PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES http://losanglesveterinarian.blogspot.com/
Jeff de la Rosa Has a New LAAS Blog
I hope uncovers much needed information.
The problem with ALL outsider blogs is none of us has the real insider information.
Yes, we may have highly reliable confidential informants for a time, but a lot of what we do is speculate based on bits of information correlated with other bits, etc., and usually no way to get consistent insider information, and if we do, how relevant is it to beget beneficial change?
More power to you Jeff.
What we need is for Jim Bickhart to start an anonymous blog tp put out real positive info about LAAS, Villaraigosa, the ACTF, as well as "speculations" about other things going on.
We'd like info about, for example, how the environmentalist's lawsuit requiring a CEQA study of TNR has impacted Boks' TNR initiative.
I'd like to hear what info the City has been able to gather about TNR over its 2 years of study. Anything?
Jim, either you or one of your staffers please start a new anonymous blog so we can get some real insider info--or disinformation to counteract my "speculations."
So Much News, So Little Time
Not posted so far:
1. Boks has been sued again.
2. ZsuZsa Blakely was in and out of jail recently, and was sentenced to reimburse Bernstein's SPCALA $400,000 a ssuggested by Bernstein's former board member and teaching collaborator, Don Cocek, who used to make a lot of money for her. ZsuZsa fine equalled $38/day for boarding each animal.
3. Boks apparently has hired a lawyer to sue the City.
4. I have a letter re alleged Prupas screw ups.
5. Investigation results from LAAS investigation of the Pierce College investigation is on the way.
Boks Spectacular Failure
Below are the killing versus impound rates for: cats and dogs; rabbits; all other animals.
During the three years he has been here, he has decreased cat and dog killing by only 5%, which is 1.6% per year. Given this rate of improvement, we will be in the Winograd No-Kill range in about 27 years assuming impounds remain the same.
If the spay/neuter law SUBSTANTIALLY decreases impounds, we may be no kill in 19 years assuming the budget returns to the 2007-2008 level.
I think the No-Kill goal can be had far more quickly given new management.
Ron Mason Actively Suicidal?
51 of his cats were seized and over 25 killed. He got to keep 3 and the rest were adopted out or killed.
Ron was depressed and living as an on and off day laborer. All his life he had been in construction. He ran his father's construction company for 17 years until the father died and relatives stole the company away from him.
Since his cats were seized and killed, since he was jailed for 4 days after being arrested for felony animal neglect, called insane by Boks publicly as well as referred to by Boks as a felon, as the Daily News repeated the same story, Ron became the laughing stock of neighbors and friends. All for Boks 15 minutes of fame of busting a horrible, terrible hoarder.
I go to dinner with Ron every week or so. He is increasingly depressed despite taking anti depressant medication, wanting to walk away from the responsibility of taking care of himself and the few cats and house he has left.
At 60 and out of shape, he cannot do any construction work now.
He talks about killing himself a lot, but he makes it sound not serious. He often jokes about blowing his brains out, but a joke repeated a hundred times is no joke. Good he has no weapon. There is no specific plan; therefore there is no legal basis for a 5150 hold.
He does have a psychiatrist whom he sees for medication and monitoring, but certainly not enough suuport for his fragile state.
About 6 months ago he was diagnosed as having a rather severe case of Diabetes Type 2, with blood sugar WAY up, over 500. Even with medication he has difficulty getting it below 200. Because of his lack of money, he eats all the wrong things like hot dogs, pizza, etc. he eats while at school.
So, he is very, very tired of life and talks about the repetitive boredom of life.
If anyone wants to help, please call him. I think more than anything he needs emotional support.
He is trying to improve his life. He is taking 2 all day courses on upholstering and silk screening at LA Occupational Center near Pierce College.
Here is a man who worked all his life, had his company stolen from him, had his cats stolen from him and killed and is now losing his health. It is the holidays during which many people feel depressed.
Most depressing for him is that no one came to his aid legally after having his civil rights so violated, his cats killed, his reputation destroyed by Boks, and Small Claims Court refused to have the City pay for the cages, carriers and traps confiscated by the ACTF and LAAS.
I would not be surprised if Ron did not make it through the winter and it is on Ed Boks' head. I will make it very publicly known that Boks, LAAS and ACTF were responsible.
Villaraigosa Likely Has 4 More Years
The Mayor has continued to support Boks because Blackman, for some reason, keeps telling Tony that Boks is doing well. Therefore, we don't know how long Boks will last even though it appears he is ready to sue the City. Even if he goes, there is no reason to believe Tony will appoint anything but a putz. I am sure there will be no national search. He might make Linda Barth the GM. There is absolutely no indication that Winograd will ever be called on.
However, as I reported before, there is a very pro-animal candidate to replace Weiss in the 5 precinct for Council, Paul Koretz: paulkoretz.com
With Zine, Cardenas, Rosendahl, Alarcon and Koretz on Council, perhaps the Mayor might do something. If Tony is going to remain as Mayor for another 4 years, Council will not oppose his decision to keep Boks.
No one thought Paul had much of a chance six months ago; he had no money. Now, or the five candidates he is second. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that all the LA animal community to support him with money and volunteerism.
He has 300 major and minor endorsements:
Nate Holden (ret.)
Joy Picus (ret.)
Bob Ronka (ret.)
Joel Wachs (ret.)
Mel Levine (ret.)
Jerome Waldie (ret.)
Phil Angelides State Treasurer (ret.)
John Chiang State Controller
John Garamendi Lt. Governor
Betty Yee State Board of Equalization
Rick Auerbach Los Angeles County Assessor
Lee Baca Los Angeles County Sheriff
Ed Begley Jr.
