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Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has certain written policies which the agency is supposed to follow.   DACC Policy number HR240 states:

an employee may obtain an available animal under the same rules and regulations that apply to the public. The animal must have been held in the routine manner which would give no special advantage to the employee. No employee, while on duty or in uniform, may adopt an animal from a County Animal Shelter.

At 11:11 A.M. on April 3rd, Lucy a one year old purebred Yorkshire Terrier puppy was discarded at the Baldwin Park Shelter. Lucy’s former owners claimed she was suffering from head tilt and the dog was taken to the off-limits to the public medical building and placed in kennel B607.  Lucy was examined by Baldwin Park’s veterinary staff on Monday April 4th and the vets felt that the head tilt was merely due to an infection and prescribed antibiotics.

That same Monday,  Sheri Koenig, Baldwin Park’s unpopular shelter manager, arrived at work around 8 A.M. to start her shift. She was presumably wearing her official DACC shelter manager t-shirt.   Los Angeles County Shelters do not open to the public on Mondays until noon.  At 11:18 A.M., before the public was allowed access to the shelter, Koenig adopted Lucy.  Employees noted that Koenig did not go change her clothes to file the adoption paperwork.  To compound her violations of DACC policy she appears to not have paid any adoption fee – even though any member of the public would have been required to shell out $115 for the adoption, spay/neuter trust deposit and microchip.

It is ironic that Koenig violated DACC policy by adopting a dog and apparently taking a five finger discount in the process. On June 16th 2014, Koenig, then serving as manager of the DACC’s Lancaster facility, secured a search warrant for the home of a Lancaster employee who had violated DACC policy by adopting a white German Shepherd to the employee’s husband at a discounted price.  The employee was subsequently terminated.

Perhaps Koenig had a come to Jesus moment and tried to atone for her misdeeds – because on April 6th she decided to relinquish Lucy – but strangely enough she chose to send the dog to the DACC’s Agoura shelter rather than put the dog up for adoption at Baldwin Park.  Perhaps she did not want the scrutiny of people asking how she managed to get such a great deal on a highly adoptable dog, or perhaps it may have been for genuine concern that the pet be adopted from a shelter which serves a more economically advantaged community than Baldwin Park.  From Lucy’s perspective we are sure it was better for her to be at Agoura than at a dysfunctional shelter run by an even more dysfunctional manager.

We imagine that the DACC’s Human Resources Investigator and hatchet-man, David Hou may have to take time off from his job of not investigating the many illegal acts of his boss Marcia Mayeda and her deputy Derek Brown and drive out to Baldwin Park and ask a few pointed questions.

What with the recent reassignment of Carson Shelter Manager Lisa Eldridge to the Palmdale Shelter and the appointment of Javier Guttierez as her replacement , the DACC’s middle management ranks are extremely thin right now – and it will be interesting to see if Ms. Koenig is shown the door.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

In 1998, the state of California enacted SB 1785, popularly known as the Hayden Act, which was the first legislation in North America providing animals their own bill of rights.  Section 1 (b) (3) of the Act states “Shelters should aggressively promote spay and neuter programs to reduce pet overpopulation”  

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) under its piss-poor leader Marcia Mayeda has failed to obey or even live up to the spirit of the legislation.   In the community the Baldwin Park Shelter serves, Azusa and West Covina, the two cities contributing the highest percentage of strays to the shelter system, do not have spay/neuter laws – and the DACC has not lobbied or even pressured the cities to enact one.  The city of El Monte, responsible for 21% of all Baldwin Park impounds during the time I was a volunteer, recently moved toward enacting a spay/neuter ordinance.  The DACC and Ms. Mayeda never once reached out to El Monte to encourage them to enact the legislation, did not attend a single hearing on the matter or send even one piece of correspondence to support the ordinance.  El Monte’s progressive City Council was persuaded to act due to the lobbying efforts of an El Monte high school teacher and this blogger.

The DACC built a spay/neuter clinic at Baldwin Park four years ago, but only provides services to its own pets Monday – Friday.  The taxpayer-financed clinic sits idle every night and during the weekends.  If the DACC truly wanted to increase spay/neutering in the community it would offer services to the public during these periods.  Marcia Mayeda has not done this.  So much for even passively promoting spay and neuter programs to reduce pet overpopulation.

