Four years ago when I first walked into a Los Angeles County shelter I was stunned by the number of highly adoptable dogs being euthanized every day because they were “invisible” – not marketed, often without viewable photos on the website and never actively brought to the attention of potential adopters. The shelter workers were resigned to the fact that an impounded dog would most likely be euthanized in four days because Marcia Mayeda, the bureaucrat running the County shelter system (DACC), was only interested in making her budget work and showed no inclination to ameliorate the problem by encouraging rescue, adoption or transports of animals from her shelter or launching educational programs to promote spay/neuter and animal welfare in the numerous communities the DACC serves. Hundreds of invisible dogs died in quiet obscurity in the back of the shelters because no one knew about them or cared.
Four years later and I’ve seen a radical change at Baldwin Park, Downey and Carson. Baldwin Park was the first Southern California shelter to make the affirmative decision to be transparent in their actions. The shelter’s outstanding leadership empowered their volunteers to make a difference by marketing the shelter’s impounded pets through the social media websites of Facebook and YouTube, something which had previously been discouraged (SEACA, another Southern California shelter system, still prohibits photographing of its pets). It was tremendously successful and Baldwin Park’s “live releases” increased exponentially. The Downey shelter implemented a similar program in January and last month Carson came on board. We are making huge progress.
Marcia Mayeda has done nothing. She has missed every opportunity to show leadership in trying to get pets out of the shelters. While volunteers work around the clock to partner with no kill shelters throughout North America and transport large numbers of dogs to those shelters, Mayeda has done nothing – unless you count making it more difficult for legitimate 501(c)3 rescues to adopt pets.
In any private sector business a chief executive who continues to deliver bad results quarter after quarter is replaced by the shareholders. When politicos disappoint their constituents send them packing on election day. Mayeda holds a position appointed by the five elected members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors – Gloria Molina, Mike Antonovich, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas. It is time to hold these officials accountable and insist that in exchange for our votes that they dismiss Marcia Mayeda.