PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES
To BRENDA BARNETTE ON ANIMAL SERVICES SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT OF THE KENNEL LAW
Both ACTF and AS are being highly selective concerning enforcement of the kennel law.
Several weeks ago, Off. Ramirez, one of your ACT, as well as an Off. Ramirez from the ACTF, responded to a large community outcry about dead and dying cats at an address on Leadwell St.
One person, Mary Cummins, was there with 6 other rescuers. She was told, as were the others, by both Ramirez's, that the City could do nothing because the property owners--this is an apartment building--denied the cats were theirs, despite obvious feeding on the property as well as inside. Her email message to me is below. There were 7 witness to these "official" policy statements by the Ramirez's.
Below is a link to my blog where I posted a large, detailed discussion of the event at Leadwell:
Yet, it seems the ACTF and AS are obsessed with enforcing the kennel law on others, after frequent bogus "anonymous" complaints come into the dept. about some sort of animal violation occurring at a residence. Inspections of those properties often reveal no violation other than too many animals, at which point, the resident is given a Notice to Comply with MC 53.50, too many cats or dogs. This begins a long, man hour and resource eating follow up process by the dept., which can go on for years, despite the fact that the residence is clean and healthy.
It has been alleged by many commentors to my blog that these "anonymous" complaints originate from within the dept. The dept. refuses to investigate the source of these anonymous calls.
It happened to me. Someone complained I was feeding sick and dying cats in my backyard and backyard enclosure. The complainant said they saw a dead cat on my front lawn. The same day as I found out what the complaint was, I asked for an inspection, and an officer came out and found no violations. The backyard enclosure is only a fenced in area, with a fence top, and is not a structure. I had never fed feral or roaming cats in my yard.
I then asked Kathy and Jim Bickhart for an internal investigation of where the call or source came from, and Kathy just refused to investigate. A month later there was another complaint from Building and Safety that I was maintaining a "cat kennel" in my back yard. I talked to the inspector and told about the inspection by AS and sent him photos of my back yard with the fenced in area. He said it was fine.
Again I asked for an investigation because as an outsider, the City tends to hide everything, even when given requests for public records. Jim asked Kathy to investigate. Again she refused although she gave me the name of the originating agency, ACTF, and a contact number.
Months ago I sent a request for records regarding, among other things, the number of AS investigations of residents with complaints of too many cats.
After repeated requests and followups, 47 days later I got an email from Linda Barth that the dept. did not have this info. Can you believe that? This seems like a coverup of excessive use of the kennel law as an abuse of authority with absolutely no way for the public to respond as the dept. routinely refuses to release information.
It appears from the recent TV program about the ACTF, and my own experience with Ron Mason in the past, as well as the recent experience at Leadwell, that something smells in the dept. regarding selective enforcement of M.C. 53.50--the kennel law--, and an abject abandonment of responsibility at Leadwell.
The enforcement and power given to AS by MC 53.50 has long been decried by the rescue community and fosters. How can you foster if three is the limit?
I would like you to do an investigation of AS internal policies regarding enforcement of 53.50, as well as an investigation of where the "anonymous complaints" are coming from.
My experience as well as the evidence cited above, makes it absolutely clear the need to eliminate the limit on cats housed at a residence, and increasing the limit to 6 for dogs. Maybe then both your dept. and the ACTF will have the time with its recession-budget, reduced manpower available, to actually investigate animal cruelty cases, and have the personnel to canvass for dog licenses.