Monthly Archives: April 2016

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

In addition to her showing no compassion towards the pets entrusted to her care, Marcia Mayeda, the head of Los Angeles County’s Animal Control department has even more disdain towards the people who work for her. Mayeda has a track record of appointing morally challenged or incompetent shelter managers (her last two Baldwin Park managers serve as prime exhibits) and as a result she has so disillusioned the rank and file, that they have a tendency to feign illness and call in sick just so they don’t have to deal with the capricious mood swings of their supervisors. Volunteers also have felt unwelcome and are donating far fewer man hours of service than they did when the popular former manager Lance Hunter ran things with a gentler hand.

Things have gotten so bad at Baldwin Park that last weekend there were only two kennel attendants taking care of the shelter’s population of over 300 pets. These two employees put in their eight hours but did not finish feeding the shelter’s pet population. Sheri Koenig neither authorized overtime for her workers, nor called other Los Angeles County shelters to lend manpower assistance. According to Baldwin Park insiders as a result cats in the shelter’s Building 5 were locked in cat boxes without food or water for over 24 hours. This is entirely unacceptable.

There are several job openings posted on Los Angeles County’s website for animal control jobs – but Mayeda has not filled them. We are not sure if she is leaving these positions unfilled so she can save money and thereby qualify for an end of the year bonus from the Board of Supervisors, or whether she cannot fill them because she is such a terrible boss and no one wants to work for her.

Either way it is only the poor pets who suffer – which is entirely unacceptable to anyone with a shred of compassion. Unfortunately the only ones who can ameliorate this situation and force Mayeda to act responsibly and take care of her agency and its pets are the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors – Mike Antonovich, Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hilda Solis and Don Knabe. These elected representatives claim to represent the will of the citizens of Los Angeles County.

If indeed starving pets and providing negligent care is the will of Los Angeles County – we as citizens need to either fight to remove these unresponsive politicos and their horrific deputies from office or be eternally ashamed of ourselves.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Investigations of employee misconduct, resignations, firings under clouds of secrecy – it was just another week at the scandal-plagued Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC).

Deputy Director Derek Brown – who had been telling associates that he was going to resign before anyone “walked him out” (the term DACC employees use to describe HR hatchet man David Hou escorting terminated employees out of the building without their personal possessions) lived up to his word, perhaps for the first time in his long tenure at the DACC, submitted his two week notice and is set to return to Los Angeles City’s Animal Control agency – the same agency that widely celebrated his departure ten years ago. Brown was implicated in many scandals during his tenure at the DACC, including the cover-up of the Pamela DeVitt killing, squashing the investigation of a dog bite incident involving his own dog and repeatedly being found at home during working hours after telling colleagues he was leaving DACC headquarters to visit the Carson and Lancaster shelters.

Meanwhile, DACC insiders were snickering at Baldwin Park Shelter manager Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig, who was caught adopting a Yorkshire Terrier puppy from the Baldwin Park Shelter in violation of DACC policies requiring that the dog be made available to the public before being adopted by a shelter employee. Adding fuel to the fire, Koenig took the dog without paying the adoption fee. Inside sources have told us that the matter has been taken up by Los Angeles County’s auditor who is “building a case” against Koenig for this incident as well as some allegations involving misuse of a County gas card and other improprieties. It may only be a matter of time until Koenig goes for a walk with Hou.

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, the widespread sleaze factor which seems to permeate the DACC did not occur in a vacuum. It oozes down from its leader, Marcia Mayeda. In 2009 her top deputy and until then best friend, Christine DeFranco wrote an e-mail, copying the Board of Supervisors, exposing the fact that Mayeda left work an hour early every day to go horseback riding.  The same Marcia Mayeda ordered her employees to stop putting things in writing lest their e-mails be subpoenaed and illegal acts be exposed. And the same Mayeda lied in front of the Board of Supervisors and covered up the DACC’s, and her own, role in the grisly death of Pamela DeVitt.

The ooze may come down from an even higher level – the Board of Supervisors. Two Los Angeles County government departments recently saw criminal indictments handed down. Sheriff Lee Baca was indicted for lying to the FBI and four Los Angeles County Social Workers were indicted for failure of duty in connection with the torture death of an eight year old boy.   Perhaps the DACC leader will be next in the dock facing indictment for criminal actions – only time will tell – but the bigger question is why corruption is flourishing in the departments overseen by the Board of Supervisors.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has certain written policies which the agency is supposed to follow.   DACC Policy number HR240 states:

an employee may obtain an available animal under the same rules and regulations that apply to the public. The animal must have been held in the routine manner which would give no special advantage to the employee. No employee, while on duty or in uniform, may adopt an animal from a County Animal Shelter.

At 11:11 A.M. on April 3rd, Lucy a one year old purebred Yorkshire Terrier puppy was discarded at the Baldwin Park Shelter. Lucy’s former owners claimed she was suffering from head tilt and the dog was taken to the off-limits to the public medical building and placed in kennel B607.  Lucy was examined by Baldwin Park’s veterinary staff on Monday April 4th and the vets felt that the head tilt was merely due to an infection and prescribed antibiotics.

That same Monday,  Sheri Koenig, Baldwin Park’s unpopular shelter manager, arrived at work around 8 A.M. to start her shift. She was presumably wearing her official DACC shelter manager t-shirt.   Los Angeles County Shelters do not open to the public on Mondays until noon.  At 11:18 A.M., before the public was allowed access to the shelter, Koenig adopted Lucy.  Employees noted that Koenig did not go change her clothes to file the adoption paperwork.  To compound her violations of DACC policy she appears to not have paid any adoption fee – even though any member of the public would have been required to shell out $115 for the adoption, spay/neuter trust deposit and microchip.

