Email sent to me as a CC:
Dear Supervisor Molina, et al:
I'm afraid the information contained in your response is incorrect, and represents yet another instance of Director Mayeda's office giving inconsistent, and demonstrably false information, both to the public and the Supervisors to whom she should be accountable.
It has been reported for months, at least, that there is no proper heating system for the County shelters. And until now, the Supervisors were so far from disputing this that after Zephyr's death, when a constituent called (I believe) Supervisor Burke's office about the issue they were reportedly told that they could bring heaters, but that the County would not be paying for them.
In my conversation with Mr. Aaron Nevarez at Supervisor Knabe's office on December 13th, he told me that Director Mayeda's office had informed him that they were 'in process' to purchase heaters. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that December is not the time to be 'in process' buying heaters, why did Director Mayeda apparently tell your office that there is in fact a heating system already in place? This is not a case of misunderstanding, the two stories directly contradict each other.
In addition, if there was a heating system in place, why weren't any of the people who donated blankets told about it? Have any of the Supervisors ever gone to a shelter, unannounced, and actually verified anything that is being told to them by Director Mayeda? And, as I pointed out to Mr. Nevarez last week, why would anyone fold soiled blankets?
I volunteer at a private rescue fourteen hours a week and can inform you from the front lines that that is not what happens to soiled blankets. The should be placed in a container until they're washed, so as not to present a health hazard. No one in their right mind would fold them and place them on the ground, in the rain.
In addition, if Zephyr was in fact suffering from a second upper respiratory infection, this underlines the seriousness of the pictures in which medication is strewn on the ground, rather than being given to the dogs. It also emphasizes the need for clean, dry, habitable dog runs, which Director Mayeda and County employees are not providing, according to the photographic evidence.
If the County is paying this woman $170,000 every year, don't you think she should have had the foresight to purchase industrial washing equipment quite some time ago? Have any of you ever tried to wash a load of full-sized, dog-soiled blankets in a household washing machine? Why are we paying six figures annually to a woman who authorized the purchase of equipment that any minimally qualified person could have foreseen would be completely inadequate for the needs of a County animal shelter?
I hope that before your meeting tomorrow you discuss among yourselves the various and contradictory pieces of information being given to you by Director Mayeda, so that you will be clear on the extent of what will need to be covered by your requested report. The varying accounts Director Mayeda's office is giving you are directly contradicted by the evidence contained in the photos.
So as this is investigated, I'm hoping that all the Supervisors are assiduous about getting your information from multiple sources, including volunteers, former volunteers, the people who took these pictures, and former employees; in addition to Director Mayeda, her records, and her current employees. As you have seen, they have a strong imperative to make themselves look as good as possible, with 6-figure county salaries on the line.
Well written!!! The shelter I volunteer at distributes very few blankets, if any, before they leave for the evening, which is around 6:00 p.m. and that depends on who is working.
Of course, I have no way of proving this as the Shelter only provides a roster to fill in your hours.
My suggestion, one of many, to have a sign-in sheet that includes the time signed-in and signed-out has been ignored. Easy enough to implement, right? Not for the County! You try to change something as simple as a sign-in sheet and you've never seen so much red tape rain down on you in your life!
It always seems to stop at the Administrative level leaving those who actually do care at the Shelter with their hands tied to even try to change the simpliest of things.
YES! The cities AND the citizens contracting with the County Shelters need to hold this Administration accountable! The cities should inspect, unannounced, the shelters in which their cities contract with at least once, if not twice a year.
They need to find out where the money is actually going!
No one in their right minds would throw away good money, if they truly understood the conditions in which these animals are subjected to!
There needs to be a better screening process for ALL employees and the have the staff available.
I don't care if a Shelter is "fully staffed". If they do NOT have "available staff" it doesn't mean anything!
The staff are constantly overwhelmed and some suffer emotionally because of the lack of available staff.
This causes a high turn-over rate and the people that really do care for the animals to leave.
Check out this website: The National Animal Control Association and Animal Care Professionals, which gives the minimal staffing needs for kennels. http://www.nacanet.org/kennelstaff.htm
So, if someone has information regarding how many animals are impounded at each shelters each year, you can figure out how many staff members they need to run the kennels each day.