AND, Rich McClellan who gives Paul the highest endorsement.
You can see the complete list of his endorsers on his website. You can sign up to volunteer at:
Paul sent this email to me after I volunteered to work events:
Thanks for the offer! I may take you up on that.
Fundraising-wise things are going pretty well. As of the June 30th report, I was in last place of the five serious candidates and trailing all by 35K to 40K. As of the Sept. 30th report, I raised $70,000 during that period, and passed all but one candidate, whom I am slightly behind! I out fund raised everyone during that period by 20-40K each.I still have a long way to go, with about $150,000 to raise in the next four months, but it can be done.
I have the best campaign consultant and most of the key endorsements in the race. Hopefully I can pull together a number of volunteers to walk and phone for me in the last few months.But the campaign overall looks very viable and I have a good shot.
Paul KoretzCandidate, LA City Council 5th District, 323-966-5942Please visit my website: paulkoretz.com
Alley Cat Allies Attacks County Over the Rancho Cats
Join Alley Cat Allies in urging LA County Supervisor Don Knabe to lift a feeding ban for the cats who live at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, CA, and put an end to the 'catch and kill' scheme.
Use the message below to ask Mr. Knabe to work with the local caregivers and feral cat groups to maintain the successful Trap-Neuter-Return program already in place.
Feeding bans are inherently cruel to cats and are counterproductive. Volunteers have provided food and veterinary care out of their own pockets, and have carried out an aggressive, humane Trap-Neuter-Return program to stop reproduction.
Furthermore, trapping the cats and taking them to a shelter - where the only positive outcome for an animal is adoption - makes no sense. Feral cats are members of the domestic cat species, but they are not socialized to humans and are not candidates for adoption. Feral cats are almost always killed immediately in animal shelters.
Several volunteers are caring for cats at Rancho Los Amigos. Learn more about the situation by watching this YouTube video made by a local group.
Tell LA County Supervisor Don Knabe that you do not agree with this cruel approach and place an immediate moratorium on trapping.
Learn more about what Americans view as humane treatment of feral cats.
Here are more specific employees and emails in Knabe's Office to email and talk to. I guess this situation would be at the Downey fieild office, so call there. http://www.knabe.com/staff.html
Knabe's Chief if Staff is Curt Pederson Curt Pedersen
Chief of Staff
And the head of the Downey Field office is:
An email to these two guys will be 10 times more effective as a general form letter email to Knabe's office. They hate to hear complaints coming directly from the public and have to explain themselves.
Daily News Article on Chick's Audit
By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
City Controller Laura Chick took the city's engineers to task Thursday for underestimating the cost and improperly designing eight new animal shelters authorized by voters in 2000.
The result, Chick said, was less space for animals and up to two-year delays in opening most of the shelters approved under Proposition F, a bond that allocated $154 million for shelters.
One, the Northeast Valley shelter, is still closed to the general public for adoptions, while another in South Los Angeles is not scheduled to open until 2012.
"This is extremely disconcerting since a major goal of Prop. F was to provide centers which fostered greater public access to increase animal adoptions and community involvement," Chick wrote in a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council.
Councilman Dennis Zine, who serves on the Public Safety Committee overseeing the Animal Services Department, said the audit confirms his impressions of the problems with the shelter program. Zine authored the motion that authorized Chick to audit the program.
Zine was outraged earlier this year when he learned of problems, sending his staff out to take pictures of dogs exposed to rain in shelters. The department was forced to build a cover to provide shelter for the animals.
His anger was at the need to spend an extra $180,000 out of the bond fund to correct errors.
"My concern is the management of Animal Services and the problems that came to us from employees and the general public and resulted in a waste of public money."
Animal Services officials said they agreed with Chick's findings on the problems of delayed openings at shelters.
"Animal Services shares the controller's disappointment that we are unable to open our new Mission Animal Care Center this year due to unforeseen budget constraints," Animal Services Director Ed Boks said.
"However, this unanticipated situation turned into a blessing during the recent fires when this location provided shelter for hundreds of evacuated pets while their owners became refugees from their own homes."
Officials with the Bureau of Engineering disputed some of Chick's findings, saying they believe the shelter project has come in on budget.
"Despite many challenges, including the unprecedented escalation in construction costs, we were able to deliver the program within budget and the facilities are a great asset to the residents of Los Angeles," said Engineering spokeswoman Cora Jackson Fawcett.
"We appreciate the input of the controller and we'll make every effort to implement as many of her recommendations as possible."
Chick said her auditors found problems at the beginning of the process.
The Bureau of Engineering began well when it came to program management. But, she said, its estimates for building costs were too low, forcing a redesign of the shelters.
"Animal Services and the Bureau of Engineering did not fully explore the impact of these changes, especially with stakeholders, which resulted in facility problems which could impact the welfare of the animals," Chick said.
It turns out it wasn't neighbors that turned Ron in, it was a rescuer who had taken 3 of his kittens over a 2 week period of time.
I really can understand. To see 10 or more kittens with URI may have been traumatic, but rather than help, she complained of animal neglect or felony neglect to LAAS, who then raided Mason.
As a result, at least 25 cats were killed.
So beware of your animal friends. I don't know, maybe the woman would be happier knowing the 25 cats were killed rather than have a cold.
I really couldn't tell from the medical records I got through request for public records whether they were sick or not. In the impound summary, the reason given for euth was either irremediably suffering or "ill." No medical records were given to me to the cats who were killed, only the cats that actually were tested and treated. That is, they hid a lot of data from me.
This is from Stray Cat Alliance.
