One of the primary functions of any animal control agency is to respond to the public’s calls when they report injured pets in distress, dangerous dogs and dead animals needing removal. Los Angeles County has two call centers, operated 24 hours a day to receive such calls. Unfortunately under the feckless leadership of Marcia Mayeda, the DACC does not have the manpower to respond to these calls and as a result not only pets, but sometimes even people die.
DACC sources have confirmed that over 5,000 calls in 2016 were not responded to in the South County (the shelters served by Baldwin Park, Downey and Carson) alone. Often overworked, but occasionally lazy, officers could not (and still cannot) handle the volume of daily calls assigned to them. Instead of investigating these calls were merely “no-timed” and, instead of being followed up by the next shift, these calls were ultimately outright ignored. According to DACC sources the problem is even more acute in the North County which is serviced by the Lancaster, Palmdale, Castaic and Agoura Shelters.
As many readers of this column will remember, the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt in Littlerock in May 2013, was the direct result of the DACC’s failure to respond to citizens’ complaints about the dogs who fatally mauled Ms. DeVitt. Mayeda and the DACC have brazenly tried to cover-up their involvement in DeVitt’s death by backdating notes and hiding documents. This case is currently being litigated.
However the shocking thing is that rather than learn from the lessons of DeVitt, Mayeda is steadfastly refusing to do anything about the problem. Instead of hiring more staff to allow them to respond, Mayeda and her chief aide Betsey Webster instead went on a vendetta against the person who discovered the DACC’s malfeasance. They have demoted him and are seemingly trying to railroad this senior executive out of the DACC. It will be interesting to see how this plays out now that Ms. Mayeda no longer enjoys the protection of former County Supervisor Mike Antonovich who finally was termed out of office.
In other interesting news, the city of Visalia, an upstate community with a huge stray problem, is to be commended for enacting the most sensible spay/neuter laws we have seen. In addition to requiring mandatory altering of pets, the city is providing free spay/neuter services for all cats, Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls. It never ceases to amaze us that progressive and innovative thinking never emanates from Mayeda and the DACC. Instead of leading and trying to solve Los Angeles County’s huge stray animal problem, Mayeda would rather divert much needed funds to build a private dog park for her pets at DACC headquarters.