Monthly Archives: July 2015

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Former California Governor Pete Wilson signed SB1785 popularly known as the “Hayden Act” into law on September 22, 1998.   The bill has never been repealed, yet Los Angeles County’s head of the Department of Animal Care and Control, Marcia Mayeda has routinely treated the law with the same contempt and disregard that she has shown both to the pets entrusted into her care and to the public.

SP1785, Sec 12. 31008. 2 (b) reads:

Any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to the killing of that animal for any reason other than irremediable suffering, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled killing of that animal.

The Hayden Act does not give Mayeda the right to determine which 501(c)3 rescue groups are approved to pull pets from her agency. However the beleaguered bureaucrat routinely breaks the law by refusing to release impounded pets at her shelters to groups who have gone through the byzantine process of becoming “Los Angeles County Adoption Partners”. Consequently Buddy, A4856978, a two year old Chow Chow, who has been deemed rescue only – despite his having never bitten anyone, is scheduled to have his life snuffed out at her Carson shelter on Tuesday, even though there are legitimate rescues who have asked to take him. Normally rescues such as the one I pull for would immediately step up and rescue the dog and transfer the pet to the other rescue, but with the draconian restrictions placed by Mayeda on rescues transferring pets to other rescues, we would be risking our own pull privileges to save this dog.

Turning a blind eye to the law is nothing new to Mayeda and her cronies at the DACC. Last year one of her top deputy’s dog bit a neighbor. Rather than investigate the incident by interviewing witnesses, having a bite report filled out, quarantining the dog, and having the dog tested to see whether it was aggressive before he/she could be released – the investigation was halted before it could be started on the orders of the very same deputy who owns the biting dog. It seems that the DACC has one set of rules for its higher ups and another for the public. We will be exposing the name of the offending official next week and the DACC’s hatchet man, David Hou, should be happy because for once he won’t have to drive all the way to Lancaster to not perform his job.  This time he can save the commute and merely walk down the hall – before his investigation is thwarted by his masters.

Meanwhile the DACC’s crumbling empire was rocked by the revelation that there is a new plaintiff joining the case of DeVitt vs the County of Los Angeles and Marcia Mayeda, the case arising out of the fatal mauling of jogger Pamela DeVitt. The DACC failed to impound these dogs despite their multiple prior attacks – and then tried to coverup its failure to do so through a series of post-dated notes. Mayeda and company  maintained they had escaped this lawsuit on a technicality – because the six month statute of limitations had passed to sue the County. However the DACC’s spurious argument became moot when Ms. DeVitt’s son, Master Sergeant Tad DeVitt joined the lawsuit. Tad DeVitt was on active duty defending his county and was not discharged until three months ago in April. For active members of the military there is an exception in the statue of limitations provisions which doesn’t start the clock until their time of discharge. So now the case will likely be tried in front of a jury solely on its merits – and we, the County taxpayers, had better brace ourselves for a large payout at our expense for Mayeda’s misdeeds and coverup.

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control head Marcia Mayeda shows the same level of contempt for human beings as she shows for the pets entrusted into her care. This was clearly demonstrated this past week by her department’s initial Discovery request for documents in their attempted defense of a lawsuit filed by the widower of Pamela DeVitt. Ms Devitt was attacked and killed while jogging in Littlerock in May 2013 by a pack of marauding dogs who the DACC had failed to impound despite several prior complaints by local residents. In a level of unprecedented tastelessness Mayeda and her legal team, who are being paid with our tax dollars, demanded that the plaintiff disclose the names of the mourners at Ms. DeVitt’s funeral.

The most striking takeaway from their Discovery requests was the County’s obsession with trying to find out who leaked the secret DACC documents which showed how easily this tragedy could have been prevented had the agency acted. Because Los Angeles County’s taxpayers are being forced to pay for the legal costs to fight this losing fight, we have decided to save them some time and give them a hint. The documents were secured from embarrassed DACC employees by a blogger who is covered by First Amendment Freedom of the Press laws. Instead of focusing on trying to find out which appalled DACC employee(s) leaked the DACC’s dirty secrets, we suggest that petty bureaucrat Mayeda focus her attention on why there were any nefarious doings on their part to begin with. Mayeda appears to think the sin was in getting caught, rather than being culpable in the death of Pamela DeVitt.

However with Mayeda and her inner circle it’s all about revenge and reprisals – sometimes against her employees who she sentences to ‘freeway therapy’ making them drive two hours to the farthest DACC facility from their homes, other times against her volunteers who she fires for telling the truth about how badly run her shelter system is, and all too often against the public as demonstrated in the DACC’s actions this past week. Frequent and public Lancaster shelter critic, Antje Stobbe, a dog trainer who lives in Acton was paid a surprise visit by a DACC officer who drove 67 kilometers from Norwalk to try and force his way onto her property where she has a total of two dogs. Disgruntled DACC employees have already confirmed that the official was there solely to harass Stobbe for her continual criticism of the DACC and its Lancaster shelter manager, Sherri Koenig.   Stobbe was not intimidated and responded by sending the following to Mayeda, thereby laying the groundwork for another potential lawsuit against the DACC if they should foolishly try to retaliate:

Recently Sergeant Montez-Kemp of the Lancaster shelter was quoted as saying that your agency does not have enough manpower to go after major hoarders and other offenders. In fact you procrastinated raiding the property at 19021 East Avenue Q in Lake Los Angeles – a property where you found many chained and abused dogs as well as a sheep who had been mauled and had to be euthanized. Allegedly you still have not shown up to answer other hoarding complaints, for example the property located at 13242 Avenue R in Littlerock. This case has been sitting on your desk for several months, “no timed” rather than investigated. 

