Those of us involved in pet rescue in Southern California are upset with the various shelter systems. Bureaucratic inefficiency, lack of resources, failed policies and out of touch shelter leadership plagues the various municipal shelters.
SEAACA is so afraid of scrutiny that they won’t even allow potential adopters to take pictures of their animals – presumably because they fear that the poor care they afford their pets might go viral in this day of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Ustream. The San Bernadino and Devore shelters are viewed by most as death camps, Brenda Barnette has alienated nearly everyone in the Los Angeles City system and is running on paranoid, and Marcia Mayeda, the beleaguered head of the Los Angeles County shelter system, is the poster child for failed bureaucrats everywhere.
Is it merely a case of bad people being put in charge of the various shelter systems? I’m sure when Marcia Mayeda looks in the mirror, she doesn’t think of herself as evil, and Brenda Barnette does not start each day by kicking a dog on her way to work. I would argue instead that these shelter bureaucrats were once decent people and got frustrated by the lack of support they received from their superiors, and the problems of dealing with an underpaid unionized staff who do not relish that part of their job involves killing unwanted and sick animals. The shelter heads do not set out to do bad things, but they see how hard it is to change the bureaucracy they are thrust into. They realize there is no room for advancement, and no pleasing everyone. They become frustrated and burn out, figuring that no one really cares and nothing they do really matters much in the grand scheme of things. Then they become complacent and interested only in saving their $200,000 a year jobs. To preserve those jobs they must silence critics and avoid oversight – and that sums up the mess Southern California shelter systems are in today.
Only after our elected officials decide they want to solve the pet overpopulation problem by enacting and enforcing spay/neuter legislation, modifying the “one size fits all” policy of allowing people to have only three dogs no matter what size property they have, legislating and enforcing mandatory microchipping and giving the shelters the ability to fine people who abandon their pets will we have any chance to re-motivate these burned out bureaucrats to use their positions to do good, rather than be the self-serving autocrats that they are today.