The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control’s policy and procedure manual clearly states “It is our policy to adopt every adoptable animal.” This policy was rigorously adhered to by the Baldwin Park Shelter until its popular manager Lance Hunter resigned four months ago. Since then it has been painful to watch the Shelter’s rapid decline from a fairly low kill facility where pets were being quickly adopted and rescued to the high kill slaughterhouse that it is now.
As the overall economy improved, the number of impounds has dropped from the corresponding periods from previous years, but the euthanasia rate has dramatically risen in the last month. What has changed? Plenty.
First Marcia Mayeda installed Pat Claerbout as shelter manager. Anyone with access to Google will quickly be sickened to look up Ms. Claerbout’s resumé. Her prior stints in Sacramento and Stockton left a trail of carcasses and a series of investigative reports from Northern California television stations that do not picture her flatteringly.
Under Lance Hunter’s administration, the shelter volunteers’ networking list which had become the gold standard amongst shelters throughout North America had triggered 8,000 adoptions and rescues, with a 98 percent adoption rate over the preceding two years. During Mr. Hunter’s tenure, networking pets were given a minimum of 10 days to be adopted or rescued and the networking list averaged 60 new dogs and 10 new cats every two weeks. The shelter’s philosophy for the networking and non-networking dogs alike was “let’s give the dogs as long a time as we have kennel space to get them out safely.”
Now comes word that Claerbout and Mayeda want to curtail if not end the networking program completely. Volunteers have been told they could only have thirty pets with 10 day holds and even then the holds might not be honored. In the last two weeks 12 dogs and 10 cats from the latest networking list were taken to the back of the shelter and given lethal Marcia Mayeda cocktails with a Pat Claerbout chaser before having their carcasses stuffed into barrels and placed inside freezers until a heavily used truck from the rendering plant can come to remove the evidence of their existence.
Meanwhile well placed DACC insiders have told us that Mayeda is about to issue a fatwa, I’m sorry I meant promulgate a new policy, against rescues. This new policy prohibits rescues from working with each other to save pets, and bars them from transferring pets from one rescue to another. If implemented I will no longer be able to pull young German Shepherds and send them to a rescue group in Colorado who trains the dogs to detect and warn children with severe peanut allergies of the presence of peanuts. These cherished dogs not only save these children’s lives on a daily basis – they also allow these children to live normal lives. No longer will we be able to work with out of state rescues who can take Chihuahuas, the number one most euthanized breed in California, to rescue groups throughout the northwest and Canada where there is a shortage of small dogs. If rescues are prohibited from cooperating with each other I estimate at least 5,000 to 6,000 dogs’ lives will be snuffed out each year on the orders of Marcia Mayeda.
What is Mayeda’s motivation for these policies? There have been a few rescues who have not done sufficient due diligence and transferred pets to bad situations. However these cases are isolated and small. Instead Mayeda wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater and end the cooperation between rescues and squash any attempts to save lives. That could be her only motivation for hiring Pat Claerbout.
If Mayeda attempts to do this, of course there will be legal challenges – and clever workarounds will be implemented to circumvent her draconian policies.
Is this bloodshed necessary? Is it humane? Marcia Mayeda has clearly given the Baldwin Park Shelter a third finger salute – and is about to extend this to all animals unfortunate to enter her six county gulags.
We can only strongly urge each and every reader of this blog to call and write not only the Board of Supervisors, but the mayors and city councils of each of the cities that comprise Los Angeles County to protest Ms. Mayeda’s decision making ability. The fate of the shelters pets hinge on our actions.