Cat killed by city employees paid to protect him

Kate Woodviolet

Didier in 2006. Once a stray on his own, Didier found a loving home with Melissa Kenady  Photo: Vanda Krefft
Melissa Kenady's job requires her to travel, a fact that didn't bother her beloved senior cat Didier.  "Didier came over the back wall of my garden fifteen years ago. He wasn't feral, but young and very shy. I started feeding him, coaxing him closer to the house every few days. Finally, he was eating in the kitchen regularly with the back door open, so one day I waited until he finished his food, then picked him up and cuddled him. He started purring loudly and relaxed onto my lap. He never failed to purr whenever I petted or held him from that day on."
"Later, when I adopted a feral pair of cats, a brother and sister, they thought Didier was their dad -- and they loved to groom him. When the male, Noa, died of a blood clot Didier howled so loudly and insistently I rushed him to the vet even though I was pretty sure what ailed him was grief, which turned out to be the case."
Even after fifteen years the now-geriatric Didier remained an affectionate companion. "Although he'd grown older and thinner, when he sat on my lap every evening he purred just as loudly as the day I first held him."
Whenever her job as a sales rep took her out of town, Kenady made sure Didier had everything he needed, including doting pet sitters who knew his special health needs, and who took the extra time to cuddle with him. Kenady even made sure that, as a former stray cat who loved basking the sunshine, he had access to her small garden.
Like many seniors, Didier had age-related health issues that Kenady was careful to monitor. Diagnosed years earlier with irritable bowel disease, though he ate with gusto he had trouble keeping weight on. When Kenady was out of town she had several experienced pet sitters who looked in on him, including longtime friend Vanda Krefft, who came by to spend time with Didier last June when Kenady was in Chicago.
Krefft says, "I knew Didier well. On Saturday, June 13, I stopped by Melissa’s house to spend time with him. For a couple of hours he sat on my lap purring as I read a book; I fed him several helpings of wet food, which he ate heartily. He was energetic, bright-eyed, alert, and clearly enjoying his life -- for instance, he had no difficulty jumping up onto the chair to sit in my lap and he responded contentedly to being petted."
The one thing Melissa Kenady couldn't safeguard Didier from was the agency whose job it was to protect him.
On June 15th, 2009, while Kenady was on a business trip to Chicago, Didier uncharacteristically wandered out of his garden and into the yard of a neighbor who'd never met him. The neighbor mistook his frail appearance, often typical of a cat of Didier's advanced age, for sickness. She called L.A. Animal Services (LAAS) to come pick him up. The worker who answered the phone told 
her that since the cat was old it would be better to leave him on the streets as he "would not get a chance to be adopted.” But the neighbor was concerned for his safety, so she took him in to the West L.A. City shelter on Pico Blvd. They assured her that despite his age the cat would be safe in their care, at least through June 19th (although the law in fact requires that lost animals be held for four business days in addition to the day of impound). Shelter staff even posed Didier for an intake picture with a backdrop of American flags and a "Blue's Clues" doll. Kenady's neighbor left feeling reassured, especially since she says, "the lady at the shelter agreed with me that he was someone’s pet."
Eighty-six minutes later, according to L.A. Animal Services records, Didier was dead.

