Monthly Archives: January 2017

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Somehow, despite the rampant mismanagement of Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda, the Downey Shelter has become a fairly high adoption center.   Although it still kills pets – nowhere near as many as Baldwin Park, but far more than Carson – Downey has managed to increase its live release rates thanks to its rescue friendly policies and strong networking team.

However, the shelter is still plagued by unfathomable stupidity.   California law requires all pets released from public shelters to be sterilized. Despite Downey’s soaring adoption rate the facility’s medical staff has reduced the number of spay/neuters they will perform each day – and has limited the number of large dogs that they will alter to three per day.   The medical staff claims they have broken cages in their spay/neuter clinic and have no place to put the dogs.

This is ridiculous.

If the clinic’s cages cannot be quickly fixed (and they likely can be) the shelter could use plastic crates like many facilities use to hold their dogs while they are in recovery. Because of the number of transports being done from Downey there are always large crates available for the task at hand.

As a result of the Downey veterinarians’ slowdown on neutering, people adopting pets are sometimes having to wait over two weeks for their pets and these pets are occupying much needed kennel space while they wait.  It is lack of kennel space which leads to euthanasia in high intake shelters.

This same medical team was also recently caught not doing hands on examinations of Downey’s pets because the veterinarian claimed she did not want to get germs on her scrubs. Consequently she was only performing cursory observations and deciding whether pets were ill from peering in from outside of the kennels. Recently Downey’s veterinarians wanted to kill A5001531, Captain Jack Sparrow, a three year old Chihuahua, because they claimed he had kennel cough and hadn’t responded to two courses of antibiotics. They never actually examined the dog with a stethoscope – they merely heard him snorting. The shelter deferred him from neutering and I had to rescue Jack Sparrow or he was going to be killed.   I took him to my veterinarian. We discovered that the dog was entirely healthy – but had the habit of snorting when he was happy and receiving attention!

We have heard of countless number of Downey dogs being labeled as ill just so the veterinary staff did not have to alter them. Some of these dogs were killed and others were adopted. Those who were lucky enough not to be killed were adopted on trust deposits. The adopter had to pay $50 and then could bring the pet back to be altered at a later time.   Many of these adopters and their dogs are never seen again and Mayeda and her cronies have not been tracking these pets – many of whom are procreating on the streets.

A few years back Marcia Mayeda, renamed her facilities which had previously been called “shelters” to “Animal Care Centers”.   Thankfully for Mayeda, we live in a Donald Trump world where lies and fraud are rewarded, as in any decent society she would be sued and prosecuted for the sheer chutzpah of calling her facilities, “care centers”.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

One of the primary functions of any animal control agency is to respond to the public’s calls when they report injured pets in distress, dangerous dogs and dead animals needing removal.   Los Angeles County has two call centers, operated 24 hours a day to receive such calls. Unfortunately under the feckless leadership of Marcia Mayeda, the DACC does not have the manpower to respond to these calls and as a result not only pets, but sometimes even people die.

DACC sources have confirmed that over 5,000 calls in 2016 were not responded to in the South County (the shelters served by Baldwin Park, Downey and Carson) alone.  Often overworked, but occasionally lazy, officers could not (and still cannot) handle the volume of daily calls assigned to them. Instead of investigating these calls were merely “no-timed” and, instead of being followed up by the next shift, these calls were ultimately outright ignored.  According to DACC sources the problem is even more acute in the North County which is serviced by the Lancaster, Palmdale, Castaic and Agoura Shelters.

As many readers of this column will remember, the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt in Littlerock in May 2013, was the direct result of the DACC’s failure to respond to citizens’ complaints about the dogs who fatally mauled Ms. DeVitt. Mayeda and the DACC have brazenly tried to cover-up their involvement in DeVitt’s death by backdating notes and hiding documents. This case is currently being litigated.

However the shocking thing is that rather than learn from the lessons of DeVitt, Mayeda is steadfastly refusing to do anything about the problem. Instead of hiring more staff to allow them to respond, Mayeda and her chief aide Betsey Webster instead went on a vendetta against the person who discovered the DACC’s malfeasance.   They have demoted him and are seemingly trying to railroad this senior executive out of the DACC. It will be interesting to see how this plays out now that Ms. Mayeda no longer enjoys the protection of former County Supervisor Mike Antonovich who finally was termed out of office.

In other interesting news, the city of Visalia, an upstate community with a huge stray problem, is to be commended for enacting the most sensible spay/neuter laws we have seen. In addition to requiring mandatory altering of pets, the city is providing free spay/neuter services for all cats, Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls.   It never ceases to amaze us that progressive and innovative thinking never emanates from Mayeda and the DACC. Instead of leading and trying to solve Los Angeles County’s huge stray animal problem, Mayeda would rather divert much needed funds to build a private dog park for her pets at DACC headquarters.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Usually this blog is devoted to covering the widespread mismanagement at Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control – and there will be some coverage of new developments included herein. However there is news today that threatens all pet owners and rescuers that this column feels obligated to cover.

Today’s announcement that VCA veterinary hospitals is being sold to M&M Mars, the candy maker and owner of Banfield Pet Hospitals is highly disturbing. Even though personally I am a VCA stockholder and will financially receive a huge windfall from the merger, this will be terrible for those seeking honest and quality care for their pets. The merger will give the combined company a virtual monopoly on the veterinary business.

