As reported last week, the Downey Shelter is starting badly needed renovations this week and will be losing one entire kennel building for the next six months according to Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda. Everyone who knows the way that Los Angeles County government contractors work, knows that the renovation project will not run on schedule and the renovations are likely to drag on for over a year as they have at Baldwin Park.
The DACC leadership is trying to mitigate the loss of 40 kennels at Downey by transferring dogs to all the other DACC facilities. Downey staff and volunteers could understand transferring pets to Agoura and Castaic, the two low-kill DACC shelters, and could even see the wisdom in sending pets to Carson – which thanks to the effective marketing job done by Saving Carson Pets has an 87 percent live release rate so far this year for dogs. However, it was mind boggling to see Downey dogs being transported to Baldwin Park which under the piss poor leadership of Marcia Mayeda and her successive cronies Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Sherri Koenig has become a killing field – especially since Baldwin Park’s own shelter renovations are already nearly one year behind schedule and the facility has been down 48 kennels since June of 2016. Dogs are also being transferred to the DACC’s Lancaster facility. As one Downey volunteer said in disgust while watching the facility’s dogs being loaded into a van headed for Baldwin Park yesterday, “I feel like I’m watching a train leaving Berlin for Auschwitz.”
One has to ask was there any planning done on the part of the DACC leadership before they started their renovations? How did the Mayeda regime, between Downey and Baldwin Park, allow ten percent of the DACC’s total kennels to be unavailable at the same time? Why didn’t she build temporary kennels to house the displaced pets during the renovation. Baldwin Park’s under- utilized barn could easily have been transformed into the kennel with minimal disruption to shelter operations. At Downey, they could have transformed their storage barn into temporary kennels and moved the contents into containers. Unfortunately saving lives has never been a priority at the DACC and never will as long as current management is allowed to remain in power. It is estimated over five thousand additional dogs will die because of Mayeda’s poor leadership.
Meanwhile the DACC’s schizophrenic war against its own volunteers continues, especially at Baldwin Park. Shelter staff there are demoralized and calling in sick, because they despise Baldwin Park’s management, and the facility is chronically understaffed. As a result, the shelter is begging volunteers to give more hours of their time performing vital operations which are usually handled by staff. Concurrently, volunteers are being fired for not performing eight hours of volunteer service per month. Volunteers should not be terminated because they went out of town, had a baby, had work obligations, or just didn’t have the time. We maintain that when you have obligatory service to perform you are by definition an employee. Employees are paid for their service. Whether a volunteer gives four hours a month or one hundred hours a month, their service should be valued and gratefully accepted. Ironically Baldwin Park volunteers, including the facility’s lead cat volunteer who was volunteering 8 hours a day 7 days a week, have been told that they are performing too many volunteer hours and have been ordered to work no more than 20 hours a week.