Photo of Didier by L.A. Animal Services less than ninety minutes before he was killed
A law designed to protect lost pets
On June 16th Melissa Kenady got a call from a friend that her neighbor had taken a cat matching Didier's description to the shelter. Kenady immediately called Krefft, asking her to go to the shelter and investigate.
Says Krefft, "I arrived around 1:30 and gave the ID number to the man behind the desk. He pulled up the file on his computer and said they had euthanized that cat already. He showed me the picture and I felt as if someone had punched me hard in the heart. It was Didier."
Krefft, who knew the law requires that lost pets be held for four days, says, "I asked him how this could possibly happen?"
She says although the worker behind the counter was sympathetic, when he called a veterinary technician to explain what had happened, the vet tech became hostile, yelling at her that the cat was thin and "it was cruel" to keep him alive. Krefft, who had seen Didier just three days earlier, content and eating heartily, was dumbstruck.
"While he was shouting at me, I got Melissa on the phone, handed the phone to him, and asked him to please explain to her what had happened. He spoke for a moment or two, then in mid-conversation handed the phone back to me with a look of disgust on his face, saying he couldn’t talk to Melissa because she was so upset."
Says Krefft, "I asked the man behind the desk to please give me a photo that I could show Melissa. He looked stricken with remorse that someone had lost their beloved pet and printed out Didier’s photo and information.
"I went outside to the parking lot, and while Melissa and I were talking, a young Hispanic woman came out and snatched the paper out of my hand. She said, 'You’re not supposed to have that.'"
Krefft says, "I went back to ask for a copy because I felt that the least Melissa deserved during this ordeal was certainty. The man behind the desk said he couldn’t give me the whole form, but he kindly printed out the photo of Didier. I kept asking him why Didier hadn’t simply been held for the few days the law provides. He said he didn’t know and again called out someone else from the back.
"The second man who came out — another vet tech, I assume — had a gentler, more sympathetic manner. However, his explanation also made no sense. He said 'the cat' had been thin, and 'nobody would adopt him.' That last comment struck me as very odd, because I thought adoptability wasn’t supposed to be a concern at that point in the process. I thought the law required the shelter to 
maintain a lost pet for four days to give the owner a reasonable chance of finding him. But Didier hadn't even been given twenty-four hours. He hadn’t gotten what he deserved."
Since 1998 California's shelter animal protection law, known as the Hayden Act, has mandated that lost and stray animals brought into shelters be held for a minimum of four days plus the day of impound, giving owners an opportunity to recover lost pets. The law explicitly states that the only exception to this rule is in cases where an animal is "irremediably suffering," a condition defined by the Superior Court in January, 2009 as: "An animal with a medical condition who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting pain despite necessary veterinary care."
Dr. Annie Hernandez, a Santa Monica-based veterinarian, says issues that would constitute irremediable suffering include, "trauma or severe wounds, severe infection, respiratory compromise, severe neurologic compromise such as spine or brain lesions. In addition, an animal who was completely non-responsive or in fulminant cardio-pulmonary arrest would constitute a very poor to grave prognosis."
The L.A. Animal services picture taken of Didier at the time of impound shows a cat who, while thin and obviously a senior, is alert and does not appear to be in any visible pain or distress. He shows no evidence of injury or respiratory issues, which could be indicated by nasal discharge or open-mouthed breathing.
The Hayden Act clearly states that "shelters should be required by law to take in lost animals and properly care for them with prompt veterinary care, adequate nutrition, shelter, exercise, and water."  It goes on to reiterate that "no treatable animal should be euthanized."
But when Kenady tried to find answers as to why her beloved pet was killed, seemingly without regard for the law, she found herself the target of threats from the very people who should have protected him.
Part 2: Accountability proves elusive in the wake of the L.A. Animal Services killing of pet cat Didier 
(Go to link above to read the rest of the article)


Anonymous said...

All my cats have microchips. That way if they get accidentally get outside (I always keep them in) I will be contacted immediately. Sounds to me if this kitty was really that thin and old and had no microchip it was the fault of the owner not the shelter that Didier was put to sleep. It is sad though.

Susan said...

@Anonymous: NOT the fault of the shelter that they did not obey the law? What are you smoking? Yes, a microchip MIGHT have thrown a wrench in the process of killing Didier, but the SHELTER was the wrongdoer, 100%, for not observing state law regarding holding animals for at least four days. Shelter employees disregarded state law and a loved, cared-for pet was wrongfully killed. Period.

Anonymous said...

The previous comment blames the owner which is blatantly absurd. What if the cat had a chip that malfunctioned? So that means a death sentence? Next time you are unconscious in a hospital,
and can't identify yourself, how would you feel if they euthanized you after 90 min? And what about the law that requires at least 4 days delay? And what about the blatant dishonesty of the shelter?
I hope the owner sues the sh*t
out of them, although that could
never bring back her beloved pet.

Anonymous said...

The other thing to keep in mind is that she got the cat fifteen years ago. I don't know if microchips were around then, but they certainly weren't as widely used as they are now.

I'm a conscientious pet owner, but I got a cat in 1990 who died in 2005 and I don't remember if I ever got him microchipped. Maybe I did, but I'd had him for so long before I'd ever heard of microchips it's quite possible I never got it done. All my animals are chipped now, but I got them much later. Plus I got most of them from L.A. city shelters, so they came chipped.

The shelter was completely at fault. They flat-out told two different people that they evaluate an animal's "adoptability" during a period when the law says the animal is to be held, PERIOD, unless the animal is irremediably suffering, which this cat wasn't.

I think they couldn't be bothered to give him fluids, so they killed him. It's quicker.

Anonymous said...

I was a volunteer at the shelter for many years. Generally if a pet looked cared for, had a collar, old chip, tag, any sign of ownership, they'd keep it even longer than the Hayden requirements.