The next clause in the Hayden Act, in Section 1 (b) (4) states, “Shelters should not adopt out animals that are not spayed or neutered”.   The DACC does try to spay most of their pets, but many are suffering from kennel cough and other diseases and are released deferred from surgery, and any pet over the age of seven is automatically deferred because the DACC does not want to pay for blood panels which are recommended for older pets by most veterinarians.  As a result nearly twenty percent of all pets adopted from the County are released unaltered.  Adopters pay a $50 spay/neuter trust deposit, commit to having the pet altered within a set period of time and take the pet home with them, often never to be heard from again. The DACC claims it is too understaffed to routinely follow up with adopters whose pets were deferred to get certificates of sterilization from them.  Instead their trust deposits sit in the DACC’s coffers.

We understand and support deferring pets due to illness and the last thing we want is the DACC to pull out its normal modus operandi by throwing the baby out with the bath water and banning all releases of unaltered animals. However, if Mayeda would furnish her veterinarians with any diagnostic equipment beyond a stethoscope and a parvo test kit the number of pets being released unaltered would dramatically fall.   A blood machine is not terribly expensive and would have a multitude of uses other than determining whether a senior pet is healthy enough to alter.  Five years ago a donor offered to donate a blood machine to Baldwin Park and were turned down.   A more aggressive follow up policy by the DACC on unaltered pets who were released for medical reasons is also needed – and could easily be implemented by assigning the task to the large number of employees who are currently being paid to do nothing by the DACC.

Marcia Mayeda’s inaction on spay/neuter is consistent with her inaction on nearly every other problem with the DACC.   Not once in the last decade has she held a public meeting where she could explain or be questioned as to what she does to earn her $238,000 plus county benefits salary.   This is the same administrator who ordered her staff to put nothing in writing lest it be subpoenaed at a later date.

The DACC under Mayeda hates transparency.  She is shielded by Mike Antonovich and the County Board of Supervisors who suppress any inquiries into Mayeda’s or the DACC’s actions – causing many to wonder what both she and the Board are hiding.  From the leaked documents that have already been provided to us from disgruntled DACC employees it is clear that the taxpayers are being taken for a ride by a corrupt bureaucrat, Marcia Mayeda, and perhaps an equally duplicitous Board of Supervisors.

Baldwin Park & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control last week staged its own version of spring cleaning – but the end result may have left its shelters even dirtier.

At Downey nearly all the Sergeants were transferred from the shelter for questionable reasons. One Sergeant was transferred for having allowed several Pit Bulls, who were featured on a popular internet networking site, to be euthanized after the dogs’ hold period had long past expired. Another Sergeant, one of the hardest working people at the shelter, was transferred to the Call Center, allegedly because some kennel attendants were slacking off on the days when the Sergeant wasn’t working.   Their replacements are a very capable freshly promoted Sergeant from Baldwin Park, a worker with neither kennel nor field experience, and a person from the DACC’s call center. It remains to be seen if these people are fully prepared to excel at their new assignments.

Meanwhile at Lancaster, the shelter was buzzing about a male employee who was promoted to Sergeant despite his having been caught on camera making unwanted sexual advances on a fellow shelter employee on multiple occasions. This same employee had also been recently written up for punching the time-clock for an absentee field officer – who happens to be his live-in girlfriend.   Lancaster also is the temporary home of former Baldwin Park manager, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, who has been overheard claiming that she is about to be installed as head of the soon to be opening Palmdale Shelter. Hopefully this is blustering on Claerbout’s part – but with the DACC having a horrific track record has never been a bar to promotion or employment.

If the DACC is truly interested in cleaning up its act – which we believe it isn’t – the change must start at the top. Marcia Mayeda, the scandal plagued head of Animal Control, has proven herself over time to be perhaps the most corrupt and morally deficient department head in Los Angeles County’s government (the same government that until recently employed Sheriff Lee Baca)- yet she keeps getting promoted – even after her actions contributed to the death of jogger Pamela DeVitt.   Mayeda can move around all her middle managers, and shuffle her peons, but it will not wipe clean either the scum or the stench that emanates from her own office.