Dear Felines Friends:
As many of you have been following, LA County Animal Control has been ordered by County Supervisor Don Knabe's office to get rid of over 100 fixed, healthy stray and feral cats living peacefully on the abandoned grounds of Rancho Los Amigos. They give ridiculous reasons like the plague and rabies, both of which the County's own veterinarian has stated basically these disease do not exist in cats in California.
The country has fenced off the abandoned buildings where the cats have lived for years. They have boarded up some areas and are planning on boarding up some more. The County gives ridiculous excuses, i.e. they will leave 2 holes not boarded up for the cats to escape but the truth is we don't know if those holes are accessible to all places.
Please read the blog for more information and a statement by Dr Patricia Meredith, MD, PhD on this misleading medical information.
PLEASE call the Office of Don Knabe and politely ask them to work with TNR groups to have the cats co-exist and to stop the non sense of trapping and killing the cats.
Tel: 213-974-4444 Fax: 213-626-6941
Please do NOT let the Office of Don Knabe send you to Animal Control. Animal Control is ONLY taking orders from Don Knabe's office. ONLY public pressure will stop this slaughter.
I just spoke to the office and the nice lady said the same old same old. Then she said she would give my message to Aaron Navarez. I said he is Animal Control and has NO power and to PLEASE pass my message to someone who works directly with Mr Knabe. She said she would try but Officer Navarez just called me back. We have to get through to people who can do something.
PLEASE call and get all your friends to call too but please read the blog first.
This blog will be updated daily.
Please contact us at email@example.com after you have contacted County Supervisor Knabe's office so that we can keep track of correspondence.
This is definitely a situation calling for civil disobedience--of couse I am not advocating it--but if I were, it would be in this situation.
I am sure many of you out there feel the same way. Time to get some wire cutters and crowbars to remove boarding.
Here is the URL for numerous photos of what Knabe is doing.
Here are more specific employees and emails in Knabe's Office to email and talk to. I guess this situation would be at the Downey fieild office, so call there.
Chick's Audit of the Shelter Construction Projects
Great Work By Animal Cruelty Task Force
The LAPD's Animal Cruelty Task Force announced today a successful break up of a profitable dog fighting ring in South LA. Since February 2007, detectives have looked into the location on the 600 block of West 85th Street where they say they found "mistreated dogs living in horrendous conditions at the residence" along with "equipment used in the training, breeding and exercising of the animals." 17 dogs in all were rescued and two men have already been arrested, tried and convicted.
Click on the address above, and it goes to google maps, which also provides a street view. You can click on that to see what the actual location looks like.
Life After Daisy
I found a new street kitty near where I feed, alone and living in a tree. At first I thought she was a kitten because she was so small.
Feeling her, I realized she was skin and bones and maybe an older cat with kidney failure. I started feeding her alone; she was not part of any colony and apparently stayed alive by eating some hard kibble left each night by someone feeding a small groups of cats a half block away.
Since she was so small she got only the leftovers.
At first she did not eat much of the canned food I gave her, but as she got stronger she is eating more and more, now close to three 6 oz. cans a day. She has become a real lover ball and I am making room for her by installing a temporary isolation cage for her in the garage.
I think she is pretty old, although each day she seems healthier and healthier.
After she comes in and settles down, I'll take her to a vet for blood tests and whatever else she needs and then introduce her to the two other cats. I'd like to give her a year or two of love before she dies.
A Dance of Compassion
One night two weeks ago, I went around the corner of the alley where I feed, where there are 5 houses across the street from the schoolyard. I stayed there for an hour and a half. I repeated the process two times more over the next two weeks at slightly different times to better watch what was going on. I watched over periods from 9 pm to 11:30.
What I saw was amazing.
Each night I saw an average of 11-12 cats in the alley with 6 houses on each side, and one short block of five houses around the corner, across from the school yard. My stable colony of 5 may have had as many as 6 additional visitors over 3-4 nights. They came in after the colony fed, and usually there was no food left over, but they came anyway.
During that same period I saw 4 feeders feeding this group of 12 even though 3 feeders (including me) fed the alley cats at different times and 2 fed the schoolyard cats at different times. Therefore, at some colonies 3 feeders were feeding at different times, and at the schoolyard site, 2. One one feeder overlapped the two colonies. Each had their own section or neighborhood so to speak.
Most feeders left a fairly small amount of food, not nearly enough to sustain the colony alone. Perhaps they would have left a lot more as I fed first and fed well.
I went with one of the alley feeders one night 6 months ago to see what she did. She fed 13 different colonies. At 2 locations, at least one other feeder fed them at different times. She did not practice TNR but assisted when some TNR group volunteered to help them. I was amazed to find at one location ,at the back of a large parking lot with two restaurants, they (she and another "cat lady") had a permanent feeding station which they claimed had been there for 10 years. One of the cats allegedly had been there for that entire time.
I know of a fifth feeder in the same area who is mostly retired from feeding, and had also fed those same alley cats in the past. She still fed other colonies out of the immediate area and also nearer her house.
I am sure I missed both some cats and perhaps a feeder. Some cats appeared to be indoor-outdoor house cats out for additional feed. Many were fairly tamed .
A black cat observed in both locations may have been "community" between the 2 colonies or there were 2 different black cats. I think there were two.
Who could know the true number without tagging and trapping?
It is obvious from the short observation that the number of cats on the streets on LA must be astronomical and the number of feeders far, far higher than anyone imagined. There was about 1 feeder for every 3-4 cats, and about 1 outdoor cat for every 1-2 households.
I have no idea how representative this is of the residential city overall.
