ACTF Policy Is To Go After Feral Colonies

A week ago this past Monday, I talked to an officer Munez who identified himself as being ACTF. I know this is true because I called the ACTF number and he identified himself as such.

I have not posted this before as I wanted others and the media to contact him about ACTF policy before his superiors told him to shut up.

I was calling because someone told me about a cat torturing here in the Valley.

Munez told me no one reported it.

I said I was reporting it because the people who saw the cat afterwards and took it to a vet, were feral cat people who didn't want LAAS or the ACTF to know they existed; that is, they were afraid of his task force and animal control.

His surprising response was they that had a right to be scared, as feral cat "hoarders" and feral colonies were THEIR BIGGEST PROBLEM, and that they did actively go after feeders and hoarders.

In other words, Madow and Mason are not isolated cases but part of a general policy. This is at complete odds with Boks stated proposal to make TNR the accepted City policy, and also at odds with the official policy of a number of major cities, including New York.

Munez said TNR does not work because it attracts other cats, possum, raccoons, etc., and they offend residents. He asked me how would I feel if someone next door had 50 cats.

He never showed any sympathy for the plight of the cats, but only for the irritation they may cause some residents near a colony. (Anyone who has maintained a colony knows there is always someone within a couple of hundred feet who will complain, harass or report a colony "nuisance" to Animal Services.)

He said The only proper way to treat the feeders was to ban feeding, and the cats will go away!

I asked, "Where would they go? Tijuana?" His response was they would disperse and not be a "problem" in any specific area.

Of course, logically, if anyone feeds any of those dispersed cats, they are being just like the feeders that caused colonies to originate before. That is, new colonies would start up somewhere else involving other people and the same or other cats.

The ACTF policy is in 180 degree opposition to Boks stated pro TNR policy, and is absolutely clueless regarding how to treat animals: starve them out!

By the way, Munez said there was nothing that could be done about the cat torturing without a body!! He said they needed exidence that a torturing occurred and definitely seeing the body. As the torturing had happened two weeks before, there was no body.

The body was found at a specific address but he refused to investigate in any way without the body.

So, in summary, the ACTF goes after people who have "too many cats," or who maintain a feral colony, but they do not investigate animal torturing. Go figure.



Anonymous said...

Then why doesn't the ACTF go after the feral colonies the city made at the police station, flower market, cabrillo beach and other areas? The ACTF should go arrest Ed Boks for setting up those colonies.

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. The ACTF was established to go after dog and cock fighting. You know, the people with weaponry that LAAS cannot go after alone.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean to tell me that LAPD armed officers are going after little old ladies that sterilize and feed feral cats?

Where's Debbie Knaan in all of this? Doesn't she "coordinate" prosecution?


Anonymous said...

Maybe they should go after people that dish out soup to homeless people downtown.

If you stop feeding them, they'll go away.

Anonymous said...

So do I understand this correctly...

that according to the Animal Cruelty Task Force, its considered animal cruelty to feed and care for animals but not if you win their trust by feeding and caring for them and then suddenly stop feeding and caring for them?

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

The Animal Cruelty Task Force is guilty of animal cruelty!

Anonymous said...

LA ACO thinks all feral colonies should be eradicated.

Anonymous said...

I was there when they formed the animal cruelty task force. I have the original documents.No where in there does it say it will go after feral cat feeders. The documents say they will go after dog and cock fighting. Here is copy paste of the document.

Motion - In Los Angeles today, police officers are asked to navigate a gamut of diverse cultures, languages and beliefs to serve the 3.8 million people that reside in our metropolis. Within this mosaic, however, is a large population in need of protection that is often overlooked; the city's animals. L.A. Animal Services houses and cares for lost and abandoned animals in its six shelters located throughout the City, enforces animal-related laws, and acts to prevent cruelty to animals. Currently, Animal Services law enforcement is limited to taking of animal cruelty complaints, animal traps, barking dog problems, dangerous and sick or injured animal. It is believed that Los Angeles is the country's only large municipality that does not have a dedicated unit solely devoted to investigating some of the thousands of crimes that are reported each year against Los Angeles' animal population. Cases include the infiltration and destruction of dog fighting rings, the closing down of cockfighting facilities, and the arrests of perpetrators who are starving and abusing their animals. THEREFORE MOVE that Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Animal Services report to the Public Safety Committee on resources necessary to dedicate a unit to investigate these crimes. This report should include information on whether there are grants available for such a program. FURTHER MOVE that Los Angeles Police Department and Animal Services report on how these crimes are currently being handled without a dedicated unit.

Anonymous said...

The ACTF would prefer to go after little old ladies feeding cats than criminal dog and cock fighters with weapons, drugs. I think that's why they are going after feeders; it's safer and easier.

Anonymous said...