Generally West LA shelter is pretty good. They don't get too overcrowded. If a cat is friendly, we assume an owner. That cat sat for its photo. Feral cats do not. It looks clean, not flea infested, chewed up. Because it's thin, older, I'd assume an owner for sure. I've picked up stray old cats and they look like crap and won't sit for a photo.

I think the issue was that the cat came in during the peak of kitten season. They were busy. I think the vet made the call to euth the animal. I don't think a vet tech can make that call. I think the vet was tired of treating so many cats and just said "sick/old" euthanize. He didn't think that the cat had an owner who'd come looking for the cat.

Obviously, a huge mistake was made. I'm so sorry for the cat, owner and pet sitter. I'd be going crazy if that happened to my cat. My cats are chipped. If my old cat ended up at the shelter, I'm sure they'd euth him too. He's old, skinny and doesn't smell too good but he is happy and loving life still. Maybe I'll put a collar on him too, attached to a big heavy rock so he can't wander off.

Anonymous said...

First poster must work at the shelter. No pet owner would say that.

There was an old collie dog in New York. He just had a bath so his collar was off while he dried. He wandered out the back door at 6:30 a.m. The owners instantly noticed him missing and went looking for him. They went to the NYCACC shelter at 7:00 a.m. to look for him. They were told he was just euthanized because he was old and didn't want to walk. He was actually just scared to death and had arthritis. The shelter didn't even open until 7:30 a.m. They didn't even wait until the shelter opened to kill him. They must wait 72 horus in NY but didn't. Here is that story

Anonymous said...

Next time I go on vacation I think I'll let my 94 year old grandma with beginning demensia fend for herself. Just put a nice bench out on the patio and have someone stop by once a day and bring her a meal. COME OFF IT PEOPLE if you care about your senior cat you don't allow it outside unattended intentionaly. Cats can climb fences if they dont have tops on them.

OK this lady never heard of microchips, that's possible. What about collars and nametags? That ain't exactly new-fangled technology.

Anonymous said...

Poster #7 -- I think you're missing the point here. There is a LAW. The law exists to govern shelters. The Hayden Act wasn't enacted to make sure I don't kill a cat, but to tell shelters they MAY NOT kill a lost pet during the mandated holding period for any reason other than the animal is irremediably suffering. This cat was not.

Either the vet at the shelter didn't know the law or didn't think s/he was bound by it. Either way, that vet should be fired.

And in fact many people who allow their cats outside don't put collars on their cats because of the fear that it may snag on something and strangle the cat. No doubt if that had happened to Didier you would have blamed the owner too.

And no doubt if he'd been superglued to a boulder he wouldn't have gone anywhere. Except the fact is maybe he would. The cat didn't get on a Greyhound bus to Poughkeepsie, he wandered a couple of houses down the street. Things happen, pets get lost. That's why there is a LAW that says the animal goes to a shelter and the shelter HOLDS the animal for four days. That's why shelters exist. They have a job and they screwed up.

The vet should be fired, as should the tech who yelled at a member at the public, and the staffer who physically snatched paperwork out of someone's hand. We pay these people to provide a legally mandated service and they didn't do it.

That's all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

Blaming the victim(s) for the illegal actions of staff is akin to blaming a rape victim for what she wore.

Anonymous said...

"Blaming the victim(s) for the illegal actions of staff is akin to blaming a rape victim for what she wore."

Worth repeating. Thanks!

Brad Jensen

No vacations for me.... said...

I never go on vacation and leave my babies behind. I want to know where my babies are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; every single one of them.

Anonymous said...


She wasn't on vacation. Her job is as a sales rep and she occasionally has to go out of town. The story made clear that she had pet sitters who came and stayed with this cat at length. Would you prefer she quit her job? Of course then there would be that small issue of being able to afford cat food.

If you're going to criticize, please read the story...including ALL the words.

Anonymous said...

#11, do you never leave your house ever? People do need to leave their house every once in a while for work, buying food. Don't criticize the person for going to work.

I love this site said...

Nope (#12 and #13). Don't leave the house. Ever. I'm pinned to the computer all day reading the stories on LA Animal Watch because they are interesting, educational, and sometimes fun. I actually sit by the computer without eating or sleeping and wait for the next story to come out. That's how much I enjoy reading LA Animal Watch. It's my favorite website. I feel sorry for the tuxedo. He was cute. Looks like a very nice cat. He is also the thinnest cat I have ever seen, and I have seen some elderly cats with kidney failure at one time or another. My friend has kidney failure and she is rail thin, much like this tuxedo guy.

I think it's a good idea to read ALL the words. I'll do that next time rather than paying more attention to the nice pictures that come up on this blog. I like the pictures and the funny jokes and the funny sarcastic exchange between some folks.

