Monthly Archives: March 2016

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control last week staged its own version of spring cleaning – but the end result may have left its shelters even dirtier.

At Downey nearly all the Sergeants were transferred from the shelter for questionable reasons. One Sergeant was transferred for having allowed several Pit Bulls, who were featured on a popular internet networking site, to be euthanized after the dogs’ hold period had long past expired. Another Sergeant, one of the hardest working people at the shelter, was transferred to the Call Center, allegedly because some kennel attendants were slacking off on the days when the Sergeant wasn’t working.   Their replacements are a very capable freshly promoted Sergeant from Baldwin Park, a worker with neither kennel nor field experience, and a person from the DACC’s call center. It remains to be seen if these people are fully prepared to excel at their new assignments.

Meanwhile at Lancaster, the shelter was buzzing about a male employee who was promoted to Sergeant despite his having been caught on camera making unwanted sexual advances on a fellow shelter employee on multiple occasions. This same employee had also been recently written up for punching the time-clock for an absentee field officer – who happens to be his live-in girlfriend.   Lancaster also is the temporary home of former Baldwin Park manager, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, who has been overheard claiming that she is about to be installed as head of the soon to be opening Palmdale Shelter. Hopefully this is blustering on Claerbout’s part – but with the DACC having a horrific track record has never been a bar to promotion or employment.

If the DACC is truly interested in cleaning up its act – which we believe it isn’t – the change must start at the top. Marcia Mayeda, the scandal plagued head of Animal Control, has proven herself over time to be perhaps the most corrupt and morally deficient department head in Los Angeles County’s government (the same government that until recently employed Sheriff Lee Baca)- yet she keeps getting promoted – even after her actions contributed to the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt.   Mayeda can move around all her middle managers, and shuffle her peons, but it will not wipe clean either the scum or the stench that emanates from her own office.

 

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Perhaps the number one complaint of customers of Los Angeles County’s Shelter shelter system (DACC) is its byzantine adoption process.   In most shelter systems pets cannot be reserved until they are actually available for adoption, but Los Angeles County allows people to place a “Commitment to Adopt” (CTA) as soon as the pet enters the shelter.  Potential adopters stand in line at the shelter for up to an hour and, if they are lucky enough to be the first one to ask about the pet’s availability, they are able to place a CTA. The person who places the CTA has the right to adopt the pet on the first day the pet becomes available. The problem is that the shelter does not place a note on the pet’s kennel to indicate that the pet is already reserved.   If another potential adopter wants the same pet they have to wait in line only to be told there is already is a CTA on the pet. We recently saw a potential adopter go through the line at the Downey shelter five times, inquiring about a different pet each time, only to find out that the pet already had a CTA. After wasting several hours in line they left and were overheard saying it would be easier to adopt a pet on Craigslist.

Further muddling the adoption process is the DACC’s policy of not requiring payment to be made when a CTA is placed.  The DACC’s rationale is that the owners of stray pets might come and reclaim their pet – thereby forcing the DACC to refund the payment to the CTA holder.

The problem is that more than 25 percent of people placing a CTA never show up to pick up their pet. Some CTA holders plain forget, while others are unwilling to wait and adopt a pet they can immediately bring home be it either from another shelter or Craigslist.

Pets whose CTA holders don’t show up languish in the shelters because potential adopters have been told the pet already has a CTA and is unavailable. This is harmful and sometimes fatal for the pet, and it contributes to shelter overcrowding by delaying adoptions.

We suggest that the DACC adopt the policy that most other shelter systems use including Los Angeles City, Kern County, Bakersfield, Riverside and Long Beach. Anyone wanting to adopt a pet can come to the shelter on or after the day the pet is made available for adoption. If more than one person wants the same pet, all interested parties come to the shelter on the morning of the first day that pet is available and the adopter is determined by lottery.   The winning adopter pays the adoption fee, and, if the pet is not altered, is given a date and time to pick up the pet.   If the adopter does not show up they forfeit the adoption fee and the pet is immediately available for adoption by other interested parties.

This system would save lives, increase revenue streams and reduce the time pets spend in Los Angeles County’s crowded shelters.  It also would have the added benefit of not having so many people leaving the shelters firmly convinced that Los Angeles County’s shelters are too difficult to adopt from.  Losing potential adopters to Craigslist and backyard breeders only perpetuates shelter overcrowding and euthanasia – something that sadly does not keep DACC head, Marcia Mayeda up late at night worrying about.

 

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

For years the Baldwin Park Shelter worked hard to earn a well-deserved reputation as the most rescue-friendly shelter in Southern California. Staff and volunteers worked together, leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to find homes and rescues for the unfortunate pets impounded at the facility.   Sadly those days are gone, as Marcia Mayeda, the feckless head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control deliberately dismantled and destroyed the shelter, first by appointing Pat “Google Me” Claerbout as shelter manager despite her horrific record, and when Claerbout predictably violated the laws of morality as well as the laws of the State of California, replacing her with Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig who was given the Baldwin Park job after the Lancaster shelter’s staff had risen up against her and demanded her removal.

