Monthly Archives: June 2015

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Last month, an Orange County Grand Jury issued a scathing report condemning its shelter system’s leadership for operating a dilapidated facility, saying “Structural integrity, cleanliness and sanitation continue to be compromised and pose serious risks to human as well as animal health.” The Grand Jury went on to state “The county’s lack of leadership, lack of commitment to animal care, and the prioritization of other Orange County Community Resources Department functions ahead of Orange County Animal Care are the primary reasons for failure.”

If Los Angeles County investigated its shelter system, something we pray for every day, they would find the same, if not worse conditions in their Baldwin Park and Downey shelters. These sixty year old shelters pose dangers to both the unfortunate pets and the workers consigned to these facilities. They are literally crumbling apart and are so intrinsically filthy that they can no longer be properly cleaned.

But merely renovating or replacing these two shelters will not solve the huge problems facing Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control. Under the feckless leadership of Marcia Mayeda, the DACC has become an inefficient and unresponsive bureaucracy infected with a culture of duplicity and corruption which careens recklessly from one scandal to another and is an utter waste of the taxpayers’ money.

Citizens calling in complaints about hoarding situations and tips about animal cruelty are routinely ignored, owners of unlicensed and unaltered dogs are not being cited and fined while Mayeda and her chief Deputy Derek Brown are in perpetual cover their ass mode and only stir their inertia bound agency to act when their masters at the Board of Supervisors rattle their cages.

A concerned citizen in Lancaster reported that a trailer property located at 19021 East Ave Q in Lake Los Angeles had 120 Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus living in deplorable conditions. The DACC refused to respond and despite multiple complaints have not visited the property since December 2004.   When the DACC failed to respond a rescue came in and rehomed most of the dogs but there are still 20 dogs left. Reportedly the property is being used to grow marijuana and the owner has an unlicensed, unaltered pit bull who has been chained in plain sight to a tree for six years guarding the property.   There are several other dogs chained in the yard living in deplorable conditions and at least six dogs have died mysterious deaths on the property – but the DACC refuses to respond.

According to the DACC the reason they haven’t responded and investigated this, and several other similar situations, is because the agency is understaffed.

Why is the DACC so understaffed? A good deal of the reason falls back on Marcia Mayeda. A huge amount of salaries and staff positions are taken by bad Mayeda hires who were later removed for good reason – like Pat Claerbout.. Other honest employees like Baldwin Park’s capable Lieutenant Eileen Hill have been put on paid administrative leave for whistleblowing against Mayeda. We don’t know what prompted Patricia Learned to be removed but she is still collecting a paycheck. Mayeda is further hamstrung by civil service protection regulations. The rogue Lancaster employee who was caught red handed stealing both money and dogs from the shelter is still drawing a paycheck. The list goes on and on, and the result is there are is a shortage of officers in the field protecting animals. Things are so bad that a Baldwin Park Sergeant who was caught on camera stealing money hasn’t been disciplined, much less terminated, because Mayeda can’t take him off the payroll. Apparently Mayeda figures as long as this person limits his theft to small items it is better to keep him on the job than have a vacant position. As several DACC employees have ruefully observed, they should steal money on camera and then they would be able to stay home and get paid!

The only way that the County can extricate itself from this mess is to privatize the shelter system. If privatized we could remove civil service protection from employees at all levels whose job performance is unsatisfactory.  Until the County government is ready to take this step (with steps taken to preserve employees’ salaries, pensions, and benefits), a civilian oversight committee should be appointed to regularly meet and review the DACC’s performance.

This civilian oversight committee should be unpaid and its members drawn from the various stakeholder groups (employees, volunteers, rescue groups) in the County shelter system.  The committee should be empowered to implement changes and hold the DACC to performance standards.

Of course if performance standards were used to determine employment, the next time you see Marcia Mayeda, she might be hanging around outside of Home Depot looking for work. If this pipe dream ever should happen, I would hire Mayeda, especially if I needed anything whitewashed.

 

 

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!!!

Last week’s surprise dismissal of Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) executive Patricia Learned is still reverberating around DACC headquarters. For the first time in recent memory the DACC has managed to keep a secret and the reason for Learned’s departure is still a mystery.   Several unconfirmed rumors are swirling around including one suggesting that DACC leader Marcia Mayeda was able to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant, and Sheriff’s deputies subsequently tossed Learned’s home looking for secret DACC files.

Regardless of whether Learned is indeed being treated as a criminal by the DACC, the circumstances of her termination have everyone speculating. What possible secrets could Learned have that scare Marcia Mayeda? The DACC is not a top secret spy agency and other than personal information about its employees, what information are they refusing to share with the public?