It is ironic that Koenig violated DACC policy by adopting a dog and apparently taking a five finger discount in the process. On June 16th 2014, Koenig, then serving as manager of the DACC’s Lancaster facility, secured a search warrant for the home of a Lancaster employee who had violated DACC policy by adopting a white German Shepherd to the employee’s husband at a discounted price.  The employee was subsequently terminated.

Perhaps Koenig had a come to Jesus moment and tried to atone for her misdeeds – because on April 6th she decided to relinquish Lucy – but strangely enough she chose to send the dog to the DACC’s Agoura shelter rather than put the dog up for adoption at Baldwin Park.  Perhaps she did not want the scrutiny of people asking how she managed to get such a great deal on a highly adoptable dog, or perhaps it may have been for genuine concern that the pet be adopted from a shelter which serves a more economically advantaged community than Baldwin Park.  From Lucy’s perspective we are sure it was better for her to be at Agoura than at a dysfunctional shelter run by an even more dysfunctional manager.

We imagine that the DACC’s Human Resources Investigator and hatchet-man, David Hou may have to take time off from his job of not investigating the many illegal acts of his boss Marcia Mayeda and her deputy Derek Brown and drive out to Baldwin Park and ask a few pointed questions.

What with the recent reassignment of Carson Shelter Manager Lisa Eldridge to the Palmdale Shelter and the appointment of Javier Guttierez as her replacement , the DACC’s middle management ranks are extremely thin right now – and it will be interesting to see if Ms. Koenig is shown the door.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

In 1998, the state of California enacted SB 1785, popularly known as the Hayden Act, which was the first legislation in North America providing animals their own bill of rights.  Section 1 (b) (3) of the Act states “Shelters should aggressively promote spay and neuter programs to reduce pet overpopulation”  

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) under its piss-poor leader Marcia Mayeda has failed to obey or even live up to the spirit of the legislation.   In the community the Baldwin Park Shelter serves, Azusa and West Covina, the two cities contributing the highest percentage of strays to the shelter system, do not have spay/neuter laws – and the DACC has not lobbied or even pressured the cities to enact one.  The city of El Monte, responsible for 21% of all Baldwin Park impounds during the time I was a volunteer, recently moved toward enacting a spay/neuter ordinance.  The DACC and Ms. Mayeda never once reached out to El Monte to encourage them to enact the legislation, did not attend a single hearing on the matter or send even one piece of correspondence to support the ordinance.  El Monte’s progressive City Council was persuaded to act due to the lobbying efforts of an El Monte high school teacher and this blogger.

The DACC built a spay/neuter clinic at Baldwin Park four years ago, but only provides services to its own pets Monday – Friday.  The taxpayer-financed clinic sits idle every night and during the weekends.  If the DACC truly wanted to increase spay/neutering in the community it would offer services to the public during these periods.  Marcia Mayeda has not done this.  So much for even passively promoting spay and neuter programs to reduce pet overpopulation.

The next clause in the Hayden Act, in Section 1 (b) (4) states, “Shelters should not adopt out animals that are not spayed or neutered”.   The DACC does try to spay most of their pets, but many are suffering from kennel cough and other diseases and are released deferred from surgery, and any pet over the age of seven is automatically deferred because the DACC does not want to pay for blood panels which are recommended for older pets by most veterinarians.  As a result nearly twenty percent of all pets adopted from the County are released unaltered.  Adopters pay a $50 spay/neuter trust deposit, commit to having the pet altered within a set period of time and take the pet home with them, often never to be heard from again. The DACC claims it is too understaffed to routinely follow up with adopters whose pets were deferred to get certificates of sterilization from them.  Instead their trust deposits sit in the DACC’s coffers.

We understand and support deferring pets due to illness and the last thing we want is the DACC to pull out its normal modus operandi by throwing the baby out with the bath water and banning all releases of unaltered animals. However, if Mayeda would furnish her veterinarians with any diagnostic equipment beyond a stethoscope and a parvo test kit the number of pets being released unaltered would dramatically fall.   A blood machine is not terribly expensive and would have a multitude of uses other than determining whether a senior pet is healthy enough to alter.  Five years ago a donor offered to donate a blood machine to Baldwin Park and were turned down.   A more aggressive follow up policy by the DACC on unaltered pets who were released for medical reasons is also needed – and could easily be implemented by assigning the task to the large number of employees who are currently being paid to do nothing by the DACC.

Marcia Mayeda’s inaction on spay/neuter is consistent with her inaction on nearly every other problem with the DACC.   Not once in the last decade has she held a public meeting where she could explain or be questioned as to what she does to earn her $238,000 plus county benefits salary.   This is the same administrator who ordered her staff to put nothing in writing lest it be subpoenaed at a later date.

The DACC under Mayeda hates transparency.  She is shielded by Mike Antonovich and the County Board of Supervisors who suppress any inquiries into Mayeda’s or the DACC’s actions – causing many to wonder what both she and the Board are hiding.  From the leaked documents that have already been provided to us from disgruntled DACC employees it is clear that the taxpayers are being taken for a ride by a corrupt bureaucrat, Marcia Mayeda, and perhaps an equally duplicitous Board of Supervisors.