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Baldwin Park Shelter & Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

On July 20th the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) formally opened its new twenty million dollar Palmdale Shelter to much fanfare. It was only fitting that outgoing Board of Supervisors member Mike Antonovich was there to deliver the dedication:

This is a state-of-the-art facility—one where 90 percent of animals found roaming around and brought here will be adopted, which is remarkable,” Antonovich claimed as his stooge and extremely close friend, DACC Director Marcia Mayeda, stood by smiling.

Fast forward to two weeks later and the Palmdale facility secretly sent a truckload of six Pit Bulls to the Lancaster Shelter to be euthanized – because the DACC did not want to expose the truth, that this poorly located facility was merely a monumental waste of taxpayers’ money. The truth is that the Palmdale Shelter will be a high kill facility – just like Baldwin Park. It serves a community that dumps, rather than adopts pets.   Many people are naively discarding their pets at Palmdale believing that this shelter is Agoura – where nearly all pets are adopted – and the word needs to get out that Palmdale is just another Mayeda killing field.

Meanwhile at DACC headquarters rumors are rife that several agency executives have been polishing up their résumés and looking for jobs at better run animal control departments outside Los Angeles County.   One high ranking executive has been spotted interviewing in San Diego and others have been contacting other Southern California shelters looking for a chance to escape the endless incompetence and brutality that is the trademark of a Marcia Mayeda run department.

At Baldwin Park the lack of respect for shelter manager Sheri Koenig is beginning to rival that of her predecessor Pat “Google Me” Claerbout.   Several staff members have grown so tired of working at the poorly run shelter that they have repeatedly come down with mysterious illnesses and have not reported to work as they wait for the transfer papers they have recently filed to be processed. This past Sunday so many staff members called in sick that there were no officers in the field handling emergency calls and pet care at the shelter was minimal at best.

A responsible DACC leader would never have allowed Palmdale to be built. A responsible leader would have used the Palmdale money to build satellite adoption centers in or near communities where adoptions regularly occur – like Agoura, Malibu and Calabasas. A responsible DACC leader would have sufficiently staffed her shelters so they could function properly. A responsible DACC head would never have allowed morale to get as low as it has in all the DACC facilities.

Instead the DACC is left with its sad troll at the helm, Marcia Mayeda, a woman who has managed to keep her $238,000 a year job solely because she has an unusually cozy relationship with Mike Antonovich.   We eagerly await Antonovich’s departure later this year and hope for the good of Los Angeles County’s pets that he takes Mayeda with him.


Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Normally this blog consists of our exposing the dirty secrets that the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) don’t want you to know. We’ve brought to light DACC Director Marcia Mayeda’s role as an accomplice to murder in the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt, her failure to provide needed food for her shelter’s pets, her hiring a known serial abuser of animals to run the Baldwin Park Shelter and her numerous violations of the Hayden act.

Mayeda is a sadist who delights in destroying her employees’ lives. One life Mayeda is in the process of destroying belongs to whistleblower and former Baldwin Park kennel attendant Erika Valles, the employee who exposed the systematic starvation of shelter animals under Mayeda hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout.

We will let Ms. Valles tell the story from here:

My name is Erika Valles and for seven years I worked at saving lives at the Baldwin Park Shelter. I had good performance reviews and an even better reputation for loving and caring for all animals. I fostered hundreds of kittens, quite a few puppies, baby birds, a litter of skunks, and an opossum all of whom otherwise would have been euthanized at my shelter. Things changed when Los Angeles County’s Director of Animal Control hired Pat Claerbout to manage my shelter.

Claerbout arrived at Baldwin Park with a well documented career of killing and abusing pets – which can easily be researched by doing a Google search of her name. One of the first things Claerbout did upon taking the job was to order my colleagues and myself to reduce the feeding of the shelter’s pets as a cost saving move. I noticed the pets weren’t getting the proper nutrition. So started photographing them to prove what I saw. When Claerbout found out she looked forways to retaliate against me.