 

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

Perhaps the number one complaint of customers of Los Angeles County’s Shelter shelter system (DACC) is its byzantine adoption process.   In most shelter systems pets cannot be reserved until they are actually available for adoption, but Los Angeles County allows people to place a “Commitment to Adopt” (CTA) as soon as the pet enters the shelter.  Potential adopters stand in line at the shelter for up to an hour and, if they are lucky enough to be the first one to ask about the pet’s availability, they are able to place a CTA. The person who places the CTA has the right to adopt the pet on the first day the pet becomes available. The problem is that the shelter does not place a note on the pet’s kennel to indicate that the pet is already reserved.   If another potential adopter wants the same pet they have to wait in line only to be told there is already is a CTA on the pet. We recently saw a potential adopter go through the line at the Downey shelter five times, inquiring about a different pet each time, only to find out that the pet already had a CTA. After wasting several hours in line they left and were overheard saying it would be easier to adopt a pet on Craigslist.

Further muddling the adoption process is the DACC’s policy of not requiring payment to be made when a CTA is placed.  The DACC’s rationale is that the owners of stray pets might come and reclaim their pet – thereby forcing the DACC to refund the payment to the CTA holder.

The problem is that more than 25 percent of people placing a CTA never show up to pick up their pet. Some CTA holders plain forget, while others are unwilling to wait and adopt a pet they can immediately bring home be it either from another shelter or Craigslist.

Pets whose CTA holders don’t show up languish in the shelters because potential adopters have been told the pet already has a CTA and is unavailable. This is harmful and sometimes fatal for the pet, and it contributes to shelter overcrowding by delaying adoptions.

We suggest that the DACC adopt the policy that most other shelter systems use including Los Angeles City, Kern County, Bakersfield, Riverside and Long Beach. Anyone wanting to adopt a pet can come to the shelter on or after the day the pet is made available for adoption. If more than one person wants the same pet, all interested parties come to the shelter on the morning of the first day that pet is available and the adopter is determined by lottery.   The winning adopter pays the adoption fee, and, if the pet is not altered, is given a date and time to pick up the pet.   If the adopter does not show up they forfeit the adoption fee and the pet is immediately available for adoption by other interested parties.

This system would save lives, increase revenue streams and reduce the time pets spend in Los Angeles County’s crowded shelters.  It also would have the added benefit of not having so many people leaving the shelters firmly convinced that Los Angeles County’s shelters are too difficult to adopt from.  Losing potential adopters to Craigslist and backyard breeders only perpetuates shelter overcrowding and euthanasia – something that sadly does not keep DACC head, Marcia Mayeda up late at night worrying about.

 

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

For years the Baldwin Park Shelter worked hard to earn a well-deserved reputation as the most rescue-friendly shelter in Southern California. Staff and volunteers worked together, leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to find homes and rescues for the unfortunate pets impounded at the facility.   Sadly those days are gone, as Marcia Mayeda, the feckless head of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control deliberately dismantled and destroyed the shelter, first by appointing Pat “Google Me” Claerbout as shelter manager despite her horrific record, and when Claerbout predictably violated the laws of morality as well as the laws of the State of California, replacing her with Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig who was given the Baldwin Park job after the Lancaster shelter’s staff had risen up against her and demanded her removal.

Since Koenig’s arrival, the shelter has been wantonly killing pets for time rather than for kennel space or temperament. With 70 empty dog kennels staff were being ordered to kill. With 50 empty cat kennels, staff were being ordered to kill. Even though instructions have now been issued to reverse this heartless policy morale has plummeted to the point where Baldwin Park’s staff routinely call in sick and the shelter is understaffed, with workers frequently having to double shift just so the shelter can keep its doors open. Volunteers are angry because they are no longer allowed on the premises outside of the hours when the shelter is open to the public.   The shelter’s highly effective networking team has been ordered to limit their activities and told which pets they can and cannot help. Adding insult to injury, Baldwin Park’s staff will no longer will upload the professional photographs taken by volunteers onto the County’s website – photographs which have in the past greatly increased adoption/rescue traffic into the shelter.

Under former manager Lance Hunter, the philosophy was if people won’t come to the Baldwin Park shelter, let’s bring the shelter to them.   Baldwin Park staged an average of eight mobile pet adoptions each month throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. These MPAs are now few and far between – although we were gratified that Baldwin Park chose to participate in last weekend’s successful MPA at Pet Food Express’ new store in Long Beach. Not only did Baldwin Park adopt out nearly all the pets it brought to the event – the incredibly rescue friendly Pet Food Express company donated $50 for each pet brought to the event.

