Monthly Archives: June 2016

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

If one believes that government’s function is to serve the best interests of its people, the County of Los Angeles is woefully lacking. With Los Angeles mired in an historic drought, and fires sweeping across the county, the sale of fireworks is legal in 41 Los Angeles County communities. It seems like every street corner in Baldwin Park has a stand selling fireworks and the same can be said for other cities including Azusa, El Monte, La Puente and Downey.

During the weeks leading up to and following July 4th, legalized fireworks turn Los Angeles County’s communities into mini-Syrias as explosions punctuate the night. Scores of children will be maimed by fireworks, and the toll on pets will be even higher. With so many of these communities’ residents believing that pets should be kept outdoors, thousands of terrified pets will be frantically escaping their yards. The lucky ones end up being brought into the municipal shelters like Baldwin Park and Downey, the unfortunate ones meet gruesome end being hit by cars.

Less than 25 percent of all pets impounded by the Baldwin Park Shelter have collars with attached identification tags or microchips – and the shelter’s overall return to owner rate is only ten percent. The influx of unclaimed pets will lead to large scale euthanasia throughout the Los Angeles County Shelter system. This is especially true at Baldwin Park, which is down to 48 kennels as a result of renovation. The renovation is proceeding at a snail’s pace because Los Angeles County government’s corrupt and lazy Internal Services Division (ISD) is in charge of the construction – meaning that the taxpayer funded project will cost at least three times as much and take five times longer than the same construction would if performed by private sector contractors.

There is no accountability in Los Angeles County government. Local news coverage has been filled with scandals and criminal indictments in the sheriff’s and child services departments. The Court system is a mess, our school system is a failure, and this column has operated for four years exposing the daily scandals involved in the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.

Nothing will change between now and July 4th. Our government will fail to be proactive and deliver the message in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese – the most popular languages spoken in the Baldwin Park service area – that people need to bring their pets inside for the next month while the government sanctioned madness of fireworks erupts. Dogs and cats will flood the shelters – and the shelters’ freezers will be full of barrels of freshly euthanized pets.

It’s totally preventable madness, if only our elected government would show something approaching civic concern for their constituency’s welfare.

In the meantime, children will be maimed and pets will suffer. It’s business as usual for Los Angeles County.

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

In her fifteen year tenure as Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), Marcia Mayeda has worked diligently to earn a reputation for violating California and federal laws, actively encouraging and engaging in corruption, ruthlessly killing pets taking vengeance on any of her department’s employees or volunteers who question her numerous illegal acts. Many DACC observers have wondered how Mayeda has been able to act with such impunity – as any other government official in such blatant violation would have been forced out, perhaps with criminal charges leveled against them, as recently happened with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

The fact is that Mayeda has survived because of her cozy relationship with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and particularly outgoing Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who have constantly thwarted investigations into her misdeeds. Some DACC critics have alleged that the Antonovich- Mayeda relationship is extremely close and personal but we have seen no evidence to confirm this.

Mayeda’s reign of error may finally be coming to an end as a result of her malicious attempt to railroad former Baldwin Park Kennel Attendant Erika Valles into accepting an unwarranted misdemeanor charge for animal cruelty. As previously reported in our May 23rd blog, Valles was photographing and documenting the mistreatment of animals by Mayeda crony and former Baldwin Park Shelter manager, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout in October of 2014. Claerbout, who has a long and documented history of animal abuse, grew angry and saw an opportunity for revenge when a kitten Valles was fostering came down with panleukopenia – an extremely contagious, nearly always fatal disease that kills hundreds of kittens at Baldwin Park every year. Claerbout seized and euthanized the kitten, and with Mayeda’s blessing had criminal charges brought against Valles.

Because Valles could not afford to hire a lawyer, Mayeda must have thought it would be a slam dunk to get Valles to take a deal and plead guilty. The deal would have involved community service, but no jail time for Valles, and left her with a conviction for animal cruelty on her record.

Mayeda was wrong.

Erika Valles, an Air Force veteran and a highly principled human being, refused the deal and has demanded a jury trial.  This could create serious problems for Mayeda, as Valles has been given leaked DACC documents showing that scores of kittens died in their cages of panleukopenia at Baldwin Park during the period when Valles was fostering and no one was prosecuted. A jury trial would also enable Valles to subpoena current and former Baldwin Park and DACC officials and question them under oath about a number of potentially embarrassing things, including an April 15, 2009 e-mail sent by a former DACC officer to the Board of Supervisors and Mayeda complaining about the systematic inhumane treatment of cats at Mayeda’s shelters.  A public relations firm has volunteered involvement to ensure media coverage.

By the time Valles’s case gives rise to a whistleblower lawsuit Antonovich will be termed out and have finally left the Board of Supervisors. The question is whether the new Board of Supervisors will want to swallow another judgement – especially since they have been discussing how to to reduce the $59.9 million in civil judgments and settlements and $59 million in attorney fees awarded against Los Angeles County in the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Will the new Board of Supervisors tolerate Mayeda’s illegal and immoral acts, or will they try to mitigate the damage by kicking her to the curb? We like to believe in the wisdom and integrity of our elected officials. The strange prosecution or persecution of Erika Valles may be the litmus test to judge Los Angeles County’s elected government.