When blankets have been used, I too have seen soiled blankets and towels piled so high waiting to be washed in a household washing machine and dryer. Most of the time, for sanitary reasons, they must be thrown away.
Shelters are an unfortunate necessity of our Society. I know that most of the people reading this understands this, but PLEASE everyone - spay/neuter, microchip, have a name tag on your pet!
Think about making provisions in your Will or Trust for your beloved friend and companion so that when you pass your friend doesn't end up in a shelter.
Look for your pet more than the average owner, which is two weeks, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Speaking of HSUS, where are they in all of this??? Has anyone heard if they will be investigating one of the Nation's largest animal control agencies?
LA County needs to be the leader and show the Nation that they can turn around a system that has for so long, so desparately needed change.
I would find it hard to be that this is the first time an investigation of Marcia Mayeda was demanded and that the citizens of LA County have complained to the cities and/or County Supervisors.
WE must not give up and continue to diplomatically keep the pressure on the government of our cities and state to demand better for the animals!
I too would like to see an investigation of both main L.A. agencies by an independent third party like the Humane Society. Unfortunately, I think they've decided the best thing is to work with Boks. They made Boks part of the press conference last week re the Pets of Bel Air investigation, I'm assuming because they need LAAS' enforcement power. HSUS can investigate, but they can't shut a store down. Wayne Pacelle's blog also has a link to the LAAS site.
It would be a pretty tricky thing for HSUS to take on all of L.A.'s political structure. And I don't see how they could go after LAAS and ignore County, or vice versa.
It's the overwhelming politics of the thing. I really wish Jerry Brown would do it as Attorney General. I wish he were THAT brave, but I doubt it.
The rescue I volunteer at is run by a woman in her eighties. She says LAAS (and previous incarnations) have always been this bad. But recently she said an interesting thing, which is that one thing that keeps them slightly in check is private organizations that have increasing strength. She's got more experience than all of us, and I think she's right.
The one thing that would really make a difference is a coalition of established humane groups who are perceived by both the public and the Mayor's office as mature, functional and operating within the law (even though some of the laws are not yet in the best interests of animal welfare).
I don't know if that can happen. Animals, possibly even more so than children, seem to be an area where people are very happy and open about judging others, finding them lacking, and negating their value. I've certainly seen a lot of that in the rescue community. That, and stupid schisms: people who consider themselves cat people disliking dog people, rabbit people treating cat or dog people like morons. It's so blatantly self-defeating, in addition to animal-defeating, that it's hard to fathom. But it's a fact, and I don't see a lot of putting-aside of one's own prejudices in the interest of all the animals.
Then again, I like cats AND dogs. And birds. Don't know any rabbits, but I imagine I'd like them too.
"If someone has information regarding how many animals are impounded at each shelters each year, you can figure out how many staff members they need to run the kennels each day."
Kennel Attendants Needed per Day
Agoura - 8
Baldwin - 24
Carson - 16
Castaic - 7
Downey - 20
Lancaster - 18
Calcs based on 2006 animal records.
The HSUS states the formula used to estimate kennel attendants needed is only for cleaning and feeding.
So if there was any aim to walk and socialize cats and dogs, this wouldn't make it, right?
Are they assuming all the walking and socializing are to be done by volunteers, or is all that not even part of the equation? Because without walking and socializing a high percentage of dogs and cats at least are doomed.
The website says these formulas calculate the minimum number of kennel attendants needed for cleaning ( 7 min per animal) and feeding (3 min per animal). Other duties like laundry, washing dishes, lost and found checks, socializing and exercising, etc. would all require additional man hours.
HSUS recommends using the average number of live animals taken in during a 3-5 year period but I only had enough data for one year of live animals taken in. Not sure what impact if any this would have on the results I got using only one year.
