I often wonder if Marcia Mayeda, the widely maligned head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal
Care and Control, stays up late at night trying to figure out what new ill-advised policy she can implement which will lead to increased euthanasia at her shelters. While municipal shelters like SPARC in Santa Paula (the only truly no kill open admission shelter in the Los Angeles metropolitan area), Riverside County, Long Beach City and even Camarillo are trying to do everything possible to reduce euthanasia by bringing in rescue groups to save their pets, Mayeda is hellbent on making it harder for rescues in her shelters.
As I predicted last month in my blog, Mayeda sent out a new
FATwa adoption policy which included the following language (Please note “AP” stands for “Adoption Partner”):
DACC only allows registered APs to adopt under the AP program. APs may not extend their adoption privileges to third parties, who may be adopting for private purposes or for another rescue organization not registered with DACC as an AP
The intent of this poorly worded adoption policy is to prohibit DACC approved rescues from transferring pets ownership to other rescues. For instance 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. When you consider that rescue groups save approximately 75 percent of the pets released from DACC facilities – I predict at least 5,000 to 6,000 dogs’ lives will be snuffed out each year because of this ridiculous policy.
Besides being myopic, the new DACC policy clearly violates California State Law. In SB1785 Sec. 12 (b), popularly known as “The Hayden Act”, the law states:
Any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to the killing of that animal for any reason other than irremediable suffering, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled killing of that animal.
California law does not grant the DACC the right to impose restrictions on rescues cooperating with each other. Mayeda’s latest promulgation restricts the transfer of property – and therefore is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
Rescue is collaborative. To save one pet you will often have three or four rescues involved, some of them County adoption partners and others not. Several rescue groups have already notified us of their intention to stop pulling pets from the DACC. The ones who will suffer from this are the pets in need of rescue.
The DACC does not impose restrictions on the transfer of pets from a private adopter to another party. Therefore I suggest that the most likely workaround to circumvent Mayeda’s latest in a long line of follies, is for rescues to outright “adopt” dogs to individuals at their partner rescue organizations – rather than “transfer ownership” . Mayeda will then have to choose between outright banning rescue groups from being able to adopt out their pets – or to sit back and realize that she is suffering from an acute case of rectal cranial inversion.