Given that LA has about 4,000,000 people and 1,800,000 households, there may be as many as 1.2 million street cats, housed, strays and ferals in residential areas. I think Merritt Clifton would guesstimate a far lower figure and the Stray Cat Alliance about 3,000,000.
My "guestimate" does not take into account blocks where there are people with "too many" cats, feral and inside/outside domesticated cats. If 1 block in 10 has someone with 25 cats, this would substantially increase the number of outdoor cats. My guess is that there are households where there is an outdoor population of 6-7 cats every 2-3 blocks.
How many residential blocks are there in LA? Then again, there are all the non-residential blocks with supermarkets and restaurants that attract cats, and how many are fed in parks?
Given these observations and calculations, there is no way that street cats will ever be brought to zero as long as so many feeders and cats are on the streets without a massive TNR effort. Even with a massive effort, progress, according to the literature, will be very slow.
Given that only a small percentage of feeders actually also practice TNR, there are always kittens being born, but from what I hear, there is a high mortality rate.
Knowing these people and their attitudes, even if feeding were made illegal, the feeders would continue to feed—no matter what.
I cannot see any solution to ending the pain of cats living in the streets other than an oral vaccination/chemical treatment that lasts a few years. Oral vaccinations, or chemical methods, could either by pill, or included in food. If the latter, there needs to be a chemical/vaccine with a wide latitude of toxicity.
I saw an estimate that anywhere from 5-10% of housed cats become strays each year, and colonies add about 16% new cats each year due to these new strays. I think LAAS guesstimates there are 700,00 housed cats in the city, making about 50,000 new cats added each year, even while many colony cats die from injury, disease or starvation.
TNR efforts would need to continue for years, albeit at a diminishing rate, until it gets down to about 5-10% of what it is now. A high percentage of the new strays are already sterilized.
I was most amazed to observe the psychology of feeders. They will stop at nothing to continue to feed and protect colony cats, despite neighbor harassment, intimidation, official intimidation by Animal Services or police, or even lack of transportation. Nothing stops them.
I was also amazed by the “dance” of the cats and their feeders, with schedules, cat migrations to feeding stations and between sites at various times, and the bondings and behaviors occurring between the cats and their caretakers. Many feeders zip and and out to avoid contact with hostile residents or hiding from them that a colony exists and is being sustained in their midst. Others stay with a colony long enough to pet or play with the cats.
Animal people are the most amazing—if not always rational--people in the world. They are an essential and unrecognized component of the conscience of Los Angeles. Legal and legislative efforts to control feeding would be ignored and a new class of misdemeanor criminals would be born.
Letter to Judge McCoy
(By the way, McCoy's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org). He has not bothered to respond to my email and perhaps to the writer below.)
Dear Judge McCoy,
I’m writing to ask you to look into the disposition of a Small Claims Court case brought by a man named Ron Mason on or around November 19, 2008 and presided over by Court Commissioner Martin Green.
I have read the eyewitness account of four people who were in the courtroom (attached) and if even part of what it recounts is true I find Commissioner Green’s conduct very troubling.
Although I have attached the account for your edification I would like to draw your attention to a couple of particularly egregious allegations:
1. Commissioner Green is alleged to have said several times to Mr. Mason, “Why are you here?” It is a citizen’s right to be heard in Small Claims Court and I can see Commissioner Green’s actions here in no other light than as an attempt to intimidate and belittle Mr. Mason and his right to equal justice under the law, and to redress if his rights have been violated. A Court Commissioner, by questioning those rights, is abrogating them.
2. He referred to the cats who were killed by L.A. Animal Services as “contraband” when in fact they were evidence. I have spent time at City shelters and I know that animals seized in an investigation are supposed to be preserved – alive – as evidence. This is particularly true because since Mr. Mason was initially threatened with charges of felony animal neglect, the physical condition of the cats would have been relevant to the case.
3. Commissioner Green refused to order compensation for cat cages and medications seized (and not inventoried according to law) by LAPD, contending that the cages and medications were “used in conjunction” with the “contraband” cats who were seized, and were therefore contraband also. But the L.A. Municipal Code allows owners up to three cats, which Mr. Mason now has. Cages and medications are used in conjunction with cats, not just with “contraband” cats. Any responsible cat owner has medications, and cat cages are used to trap, neuter and return feral cats, an act that is explicitly allowed in the L.A. Municipal Code (53.69, c. "The Department may also waive fees under Subsections (a) and (b) for any person or rescue organization described above, assisting the Department to safely capture an animal for the health or safety of the animal or the public, including the trapping, neutering and returning of feral cats." I do not believe Commissioner Green has the right to decide which cats need medication and cages and which don’t.
4. He repeatedly (reportedly six times) compared Mr. Mason’s seized property to the gun of a felon. This was not only false, it was slanderous, because Mr. Mason was never convicted of anything, which also calls into question how he could call the property of someone who never committed a crime “contraband.”
5. His only criterion for determining the validity of a warrant was to remark that he knew the issuing judge and she was a “good judge.” This is appalling, giving an enormous appearance of impropriety to the entire court system. Of course the warrant was issued by a judge, and yes, he might know that judge, but to openly proclaim that the fact that he knew a judge was reason enough not to question a warrant’s validity is to completely undermine the basis of our criminal system. A warrant isn’t valid because you know the issuer; it’s valid or not based on the facts, and anything less is a complete mockery of the law.
Judge McCoy, I read the account of this proceeding and felt outraged that any citizen should be treated with this degree of disrespect and disregard for his rights. Commissioner Green has openly demonstrated not only an unjust bias towards law enforcement and judicial officials; he has shown a complete contempt for people who depend upon him for a fair hearing and for justice.