Banfield already has a horrible reputation as its veterinarians are directed by corporate officials to upsell their clients. VCA has been buying veterinary clinics throughout California at an alarming rate.  At VCA, many veterinarians are being directed to perform three billable procedures on your pet – whether they need it or not.   How often have you gone to a VCA vet and been told that if you care about your pet that they should run a panel on your pet – and been billed between $200 and $300 for the process. According to several ex-VCA veterinarians 90 percent of the time there is no reason to run a panel other than to make money for the veterinary clinic. Veterinarians’ will be compensated over their billable procedures, so your pets’ interests will not coincide with that of the person you are supposed to trust – your veterinarian!

The combined Banfield – VCA company will give a stranglehold on America’s veterinary industry. They will have over 1,600 clinics and 20 specialty hospitals. You will have virtually no choice in finding an independent veterinarian and prices will be both fixed and higher.   Hopefully the government will block this merger – but with the Trump regime’s takeover of the reigns of power things look bleak for pet owners and pets.

In this week’s DACC news, rumors are that a complaint was filed with the County’s Equity department about Baldwin Park Shelter manager, Sheri Koenig’s harassment of a well-respected Major Case Unit (MCU) employee. The significance of this complaint is that it was filed with Equity rather than the DACC’s human affairs department. This reduces DACC head Marcia Mayeda’s ability to interfere with the investigation as Equity conducts its investigations outside the DACC’s jurisdiction.   To date Koenig has been able to skate through a series of scandals as investigations were squashed by Mayeda  – but according to DACC insiders this one might stick.   Meanwhile there are reports that Baldwin Park employees are considering a circulating a petition demanding Koenig’s ouster – as morale has plummeted to perhaps even a lower level than was there during Pat “Google Me” Claerbout’s reign of error.

 

 

 

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

The end of 2016 could not come fast enough for the Baldwin Park Shelter. Large numbers of employees have become so disgruntled with shelter manager Sheri Koenig that they have feigned illness and called in sick. Several times over the last few weeks, the poorly run facility has had only one kennel attendant to tend to the 144 kennels it has in use. Field officers have also been absent in large numbers and it was not unusual to have only one officer in the field – with several communities receiving no service.

Several years ago a large corps of volunteers would be there to eagerly fill the void. But, under the successive leadership of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Koenig the shelter has been hemorrhaging volunteers due to the hostility they have been shown by management. For the last year the shelter’s lead cat volunteer had been ordered to reduce her hours from the average 60 hours a week she had previously donated to the county to 12 because she had the audacity to complain when the facility’s felines were receiving improper feeding and insufficient care. Volunteers who were previously welcomed as long as there were staff members on duty, were banned from Baldwin Park during hours when the shelter was closed to the public. To top that off the shelter’s popular and diplomatic lead volunteer, Rӧke D’Amico resigned two weeks ago. D’Amico will be sorely missed as among her numerous contributions, she had been the facility’s most reliable foster and was in charge of driving the shelter’s pets to, and running the mobile adoption program .

Baldwin Park was supposed to have a new volunteer coordinator starting work on December 19th. The affable and extremely qualified gentleman who took the job showed up as scheduled and within hours was transferred to the Downey Shelter. A large number of Baldwin Park employees have filed transfer papers and have been waiting for months to be transferred away from Koenig; so it raised eyebrows when a new employee could be moved that quickly to a new facility. According to DACC sources, the new volunteer coordinator was told by a senior manager at Baldwin Park that the shelter already had enough ‘lesbians and homos’ and was made unwelcome. According to rumor DACC leadership got wind of the manager’s homophobic rant and quickly moved the new employee to hopefully avert legal challenges. DACC hatchet man David Hou, has a thick dossier on this manager’s misconduct but has been ordered to stand down by Mayeda. Los Angeles County has professed to have intolerance for homophobic slurs and if this report is indeed true, we will see if the Board of Supervisors will keep doing their ostrich imitation and keep their heads buried in the sand rather than investigate the rampant misconduct within Mayeda’s fiefdom.

If that wasn’t bad enough the shelter’s washing machine was broken for nine days and pets were not given blankets and towels to keep them comfortable and warm. Every officer at every southern California Shelter knows that there is a fabulous charity, Operation Blankets of Love who will gladly for free deliver blankets and other supplies at a moment’s notice, but Baldwin Park’s management never made the call.  The rise in upper respiratory ailments affecting Baldwin Park’s pets has not been officially released but sources reveal a rise in the number of pets, who were selected for transport to no kill facilities, failing health certification during this outage.

Meanwhile there was other news coming out of the DACC. For the last several years the DACC had been posting its euthanasia statistics on its website. Last week the DACC decided to discontinue this practice, posting a notice stating:

The statistical reports are currently unavailable. To request statistical information in the meantime, please email legal@animalcare.lacounty.gov and specify exactly what statistical information you need (There may be a charge).”

Considering that the reports are automatically generated by the shelter’s Chameleon software and are readily available by anyone with access to the DACC’s computer system, and Marcia Mayeda’s penchant for secrecy many people are wondering what she is trying to hide.

However it was not all doom and gloom in DACC land. After years of being roundly criticized by this reporter and others for her failure to have any qualified pet behaviorists on staff, Mayeda circulated an e-mail to DACC volunteers announcing that she was finally hiring someone with the proper credentials to perform the job. Tens of thousands of dominant breed dogs have been subjected to poorly administered temperament tests which determined if they would live or die. Many were killed for failing tests which were given by employees who not only did not have a clue as to how to either properly administer or score a test – but were also scared of dogs to begin with! We do not know who the new behaviorist will be , but welcome the development – as long as the person is allowed to perform their job both without interference from above and with compassion.

 

mayedaAt least one of these images is a photo of Marcia Mayeda   mayeda2