I was fostering a one month old unweened kitten who came to the shelter without her mother. One day I noticed the kitten wasn’t quite herself and I decided to bring her in with me to work so I could get one of the shelter’s veterinarians to give her a check-up. When I arrived at work, my co- workers told me that there was an outbreak of panleukopenia, a deadly disease that all too often afflicts shelter cats. Baldwin has had a problem with paneleuk for years and it is nearly always fatal. It was a cold day, and because of that I decided to keep the kitten in a warm place in my car where she would not be exposed to any panleuk germs. Claerbout found out that I had the kitten with me, and chose that opportunity to exact her revenge. She broke into my car, removed the kitten and ordered it 
euthanized. Shortly thereafter Claerbout claimed that I had caused the kitten to come down with panleuk and threatened me with criminal charges if I did not immediately resign. Frightened at the prospect of being unjustly accused of being a criminal and without consulting a lawyer I reluctantly agreed to resign. That same week at Baldwin Park, over 100 kittens were euthanized because they had panleuk and they closed the cat building to the public for a month. Claerbout then reneged on the deal and filed criminal animal abuse charges against me anyway. It is worth noting that no one else was threatened with criminal charges nor were they fired or disciplined in any manner for the other shelter kittens (who were under Claerbout’s direct care) dying. It was only because of my whistle blowing that I was singled out.

Shortly after I was fired, 90 percent of the Baldwin Park Shelter’s staff signed a petition demanding Claerbout be removed for her mismanagement, gratuitous killing of animals and her bullying employees and volunteers. Shortly thereafter Claerbout was removed – and it became the third shelter that she was driven out of for abusive behavior. I have lost everything because I took a stand against animal cruelty at the hands of Pat Claerbout. Now I need to defend myself in court. I cannot afford a lawyer and I need your help. It’s time to stop the bullying and coddling of the real abusers. Please donate to my defense fund so I can clear my name and help stop the bullying at the hands of Pat Claerbout and Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Control.

Claerbout was hired by, and served as a proxy for, Marcia Mayeda. If you would like to help Erika Valles and stop Marcia Mayeda from shattering another life please help Valles exonerate her name by clicking here:

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Shelter volunteers could not help but be amused after receiving an e-mail from Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) Director Marcia Mayeda this past week. In this rare communication Ms. Mayeda tried to rally her volunteers who had given many hours, days and weeks of their lives to help the plight of shelter pets. Mayeda wrote:

Wow, what a week!  Just when we think we can’t get any busier we get new challenges and rise to the occasion!  I want to thank all of you for all your extra hard efforts these past days.  Here are some highlights of what you miracle workers have accomplished recently:

The first highlight Mayeda mentioned was the grand opening of her new Palmdale facility. While indeed the facility is the most modern one the DACC has, many people are wondering why it was built in an area which traditionally provides high intakes and low adoptions.   The DACC’s challenge has always been to adopt out its pets. The well managed Agoura shelter quickly moves nearly every dog it receives into new homes – but only has 48 dog kennels. The millions of dollars spent opening Palmdale would have been better spent by expanding Agoura’s capacity and then quickly transferring in pets whose stray holds had expired. Agoura could easily double its adoption rate without increasing euthanasia if they only had more dogs at the facility.

Next, Mayeda’s cited as an accomplishment that her staff represented Los Angeles County at the annual National Association of Counties Convention in Long Beach.   Ms. Mayeda failed to mention that her shelters are so understaffed that many of them are failing to provide adequate care and customer service. The needless diversion of DACC manpower for an event that had nothing to do with sheltering animals increased the misery of shelter pets.

Mayeda then went on to praise her department’s participation in the Sand Fire evacuation. In the ‘even a blind squirrel will find an acorn sometimes’ department Mayeda is correct, the DACC’s response under the capable leadership of Fred Agoopi was well executed – and indeed full kudos are due.

She further went on to praise her department’s participation in the nationwide “Clear the Shelters” event, which saw the adoption of 170 dogs, 54 cats and two rabbits into new homes.   The numbers were fairly good – but should have been much better at the poorly run Baldwin Park Shelter which had only a tepid 31 adoptions.

The final sentence in the e-mail was the kicker:

From the bottom of my heart I thank each and every one of you for your hard work and commitment, not just for these past few days but for every day you are part of our organization.