I’m asking that you investigate this case, speak to Mr. Mason and the other individuals who were in court that day, along with Commissioner Green. If you find that any one of the allegations against Commissioner Green have merit, I ask that you either dismiss him or substantively discipline him for this misconduct, contempt for the public, and corruption of the law. It is our right to expect justice when we go into a Los Angeles courtroom. Mr. Mason did not receive justice from Commissioner Green, I hope he will from you and that we can be reassured that we as citizens can expect justice as well.
Thank you for your help in this matter,
Major Cuts in LAAS Looming
Complaint Sent to Green's Superior
You may not know this but there is a constant battle over the rights of animal advocates, rescuers, homeowners and feral cat colony managers vs. the LA Animal Cruelty Task Force, and the latter's focus on busting and jailing people who have too many cats.
The ACTF was tasked with stopping animal cruelty cases, such as cock and dogfighting rings and abuse of animals in LA City.
Instead, it has focused on arresting and seizing animals of those who have too many cats and dogs. One ACTF member, Officer Munez, told me that animal "hoarding" was the Task Force's biggest problem, while another person who called the task force and complained that someone was poisoning neighborhood cats was told that even if a necropsy were performed, and poisoning was found, the Task Force did not have the manpower to investigate.
Apparently though they do have the manpower to raid little old ladies or men who have too many cats (article by Dana Bartholomew, Daily News).
Neither the little old ladies nor this man mentioned below have weapons as might persons in a cockfighting ring. Also, little old lady residents don't tend to move around to thwart being discovered as would dog fighting rings.
The specific case I have in mind is that of Ron Mason who was arrested for felony animal neglect for having too many cats on his property. The head of the Task Force at that time was Lt. Boswell, who admitted during a television interview that Mr. Mason had provided food, water and shelter. Mason had also provided medical care.
The District Attorney refused to press felony charges and the City Attorney refused to file misdemeanor animal neglect charges. Mr. Mason was not even charged, let alone tried for violation of LA MC 53.50, violation of the Kennel ordinance of having more than three cats.
51 cats were seized and about 30 killed at the shelter. Several cages, carriers and traps were also seized as he used them to trap and transport the cats to be spayed or neutered, or to a veterinarian to receive medical attention. Medications were also seized.
City TV 35 filmed the raid and at least five agencies were involved. Dana Bartholomew was present from the Daily News. Mason was arrested and jailed.
A very brief list of evidence supplied by the police listed only the medications. No cats, no traps, carriers or cages.
The head of Animal Services, General Manager Ed Boks, said about Mr. Mason in the Bartholomew article as well as on the LAAS website, that Mr. Mason was a felon and mentally ill. He also stated that conditions of probation would forbid him from having any pets. In many ways other ways, Mr. Boks, GM or LAAS, defamed Mr. Mason.
Mr. Mason recently went to Small Claims Court to obtain finances to buy new carriers, traps and cages to continue to trap and transport animals to be altered. As he does not have an operational car, he has been forced to transport the animals on buses. Without traps and carriers, the cats not seized during the October 11, 2007 raid have begun to multiply again, making him subject to further raids by the ACTF and Animal Services. Mr. Mason is unemployed and on disability. Buying a car, traps and carriers therefore was not an option.
Yesterday Mr. Mason and three other of us went before Commissioner Martin Green with Mason suing the City and Animal Services for the financial loss of 51 cats, cages, traps, carriers and medications.
As you are Commissioner Green superior, I want you to know what happened while in Green’s courtroom.
The following is a transcript of that hearing as accurately as the four of us are able to piece together. The below transcript was deemed by us to be completely accurate. The below was posted on by blog, www.laanimalwatch.blogspot.com.
I have covered this case for over a year as it is extremely important with respect to anyone who has more than three cats or dogs in the City, which is several thousand people, who are terrified of being raided, having their animals seized and killed.
This case even affects many people who foster cats given to them by Animal Services to care for prior to returning to the City shelters for adoption, and therefore have many more than three cats.
The entirety of the Mason case can be found at:
Animal Services has been attempting to raise the limit of cats allowed to 10. Animal Services has also supported legalizing Trap/Neuter/and Spay (of ferals). They are now doing a CEQA study to present to Council.
Therefore, their actions, in conjunction with the ACTF and the police pose a bewildering inconsistency and/or hypocrisy by the City, Animal Services and the ACTF regarding MC 53.50 the kennel law, as well as what constitutes animal neglect.
Tamie Bryant at UCLA is familiar with all of these issues.
From my blog:
The Death Knell for Justice for LA Animal People Has Been Rung
The Death Knell for Justice for Animal People In LA Has Been Rung
He sued the City in Small Claims court for the City the seizing and killing of his cats, confiscating his cages and cat medications and not having them returned.
The court Commissioner, Martin Green, found for the City on everything:
1. He said the cats were contraband because the law allowed him having only three cats, and as such they can be confiscated and killed.
2. The cages were used in conjunction with the contraband cats were therefore also contraband and need not be returned without a court order which would require Mason to hire an attorney---according to Green. He actually said, "Get a lawyer."
3. Since Mason did not have the 50 cats anymore, the medications seized were not needed, therefore the City had no reason to reimburse Mason. Green ignored Mason's statement he still had three cats for which the cages and medication could be used.
Green also specifically likened the cages to a gun used in a felony. He said it was a hyperbole, but repeated it six times, likening Mason to being a felon and the cages a gun.
He said this was hyperbole, but repeated this example 6 times.