So ultimately, the Public Safety Committee is driving ACTF to take action against those who care and feed ferals?

But based on Munez's response to you on the phone Ed, either Munez is convinced the current course of action is the correct one or he's just telling you what he's supposed to. I don't think the later though, because otherwise he might have added, "we are required to..." or "officially speaking...". I think that's what I would've said if I were answering to Public Safety and I was directed to take this course of action.

I'm not excusing them from running around putting out spot-fires (going after complaint driven problems regarding feral cats because its easier to deal with and scores points with whoever they need to score points with) when they should be going after ACTUAL animal cruelty problems. I'm sure there's plenty of them to find in LA City, way more than they can probably handle (due to staffing; not trying to imply they aren't capable).

Granted, its probably more difficult to bust and convict an animal cruelty case over a hoarding case and even more difficult than it is to bust and convict a colony caretaker, but reducing ACTUAL animal cruelty is what we expect them to be doing. And regardless of what Public Safety has instructed them to do, isn't Public Safety working for us?

What are ACTF's policy and procedures? Would they basically be the same as Animal Services since both departments (not sure if that's the right term) report to Public Safety? And when instructed to do something outside of the scope of work (as in going after colony caretakers because of numerous complaints made by neighbors), couldn't they defer the problem to Animal Services?

And supposedly, Animal Services supports TNR as a solution to putting out THE FIRE rather than putting out spot-fires.

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

I like your points Brad. I think the confusion is that the ACTF is LAAS and LAPD. I think there was a tug of war as to which department has more say over their activities. I also recall that LAPD and LAAS do not always have a real warm and fuzzy relationship. I think LAPD sees LAAS as "wanne be" police officers.

Anonymous said...

I believe Ed Boks supports TNR - not LAAS (at least not officially) because there is no official policy. We've already seen how LAAS deals with feral cat colonies and their caregivers - (witness Ron Mason and Marc Madow) - they tell everyone to stop feeding the cats and giving them water, otherwise those cats are considered their's. It's pretty ridiculous, actually!

Anonymous said...

Well, I know I've seen that side of ACO's too, where they come off like "wannabe" PD Officers but those types of personalities are found in all walks of life and with respect to the ACTF, those personalities are probably a little more prevelant. Just like a lot of security guards are cool but still take their jobs seriously and then there's always those handful of security guards who think they're protecting national secrets or something.

The HSUS tries to educate those in animal control to work with the PD... in a cooperative manner. Like if the PD has a situation where they need help from animal control then ACO's should do their best to respond as quickly as possible, and visa versa.

So, who has more say over activties would depend on who is calling on who for help wouldn't it?

Generally, if the PD calls animal control for help in a situation then the PD would have more say over activities and if animal control calls the PD for help in a situation then animal control would have more say over activities. Generally speaking that is. Probably a few (legal) gray areas.

So which department is the driving force behind busting up feral colonies? I still think its Public Health.

I know that Ed Boks, Animal Services and the Animal Services Commission generally support TNR but as anomymous #12 pointed out, not officially. Maybe if they could get a TNR program launched it would be considered "official"? But of course that depends on whether they can do an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and get CEQA clearance.

This I'm confused about though,

Why does LAAS need to do an EIA and get CEQA clearance? An EIA is the assessment of the possible impact that a program/project might have on the natural environment. In most LA City cases with respect to dealing with feral cats and TNR, the environment is a built environment and not natural at all.

Brad Jensen


Ed Muzika said...

I have never been clear about ACTF actual vs suposed functioning. I don't know who thought up the Mason raid, led by the ACTF except that LAAS knew about him.

So who planned the big raid, Police, LAAS, ACTF, County Health, TV footage and 40 people or such? This was a massive effort coordinating many departments.

Was Ed in charge? If so, is he in charge of ACTF? If he is, there are serious communication problems.

Ed backs TNR, but Munez says TNR is no good and colonies are no good. Cruelty is o.k. if you cannot find a body.

The City is being forced into a CEQA effort because of being sued by environmental groups who don't want feral cats, like the various bird societies and those who claim cat urine causes sea lions to die.

The City needed actual colonies to study to do CEQA. Itelligently, no feeder colony manager wanted the City to know where their colonies are.

Sometime I'll post the complex data I have.

My concern is who says ACTF has to go after colonies?

There is no code anywhere that says feral colonies and their feeders are to be gone after, yet some claim this is the reason ACTF does what they do: enforce non-existent laws.

There is no ordinance, law, etc., that says you cannot feed street cats or dogs. If you do it on your property, then you own them and the kennel law 5150 applies.

You see, it doens't matter what the law says, the reality is determined by those with the most power, best lawyers, biggest special interest groups.

Ferla cat colonies and feeders have very, very few lawyers behind them.

Anonymous said...

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.

Lori Golden
The Pet Press