First of all,  if Mayeda is so grateful for volunteers, why has she conducted a flat out war against them? Despite chronic manpower shortages in her shelters – often caused by Mayeda’s mismanagement, Mayeda has instituted a policy kicking volunteers out of her facilities when the shelters are closed to the public. Baldwin Park’s pets are rarely walked, have dirty litter boxes and sometimes have not even been fed – yet they chase out volunteers who are providing the care that staff are unable to perform, due to Mayeda’s understaffing her shelters. Volunteers who complain about this are accused of suffering from ‘compassion fatigue’ – the new politically correct phrase the DACC uses to brand activists (i.e. troublemakers). These volunteers have often been fired or ordered to curtail their volunteer hours.

This reporter often wonders what constitutes the “bottom of Mayeda’s heart”?   Is it the part containing her cover-up on her involvement in the fatal mauling of Pamela DeVitt? Is it the heart that has failed to provide wet food for a month to the DACC’s pets – and then tried to lie about it when it was exposed? Is it the heart that has led the prosecution of whistleblowers like former kennel attendant Erika Valles, who exposed that Mayeda hire, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout was systematically starving her shelter’s pets? Was it the heart that has killed over 600,000 pets – many of whom could have easily found homes had Mayeda only shown a modicum of care?

Perhaps the song lyrics below sums it all up best…Mayeda is the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz:

When a man’s an empty kettle
He should be on his mettle
And yet I’m torn apart
Just because I’m presumin’
That I could be a human
If I only had a heart


Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

If the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ever showed the least bit of responsibility and audit its Department of Animal Care and Control and its director Marcia Mayeda, they would fire the DACC head for being a pathological liar.

Mayeda’s latest lie was in response to this reporter disclosure that Baldwin Park shelter staff and volunteers were complaining that the facility had run out of wet cat food for over a month and the supplies were low on wet dog food as well. Nursing mothers, puppies, kittens and seniors were not getting the nourishment they required. Consequently volunteers and staff were forced to buy food with their own money to prevent these pets from deteriorating.

We posted on the Baldwin Park Shelter Facebook page that shelter needed wet food and the public quickly responded with generous donations. Concurrently many members of the public were angered and wrote Mayeda asking why the shelter was out of food and demanding to know who was responsible.

Mayeda avoided taking responsibility by denying that there was any shortage accusing this reported of lying in an e-mail saying “(Ric Browde’s report) is completely untrue.  We have never been out of food for the animals.  While our supplier had some shipping delays, we were never out of food.  Attached are two photos of some of our food stock.”

However if this food was at a DACC warehouse it was not making it to the DACC’s shelter pets. Today Carson Kennel attendant Kat Rosales posted the following on her Facebook page:

“Hi everyone! The animal shelter I work at is in need of wet dog food/cat food donations desperately! We give our puppies, senior pets, nursing moms, and cats wet food so we do go through our supplies rather quickly! If you are able to donate a few cans of friskies or any type of wet dog food, that’d be awesome! If you’re willing to donate a little more, Walmart/Target has 32 cans of Friskies for about $13-$15 and usually Costco has wet dog food for pretty decent prices, too. Shoot me an email to my work email krosales@animalcare.lacounty.gov if you’re able to help! ”

To no one’s surprise – as usual Mayeda was lying. Her shelters are out of wet food and are relying almost entirely on donations to keep her pets alive. The reason is that Mayeda exclusively buys food from the Canidae pet food company – and Canidae is unable to fill the DACC’s orders. Rather than show leadership and buy food from another manufacturer so that the pets entrusted into her care can have the proper nourishment, Mayeda stubbornly refuses and the pets are suffering not only at Baldwin Park, but also the Carson facility.

Starving pets seem to be a theme of Mayeda’s week. Over the last three weeks, the DACC was alerted repeatedly to horses without access to water, being starved to death and in Juniper Hills.   The DACC took two weeks to respond and when they finally responded they found the complaints to be accurate and removed the horses from the property. However three days later they returned them to their owner. One of the horses died a few days later and his carcass was lying on the ground for at least four days creating a health hazard. The DACC still has not responded to new complaints about the horses nor have they explained why they would return suffering animals to their abusers.

