What with the developments of the last two weeks, Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Director Marcia Mayeda must feel like a piece of waste caught in a vortex inexorably being sucked down a toilet drain.
By now many of you are aware that Mayeda was forced to terminate her prized hire, Pat Claerbout, as head of the Baldwin Park Shelter, after the shelter’s staff and volunteers as well as the public came together to demand Claerbout’s removal. Claerbout had previously been dismissed from her positions running Stockton and Sacramento’s shelter systems for her sadistic and often illegal actions. Mayeda certainly was aware of Claerbout’s reputation and hired her with her eyes wide open. A leopard does not change its spots and her actions as head of the Baldwin Park Shelter cannot have come as a surprise to anyone. Marcia Mayeda needs to be held accountable for this.
In equally stunning but not quite as sexy news, Mayeda was finally forced to comply with at least one of the terms of the Hayden act and is now immediately turning over dominant breed pets to rescues, without subjecting them to temperament tests. In the past dominant breed dogs were locked in their kennels waiting days, if not weeks, to be tested – by DACC employees with no special qualifications – to determine if they were “suitable for placement” despite the Hayden act’s mandate that any 501c3 rescue be allowed to take a pet regardless of temperament. For each day a dominant breed dog lingered in the kennels between three and five anonymous dogs would be killed for lack of kennel space. It was this very issue that initially caused me to become a shelter activist six years ago. Thousands of pets were needlessly killed because of Mayeda’s open defiance of the law.
To add to Mayeda’s woes, the lawsuit DeVitt vs Los Angeles County and Marcia Mayeda is soon going to be tried in Superior Court. The case concerns the fatal mauling of jogger Pamela DeVitt by a pack of dogs who Mayeda and the DACC had failed to impound despite repeated complaints from local residents. In the criminal trial against the dogs’ owner, Alex Jackson, the Assistant District Attorney stated “Animal Control clearly dropped the ball in this case.” Not only did the DACC drop the ball they tried to hide it. This lawsuit is not a referendum on Pit Bulls. It is about outright lies to the Board of Supervisors, falsified evidence and an attempt to cover up negligence which resulted in an entirely preventable death. The evidence shows a conspiracy at the highest level of the DACC to hide the true facts and tell outright lies – which has been the trademark of the agency under Marcia Mayeda.
Claerbout is gone, but we need to remember that she was merely a minion of Marcia Mayeda. It is time for Marcia Mayeda to be removed as the head of the DACC so we can begin the process of having a humane, responsible and responsive Department of Animal Care and Control. It wasn’t that difficult to get over 75 percent of Baldwin Park’s employees to sign a petition to demand Claerbout’s removal. It will be even easier to get 75 percent of the DACC employees throughout the shelter system to sign a petition demanding Mayeda’s removal.