It looked like Marcia Mayeda and her Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) finally did something right when they raided the home of Assistant School Superintendent Pauline Winbush on November 26, 2014. Aided by Los Angeles County deputies they found 19 pit bulls locked in crates in abject filth – covered with feces – all showing signs of being used for dog fighting.. Unfortunately the dogs were in such bad condition that they all had to be euthanized. Winbush and her accomplice Kevin Williams were arrested and charged with 4 felony counts of dog fighting, 17 felony counts of animal cruelty and one count of felony child endangerment. You might think a good strong pat on the back and a round of kudos would be in order for the much maligned Mayeda, the Teflon coated DACC head, but it would be extremely unwarranted.
The DACC had sent Lancaster Sergeant Rachel Montez-Kemp to the very same address seven years previously. Montez-Kemp had observed a bleeding pit bull with wounds all over his body, and nine pit bulls chained in Winbush’s backyard. Allegedly Winbush claimed to Montez-Kemp that the injured pit bull was suffering from a rare disease and was being treated. Evidently the dog’s disease turned out not to be so rare – he was only allergic to being bitten! Despite the fact that it was bleeding obvious, Ms. Kemp made some cursory notes in Chameleon, the DACC’s computer databse, and handed Winbush a “fix-it” ticket- saying that she would be back to re-inspect the property in another few weeks, and then left – never to return.
There were a few more visits by DACC officers to Winbush’s property in regards to an emaciated horse that was continually escaping the property – and each time the responding officer had the ability to read the previous comments concerning Montez-Kemp’s findings. However apparently no officer, while they were on the property, followed up by investigating the status of these Pit Bulls’ welfare, or lack thereof.
What makes this horrific animal abuse even more poignant, is that the Lancaster officers sent to investigate the Winbush fighting dogs, are the very same people who in 2013, failed to impound a pack of pit bulls owned by Alex Jackson. These dogs generated multiple complaints for attacking Littlerock residents in separate incidents in January and April of 2013. These unaltered, unlicensed and unmicrochipped dogs were knowingly left at Jackson’s house by the DACC for four months – until they fatally mauled jogger Pamela DeVitt on May 10th.
Marcia Mayeda routinely fails to impound dangerous pets until its too late. Sometimes it is for lack of manpower, more often it is for lack of caring. In the DeVitt case an eminently likable 62 year old woman died. In Winbush’s case dogs suffered horrific abuse – while evidently a child suffered on the Assistant School Superintendent’s property.
In any other universe, and I would like to think, in any other county, the head of Animal Control would be called on the carpet for the abject failure of both themselves and their employees. Supervisor Mike Antonovich portrays himself as a huge dog lover on his website – and even forces the DACC to waste valuable human resources by having one of their field officers removed from the field to bring the cutest pet at each shelter to BOS meetings. If he really cared about dogs or any other pets, the first thing he would do is remove the scandal plagued Marcia Mayeda from any position having to do with the care of animals.
Instead Antonovich and his four BOS colleagues do their best ostrich imitations and steadfastly refuse to hold their at best ineffective – and in reality morally bankrupt appointee, Marcia Mayeda as head of Animal Control accountable for her abject failure as its leader.
How many more grandmothers will need to die, and how many children’s lives be put at risk before the Board of Supervisors decides that they get rid of their fatally flawed $238,000 employee, Mayeda, and replace her with someone who can perform the job with skills she lacks, including but not limited to having compassion, dignity and a moral compass to guide them?