Marcia Mayeda is morally bankrupt and unfit to run a department that claims to be in charge of animal care. She needs to be removed from her $238,000 per year job. However she will not have to fear being unemployed long. Due to her skill in lying she should be eminently qualified to  get a job offer from Donald Trump.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

A few years ago Marcia Mayeda decided to improve the public perception of her Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control by renaming it the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. Judging from what is going on at her Baldwin Park facility Mayeda can thank her lucky stars that she is not subject to truth in advertising laws.

For the last two weeks there has been no wet cat food at Baldwin Park and the shelter has been rationing its wet dog food as well as supplies have dwindled. Nursing mothers and old pets were being deprived of the nutrition they needed. The lack of wet food was even more distressing to Baldwin Park’s cats, many of whom had decided they would rather starve than eat the dry cat food that the shelter provided them.

What happened to the food order? No one is sure, but the shelter is managed by Mayeda’s hire, Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig and making sure the pets are fed properly is a major part of the ‘care’ component.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park is undergoing much needed renovations to its decrepit kennels. While the renovation is going on the facility is down one whole building, meaning that 48 kennels which can house up to 150 dogs are out of commission. Minus one quarter of its kennels Baldwin Park’s euthanization rates are understandably rising, despite the staff’s sending dogs to other county facilities. The renovation is being managed by Los Angeles County’s corrupt and inefficient Internal Services Division (ISD). ISD is the agency that has managed to charge taxpayers $200 to change a lightbulb at Baldwin Park. They also mandated that a Baldwin Park truck that needed repair be sent to their repair facility at a cost of over ten thousand dollars instead of the three thousand dollars that it would have cost at the repair shop down the street from the shelter. It is the agency that delayed the opening of the shelter’s spay/neuter clinic by approximately a year.

Volunteers report that no construction work has been performed at Baldwin Park for the past two weeks. There are 48 kennels out of use during the highest intake period of the year because of poor management. When dogs are dying for want of kennel space this is entirely unacceptable. The blame for this one cannot be laid on Mayeda’s doorstep. Instead it rests squarely on the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, especially long standing member Mike Antonovich, who have permitted if not encouraged ISD to be inefficient, corrupt and lazy.

Los Angeles County taxpayers should not have their hard earned tax dollars spent on corrupt institutions, but the County Board of Supervisors condones the corruption – and more skilled reporters than this one can probably follow the money trail to see who is benefiting from the delays and cost overruns.

We can safely state that no shelter pets are receiving any benefit from it.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

If one believes that government’s function is to serve the best interests of its people, the County of Los Angeles is woefully lacking. With Los Angeles mired in an historic drought, and fires sweeping across the county, the sale of fireworks is legal in 41 Los Angeles County communities. It seems like every street corner in Baldwin Park has a stand selling fireworks and the same can be said for other cities including Azusa, El Monte, La Puente and Downey.

During the weeks leading up to and following July 4th, legalized fireworks turn Los Angeles County’s communities into mini-Syrias as explosions punctuate the night. Scores of children will be maimed by fireworks, and the toll on pets will be even higher. With so many of these communities’ residents believing that pets should be kept outdoors, thousands of terrified pets will be frantically escaping their yards. The lucky ones end up being brought into the municipal shelters like Baldwin Park and Downey, the unfortunate ones meet gruesome end being hit by cars.

Less than 25 percent of all pets impounded by the Baldwin Park Shelter have collars with attached identification tags or microchips – and the shelter’s overall return to owner rate is only ten percent. The influx of unclaimed pets will lead to large scale euthanasia throughout the Los Angeles County Shelter system. This is especially true at Baldwin Park, which is down to 48 kennels as a result of renovation. The renovation is proceeding at a snail’s pace because Los Angeles County government’s corrupt and lazy Internal Services Division (ISD) is in charge of the construction – meaning that the taxpayer funded project will cost at least three times as much and take five times longer than the same construction would if performed by private sector contractors.

There is no accountability in Los Angeles County government. Local news coverage has been filled with scandals and criminal indictments in the sheriff’s and child services departments. The Court system is a mess, our school system is a failure, and this column has operated for four years exposing the daily scandals involved in the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.

