A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a potential adopter who was devastated that Rosemary, A4578777, an affable and well trained two year old black female German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix, was euthanized at the Baldwin Park Shelter. She had been following Rosemary on the Los Angeles County Department of Animal ‘Care’ and Control’s official website for weeks, and was sure she wanted to adopt her. However Rosemary was listed in the website’s “Lost and Found” section from the moment she was impounded on May 18th until she was killed on June 18th. Rosemary was never moved over to the “Adoptable Animal” section of the website and her potential adopter assumed she was not yet available for adoption, and as a result this highly adoptable friendly dog is dead.
The reason this dog is dead is because the Los Angeles County Shelter system’s program called “Chameleon”, designed for inventorying pets does not automatically move pets from “Lost and Found” to “Adoptable” once the pet’s stray period is over. Los Angeles City’s Shelter system uses the same Chameleon program and has an update which automatically transfers pets from stray to adoptable.
As I write this there are 342 dogs listed as strays at the Baldwin Park Shelter on the County’s website. Of these 342 dogs over 200 of them are actually now available for adoption. The frightening aspect of this is that so many people who visit the County’s website only check the adoptable list, and if they do not see the dog they want, a dog who could easily be still erroneously listed as a stray, they go elsewhere – to another shelter if we’re lucky, but often to Craig’s list or a backyard breeder.
Marcia Mayeda has known about this glitch in the system for five years, but has done nothing to fix it. According to a programmer at Chameleon, to add the line of programming would have cost less than fifteen minutes of computer programming time. Instead of allocating less than $100 of her budget to fix this problem, Mayeda claimed the county was going to develop a new software program and did nothing. Her new computer program is still not functional and for five years pets have been dying needlessly which is just another example of her callous disregard at best, and coldhearted contempt, she has for the lives of the pets entrusted into her care.
I know we can’t save every pet that comes into the shelter system – because there are just too many. However Rosemary did not need to die, and her death lies squarely on the shoulders of Marcia Mayeda. One can only ask how long the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will allow her mismanagement to continue.