Monthly Archives: August 2016

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

I recently visited the Seattle Animal Shelter, a beautiful facility serving the 662,400 residents of the City of Seattle. Last year the shelter impounded 4,500 dogs, cats, rabbits and other species (a ratio of 1 animal for every 147 residents) and achieved a 93 percent live release rate – without enacting spay/neuter laws. When I asked the shelter’s management how Seattle achieved such a low number of impounds and such an impressive adoption rate, there were two reasons given – a better educated community and the shelter’s making spay/neuter accessible to everyone regardless of income or place of residence. For those who cannot afford surgery, the Pet Population Control Fund is available to help cover their costs, and pet owners pay only what they can afford.

I then looked at both Los Angeles County (DACC) and Los Angeles City’s Animal Control (LAAS) statistics for 2015 and was dismayed. According to statistics published on the DACC’s website, Los Angeles County impounded 55,922 pets and achieved an 82 percent live release rate on dogs, and only a 31 percent live release on cats. The Los Angeles County population is estimated at 10,020,000 people, of which 3,884,000 residents are served by Los Angeles City’s shelter system, 900,000 are serviced by Seaaca, and an additional one million people are serviced by Burbank, Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Pomona and San Gabriel’s municipal shelters. This leaves Marcia Mayeda’s DAAC servicing approximately 4,230,000 people meaning there is one pet impounded for every 76 residents of Los Angeles County. Meanwhile in Los Angeles – which only gives detailed statistics on dogs and cats there was a ratio of 1 dogs and cats entering the system for every 106 residents – and the LAAS under the failed leadership of Brenda Barnette is famous for leaving stray dogs and cats on the street to starve to death or be hit by a car so it can keep its live release statistics looking good!

Why are Los Angeles City and County failing so miserably at Animal Control? It is not an overly complicated answer. Even though both Los Angeles City and most of Los Angeles County have spay/neuter laws they are barely enforced. In Los Angeles City there are an estimated 100,000 dog licenses and a dog population estimated at one million. There are very few canvassers working Los Angeles City. Very few people are receiving citations for unlicensed dogs, and we have yet to hear of anyone receiving a citation for having an unaltered dog. In Los Angeles County there are canvassers writing tickets for unlicensed, but rarely for unaltered, pets. Additionally there are several major Los Angeles cities lacking spay/neuter ordinances and the feckless Marcia Mayeda led agency has done less than nothing to try and effect s/n ordinances in communities such as Azusa and West Covina two cities who provide approximately 40 percent of Baldwin Park’s impounds. El Monte, which had contributed nearly 21 percent of Baldwin Park’s impounds in 2012 recently enacted a spay/neuter ordinance but only upon the urging of a local school teacher and this reporter – with absolutely no support from the DACC.

Neither the DACC nor Los Angeles City is opening up their spay/neuter clinics to the public.

Meanwhile down in Riverside County, a county which is far more economically challenged than Los Angeles, their Animal Control department under the progressive leadership of Robert Miller has managed to recently hit an 84 percent live release for dogs. Miller has managed to turn around Riverside’s numbers in the right direction by parking a spay/neuter mobile truck in various communities and then sending in a team of canvassers to write tickets for failure to have altered pets. These tickets are fairly expensive – but the fines are waived if the residents take their pets immediately to the nearby truck for altering. The city of Bakersfield under the leadership of Julie Johnson is also working diligently to reduce euthanasia by increasing spay/neuter opportunities for its citizens.

All it takes is strong and humane leadership that is responsive to its community and the pet over-population problem can be solved in our lifetime. However under the piss-poor leadership of hacks like Marcia Mayeda and Brenda Barnette this will never happen – and the senseless killing of shelter pets will continue, while the aforementioned bureaucrats collect over half a million dollars in taxpayer paid salaries to fail miserably at their jobs.

The replacement of both Marcia Mayeda and Brenda Barnette is long overdue. Robert Miller and Julie Johnson earn half in salary what either of their Los Angeles counterparts do. Both are approachable and well respected within their communities. Los Angeles deserves the best and yet it settles for the worst.  If Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors want well run animal control agencies they would poach from their neighbors.  However pets don’t vote and they don’t give money to politicians.

The sad reality is neither Garcetti nor the Board of Supervisors give a flying fuck about pets or animal welfare and the killing will continue ad nauseuam.

Baldwin Park Shelter & Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

On July 20th the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) formally opened its new twenty million dollar Palmdale Shelter to much fanfare. It was only fitting that outgoing Board of Supervisors member Mike Antonovich was there to deliver the dedication:

This is a state-of-the-art facility—one where 90 percent of animals found roaming around and brought here will be adopted, which is remarkable,” Antonovich claimed as his stooge and extremely close friend, DACC Director Marcia Mayeda, stood by smiling.