Nothing will change between now and July 4th. Our government will fail to be proactive and deliver the message in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese – the most popular languages spoken in the Baldwin Park service area – that people need to bring their pets inside for the next month while the government sanctioned madness of fireworks erupts. Dogs and cats will flood the shelters – and the shelters’ freezers will be full of barrels of freshly euthanized pets.

It’s totally preventable madness, if only our elected government would show something approaching civic concern for their constituency’s welfare.

In the meantime, children will be maimed and pets will suffer. It’s business as usual for Los Angeles County.


Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

In her fifteen year tenure as Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), Marcia Mayeda has worked diligently to earn a reputation for violating California and federal laws, actively encouraging and engaging in corruption, ruthlessly killing pets taking vengeance on any of her department’s employees or volunteers who question her numerous illegal acts. Many DACC observers have wondered how Mayeda has been able to act with such impunity – as any other government official in such blatant violation would have been forced out, perhaps with criminal charges leveled against them, as recently happened with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

The fact is that Mayeda has survived because of her cozy relationship with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and particularly outgoing Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who have constantly thwarted investigations into her misdeeds. Some DACC critics have alleged that the Antonovich- Mayeda relationship is extremely close and personal but we have seen no evidence to confirm this.

Mayeda’s reign of error may finally be coming to an end as a result of her malicious attempt to railroad former Baldwin Park Kennel Attendant Erika Valles into accepting an unwarranted misdemeanor charge for animal cruelty. As previously reported in our May 23rd blog, Valles was photographing and documenting the mistreatment of animals by Mayeda crony and former Baldwin Park Shelter manager, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout in October of 2014. Claerbout, who has a long and documented history of animal abuse, grew angry and saw an opportunity for revenge when a kitten Valles was fostering came down with panleukopenia – an extremely contagious, nearly always fatal disease that kills hundreds of kittens at Baldwin Park every year. Claerbout seized and euthanized the kitten, and with Mayeda’s blessing had criminal charges brought against Valles.

Because Valles could not afford to hire a lawyer, Mayeda must have thought it would be a slam dunk to get Valles to take a deal and plead guilty. The deal would have involved community service, but no jail time for Valles, and left her with a conviction for animal cruelty on her record.

Mayeda was wrong.

Erika Valles, an Air Force veteran and a highly principled human being, refused the deal and has demanded a jury trial.  This could create serious problems for Mayeda, as Valles has been given leaked DACC documents showing that scores of kittens died in their cages of panleukopenia at Baldwin Park during the period when Valles was fostering and no one was prosecuted. A jury trial would also enable Valles to subpoena current and former Baldwin Park and DACC officials and question them under oath about a number of potentially embarrassing things, including an April 15, 2009 e-mail sent by a former DACC officer to the Board of Supervisors and Mayeda complaining about the systematic inhumane treatment of cats at Mayeda’s shelters.  A public relations firm has volunteered involvement to ensure media coverage.

By the time Valles’s case gives rise to a whistleblower lawsuit Antonovich will be termed out and have finally left the Board of Supervisors. The question is whether the new Board of Supervisors will want to swallow another judgement – especially since they have been discussing how to to reduce the $59.9 million in civil judgments and settlements and $59 million in attorney fees awarded against Los Angeles County in the fiscal year 2014-2015.

Will the new Board of Supervisors tolerate Mayeda’s illegal and immoral acts, or will they try to mitigate the damage by kicking her to the curb? We like to believe in the wisdom and integrity of our elected officials. The strange prosecution or persecution of Erika Valles may be the litmus test to judge Los Angeles County’s elected government.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

A few weeks ago we told how Baldwin Park Shelter manager Sheri Koenig somehow managed to adopt a Yorkshire terrier puppy for free from the Baldwin Park Shelter before the public had any access to said puppy. If any other DACC employee – other than Marcia Mayeda who is allowed to openly flaunt rules and regulations – had done this, they would have been suspended if not fired. However, no disciplinary action has been taken against Koenig, because she concocted a story claiming that she was fostering the dog and that an over-anxious clerk misunderstood and filed adoption rather than fostering paperwork.

