Complaint Sent to Green's Superior

Dear Judge McCoy,

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,

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


Anonymous said...

If Ron was committing a crime then why does the L.A. Municipal Code, 53.69, c. say "The Department may also waive fees under Subsections (a) and (b) for any PERSON (my caps) 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."

Not only was Ron NOT breaking the law by trapping, neutering and returning the cats, the city actually has laws in place to waive cage rental fees -- on cages LAAS provides -- for people doing what Ron was doing.

Do these people even read the laws we pay them to (apparently never) enforce? And honest to God, why are incompetents like Ed Boks and Antonio Villaraigosa even allowed to walk around without keepers, much less to take home hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars doing nothing but crapping on the rights and lives of the citizens of Los Angeles?

Kelley said...

Let us know if you even get an answer.

Anonymous said...

My letter to Judge McCoy:

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,

[Name witheld online]