Anyone who has driven in Southern California has seen billboards with the NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) logo. Some of us even have the commemorative T-shirts. It’s an effective marketing slogan. It’s impossible to be against the cause. Who wants to openly advocate killing shelter animals? I doubt even Marcia Mayeda would be so callous as to publically endorse the practice.
According to their own statistics in the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Los Angeles County impounded 37,522 dogs and killed 11,179 or just under 30 percent. They impounded 27,018 cats and killed 19,466 of them or just under 70 percent.
Why is Los Angeles County failing so badly and killing so many? Of course the lack of mandatory spay/neuter laws is a huge factor. The cities most contributing to shelter impounds – Lynwood, Azusa, West Covina and El Monte – lack spay/neuter laws. While doing this week’s Downey shelter networking list we noticed that over 60 percent of the dogs on our list came from Lynwood. El Monte, West Covina and Azusa generally contribute over 50 percent of the strays at Baldwin Park’s shelter.
When the shelters are out of kennel space, we realize they will have to resort to killing, and no amount of our wearing NKLA t-shirts is going to save a pet from having its life snuffed out in the back of a shelter.
This brings us to the issue of the 48 kennels in Building 4 at the Baldwin Park Shelter. Earlier this year Building 4 was placed off limits to the public as management decided to use it to house quarantined dogs, sick dogs, and dogs being sent out on transport. The problem is that the shelter does not have anywhere near 48 kennels worth of dogs in those categories, and as a result many of the dogs warehoused there, hidden from public view, are either large dogs or pets the shelter has forgotten about. Right now a very cute Pomeranian named Macaroon (A4730415) is stuck in limbo in Building 4. He isn’t quarantined, sick or scheduled for transport – he’s just stranded out of view where no one will see him and adopt or rescue him. He is but one of many in this half empty building where there were an average of 25 open kennels last week.
Despite the empty kennel, shelter manager Pat Claerbout was ordering dogs to be killed because she deemed the shelter to be overcrowded. Ms. Claerbout is also reported to have told staffers that all owner surrenders whose owners said they were aggressive were to be killed – despite the fact that she, and everyone else who works in a shelter, knows that owners often lie about their reasons for turning in dogs because they don’t want to appear to be the ones at fault.
If we ever want to get to no kill new management is necessary at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. Until then Marcia Mayeda cocktails with Pat Claerbout chasers will keep the barrels overcrowded in the back of Baldwin Park’s kennels.