There are several holes in Koenig’s story:

  1. Koenig told several people that she had adopted the pet on the morning the pet left Baldwin Park.
  2. The dog was a healthy owner turn-in who had not been made available to the public and was ineligible for foster.
  3. Koenig adopted the pup while in uniform, and when the shelter was not open to the public, both in violation of the DACCs written policy and procedures.
  4. The clerk who processed the original adoption papers does not have access to foster paperwork. Koenig claims she asked for foster rather than adoption paperwork to be issued and the clerk misunderstood her. It defies logic that Koenig would have asked this clerk to execute paperwork she did not have access to.
  5. Koenig returned the Yorkie to the Agoura shelter, which issued a receipt showing the dog as being an owner turn-in from Sheri Koenig. If the dog was a foster return no receipt would have been issued.

It is clear that Koenig violated DACC policy and was not disciplined. That same week, Marcia Mayeda suspended Downey Shelter manager Fred Agoopi for three days for taking responsibility for his employees euthanizing several pit bulls who had been at the facility for a long time, after his shelter had run out of kennel space. There were no notes saying that these dogs had holds on them, there was merely an expired interested party note from the head of the group running the shelter’s pit bull training program. Downey’s entire Sergeant corps were reassigned and the particular Sergeant who authorized the euthanization was also suspended. According to those in the know the reassignments and suspensions were because Mayeda had issued a “zero tolerance” policy for mistakes.

Meanwhile, back at Baldwin Park, Koenig had authorized the killing of scores of adoptable pets despite abundant kennel space several months ago. In the eyes of many, including this writer, she was caught inappropriately adopting a dog and clumsily attempted to cover it up by trying to say she was fostering it. In neither case was she disciplined. The demoralized Baldwin Park employees have reacted by shaking their heads and allegedly circulating a petition seeking her ouster, and many have suddenly and mysteriously fallen ill and had to call in sick. This past Friday there were only two kennel attendants at the shelter (the normal shift has at least four) and the main cat building was cleaned and the cats fed only when a volunteer stayed after hours to finish the job.

Marcia Mayeda renamed her animal holding facilities “care centers”, but there has been a shortage of care given to Baldwin Park shelter pets during Koenig’s tenure as manager. It seems that workers obeying DACC policy and procedures will be hunted down and disciplined, while a privileged few can flaunt the rules without consequences. It is a dangerous precedent to set for your staff – but that apparently does not bother either Marcia Mayeda or Sheri Koenig.

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Yesterday the Animal Legal Defense Fund held a seminar on animal cruelty.   Attendees were surprised to see Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) Director Marcia Mayeda in the audience listening to the proceedings.   In her fifteen year career as head of the DACC , Mayeda has had a poor record in bringing charges against animal abusers.   Sergeant Rachel Kemp Montez of the Lancaster shelter and several other DACC officers were summoned numerous times over the last eight years to the home of Palmdale School District Assistant Superintendent Pauline Winbush.   They saw injured pit bulls tied up, scarred and emaciated animals and dog fighting tools, yet failed to pursue an investigation. It wasn’t until Sheriff’s Deputies raided her house that the major dog fighting ring headed by Winbush and her boyfriend Kevin Williams was shut down and charges were brought – not by the DACC but by the Sheriff. In a plea bargain deal earlier this month Winbush pled no contest to a single felony charge – and was sentenced to 270 days in jail and five years probation.

However Mayeda and her crony Pat “Google Me” Claerbout were able to get one animal abuse case into court this week.   Former Baldwin Park Shelter kennel attendant Erika Valles was in West Covina Court to answer misdemeanor charges stemming from the death of a kitten she was fostering in October 2014.   While head of Baldwin Park’s shelter, Claerbout ordered employees to reduce the feeding of dogs as a cost cutting move. The dogs were getting thinner – some to the point of being emaciated – and Valles had begun photographing them to show the negligent care that the DACC was providing. When Claerbout heard about this she was upset, and upon finding out that Valles’ foster kitten was sick, Claerbout decided to get revenge. Valles had brought the kitten to the shelter in the morning to be examined by Baldwin Park’s veterinarian. The vet was busy and could not see the animal until later, so Valles, mindful of protecting other pets in the shelter, placed the kitten in a carrier in her car. Claerbout broke into the car and seized the kitten. The kitten was taken to the back of the shelter, diagnosed with panleukopenia and euthanized.  The shelter did not perform a necropsy and sent the body to a rendering plant. Without a body as evidence Claerbout was able to claim that the cat became sick due to Valles’ mistreatment and, in collaboration with Mayeda and the aforementioned Sergeant Montez-Kemp, filed charges against her.   What is ironic is that Baldwin Park killed over 100 cats the same week and closed down their cattery because of a panleuk epidemic that swept the shelter. Although Claerbout was directly responsible for the cats’ welfare no one was charged for their deaths.