The part about reading ALL the words made me laugh. It's so like me to skip through ALL or most of the words. Your elemtary school advice is much appreciated. I like this site.

Anonymous said...

I've seen thinner cats than Didier. But I guess the point is that you can still be a skinny super-senior cat and not be irremediably suffering.

Read the Court's definition of irremediable suffering. It not only details what DOES qualify as IR, it discusses at length what doesn't qualify. And being emaciated and dehydrated doesn't make either list, most likely because no one qualified would ever look at a skinny, dehydrated geriatric cat and think "Now that cat needs to die."

Most normal people would think, "Now that cat could use a meal." Just not anyone at LAAS, apparently.

re: IR said...

Oh, that's just terrible. I have seen the light, #15!

Of course the first thing we would think about if we saw such a super-skinny, super-senior is to want very much to feed him. I also was not aware that there was a court's definition for IR, what qualifies, and what does not.

Could you educate some more and post the court's definition?

Anonymous said...

As a vet, I can tell by the photo that Didier was one sick cat! His third eyelids are clearly visible. This is a sign of severe illness. Any vet should have picked up on this. Any responsible owner would have taken his to a vet, not gone out of town and left him with a sitter. A responsible pet owner also would not let her cat outside. At the very least, she should have put a collar on the cat and had him microchipped. Introducing your pet to your neighbors in case he gets out is also a pretty basic owner responsibility. Choosing a reliable pet sitter is another basic owner responsibility. It's hard to say but maybe this woman is not ready for pets. A houseplant might be a better idea.

Anonymous said...

People, stop blaming the shelter and stop relying on a law that is meant to protect responsible pet owners. This owner did not take proper care of her cat, left her cat with an irresponsible sitter, DID NOT EVEN HAVE AN ID COLLAR FOR HER "BELOVED" PET, did not microchip her cat, did not make her back yard safe for a cat if she was going to let him out, apparently (from all the words in the article) leaves her old and sick cat all the time to travel for work, and just wants someone else to blame. No sympathy, except for the poor departed cat.

Anonymous said...

NEWS FLASH: This pet owner is the manager of Friends of Animals Foundation in West Los Angeles. She cannot even take care of her own cat and she is entrusted with a shelter full of pets! And the Foundation won't let you adopt a cat unless you promise TO KEEP IT INSIDE AT ALL TIMES!

Anonymous said...

Notes to the author
1. Take a class in grammer and punctuation
2. Journalists don't ask leading questions (look into it)
3. There's a big difference between an article and an editorial
4. Printing your subject questions in your article is L-A-Z-Y
5. If you reference a court case, you must give the citation (look into it)
6. Continually repeating the same phrase might be effective in a song but not in an article

Anonymous said...

Maybe the author of the article should not be allowed to post comments. Conflict of interest?

Ed Muzika said...

There is no excuse for killing the cat an hour after being impounded. It is against the law. It was obviously a pet. The Hayden law is there to give owners time to recover their lost pets.

These last five posts sound like LAAS employees. Were any blood tests taken at the time of impound, or was the judgement to kill based solely on appearance?

Tests would have shown organ failure.

Anonymous said...

Wow, there are a lot of assumptions here.

First, to the person who says s/he is a vet, if you don't know the difference between aging, sickness and irremediable suffering as defined by law then you need to get out of the business. I certainly hope people aren't trusting you with the decision as to when their animals need to be euthanized. One glimpse of nictitating membrane and your poor patients are toast.

Also, your opinion that a "responsible" pet owner would not allow a cat outside is just that: your opinion. I believe many cat owners who don't allow their cats outside feel ambivalent at best, guilty at worst because cats are meant to roam and we feel like it's too dangerous these days to allow that.

Many other people feel it's cruel to confine cats. I have cats and I feel bad about keeping them inside. But you're right of course, since as an indoor/outdoor cat Didier only lived to be seventeen.

Also, though you would have no way of knowing the qualifications of the pet sitters in this case, and thus no basis for judging, I do know one of them and she's a vet tech. Did you perhaps require a Justice on the Supreme Court?

This cat didn't die prematurely because of anything but a failure on the part of WLA shelter and vet staff to follow the law. Flinging judgments at everybody but LAAS staff is an attempt to create a smokescreen. I wonder who would have a motive to do that.

Also, if someone is going to offer writing tips they should spell "grammar" correctly when doing it.

Anonymous said...

It kind of looks like Dr. Feldman isn't so shy about commenting when he can be anonymous.