Since Koenig’s arrival, the shelter has been wantonly killing pets for time rather than for kennel space or temperament. With 70 empty dog kennels staff were being ordered to kill. With 50 empty cat kennels, staff were being ordered to kill. Even though instructions have now been issued to reverse this heartless policy morale has plummeted to the point where Baldwin Park’s staff routinely call in sick and the shelter is understaffed, with workers frequently having to double shift just so the shelter can keep its doors open. Volunteers are angry because they are no longer allowed on the premises outside of the hours when the shelter is open to the public.   The shelter’s highly effective networking team has been ordered to limit their activities and told which pets they can and cannot help. Adding insult to injury, Baldwin Park’s staff will no longer will upload the professional photographs taken by volunteers onto the County’s website – photographs which have in the past greatly increased adoption/rescue traffic into the shelter.

Under former manager Lance Hunter, the philosophy was if people won’t come to the Baldwin Park shelter, let’s bring the shelter to them.   Baldwin Park staged an average of eight mobile pet adoptions each month throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. These MPAs are now few and far between – although we were gratified that Baldwin Park chose to participate in last weekend’s successful MPA at Pet Food Express’ new store in Long Beach. Not only did Baldwin Park adopt out nearly all the pets it brought to the event – the incredibly rescue friendly Pet Food Express company donated $50 for each pet brought to the event.

Shelters need to be innovative and responsive to be successful. Baldwin Park is neither and pets die as a result. Marcia Mayeda has lost all interest in managing the shelter system effectively; her primary concern seems to be remaining in place and collecting a salary for as long as possible . Mayeda will always be protected by her masters at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors – who only respond to people who make large political donations. Pets don’t give money, they only give love – and therefore are useless to Supervisor Mike Antonovich and his colleagues.

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

For the last four months and for the foreseeable future Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control (DACC) has lowered its adoption prices to $15 for dogs and cats are being given away for free. Although critics question the quality of these adoptions and the bounce-back rate has been fairly high, there is little question that the program has been hugely successful and that the euthanasia rates have dropped considerably at every Los Angeles County shelter.

However the increased adoption activity has had an unanticipated downside as often the DACC spay/neuter clinics have not been able to keep up with adoptions. Marcia Mayeda the supercilious head of DACC only provides veterinarians at her shelters Monday – Friday, and Downey’s medical staff can only alter between 25 and 30 pets per day. For the last several weekends, members of the public placing   “Commitments to Adopt” on unaltered Downey pets have been told that they could not pick up their pets until the following Wednesday due to the huge adoption demand. Right now while shelter populations are low, very few pets are dying at Downey for wont of a kennel; but if history serves as a guide, in two months the shelter will be filled beyond capacity and pets will be killed because too many kennels are being occupied by adoption pending pets waiting to be sterilized.

There are two easy solutions available for the DACC, if the agency truly wants to avoid killing pets because they can’t provide timely sterilization services. First they can remove the red tape obstacles preventing the DACC from bringing in outside veterinarians to the County’s spay/neuter facilities either in the evenings or weekends. Secondly they can make a deal with the ASPCA whose mobile spay/neuter van sits idle in Downey Shelter’s parking lot Monday through Friday.   This van can easily alter twenty pets per day and currently is only used on weekends.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park is soon going to undergo much needed renovations. The plans are to refurbish one kennel building at a time and the project will take over a year. During the renovation the loss of a building will mean that the shelter will lose 48 kennels or the ability to house nearly 100 dogs. We are hoping that the DACC will try to minimize the impact of Baldwin Park’s lost kennels by facilitating daily transfers to the high adoption Agoura shelter.  Agoura has been averaging over 20 empty kennels every day for the last year and can easily absorb a great deal of the volume if a transport protocol and program is competently instituted.  To further help Baldwin Park, Wings of Rescue has also agreed to step in and transport its pets to safety to no kill facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Lastly, Marcia Mayeda has scornfully stated that she never reads this blog. It is gratifying that the reading challenged bureaucrat is perhaps one of the few DACC employees who don’t.   This was proven when within hours of the publication of last week’s piece exposing Baldwin Park’s management decision to throw away donated food, arrangements were made with a local food bank to receive and distribute any future donations to those members of the community who need assistance. We give full marks to DACC Deputy Director Danny Ubario for quickly stepping in to bring a happy and productive solution, but seriously question how shelter manager Sherry Koenig could have been so insensitive and clueless as to authorize the food to be thrown into dumpsters in the first place.