Let's get one thing straight. The District Attorney never charged Mason with a felony. The City Attorney never charged Mason with any crime, not even the kennel law, MC 53.50. Therefore, how can the cats and cages be contraband?
I asked "Commissioner Green, "Does that mean that anyone who has more than three cats is at risk to be raided, have all their cats and cages, food, vet documents, seized and the cats killed?"
His response was, "Yes, to the fullest extent of the law."
The police investigator representing the City, of course, didn't have a copy of the warrants with him. Ron did. Green said nothing, except after reading it, he recognized the judge and said she was a good judge, therefore the warrants were in order--that is, he covered the City for the weakness of the warrants.
Green asked the City rep (a police investigator) if there was an accounting of all the seized items. The rep said when anything was seized, a complete list was given to the person arrested, but he did not produce a copy of the list, nor did the Commissioner ask for one.
Ron offered a copy of the list actually sent to him by the police department three days after the raid, and that list never mentioned the 51 seized cats as required by CA Penal Code, nor did it mention the cages.
Green said, "Why do you want me to read that?"
Over and over Commissioner asked Mason, "Why are you here? What did the City do wrong?"
Then he found for the City on everything.
So be afraid, be very, very afraid. The checks and balances on government abuse of power are gone in LA when it comes to animals.
WOW!! HSUS NOW EMBRACES NO KILL!!
In addition, two of Nathan's proteges will be speaking at speaking at the HSUS Expo next year.
Wow, what a turnaround.
From Nathan Winograd:
Did HSUS’ Wayne Pacelle Say “No Kill”? Yes he did, and more!
In announcing a partnership for a national advertising campaigning promoting adoptions being launched by Maddie’s Fund, HSUS, and the Ad Council, Wayne Pacelle stated:
It will make a life-saving difference in securing loving homes for untold numbers of pets and get us closer to a no-kill nation.
But, most importantly, HSUS states that the public does care and is not to blame for their killing, that killing animals in shelters is “needless,” that we can be a No Kill nation today, and that “pet overpopulation” is more myth than fact.
In language that is eerily (though excitingly) familiar to language in my book, Redemption, HSUS says:
“By increasing the percentage of people who obtain their pets through adoption—by just a few percentage points—we can solve the problem of euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats.”
“The needless loss of life in animal shelters is deplored by the American public. People deeply love their dogs and cats and feel that killing pets who are homeless through no fault of their own is a problem we must work harder to prevent. They want animals to have a second chance at life, not death by injection.”
“The needless killing of pets by animal shelters and animal control agencies comes at an enormous economic and moral cost."
This comes after announcing that staunch and unapologetic pro-No Kill advocates Susanne Kogut and Bonney Brown will be speaking at HSUS Expo 2009! Kogut runs an open admission shelter saving 93% of all dogs and 89% of all cats, while Brown has led a lifesaving initiative now saving 90% of dogs and 86% of all cats YTD.
Nonetheless, it’s way too early to uncork the champagne. As Ryan Clinton of FixAustin.org stated, “it doesn’t ask the shelters to do anything different.”
Read more at www.nokillblog.com
Cat Killing Up 30.5% for Past 12 Months
For the past 12 months compared to the same 12 month interval last year, cat intake is up 20% but killing is up 30.5%! That is, killing is rising MUCH faster than intakes. Cat adoptions are up 19%. They would have to increase 250% to offset the killing.
Dog intake is up 18%, and adoptions up 28%. Even with adoptions up, killing was 22% higher than the year before.
Killing for the category of All Other Animals increased 56% while intakes increased only 7%.
That is, the killing increase is 700% higher than the percentage intake! Intake went from 7,950 to 8,499 (549 animals or 7% increase), while killing went from 2,313 to 3,619 (56% increase).
Another way of saying it, for every 1 additional animal brought in, an additional 2.4 were killed.
LA Puppies for Obama
Los Angeles Animal Services has offered 2 black poodle puppies to Obama. They are hypoallergenic and are shelter dogs.
Can you imagine how many dogs' lives will be saved over the next few years as people want to do just as Obama has done? Tens of thousands.
I, and several other people have tried to contact various Obama sources to make this happen. Please, everyone use your own method to get to Obama to make it happen.
I have a very good contact number but don't want to post it because some people might use the number to try to poison Boks in Obama's eyes. This is far too important a life-saving opportunity for LA and shelter animals across the country to be ruined by someone who wants to attack Boks.
I will give those who want this number privately upon emailing me.
Long Article on Winograd
This is a long to a very long and negative article about Nathan. It is far too long for this blog.
My Opinion About TNR
There is a lot to be said for those who oppose TNR on moral grounds, i.e., feral cats live a short and sometimes brutal life and they deserve better. I think this is a universal wish by rescuers, and those of the general public that actually think about it--which are many.
We all wish they all had homes, but sometimes just the massiveness of the problem and the suffering makes all of us wonder whether we are not just chipping away at a granite mountain with a toothpick.
On the other hand, many who oppose TNR are those who just don't like cats or bird-types, or nature freak environmentalists that think native species are more important than cats, donkeys, wild horses, etc..
Lots of "experts" from CA Fish and Game provide lots of irrelevant data that supports their opinion that unhoused cats should be captured and killed.
They content TNR does not work because people dump their animals at colony locations.
They ignore the fact dumping will always take place whether there are colonies or not, and cats will always be getting lost. It is estimated that 5% of the housed cats become strays each year. TNR has to cope with that steady influx of animals as well as the non-sterilized cats already in the colonies.
Personally, I think the only real solution is to prohibit cat ownership. Those who already have homes can stay with their owners for life. Most people do not deserve to have cats, dogs, rabbits or turtles. They don't deserve to have children either.
