Most people would agree with the premise that if you have a task to perform you should do it to the best of your ability. I believe this is the case with Patricia Claerbout, the new Baldwin Park Shelter manager, who has worked diligently to become the worst shelter manager in the history of not just Los Angeles County but all of Southern California.
In the past three weeks she has alienated her staff and volunteers to such an extent that several staff members are seeking transfers, we know of at least two staff members who are consulting their union about taking legal action, two of the senior volunteers have informed the shelter that they are quitting on December 31st and a number of other volunteers have stated their intention to quit.
A major insult came on October 17th when, as “part of the effort to stop the spread of panleukopenia” she banned all volunteers from the cat buildings apparently believing that volunteers spread the disease. The lead cat volunteer, who has been coming to the shelter every day, eight hours per day, for three years and on whom the shelter and rescues have always relied for information on the cats has not been exempted from this ban. Members of the public are not allowed to enter the cat buildings unless accompanied by a shelter employee which is a tall order in the understaffed shelter. We have all watched with dismay as the number of cats at Baldwin Park dropped from 227 on October 17th to 154 on October 20th. These cats did not walk out the front door.
Additional insults include no longer allowing staff members to bring their pets to work (although she brings her dog with her), rebuking staff for petting impounded pets, ordering that blankets not be laid out for dogs and stockpiling donated canned food in a storage room instead of feeding it to the dogs and cats at the shelter. As an extra middle finger extended to shelter volunteers she did not bother to provide them with lunch, which had been promised, at the Bow Wows and Meows super adoption event. Speaking of adoption events, Baldwin Park used to do at least one off-site mobile adoption event every week and now does almost none
Anyone with Google would have been able to predict Ms. Claerbout’s behavior. Her zeal for destroying staff and volunteer morale goes hand in hand with her penchant for destroying animals – a trait that has followed her from Sacramento to Stockton and now to Baldwin Park.
Marcia Mayeda, head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control, knew what she was getting when she hired Claerbout. A cynic might conclude that the hiring is a deliberate attempt to demolish the Baldwin Park Shelter’s reputation (under prior manager Lance Hunter) as the most rescue and adoption friendly shelter in Southern California. Perhaps Ms. Mayeda thinks she can deflect criticism for her poor job performance by turning Baldwin Park back into the high-kill, hopeless, demoralized shelter it used to be. Maybe, Mayeda thinks, her critics will grow disillusioned and give up trying to have her and her regrettable hires removed.
The answer is a resounding ‘no’. The truth will out, criticism will crescendo and public opinion will force the Los Angeles County government to focus on and eliminate the manipulative, destructive force that is Marcia Mayeda.
Ms. Claerbout’s probationary period ends in approximately six weeks, after that it will be difficult to have her removed. If you have had enough of Marcia Mayeda and Claerbout we urge that you both call, fax and e-mail your views on Ms. Mayeda and Ms. Claerbout’s performance to the 5 members of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and the mayors and city council members of the following cities: Baldwin Park, El Monte, La Puente, Rowland Heights, Walnut, Covina, West Covina, Azusa, Duarte, Hacienda Heights and Rosemead – cities which the Baldwin Park facility services.