximity to her – that she may indeed have had a shortage of people. However from doing many mobile adoptions when I was a Baldwin volunteer, I can tell you that with five volunteers – not to mention three or four staff members, you can easily bring thirty pets to an adoption event.

After months of denying the public access to her facility’s cattery, Claerbout has finally allowed people back in. This welcome news is tempered by Baldwin Park’s stunningly high 82 percent euthanasia rate for its cats. This week there were only four cats photographed for the new Baldwin Park networking list, despite there being 156 felines at the facility as of this writing.   The reason? “Google Me” has decreed that Baldwin Park’s volunteers are not allowed to photograph felines who have not been at Baldwin Park for 14 days. Given the fact that the average hold for cats is between the minimum four days and one week before they are killed, not many cats become eligible to have their photographs taken. Since its inception in 2009 the adoption rate of cats featured on the Baldwin Park networking list has been over 80 percent, highlighted by 2012’s performance of a 92 percent adoption rate. We can’t understand what harm would come from photographing the facility’s cats prematurely. Is she denying the cats their best chance to be seen and adopted because of some sort of twisted Kafkaesque rationale revolving around her not wanting anyone to notice she is slaughtering cats in stunning numbers?

The truth is that Pat Claerbout doesn’t care about the animals entrusted in her care  regardless of species– as she proved by ordering the death of a volunteer favourite Snoop A4804156, a one year old Pit Bull puppy who had perfect temperament scores and who was supposed to attend NKLA and instead of enjoying Sunday in the sun at the La Brea tar pits was dragged to the back of the shelter and given a Marcia Mayeda cocktail – a lethal injection of sedatives. Snoops body was placed in a barrel of dead dogs inside a freezer and now awaits shipment to a rendering plant where the carcass will be boiled and the fat used to produce lipstick and other cosmetics.

As one Baldwin Park staff member muttered, “at least there will never be a lipstick shortage in Los Angeles – as long as Claerbout keeps her f@cking job.”