As so often is the case, Charles Dickens’ immortal words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” best describes the past week for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.
In an unprecedented show of teamwork the Downey, Carson, Baldwin Park, and Lancaster shelters joined together in a transport of 41 dogs to Connecticut. I am pleased to report that each of the shelters operated flawlessly – and I can honestly say there is not a single thing they could have done better. If this becomes the normal way of doing things, which I believe it will be, I am extremely optimistic. I would particularly like to thank Danny Ubario and his Lancaster staff, who have all too often been maligned here and elsewhere, as they surprised everyone with their “can do” attitude. Let me say to all rescuers – give Lancaster a chance, they proved they’ve earned it.
This wonderful news was tempered by the reality that as good as the individual shelter are, there are some serious problems resulting from the poor management of Marcia Mayeda, the head of the Los Angeles Animal Care and Control. Because of Mayeda’s squandering of the DACC’s budget, manpower shortages are so severe that Carson had to politely tell potential adopters that they did not have enough shelter staff or volunteers to show pets on Thursday. Baldwin Park is so shorthanded that it sent an e-mail asking its volunteers to come in and help clean kennels and feed the shelter’s pets.
The shelters need volunteer help now more than ever. But the DACC’s volunteer coordinator, Rohmi Reed, has done such a poor job that the shelters do not have a sufficient number of approved volunteers to fill the need. For the second time in four years, Reed has gone a full year without scheduling the volunteer classes candidates are required to complete -even though she had literally thousands of applications from people wanting to donate their time. Many of the applications have been archived and ignored, but even more frightening is the number of applications which have been lost – given the fact that the information required by the DACC includes social security numbers and other personal information which would be a bonanza for identity thieves. The DACC has been notified of this problem, but so far have not, as required by Federal law, notified individuals potentially at risk of identity theft as a result of the mishandling of personal information.
The word ‘accountability’ does not exist in Marcia Mayeda’s vocabulary – and Mayeda, Reed and the gang that couldn’t shoot straight incredibly still have taxpayer funded jobs.
Every two weeks volunteers from the Downey Shelter and United Hope for Animals gather to take photographs and videos of the shelter’s pets. Anything you can do to help by adopting, rescuing or networking these pets is appreciated and urgently needed