As previously mentioned website is:
From No Kill Advocacy Center:
ANIMAL LOVERS SUE LOS ANGELES COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL DEPARTMENT TO END THE UNLAWFUL AND ABUSIVE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS
The national No Kill Advocacy Center, Cathy Nguyen, a volunteer animal rescuer, and Rebecca Arvizu, a Los Angeles County taxpayer and animal rescuer, have jointly filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County, its Department of Animal Care and Control, and the Department’s Director, Marcia Mayeda. The lawsuit alleges unlawful and abusive treatment of animals at all six Los Angeles County animal shelters.
Among the allegations in the 29-page complaint filed today in Superior Court, the County Department of Animal Care and Control routinely:
* Kills healthy and treatable animals before their state mandated holding period expires;
* Misclassifies animals as “ill” or “injured” in order to kill them before their holding period expires even though the animals are not irremediably suffering as required by state law;
* Kills lost animals without making reasonable attempts to find the animals’ owners;
* Fails to provide adequate veterinary care to impounded animals, resulting in animal deaths;
* Fails to provide adequate nutrition, water, shelter and exercise to impounded animals and to treat the animals humanely and kindly;
* Refuses to release animals to rescue groups that are willing to care for the animals until adoptive homes can be found and, instead, kills the animals.
In addition, the County Department of Animal Care and Control unlawfully retaliates against animal rescuers and volunteers who publicize its unlawful treatment of animals.
The lawsuit asks a Superior Court Judge to order Los Angeles County, its Department of Animal Care and Control, and Department Director Mayeda to comply with state laws that protect animals from arbitrary and inhumane treatment. The lawsuit is being handled by the Los Angeles law firm of Eisenberg, Raizman, Thurston, and Wong, LLP.
“The Los Angeles County animal shelter system is supposed to provide a reasonable safety net of care for lost and abandoned animals,” said Nathan J. Winograd, Director of the No Kill Advocacy Center. “Instead, the system betrays the trust of the citizens of Los Angeles County by failing to treat the animals humanely and kindly.”
“Los Angeles County and its Department of Animal Control fought the existing animal protection laws that safeguard shelter animals when those laws were pending in the legislature. They fought the laws after they became effective through a regulatory challenge. Now, it appears they have decided they are just going to ignore those laws,” stated Winograd. “But Los Angeles County shelters are supposed to enforce laws related to animal welfare, not violate the laws themselves and then retaliate against rescue groups who want to save these animals and make their demands public. This is the worst form of hypocrisy and cannot be tolerated—especially since animals are not only suffering, they are needlessly being killed because of it.”
“I have tried to work with the Department and Director Mayeda regarding the conditions at Los Angeles County shelters for many months to no avail,” said plaintiff Cathy Nguyen, who works with rescue groups trying to save animals that Los Angeles County shelters are putting to death. “I cannot sit quietly and do nothing about this and have no choice at this point but to demand that they follow the law.”
“As a taxpayer, I don’t want my taxes to pay for the killing of animals when there are rescue groups willing to save them at their own expense,” said Los Angeles county taxpayer and plaintiff Rebecca Arvizu. “These shelters also do not reflect my values and those of my fellow citizens who love animals. Since they are supposed to be working for us, I want them caring for animals humanely. That’s the law and those are the values a majority of us hold dear.”
The No Kill Advocacy Center is a national non-profit organization trying to end the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters. It has drafted model legislation, works with municipal and private shelters nationwide, and helps animal lovers throughout the United States reform their local shelters.
The lawsuit is based on violations of California laws, especially the 1998 Animal Shelter Law. The law sought to reform California shelters which were unnecessarily killing in the face of cost-effective lifesaving alternatives. It follows a successful lawsuit in Kern County where a Superior Court judge held the Kern County animal control shelter in violation of law and ordered that shelter to cease its legal violations.
For a copy of the press release, click here. (Please note: Images are disturbing.)
For a full media kit, which includes a copy of the 4-page Demand Letter the plaintiffs sent to Ms. Mayeda before filing their lawsuit, the 3-page letter protesting the Department’s retaliation, the 29-page Complaint, video footage, and high resolution images of animal suffering in Los Angeles County’s shelter system, click here. (Please note: Images are disturbing.)
Please help us pay for the legal costs. To donate by check or make a secure online donation, click here or go to nokilladvocacycenter.org.
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