Could Learned have incriminating information concerning the non-performance of Mayeda’s inner circle? We have heard rumors that the DACC’s Human Resources Department have become frustrated from being ordered to ignore abhorrent behavior and outright misconduct of certain “protected” employees.   Rumors have it that these very same HR employees may be polishing their own résumés looking for new jobs from which they can go home each night with their heads held up high.

Or could Learned know about the DACC procrastinating actions against horrific hoarding situations? Last week the DACC finally staged a raid on a Lancaster hoarding situation that the agency knew about for quite a long time, and by the time they finally moved, two wolf hybrids were in such bad shape that they had to be euthanized upon intake.

Regardless, whatever Patty Learned knows and is willing to disclose is not going to be good news for Marcia Mayeda – but it could be awesome news for both those seeking justice and for the pets entrusted into Los Angeles County’s care.

 

 

 

 

Baldwin Park & Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

It’s been another surreal week for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control. On Sunday, Patricia Learned, the agency’s Executive Assistant and Marcia Mayeda’s right hand aide posted on her personal Facebook page “Sharpening my claws for tomorrow”. On Monday morning people received messages from Learned’s private e-mail account announcing that her DACC E-mail account was not functioning. This was followed shortly by the news that the DACC had changed its entrance codes to its headquarters – and rumors that Learned was escorted out of the building by DACC hatchet-man David Hou, who would not even let her gather her personal belongings before she was tossed out the door. An hour later e-mails were sent instructing DACC employees to no longer e-mail Learned.

Usually everyone knows quickly why a DACC employee has been dismissed – but this time it was different. Although there are salacious rumors involving Learned having disclosed things Marcia Mayeda did not want known, the DACC has finally managed to keep something secret at least for a little while – although this reportedly might have something to do with a short Asian DACC official warning people at various shelters that they had better start shutting up because his boss was getting tired of their leaking information.

We do not know why Learned was dismissed – and we’re not sure if she has civil service protection so she can continue to draw her salary (In 2013 Learned made $92,206 in salary, $7,163 in “other pay” and $27,964 in benefits for a total package of $127,333) like the recently removed Pat Claerbout receives while she fights efforts to terminate her. However we do know that Learned’s termination could come to bite Mayeda in the ass – as Patricia Learned is in possession of many damning secrets which if revealed could prove very damaging to Mayeda’s tenuous grip on her job.    Mayeda has never been an adherent of the old adage, keep your friends close to you and your enemies even closer.   If Learned sings, Mayeda could be quickly joining her former aide in the unemployment line.

Meanwhile headquarters was not the only scene of ongoing DACC scandals. Lancaster’s Officer in Charge tried to blame an underling for the death of five animals who recently were left without medical care. However video tape reviewed this officer to be lying and instead she was the one responsible for their deaths. Yet this officer still has her job – even though she is living with another Lancaster shelter officer – which is a direct violation of DACC rules.

Also the County Auditor is reportedly looking into goings on at the Castaic after the shelter’s staff allegedly turned in complaints claiming that Shelter Manger Karen Stepp has repeatedly been taking three to four hour trips to make bank deposits – chores which normal Castaic workers can perform in less than ten minutes.

However all was not scandal at the DACC. This weekend’s Sleepover at the Downey Shelter event organized by Shelter Me and Bark Avenue was an unqualified success seeing approximately 100 pets adopted and $26,310 raised in donations to be used to provide free spay/neuter surgeries in the Downey service area.

Further good news emanated from Baldwin Park where the shelter’s staff and volunteers are being deprogrammed and re-socialized after a year of being subjected to abuse from Marcia Mayeda’s prized hire, Pat Claerbout.  Volunteers were allowed to produce a full networking list with the blessing of new manager, Danny Ubario. Ubario’s arrival has sparked rescuers and transporters to return to Baldwin Park and it was refreshing for them to discover that the fetters have been taken off the shelter’s staff and once again Baldwin Park’s staff is smiling and rescue friendly.

The Board of Supervisors Needs to Supervise & the Downey and Baldwin Park Shelters’ Pets Need Your Help!

The unprecedented events leading to the dismissal of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout as Baldwin Park’s shelter manager should leave the management team at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) quaking in their boots. For the first time in recent history, the taxpayers of Los Angeles County and the employees of its shelter system woke up the slumbering Board of Supervisors and forced them to pay attention to the mismanagement of the DACC. A clear message was delivered to DACC head Marcia Mayeda that the rampant misconduct fostered, if not outright encouraged by her regime will no longer be tolerated.

Claerbout has been reassigned to a desk job in Norwalk, or DACC Siberia, where she will have no contact with pets, while she awaits the completion of an investigation into her actions being conducted by the Los Angeles County government’s Human Resources Department. It is significant that Claerbout is being investigated by the County’s HR department rather than by the DACC’s internal HR staff as it shows the Board of Supervisor’s lack of faith in the agency’s ability to not be manipulated and corrupted by Marcia Mayeda.