Shelters need to be innovative and responsive to be successful. Baldwin Park is neither and pets die as a result. Marcia Mayeda has lost all interest in managing the shelter system effectively; her primary concern seems to be remaining in place and collecting a salary for as long as possible . Mayeda will always be protected by her masters at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors – who only respond to people who make large political donations. Pets don’t give money, they only give love – and therefore are useless to Supervisor Mike Antonovich and his colleagues.

 

Downey and Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

For the last four months and for the foreseeable future Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control (DACC) has lowered its adoption prices to $15 for dogs and cats are being given away for free. Although critics question the quality of these adoptions and the bounce-back rate has been fairly high, there is little question that the program has been hugely successful and that the euthanasia rates have dropped considerably at every Los Angeles County shelter.

However the increased adoption activity has had an unanticipated downside as often the DACC spay/neuter clinics have not been able to keep up with adoptions. Marcia Mayeda the supercilious head of DACC only provides veterinarians at her shelters Monday – Friday, and Downey’s medical staff can only alter between 25 and 30 pets per day. For the last several weekends, members of the public placing   “Commitments to Adopt” on unaltered Downey pets have been told that they could not pick up their pets until the following Wednesday due to the huge adoption demand. Right now while shelter populations are low, very few pets are dying at Downey for wont of a kennel; but if history serves as a guide, in two months the shelter will be filled beyond capacity and pets will be killed because too many kennels are being occupied by adoption pending pets waiting to be sterilized.

There are two easy solutions available for the DACC, if the agency truly wants to avoid killing pets because they can’t provide timely sterilization services. First they can remove the red tape obstacles preventing the DACC from bringing in outside veterinarians to the County’s spay/neuter facilities either in the evenings or weekends. Secondly they can make a deal with the ASPCA whose mobile spay/neuter van sits idle in Downey Shelter’s parking lot Monday through Friday.   This van can easily alter twenty pets per day and currently is only used on weekends.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park is soon going to undergo much needed renovations. The plans are to refurbish one kennel building at a time and the project will take over a year. During the renovation the loss of a building will mean that the shelter will lose 48 kennels or the ability to house nearly 100 dogs. We are hoping that the DACC will try to minimize the impact of Baldwin Park’s lost kennels by facilitating daily transfers to the high adoption Agoura shelter.  Agoura has been averaging over 20 empty kennels every day for the last year and can easily absorb a great deal of the volume if a transport protocol and program is competently instituted.  To further help Baldwin Park, Wings of Rescue has also agreed to step in and transport its pets to safety to no kill facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Lastly, Marcia Mayeda has scornfully stated that she never reads this blog. It is gratifying that the reading challenged bureaucrat is perhaps one of the few DACC employees who don’t.   This was proven when within hours of the publication of last week’s piece exposing Baldwin Park’s management decision to throw away donated food, arrangements were made with a local food bank to receive and distribute any future donations to those members of the community who need assistance. We give full marks to DACC Deputy Director Danny Ubario for quickly stepping in to bring a happy and productive solution, but seriously question how shelter manager Sherry Koenig could have been so insensitive and clueless as to authorize the food to be thrown into dumpsters in the first place.

 

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Only two years ago, the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center was perhaps the best run municipal shelter in Southern California. It was a model rehoming center, where pets were treated kindly, the public was treated fairly and the staff and volunteers shared a camaraderie with the rescue community as they were empowered to try anything within reason to save the lives of impounded pets. In two short years things have changed and the once proud facility could be sued for fraud for describing itself as either a “Care Center” or a “Shelter”.

For years the shelter’s former manager, Lance Hunter, spent countless hours cultivating relationships within the economically challenged community which the shelter primarily serves. Because of his compassion, corporations like Walmart, Petco and Petsmart would routinely donate soon to be expiring bags of food to the shelter. As anyone who does the least bit of research knows, expired food is still nutritionally good for at least a year past its date. Yet as you see in the picture below, the shelter’s inept kennel manager ordered an enormous quantity of usable food to be thrown away last Monday – instead of donating it to the countless number of people who surrender their pets because they can no longer afford to feed them – or to local food banks serving the public.