TNR could continue on the unhoused cats, and the numbers of incoming cats would decrease each year, meaning TNR would become very effective.
I might say the same about dogs, rabbits, birds, turtles, etc.
Only special people should be allowed to have animals, but there is no way you can legislate certain people to have them and others not.
Why should so many animals suffer when only a smaller percentage of people (maybe 25%) can really afford to take care of their animals, and also have the heart to take care of and share a life with them.
A Time for Civil Disobedience?
County says Rancho Los Amigos cats
October 24, 2008
The colony of cats -- some feral, some friendly strays -- wandering the grounds near the old buildings on the campus of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center have stoked controversy for months. The cats have devoted caretakers -- they provide the food the felines above were snacking on in March -- and they have detractors, who said the cats were using the sand box of a nearby child-care center as a litter box and posing other health problems.
Los Angeles County, which owns the property, plans to raze the old buildings to make way for a high-tech data center. Early this year, county officials agreed to let a Downey nonprofit, Fail-Safe 4 Felines, embark on an ambitious project to trap and neuter the 150 or so cats and relocate them.
But, now, the county has decided the cats must go as soon as possible. For one thing, the trapping, neutering, and releasing approach didn't appear to be succeeding. The feline population count has gone up to 200, according to county officials. And in August, said county public health spokeswoman Sarah Kissell, "we found evidence of five new litters." Additionally, public health inspectors found fleas, flies and feces -- all associated with the cats -- near several buildings, including a children's day care center.
In a letter to the county, a public health official said feral cats had been associated with organisms that cause human diseases such as rabies and typhus.
"It's rare, but it has occurred," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. Fielding said the decision to tell the county to remove the cats immediately was seriously considered.
"We're all animal lovers," he said. "These aren't steps that are taken lightly."
"This is kids over cats, plain and simple," said Supervisor Don Knabe -- whose district includes the Rancho Los Amigos property -- in a statement. He has urged members of the public who want to help the cats to e-mail Animal Care and Control at email@example.com.
L.A. County's Department of Animal Care and Control will trap the cats and move them to its animal shelter in Downey. The shelter will assess the cats to see which can be adopted out. Feral cats -- which are extraordinarily difficult to incorporate into homes -- sometimes can be placed in barns and equestrian centers that have rat problems. (Ferals are great at making rats vanish from the premises.)
"We notified several of the feline groups about what we were doing and asked them to help us rather than fight us on this," said David Sommers, a spokesman for Knabe's office.
County Animal Care and Control officials said, in an Oct. 22 letter to the director of Fail-Safe 4 Felines, that the group had failed to meet its commitment to find homes for the cats. One of the affectionate ones is pictured right.
The group's director and founder, Sheranne Jaeger, told the Downey Patriot that her group had found homes for 30 of the cats. But the arrival of kitten season along with the irresponsible dumping of house cats kept the numbers from shrinking permanently, she contends. Jaeger told the Patriot, "if we hadn't been there, there would be thousands of cats. It takes everybody to solve this and euthanasia isn't the answer."
-- Carla Hall
I was in two similar situations in Santa Monica ten years ago.
Several colonies, contained 25-30 cats located along a 1/2 miles stretch of Palisades Park, and maintained by maybe six caretakers, were "inconvenienced" by the park being closed down, barrier twisted wire fences put up which blocked the caretakers from managing the colony, alone with no trespassing signs. Police cars went by every hour or so to make sure no one was in the park feeding the cats because the City wanted to get rid of them while they built their finest and greatest tourist amenity--a pristine park free of cats and wildlife.
They even used a defoliant to get rid of all the grasses and bushes that protected the cats.
I said "inconvenienced" because we decided to disobey the City. We cut holes in the fences, kept a keen eye for the cops, and continued feeding and caring. We moved the doghouse shelter a little further down the cliff slope where the defoliant had not reached.
This went on for a year or so.
One of the caretakers was arrested for trespassing, but when she went to court and the judge heard she had been trespassing to care take 7 cats, the judge commended her for her actions and angrily denounced the City for its actions. The cats were not in a location where they created a nuisance, and they were going under the fence to cross Ocean Ave to get food and their lives were endangered.
After that, we were less worried about the cops, and instead of coming in at 5 a.m. in the morning and 10 p.m at night, we were able to in later in the a.m. and earlier in the p.m.
This is civil disobedience.
I know many of you out there do the same thing. Bravo!!
I am not advocating civil disobedience in this situation, but I am telling you about acts of civil disobedience that have occurred elsewhere.
By the way, the head of County Health who justifies the trapping and killing of these cats is Jonathan Fielding, who also supported killing hundreds of California Ground Squirrels in that same SM park three years ago.
He said the squirrels might some day carry bubonic plague or rabies. He justified his actions by saying his vector control people knew what they were doing because they had 35 years of combined experience.
They killed them despite that fact there was no ordinance to support their killing, only their opinion they constituted a vague threat in the future.
This is Fileding's email address:
Let Jonathan know that we will oppose trapping and killing of feral cats whereever the County chooses to take such an action.
No more Jonathan!
TNR-Gate; the Arrogant Timidity of City Hall
There are any number of complex reasons LA does not have a City-wide TNR policy, and among those include legal thinking deeming "feral" cats as both "wildlife" and as pets at the same time.
If they are considered wildlife, you cannot feed them; if they are considered house cats (felis Domesticus), feral or not, you cannot have more than three on any property without a license, although if you read M.C. 53.50, it is obvious that kennel refers to a business and not a private resident having four cats.