Fast forward to two weeks later and the Palmdale facility secretly sent a truckload of six Pit Bulls to the Lancaster Shelter to be euthanized – because the DACC did not want to expose the truth, that this poorly located facility was merely a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money. The truth is that the Palmdale Shelter will be a high kill facility – just like Baldwin Park. It serves a community that dumps, rather than adopts pets.   Many people are naively discarding their pets at Palmdale believing that this shelter is Agoura – where nearly all pets are adopted – and the word needs to get out that Palmdale is just another Mayeda killing field.

Meanwhile at DACC headquarters rumors are rife that several agency executives have been polishing up their résumés and looking for jobs at better run animal control departments outside Los Angeles County.   One high ranking executive has been spotted interviewing in San Diego and others have been contacting other Southern California shelters looking for a chance to escape the endless incompetence and brutality that is the trademark of a Marcia Mayeda run department.

At Baldwin Park the lack of respect for shelter manager Sheri Koenig is beginning to rival that of her predecessor Pat “Google Me” Claerbout.   Several staff members have grown so tired of working at the poorly run shelter that they have repeatedly come down with mysterious illnesses and have not reported to work as they wait for the transfer papers they have recently filed to be processed. This past Sunday so many staff members called in sick that there were no officers in the field handling emergency calls and pet care at the shelter was minimal at best.

A responsible DACC leader would never have allowed Palmdale to be built. A responsible leader would have used the Palmdale money to build satellite adoption centers in or near communities where adoptions regularly occur – like Agoura, Malibu and Calabasas. A responsible DACC leader would have sufficiently staffed her shelters so they could function properly. A responsible DACC head would never have allowed morale to get as low as it has in all the DACC facilities.

Instead the DACC is left with its sad troll at the helm, Marcia Mayeda, a woman who has managed to keep her $238,000 a year job solely because she has an unusually cozy relationship with Mike Antonovich.   We eagerly await Antonovich’s departure later this year and hope for the good of Los Angeles County’s pets that he takes Mayeda with him.


Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Normally this blog consists of our exposing the dirty secrets that the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) don’t want you to know. We’ve brought to light DACC Director Marcia Mayeda’s role as an accomplice to murder in the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt, her failure to provide needed food for her shelter’s pets, her hiring a known serial abuser of animals to run the Baldwin Park Shelter and her numerous violations of the Hayden act.

Mayeda is a sadist who delights in destroying her employees’ lives. One life Mayeda is in the process of destroying belongs to whistleblower and former Baldwin Park kennel attendant Erika Valles, the employee who exposed the systematic starvation of shelter animals under Mayeda hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout.

We will let Ms. Valles tell the story from here:

My name is Erika Valles and for seven years I worked at saving lives at the Baldwin Park Shelter. I had good performance reviews and an even better reputation for loving and caring for all animals. I fostered hundreds of kittens, quite a few puppies, baby birds, a litter of skunks, and an opossum all of whom otherwise would have been euthanized at my shelter. Things changed when Los Angeles County’s Director of Animal Control hired Pat Claerbout to manage my shelter.

Claerbout arrived at Baldwin Park with a well documented career of killing and abusing pets – which can easily be researched by doing a Google search of her name. One of the first things Claerbout did upon taking the job was to order my colleagues and myself to reduce the feeding of the shelter’s pets as a cost saving move. I noticed the pets weren’t getting the proper nutrition. So started photographing them to prove what I saw. When Claerbout found out she looked forways to retaliate against me.

I was fostering a one month old unweened kitten who came to the shelter without her mother. One day I noticed the kitten wasn’t quite herself and I decided to bring her in with me to work so I could get one of the shelter’s veterinarians to give her a check-up. When I arrived at work, my co- workers told me that there was an outbreak of panleukopenia, a deadly disease that all too often afflicts shelter cats. Baldwin has had a problem with paneleuk for years and it is nearly always fatal. It was a cold day, and because of that I decided to keep the kitten in a warm place in my car where she would not be exposed to any panleuk germs. Claerbout found out that I had the kitten with me, and chose that opportunity to exact her revenge. She broke into my car, removed the kitten and ordered it 
euthanized. Shortly thereafter Claerbout claimed that I had caused the kitten to come down with panleuk and threatened me with criminal charges if I did not immediately resign. Frightened at the prospect of being unjustly accused of being a criminal and without consulting a lawyer I reluctantly agreed to resign. That same week at Baldwin Park, over 100 kittens were euthanized because they had panleuk and they closed the cat building to the public for a month. Claerbout then reneged on the deal and filed criminal animal abuse charges against me anyway. It is worth noting that no one else was threatened with criminal charges nor were they fired or disciplined in any manner for the other shelter kittens (who were under Claerbout’s direct care) dying. It was only because of my whistle blowing that I was singled out.