Besides bringing joy to everyone who works and volunteers at Baldwin Park, Claerbout’s removal has caused the DACC to shuffle its leadership. Danny Ubario, who has done an outstanding job since taking over Downey, has been appointed Baldwin Park Shelter manager and his capable Lieutenant, Maria Rosales has taken over the Downey shelter manager position. Both are technically on temporary assignment in their new positions due to county rules dictating that until Claerbout is formally fired, she will on paper keep the job description of Baldwin Park manager and collect the position’s salary– – despite having being relieved of her command. Gayle Miley, Claerbout’s abusive number two (who briefly managed Baldwin Park on an interim basis), has submitted her thirty days notice and will be retiring from the DACC.   Pending her retirement Miley has been assigned to DACC’s headquarters in Long Beach.

It is our fervent hope that the Board of Supervisors remain awake and aware and continue to pay attention to the demands of its taxpayers and DACC employees. The widespread cancer of corruption that permeates the DACC leadership has not been cured by Claerbout’s removal.   Marcia Mayeda was certainly aware of Claerbout’s history of being dismissed for cause at her previous jobs in Stockton and Sacramento yet she hired her.   Mayeda’s lies to the Board of Supervisors have heretofore gone unchallenged by the Board. Her misconduct – which has left the County vulnerable to a potential multi-million dollar verdict in the case of DeVitt vs. the County of Los Angeles and Marcia Mayeda – is both shocking and perverse.

If the Board of Supervisors was surprised by the anger that motivated over 75 percent of Baldwin Park’s staff to risk retaliation by signing a petition demanding Pat Claerbout’s removal they will be even more startled if 90 percent of the DACC employees take Baldwin Park’s lead and make their opinions known by signing a petition demanding that Marcia Mayeda be immediately terminated.

It is time for the Board of Supervisors to listen to employees and citizens. Marcia Mayeda needs to be held accountable for her reign of error and fired. Anything less than Mayeda’s departure is going to eventually blow up in the Board’s face and cause the taxpayers to pay with their wallets and the pets entrusted to the DACC’s care to pay with their lives.

 

 

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead…

What with the developments of the last two weeks, Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda must feel like a piece of waste caught in a vortex inexorably being sucked down a toilet drain.

By now many of you are aware that Mayeda was forced to terminate her prized hire, Pat Claerbout, as head of the Baldwin Park Shelter, after the shelter’s staff and volunteers as well as the public came together to demand Claerbout’s removal. Claerbout had previously been dismissed from her positions running Stockton and Sacramento’s shelter systems for her sadistic and often illegal actions. Mayeda certainly was aware of Claerbout’s reputation and hired her with her eyes wide open. A leopard does not change its spots and her actions as head of the Baldwin Park Shelter cannot have come as a surprise to anyone. Marcia Mayeda needs to be held accountable for this.

In equally stunning but not quite as sexy news, Mayeda was finally forced to comply with at least one of the terms of the Hayden act and is now immediately turning over dominant breed pets to rescues, without subjecting them to temperament tests. In the past dominant breed dogs were locked in their kennels waiting days, if not weeks, to be tested – by DACC employees with no special qualifications – to determine if they were “suitable for placement” despite the Hayden act’s mandate that any 501c3 rescue be allowed to take a pet regardless of temperament. For each day a dominant breed dog lingered in the kennels between three and five anonymous dogs would be killed for lack of kennel space. It was this very issue that initially caused me to become a shelter activist six years ago. Thousands of pets were needlessly killed because of Mayeda’s open defiance of the law.

To add to Mayeda’s woes, the lawsuit DeVitt vs Los Angeles County and Marcia Mayeda is soon going to be tried in Superior Court. The case concerns the fatal mauling of jogger Pamela DeVitt by a pack of dogs who Mayeda and the DACC had failed to impound despite repeated complaints from local residents. In the criminal trial against the dogs’ owner, Alex Jackson, the Assistant District Attorney stated “Animal Control clearly dropped the ball in this case.” Not only did the DACC drop the ball they tried to hide it. This lawsuit is not a referendum on Pit Bulls. It is about outright lies to the Board of Supervisors, falsified evidence and an attempt to cover up negligence which resulted in an entirely preventable death. The evidence shows a conspiracy at the highest level of the DACC to hide the true facts and tell outright lies – which has been the trademark of the agency under Marcia Mayeda.

Claerbout is gone, but we need to remember that she was merely a minion of Marcia Mayeda. It is time for Marcia Mayeda to be removed as the head of the DACC so we can begin the process of having a humane, responsible and responsive Department of Animal Care and Control.  It wasn’t that difficult to get over 75 percent of Baldwin Park’s employees to sign a petition to demand Claerbout’s removal.  It will be even easier to get 75 percent of the DACC employees throughout the shelter system to sign a petition demanding Mayeda’s removal.