However, somehow you were able to find DACC manpower [wasting tax dollars] to send an officer in a DACC vehicle 67 miles from Norwalk to my home, a property that you have never received one complaint about…

If you continue to harass me you are not only going to lose in a court of law, but you are going to bring me an even larger audience for my criticism of your poorly run agency.”

 It’s time for Mayeda to address the root problems that bedevil her scandal plagued agency. Ms. Mayeda needs to understand that it’s the perpetrators of the misdeeds, and not the people who discover them, that need to be retaliated against.

Anyone who reads the DACC’s entries into their Chameleon software comes to the same conclusion, had the DACC done its job properly Pamela DeVitt would be alive today. Alex Jackson, the owner of the dogs who killed Mrs. DeVitt was sentenced to 15 years to life for second degree murder for Ms. DeVitt’s death.  Deputy District Attorney Ryan Williams stated in Jackson’s sentencing memo, “(Jackson’s) actions in this case shows that he has a nearly psychopathic disregard for the lives and well-being of others”.

The same could be said for Marcia Mayeda.

Baldwin Park & Downey Pets Need Your Help!

We recently had several current Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control (DACC) employees go into Chameleon, the database program which records each dispatch call and resulting action by the agency, and read the notes surrounding the fatal mauling of jogger Pamela DeVitt by a pack of vicious dogs owned by Alex Jackson on the night of May 9, 2013. Each of these people came to the conclusion that if the DACC had performed its job, Mrs. DeVitt would be alive today and Mr. Jackson would not be in jail for murder.   They also expressed shock and dismay at the DACC employees’ clumsy attempts to backdate notes in trying to cover-up the agency’s failure to respond to prior complaints against these dogs.

Why did the agency go to great pains to cover up their failure to act? The DACC self-insures and was still reeling from a $450,000 settlement of a serious but non-fatal mauling at the Agoura Shelter which came out of the agency’s operating budget.  Several vitally needed staff positions went unfilled for a year until the DACC could amortize the Agoura settlement. The potential payout for a fatal mauling caused by the DACC’s negligence was much greater and a popular theory is that DACC head, Marcia Mayeda did not want to surrender even more staff positions to pay for the misdeeds at the Lancaster shelter and therefore conspired with her staff to engage in a cover up.

Ms. Mayeda, in her usual blundering manner, allegedly not only asked her staff to cover-up, but also asked the DACC’s lawyer, Diane Regan to propose new language to the DACC’s charter.   The new language – enacted shortly after the DeVitt incident – modified the law requiring the DACC to pick up vicious dogs and allowed them to choose whether or not to pick up vicious dogs.   Perhaps this change in the DACC charter was unrelated to the DeVitt case but we don’t believe in coincidences.

Speaking of coincidences, our blog two weeks ago questioned the DACC’s failure to act on numerous detailed complaints it had received about an animal cruelty case at 19021 East Avenue Q in Littlerock, a property that was allegedly being used as a marijuana production center. Two pit bulls severely mauled a dog that was reported chained to a tree in plain sight of the road. After the DACC failed to act, an aide to a prominent member of the Board of Supervisors was called, reminded of the DACC’s failure to confiscate dogs in the DeVitt case and advised that the DACC was now on formal notice of the Littlerock situation. Somehow on July 9th the DACC, assisted by Sheriff’s deputies, raided the place and in addition to discovering guns, lots of marijuana and 18 dogs on the premises, found a sheep which had been so badly mauled by the pit bulls that he had to be euthanized.

Lancaster’s shelter Manager, Sherry Koenig, who had ignored prior complaints about the property, called the complainant and explained that the delay in responding had been caused by the presence of guns on the property. Unarmed DACC officers should not go into a dangerous situation unaccompanied by police, but Ms. Koenig was evidently unaware that the sheriffs work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and could have responded to this dangerous situation in less than a month.

Failure to take responsibility for one’s own failings and covering up are the trademarks of Marcia Mayeda’s DACC and how long the Board of Supervisors, no strangers to cover-ups themselves, will tolerate her lies and inertia remains to be seen.

 

 

 

 

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

The Fourth of July and the week leading up to it are the worst days for any Los Angeles County Animal Shelter. Because of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor’s refusal to outright ban the sale of fireworks – which you would think would be easy to implement given their inherent fire danger combined with the severe drought conditions facing California, the areas surrounding the Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter sound like Syria at night as explosion after explosion shatters the night calm. Given the large numbers of poorly educated and poorly informed people within these shelters’ service areas there are a huge number of pets who are never allowed inside their owners houses (and most of these pets are unlicensed pets with no collars with identification tags, or microchips) that escape into the streets. The lucky ones are brought to the shelters, the less fortunate ones are hit by cars and killed or maimed.

With so many impounds shelters are filled beyond capacity – and the result is that there have been huge numbers of pets being killed in the shelters to make room for the new arrivals. Each truck full of strays coming into the shelter makes the situation grimmer.

Each week Mike Antonovich, the Republican 5th District Supervisor who has served on the BOS for 35 years, posts a picture to his website, www.antonovich.com, of him holding a dog from a Los Angeles County Shelter trying to promote adoption. Its time for Antonovich to show he actually cares about these pets and actually do something for them. He can start helping pets by proposing a ban on the sale of fireworks in his County. Then he can move onto the bigger issues – like explaining his office’s involvement in the coverup of the fatal mauling of jogger, Pamela DeVitt, and why he allows his co-conspirator Marcia Mayeda to continue her reign of error as the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.