Shortly after I was fired, 90 percent of the Baldwin Park Shelter’s staff signed a petition demanding Claerbout be removed for her mismanagement, gratuitous killing of animals and her bullying employees and volunteers. Shortly thereafter Claerbout was removed – and it became the third shelter that she was driven out of for abusive behavior. I have lost everything because I took a stand against animal cruelty at the hands of Pat Claerbout. Now I need to defend myself in court. I cannot afford a lawyer and I need your help. It’s time to stop the bullying and coddling of the real abusers. Please donate to my defense fund so I can clear my name and help stop the bullying at the hands of Pat Claerbout and Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Control.

Claerbout was hired by, and served as a proxy for, Marcia Mayeda. If you would like to help Erika Valles and stop Marcia Mayeda from shattering another life please help Valles exonerate her name by clicking here:

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Shelter volunteers could not help but be amused after receiving an e-mail from Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) Director Marcia Mayeda this past week. In this rare communication Ms. Mayeda tried to rally her volunteers who had given many hours, days and weeks of their lives to help the plight of shelter pets. Mayeda wrote:

Wow, what a week!  Just when we think we can’t get any busier we get new challenges and rise to the occasion!  I want to thank all of you for all your extra hard efforts these past days.  Here are some highlights of what you miracle workers have accomplished recently:

The first highlight Mayeda mentioned was the grand opening of her new Palmdale facility. While indeed the facility is the most modern one the DACC has, many people are wondering why it was built in an area which traditionally provides high intakes and low adoptions.   The DACC’s challenge has always been to adopt out its pets. The well managed Agoura shelter quickly moves nearly every dog it receives into new homes – but only has 48 dog kennels. The millions of dollars spent opening Palmdale would have been better spent by expanding Agoura’s capacity and then quickly transferring in pets whose stray holds had expired. Agoura could easily double its adoption rate without increasing euthanasia if they only had more dogs at the facility.

Next, Mayeda’s cited as an accomplishment that her staff represented Los Angeles County at the annual National Association of Counties Convention in Long Beach.   Ms. Mayeda failed to mention that her shelters are so understaffed that many of them are failing to provide adequate care and customer service. The needless diversion of DACC manpower for an event that had nothing to do with sheltering animals increased the misery of shelter pets.

Mayeda then went on to praise her department’s participation in the Sand Fire evacuation. In the ‘even a blind squirrel will find an acorn sometimes’ department Mayeda is correct, the DACC’s response under the capable leadership of Fred Agoopi was well executed – and indeed full kudos are due.

She further went on to praise her department’s participation in the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” event, which saw the adoption of 170 dogs, 54 cats and two rabbits into new homes.   The numbers were fairly good – but should have been much better at the poorly run Baldwin Park Shelter which had only a tepid 31 adoptions.

The final sentence in the e-mail was the kicker:

From the bottom of my heart I thank each and every one of you for your hard work and commitment, not just for these past few days but for every day you are part of our organization.

First of all,  if Mayeda is so grateful for volunteers, why has she conducted a flat out war against them? Despite chronic manpower shortages in her shelters – often caused by Mayeda’s mismanagement, Mayeda has instituted a policy kicking volunteers out of her facilities when the shelters are closed to the public. Baldwin Park’s pets are rarely walked, have dirty litter boxes and sometimes have not even been fed – yet they chase out volunteers who are providing the care that staff are unable to perform, due to Mayeda’s understaffing her shelters. Volunteers who complain about this are accused of suffering from ‘compassion fatigue’ – the new politically correct phrase the DACC uses to brand activists (i.e. troublemakers). These volunteers have often been fired or ordered to curtail their volunteer hours.

This reporter often wonders what constitutes the “bottom of Mayeda’s heart”?   Is it the part containing her cover-up on her involvement in the fatal mauling of Pamela DeVitt? Is it the heart that has failed to provide wet food for a month to the DACC’s pets – and then tried to lie about it when it was exposed? Is it the heart that has led the prosecution of whistleblowers like former kennel attendant Erika Valles, who exposed that Mayeda hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout was systematically starving her shelter’s pets? Was it the heart that has killed over 600,000 pets – many of whom could have easily found homes had Mayeda only shown a modicum of care?

Perhaps the song lyrics below sums it all up best…Mayeda is the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz:

When a man’s an empty kettle
He should be on his mettle
And yet I’m torn apart
Just because I’m presumin’
That I could be a human
If I only had a heart