For most people the choice between doing the morally right and wrong thing is easy and obvious especially when it’s a matter of life and death. For a select few, like Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control, making a morally correct choice is such an alien concept to her that it requires the services of several lawyers, most of the public screaming loudly that she should be fired (and those are just the calm and reasonable ones) and an unfavorable restraining order from a California appellate court for her to finally decide to release JoJo, the two year old German Shepherd and family pet who bit two juvenile delinquents after they were observed throwing concrete blocks at him. JoJo languished in the Lancaster Shelter for 73 days while at least five reputable rescues tried to rescue the dog and offer him sanctuary. Each day he was at the high kill Lancaster shelter, JoJo occupied a kennel which could have housed up to four dogs, who were instead killed for wont of kennel space.
Rather than follow the terms of the Hayden Act, which require municipal shelters to release dogs to legitimate 501(c)3 rescues, Mayeda forced JoJo’s would be rescuers to litigate knowing it would be extremely expensive for them to do so. However due to the extreme generosity and passion for justice from outstanding lawyer Talitha Wegner of the firm Davies Wegner, who worked on a pro bono basis, JoJo’s team did not fold up the tent as Mayeda expected and litigated.
Mayeda and her mouthpiece Los Angeles County Counsel Diane Reagan, tried to throw every legal obstacle they could in front of JoJo’s legal team, and they came up short. They even tried to claim JoJo is a pit bull mix when he clearly is a German Shepherd mix, to try and influence the judge who might have preconceived prejudices against America’s most misunderstood breed. Mayeda does not have one qualified dog behaviorist in her whole department, so to find an ‘expert’ witness she had to suborn one of her employees a young veterinarian named, Jennifer Kwan, fresh out of veterinary school with no credentials on dog behavior whatsoever to say JoJo was vicious. Meanwhile JoJo’s team produced the expert testimony of Dr. Richard Polsky, a famous expert on bite cases – who is a favourite expert witness usually for dog bite victims. Dr. Polsky submitted a declaration saying JoJo was no threat to society, and then went further – blasting the DACC for their unprofessional conduct in designating JoJo a pit bull, and conducting a piss poor investigation of the bite circumstances and their concluding him to be vicious. To read Dr. Polsky’s declaration please click here:
Finally the world renown Best Friends Animal Society joined the party and offered sanctuary to JoJo. Rather than jump at the offer, Ms. Mayeda took six long days, meaning that up to 24 additional dogs died, before she felt the heat and agreed to release JoJo – but even then, she tried to attach such onerous conditions on the dog’s release that the dog will be denied what he most likes and needs – human companionship for the rest of his life.
According to the law when a party to a lawsuit persists in trying to litigate a matter when there is a fair and equitable settlement already on the table – one which the party eventually chooses to accept, the litigious party must pay the court costs and legal fees of the opposing counsel. So in addition to killing up to 200 dogs to try to satisfy her bloodlust, Ms. Mayeda may also have to take $40,000 out of her already tight budget to pay for her arrogance.
Ms. Mayeda is paid $200,000 a year of our tax money to use common sense and to do the right thing. Instead she just gambled more than one year’s salary for a kennel attendant, and may have lost.
This is not the sort of leadership the people of Los Angeles County want or deserve. It is time for Ms. Mayeda’s patrons and enablers, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, to replace Ms. Mayeda with someone who actually cares about the pets entrusted into their care.