IMG_4291
It’s not just food that is being wasted. The facility has 192 dog kennels and its population has been hovering around 150 dogs for the last month meaning that there are a minimum of 42 empty kennels – and in reality closer to 70 empty kennels as many, if not most, small dogs always share kennels. Adoptions and rescues have been high at Baldwin Park and other Los Angeles County shelters due to the ongoing special $15 adoption fee, but a good deal of the empty kennels can be accounted to euthanization. A perusal of recent euthanasia logs showed that 39 dogs were killed in a ten day period and only 7 were for medical reasons. The other 32 were killed for “behavior”. Were these all bad dogs? Absolutely not. A4908865, Mortimer was a reserved but friendly nine year old Corgi/Chihuahua mix who was described as “Low key”, “friendly” and “calm” by the shelter’s volunteers on their networking list yet he was killed for behavior. Betty, A4909861, a two year old Pit Bull who had passed her shelter given temperament test and was described as “happy” and “joyful” by the volunteers was promptly killed for behavior three days after having being added to the networking list.

Meanwhile Baldwin Park’s cat population is at an historic low. The ASPCA is funding a transport program and has offered to save nearly every adoptable cat at Baldwin Park – and unfortunately has been unable to fill the demands of no kill shelters who would like to receive these pets. Yet Sherry Koenig and her minions were killing cats with a vengeance, in a recent week claiming that 47 of Baldwin’s cats were feral. Odd then, that over half of these cats were socialized enough for shelter workers to determine their sex and vaccinate them.

According to Baldwin Park staff, the facility has adopted a new policy that dogs who fail temp tests will be killed the following day. Who is assessing the behavior of animals and determining that they should die? It is unconscionable that there is not one certified animal behaviorist in the employ of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control. Temperament tests given by Baldwin Park (and all other DACC shelters) are poorly designed, frequently poorly administered and graded subjectively by people who are unqualified to give them. A few years ago Baldwin Park volunteers challenged the temperament test results of 10 dogs who failed their temp test during the period of one month. All were retested and 8 of them passed their retest.

To further anger volunteers and employees, Baldwin Park’s senior staff has decided that it is holding on to injured dogs too long. Even though there is plenty of kennel space the lives of highly adoptable dogs with fractured limbs or pelvises are now in danger.

Baldwin Park has become a senseless animal slaughterhouse under the failed leadership of first Pat “Google Me” Claerbout and now Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig – both hired by the morally bankrupt DACC head Marcia Mayeda. Mayeda has a fourteen year track record and a body count of over 600,000 pets and one 63 year old grandmother, Pamela DeVitt, to prove she has nothing but contempt for the public and the animals she is sworn to protect.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

According to its website:

The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care (sic) and Control relies on volunteer support from the community to provide additional public service and animal care programs that are vital to a healthy community.

Indeed the DACC is perpetually in need of free volunteer labor to compensate for chronic shelter understaffing, which is due in large part to Director Marcia Mayeda. Once a county employee has worked six months they are protected by Civil Service regulations making it extremely difficult to fire them even when they have exhibited serious misconduct, with the result being that they continue on payroll with full pay and benefits while being suspended from duty. Currently numerous DACC employees are being paid not to work at the jobs they were hired to do because they mistreated pets, stole money or County property, failed to show up at work or engaged in other misconduct. Others have been banished for challenging illegal acts ordered by Mayeda or for seeking better care for the pets.

At Baldwin Park pets would never be walked, groomed or marketed for adoption/rescue if not for the shelter volunteers. It was therefore surprising – if not downright insulting – for Baldwin’s volunteers to receive an e-mail last week from DACC volunteer coordinator Rohmi Reed telling them:

“Building 4 is off limits to volunteers.  There is no need for volunteers to be in this area.”

Insiders state Reed is the messenger, not the culprit, and the new regulations were promulgated by Baldwin’s unpopular manager “Goldilocks” Koenig. But regardless of who is responsible the point is that deserving, adoptable dogs are being hidden from the public in Building 4 and may die as a result. While there are quarantined and aggressive dogs housed in the building, seventy-five percent of Building 4’s population consists of sick dogs, nursing moms, dogs too big to fit into Baldwin’s regular kennels and dogs hidden so they can be cherry picked by rescues and transports or presented at Board of Supervisors meetings. These dogs deserve to be seen and given a chance to find a forever home, yet Koenig has put them off limits in a condescending and rude way.