Valles is being offered a plea bargain deal which does not involve jail time.   Because she has no financial resources to fight these baseless charges, Valles might have to take the deal. However, a whistle blower lawsuit which would vindicate Valles may be in the cards and Mayeda and Claerbout’s act of vengeance could end up costing the county millions of dollars in damages.

In Marcia Mayeda’s disastrous reign of error at the DACC, she has killed over 600,000 pets. She is a serial abuser of animals – which makes many observers wonder whether she attended the Animal Defense League’s seminar to learn how to be better at her job fighting animal abuse, or whether she was trying to learn how to abuse animals better.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Under the failed leadership of Marcia Mayeda, the head of Los Angeles’ Department of Animal Care and Control, the once proud Baldwin Park Shelter is falling apart, both literally and metaphorically – and unfortunately it is the pets who are paying the price. The sixty year old facility is undergoing a much needed, but poorly planned renovation during which each of Baldwin’s three main kennel buildings will be gutted and rebuilt one building at a time. The project will take at least a year if all goes to plan and as a result Baldwin will lose 48 of its 192 kennels as each building is renovated. Traditionally Baldwin Park is always at full capacity from Memorial Day until October and with one quarter of its kennels unavailable, dogs will be dying in record numbers.

Had the renovation been well planned, there would have been no loss of kennels. Baldwin Park’s barn area could have easily been converted into a temporary or even permanent kennel. The only pets this would have displaced are the approximately three farm animals, horses, goats and pigs who come into the shelter each month – all of whom could easily be transferred to the Agoura or Lancaster shelters which both have excellent barn facilities. Instead of adopting this safe and logical plan, Mayeda, whose contempt for the pets entrusted to her care is eclipsed only by her contempt for her employees, is simply reducing the shelter’s capacity by 25% for the next year.

The backup plan is to send pets to other County facilities, all of which, with the exception of her new Palmdale facility, are already full. Last week Mayeda transferred eight pit bulls to the Downey Shelter. Forty-one percent of Downey’s canine population now consists of dominant breed dogs and Downey is having to kill its own pit bulls – and other breeds – to make room for Baldwin Park’s dogs.  Because of the increased Pit Bull euthanasia at Downey, its capable manager Fred Agoopi is reportedly on an unplanned vacation for a week.

Meanwhile back at Baldwin Park morale has plummeted to new lows. Before renovation began, Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig had demoralized staff by ordering mass killings of pets when there were scores of empty kennels. She ordered the shelter volunteers to reduce their photographing and videoing of pets for their networking list – even though the networking list was the most effective program for getting pets released. She callously changed the schedule of a Baldwin Park officer who held a second job with the city’s Police force, so that he could not perform both jobs and she had the shelter’s lead cat volunteer suspended on trumped up charges. As a result Baldwin Park’s staff have retaliated in the way they always do when they feel powerless. They called in sick in droves. There were only two kennel attendants working this past weekend and kennels were not being cleaned properly and had it not been for volunteers cats’ litter boxes would not have been changed.

Reportedly the staff are circulating a petition calling for Koenig’s ouster. If so this is the second time in less than two years that Koenig has been the subject of a petition demanding her removal. Lancaster’s staff had signed a petition and were about to formally submit it when Mayeda moved Koenig to Baldwin Park to reduce the heat.

What Mayeda will do this time is anyone’s guess. She is still paying disgraced former Baldwin Park manager Pat “Google Me” Claerbout a manager’s salary to work in the Lancaster shelter’s call room and DACC insiders are wondering if Mayeda is arrogant enough to put her in another shelter.