The end of 2016 could not come fast enough for the Baldwin Park Shelter. Large numbers of employees have become so disgruntled with shelter manager Sheri Koenig that they have feigned illness and called in sick. Several times over the last few weeks, the poorly run facility has had only one kennel attendant to tend to the 144 kennels it has in use. Field officers have also been absent in large numbers and it was not unusual to have only one officer in the field – with several communities receiving no service.
Several years ago a large corps of volunteers would be there to eagerly fill the void. But, under the successive leadership of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and Koenig the shelter has been hemorrhaging volunteers due to the hostility they have been shown by management. For the last year the shelter’s lead cat volunteer had been ordered to reduce her hours from the average 60 hours a week she had previously donated to the county to 12 because she had the audacity to complain when the facility’s felines were receiving improper feeding and insufficient care. Volunteers who were previously welcomed as long as there were staff members on duty, were banned from Baldwin Park during hours when the shelter was closed to the public. To top that off the shelter’s popular and diplomatic lead volunteer, Rӧke D’Amico resigned two weeks ago. D’Amico will be sorely missed as among her numerous contributions, she had been the facility’s most reliable foster and was in charge of driving the shelter’s pets to, and running the mobile adoption program .
Baldwin Park was supposed to have a new volunteer coordinator starting work on December 19th. The affable and extremely qualified gentleman who took the job showed up as scheduled and within hours was transferred to the Downey Shelter. A large number of Baldwin Park employees have filed transfer papers and have been waiting for months to be transferred away from Koenig; so it raised eyebrows when a new employee could be moved that quickly to a new facility. According to DACC sources, the new volunteer coordinator was told by a senior manager at Baldwin Park that the shelter already had enough ‘lesbians and homos’ and was made unwelcome. According to rumor DACC leadership got wind of the manager’s homophobic rant and quickly moved the new employee to hopefully avert legal challenges. DACC hatchet man David Hou, has a thick dossier on this manager’s misconduct but has been ordered to stand down by Mayeda. Los Angeles County has professed to have intolerance for homophobic slurs and if this report is indeed true, we will see if the Board of Supervisors will keep doing their ostrich imitation and keep their heads buried in the sand rather than investigate the rampant misconduct within Mayeda’s fiefdom.
If that wasn’t bad enough the shelter’s washing machine was broken for nine days and pets were not given blankets and towels to keep them comfortable and warm. Every officer at every southern California Shelter knows that there is a fabulous charity, Operation Blankets of Love who will gladly for free deliver blankets and other supplies at a moment’s notice, but Baldwin Park’s management never made the call. The rise in upper respiratory ailments affecting Baldwin Park’s pets has not been officially released but sources reveal a rise in the number of pets, who were selected for transport to no kill facilities, failing health certification during this outage.
Meanwhile there was other news coming out of the DACC. For the last several years the DACC had been posting its euthanasia statistics on its website. Last week the DACC decided to discontinue this practice, posting a notice stating:
The statistical reports are currently unavailable. To request statistical information in the meantime, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and specify exactly what statistical information you need (There may be a charge).”
Considering that the reports are automatically generated by the shelter’s Chameleon software and are readily available by anyone with access to the DACC’s computer system, and Marcia Mayeda’s penchant for secrecy many people are wondering what she is trying to hide.
However it was not all doom and gloom in DACC land. After years of being roundly criticized by this reporter and others for her failure to have any qualified pet behaviorists on staff, Mayeda circulated an e-mail to DACC volunteers announcing that she was finally hiring someone with the proper credentials to perform the job. Tens of thousands of dominant breed dogs have been subjected to poorly administered temperament tests which determined if they would live or die. Many were killed for failing tests which were given by employees who not only did not have a clue as to how to either properly administer or score a test – but were also scared of dogs to begin with! We do not know who the new behaviorist will be , but welcome the development – as long as the person is allowed to perform their job both without interference from above and with compassion.
At least one of these images is a photo of Marcia Mayeda