This anti-volunteer attitude coincides with several other recent and highly questionable Koenig policies. Volunteers have been ordered to leave the shelter as soon as it closes to the public – something that was never the policy at Baldwin Park and is not the policy at the Downey, Agoura or Carson facilities. She has instructed staff not to share information with members of the facility’s volunteer networking team – so the volunteers now find it difficult to inform the public or the rescue community of information needed to match pets with suitable homes and secure needed medical care for them. What is ironic is that this information could easily be obtained through a Freedom of Information request. However, Koenig views this info as top secret in much the same way as she tried to prevent word of her unconscionable killing sprees (such as when she ordered nearly every rabbit and cat in the shelter as well as quite a few dogs to be massacred over the Christmas holidays despite having a plethora of empty kennels) from leaking out.

It’s time for Koenig and her patron Marcia Mayeda to abandon their Stalinist approach to running their shelters. There is no reason for day to day shelter activities to be state secrets. It is time for the Mayeda/Koenig team to stop treating Baldwin Park’s volunteers as “mushroom partners” to be kept in the dark and continually fed shit.

 

Baldwin Park Shelter and Downey Pets Urgently Need Your Help

On January 14th, the Los Angeles Times ran an excellent story by Abby Sewell documenting how the County of Los Angeles has seen a dramatic increase in legal costs in defending itself against lawsuits brought by the public.   In the fiscal year 2014-2015, Los Angeles County paid over $59.9 million in judgments and settlements and almost an equal amount, $59 million in attorney fees.   According to Sewell, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are going to discuss how to combat these rising drains to its budget this week.

Being the highly civic minded person that I am, I would like to offer a few easily implemented suggestions which could save a shitload of money that could be diverted to positive alternatives than wasting our tax dollars defending the misdeeds of the inept, corrupt and complicit directors, managers and employees of the County of Los Angeles.

My first suggestion is to cut the rotting limbs to save the body: Fire the corrupt and inept directors, managers and employees.    Exhibit A1:  Los Angeles County Animal Control ” Director ” Marcia Mayeda who routinely violates California law, and the same policies and procedures which she instituted and mandated her employees follow.

Under Mayeda’s failed leadership, because she concerns herself only with appearances while neglecting all duty to the public and the animals she is supposed to serve, the department has continually been dragged into court for its untenable violations of the Hayden Act, (see the infamous ‘JoJo’ case, Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, Travis Bosquez, Rebecca Merrill and Denise Wheeler vs. County of Los  Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control Case no BS144497 in Superior Court and Nguyen et al vs Los Angeles County et al and for their negligence and after the fact cover – up in the negligent and wrongful death oPamela DeVitt after she was fatally mauled by a pack of unlicensed, unaltered stay Pit Bulls  (Benjamin DeVitt, Tad Devitt and April DeVitt against County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control and Marcia Mayeda.  Case No: BC 568584) to name but a few.

In the ongoing DeVitt case, Los Angeles County hired  Carpenter, Rothans & Dumont a firm enriching itself by defending the county’s flagrant and unapologetic wrong-doers (talk about selling your soul to the devil) to defend the grotesque caricature that is Marcia Mayeda and the DACC.

At the time of DeVitt’s fatal mauling Los Angeles County Ordinance Title 10, Division 1, Section 10.12.090 stated that (the director of animal control) shall take into custody:

a.)   All unlicensed dogs

d.) dogs and other animals running at large

f.) sick, injured, stray, unwanted or abandoned animals

Carpenter, Rothans & Dumont’s attorneys argued (with straight faces) that the word ‘shall’ does not require mandatory duty on the part of the DACC – and that it was merely a coincidence when two weeks after Ms. DeVitt was killed that the Board of Supervisors modified the law changing the word “shall” to “is authorized to”.   Really? Really.

These same attorneys are also spending your tax dollars to make the specious argument that copies of Plaintiff Tad DeVitt’s discharge papers from the Army showing that he retired from the Army in April of 2015 do not prove that he was discharged from the army in April of 2015.

We do not know exactly what Carpenter, Rothans & Dumont are charging Los Angeles County to sell their souls to make such arguments but the blood money is being paid by LA County taxpayers !  Yes! Our tax dollars at work to defend the negligent, reckless and grotesquely overpaid  “Director” of the DACC – Marcia Mayeda for not protecting the public – the very job she is being paid to perform!