Another 53* ordinance forbids allowing owned or controlled animals to wander onto public property--UNLESS THEY ARE CATS. Their legal eagles think this ordinance has to be changed too in order to support TNR.
Then too is the issue of ownership. You own a cat if you feed it on your property for 30 days. If it is an owned cat you are obligated to take care of it with food, water, shelter. Nowhere does anyone a distinction between owning a feral cat or a house cat.
Animal Services goes further and requires medical care.
(It is another issue altogether whether anyone, including a caretaker, owns the ferals or strays they feed on public property or in supermarket parking lot.)
However, then if you have more than three "feral" or stray cats in this way, you violate the kennel law, 53.50 even though you are not keeping them for commercial purposes. If you read 53.50, it is clear that is the ordinance is for the purpose of controlling business use, not as a club to be used against old ladies or Ron Mason.
Then if forced by Animal Services to stop feeding them because either they are considered wildlife, or because should be starved out to prevent congregating in one place creating a nuisance as Office Munez of the ACTF told me, then you are committing either animal neglect or animal abandonment if they fall into the category of "dog" or "cat" as commonly used in the state Penal Code.
In any event, the lawsuit I posted yesterday by the environmental groups has led the City Attorney to deem it necessary that all of these laws be changed to specifically allow TNR as a City policy--all of them. This requires a CEQA study.
The City (i.e., the Dolt) has determined that as part of a CEQA study, the City has to study a certain number of feral colonies to see if proper TNR management causes a decrease in colony numbers.
Of course, such a study would take years, which means the CEQA would take years, which means TNR would take years.
I was told by someone in the Mayor's Office that all this had been determined by a gaggle of TNR activists and city attorneys.
The City has to go to court regarding TNR and the lawsuit, and their own attorneys have required them to play chicken so as not to give the plaintiff's such as the Audubon Society "any ammunition."
I really don't know what that means, although it does appear to mean that the City will claim it is enforcing all the above codes (Article 3, sections 53.00 and on) including on private TNR controlled colonies, even though the ordinances do not apply to feral cats except by an incredible stretch of the imagination. None of this has been court tested.
However, this tactic seems directed to pretend the City has never broken any of these stretched definition laws itself, nor encouraged TNR in any way--which they have and did.
However, they have now gone a step further, bending even more over backward, and LAAS personnel have been told to go after colonies and caretakers, so as to show the City is not ignoring the no-TNR laws, WHICH REALLY ARE NOT ANTI-TNR LAWS AND DON'T APPLY!! This directive is tantamount ro admitting the City feels those laws cover private TNR caretaking.
(LAAS has been directed not only to stop advertising TNR, but also not to help in any TNR efforts, and possibly not give out TNR S/N certificates.
ALSO, I have been told that LAAS and the ACTF will actively go after caretakers if there is a complaint, because the lawsuit has already suggested that the City is not enforcing against private TNR groups as part of their pro TNR stance. This gives Officer Munez his justification to go after 84 year old cat ladies.
I have been told no amateur is capable of grasping the broad implications and great stretch of logical thinking that has already taken place on these issues by the professional city bureaucrats and their lawyers that actually do the work. Really, this is what I was told.
I asked why is the lawsuit not merely challenged as saying the multiple 53 ordinances do not apply to private feeding of feral cats, although two of them WOULD apply to passing a Citywide official TNR ordinance allowing it. The answer was, basically, the bureaucrats and lawyers know as opposed to blogging critics and other amateurs.
If you want, given time I can lead all of you through the various steps of the lawsuit, the principals, and the legal reasoning as well as the procedural laws applying in this kind of lawsuit.
However, this would take some heavy work on my part and I am loathe to do it unless there is a great outcry for this information.
The first step would be for you, who are interested, to read the lawsuit and ponder the bull involved.
Then read the entire Municipal Code, Section 3, article 53.00 onwards. Then tell me if you are interested and I will dig deeper.
Municipal Codes Involved:
What bothers me is the utter arrogance of the Mayor's Office that the public and critics are not capable of following all the deep logical and legal thinking done by their own bureaucrats and lawsuit-intolerant city attorneys.
I was even asked for the Latin name for feral cat as opposed to felis Domesticus, applied to the domesticated cat. I am sure this was sarcasm, and in response I could ask whether he thought that a cat changed species once it was outside the house for a few months.
Apparently this rational and educated bureaucrat thought "feral" meant the same thing as "wild."
Lori Golden Talks to Cardenas About Feral-Feeders and TNR
For what it's worth, I gave a copy of your post re: Munoz and the Animal Cruelty Task Force to Councilman Tony Cardenas last night at the Stray Cat Alliance event.
I gave it to him because he was one of the people behind the creation of the ACTF. I explained to him what has been going on re the people who feed the feral cats - I told him to look around the room - that it was filled with those very people, many of them little old ladies who, at great expense to themselves, feed and trap and pay to have those cats s/n.
I said that while I know the City does not have an official TNR policy because of environmental concerns, someone needs to call off the ACTF and LAAS - and basically tell them not to threaten these feral cat colony caretakers - that they fear for their safety and their lives.
Cardenas listened to me and took the piece of paper I gave him.... and hopefully, after he saw the story of an 85 year old lady who goes out every night to feed multitudes of cats at this event... he will read what I gave him and find some way to do something about it. Perhaps some urging from your readers to Tony Cardenas might illuminate this issue even more to him, especially since he was given an award from the Stray Cat Alliance last night.
The Pet Press
It is certainly not going to hurt to contact Carenas, although given the City Attorney's gutlessness, I don't think Tony can do much.
Fax: (818) 778-4998