There is evidence that Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich not only knows how corrupt his Director of Animal Control is, but conspired with her to institute the DeVitt coverup – and therefore will spend the County into oblivion defending his morally undefendable  employee, Marrcia Mayeda.  So if the Board of Supervisors decides as Ms. Sewell says to figure out why their legal costs are so high – we can suggest they save time by insisting that Mr. Antonovich bring a mirror with him.

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelters Urgently Need Your Help!

No Kill.

When applied to anything, especially animal shelters, this slogan sounds so right that we cannot imagine anyone living in Western Civilization being against it.   For those of us in Southern California – and many other areas of the United States – who have dedicated our energies to saving shelter pets No Kill is certainly the goal, but it is a Sisyphean task. There are too many unaltered pets procreating in our streets and backyards, and there are too few adopters and fosters in our communities. You don’t have to accept this as being morally correct, but you cannot ignore the reality that until the number of pet births equals, or is less than the number of adopters, rescues and fosters, municipal open admission shelters will continue to be pet killing facilities.   It sucks, but it is the cold hard unvarnished truth.

The problem is that no matter how much we dream and crave that all shelters truly become “No Kill” we can’t trust the No Kill movement. Nathan Winograd and his well-funded No Kill coalition decided to redefine the phrase ‘No Kill’ as a 90 percent live release rate. Apparently the other ten percent – the pets who were killed – do not count as having been killed. I may not be an expert on the English language but to me saying you are “No Kill” when you kill ten percent, is like saying “I am a vegetarian – I only eat meat on the weekends.” It is disingenuous at best and downright fraudulent at worst. If a facility kills only one pet, they cannot honestly claim that they are ‘No Kill”.

There are many national fundraisers promoting the No Kill cause.   With religious zeal they sell t-shirts and books, erect billboards, take money for speaking engagements and solicit donations. Some of the money is used to save shelter animals but where does the rest of it go? Kim Sill’s outstanding documentary Saved in America shows that all too much of this money goes to salaries, lobbyists, advertising and fundraisers, who raise even more money so they can increase the organizations’ salaries, secure even more lobbyists and buy even more advertisements soliciting funds.

So what does this all mean? Should we give up trying to save shelter pets’ lives and working to improve the lives of the stray dogs and cats? Absolutely not. However we have to do so honestly and transparently. The only way we are truly going to become No Kill is for spay/neuter laws to be enacted and rigorously enforced with significant fines levied against offenders. Revenue from dog licenses needs to be increased by having canvassers in the field checking to see if residents’ pets are licensed. In the city of Los Angeles it is estimated there are one million dogs kept as pets, yet there are only 100,000 dog licenses. Fines for failing to alter and license pets should be used to fund not only the shelters themselves, but to also operate low cost spay/neuter clinics. We cannot leave packs of feral and unaltered wild dogs on the streets to starve and freeze to death as Brenda Barnette, Los Angeles City’s head of Animal Control, does to keep her euthanasia numbers down and make it look like her giveaway of a Los Angeles shelter facility to a national fundraising organization has had any salutary effect.

Having the available revenue is not the solution in and of itself. Municipal shelters need to change the fundamental way they think. They need to stop being secretive government agencies who kill animals and then carefully manicure their statistics to make it appear that they are improving.   The only way to escape this never-ending tragedy is for the shelters to be inclusive, embrace their constituency and work in cooperation with them. Volunteers, rescues and the general public need to be included in the decision making process so that we can transform the shelters from being pet warehouses to becoming pet adoption centers.   Laws need to be changed to allow residents to have pets based on the amount of land they have and their ability to care for them, rather than a strict three pet per household limit. Landlords need to be motivated to allow renters to have pets.

I doubt I’ve met anyone – including Marcia Mayeda and “Google Me” Claerbout – in the Los Angeles metropolitan area who is against true No Kill. But I’ve never met a head of animal control who has either the balls or the insight to actually implement it.  It’s time to stop believing and parroting slogans printed on t-shirts and be honest with ourselves.  Pets are being killed in our municipal shelters – and we are all seriously drinking the Koolaid if we think that anyone is “saving them all” – we haven’t come even close – and as long as pets are dying in our shelters we have not only failed as a society –  we’ve also allowed someone to get rich off of it.