Chickensh**. Makes me sick that we pay this guy's salary. I wouldn't trust HIM with a houseplant.

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see so many apologists for such a bad pet owner. The pets of the world deserve better. If you search your souls, you know that the cat looks very sick from his picture and that the article shows an owner who didn't care much for her cat (travelled a lot/let her cat outside/didn't get him regular vet treatment/left him with irresponsible people/came home the day AFTER he was put down/etc., etc., etc.).

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else on board to picket the Friends of Animals Foundation at 2336 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064 where the cat owner in the article works as the manager of the animal shelter that requires anyone who wants to adopt to promise to keep the cat indoors?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm in! When?

Ed Muzika said...

A whole bunch of comments have come in attacking the cat's owner signed anonymous, or Carlton or Leviathon, just like the three attacks just before this comment. All 8 come from the same computer, which is someone with a Roadrunner account. I could spend $5 to find out who you are, but I won't.

Originating IP:

That is, they are all one person:

Here is some more of these remarks I am not posting because it is a fraud. It appears someone in Animal Services is rattled:

Irresponsible pet owners should not be glorified in the press. It sounds like the author is a friend of the owner. Very professional - not!
Publish Reject
(Anonymous) 8:47 PM

Please stop vilifying the city shelter. They are understaffed, overwhelmed, and doing their best to aid, protect, shelter, feed, clean, medicate, document, and generally care for these animals.
Publish Reject
(Shelly Leviathon) 8:44 PM

The owner of this cat should be charged with California Penal Code section 597f,597.1: “Every owner, driver, or possessor of any animal, who permits the animal to…be without proper care and attention, shall, on conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Publish Reject
(Shelton Carlton) 8:41 PM

Me, too. Let's organize. This woman should not be working around animals.
Publish Reject
(Anonymous) 8:28 PM

I'm definitely up for picketing the cat rescue where this owner works, please let me know when! It is a travesty what this woman put her cat through.

Anonymous said...

So it seems someone who works for the city is riled and scared but that doesn't change anything.

This cat wasn't irremediably suffering, he was 17 years old. But the law doesn't allow city vets to kill a cat because he's old, or thin, or because his third eyelid is showing. Irremediable suffering is all she wrote. The shelter broke the law, the proof's there and no amount of half-wit personal attacks is going to change that.

Allowing a cat access to the outdoors is NOT illegal, and only someone who has a city-employed butt to protect would say otherwise. If you work for the city maybe you should know what the law is. Allowing a cat to be indoor-outdoor is not abuse, neither is working for a living and making arrangements for the care and feeding of your animals while you're gone.

I'm betting the goofball who makes the pet-sitter argument has never even had a pet. You don't really know what pet sitters do, do you?

Whoever you are, you might want to keep in mind that emails can be traced and that libel is libel. If Ed Boks can be humiliated in a City Council meeting for going after his enemies over the Internet so can you.

You're not going to make it better by attacking the victim. Wasn't killing a defenseless elderly cat enough for you?

So Sad said...

Goodness, please let's leave poor little Didier to rest now. Ok? How about it? His circumstances are so very sad. : (

Anonymous said...

This is about respecting what happened to Dedier and making sure it does not happen again. That is proper respect for the cat, that his death was not in taken lightly. WLA shelter broke the law. There should be consequences.

Anonymous said...

If we leave Didier to rest he's going to have lots of company whenever shelter staff decide that, in their opinions, a cat,or dog, bird, rabbit, etc. isn't adoptable, no matter what the law says.

The law gave Didier four days plus the day of impound. West L.A. gave him 86 minutes then they killed him. They didn't give him the vet care the law requires. They won't even tell anyone if they fed him. If they thought the law applied to them they would have lied and said they fed him. But they either don't know or don't care that the law requires that they feed him. The law requires that he gets vet care.

If we let Didier rest in peace the next time a taxpayer-paid city vet tech decides it's lunchtime and it would be quicker and easier to kill a cat than take the five minutes it would have taken them to give him fluids that cat will be killed. Ditto dogs, etc. This isn't about just one old cat. It's about my animals, your animals, and don't think that your animals can never get out, that you're so perfect that bad luck or a mistake can't happen to you. This is about making sure innocent animals don't die because some vet, vet tech or staffer can't be bothered to do their job and care for him. If they think no one cares how many animals they kill then your pet is next.

Why are you reading this blog if you can't step up and speak out for animals? either you're here because you care about animals or you're here to sneakily and underhandedly undermine people who fight for animals. If that's why you're here then I'm sorry your goals in life are so pathetic

Anonymous said...

To be considered libel, something must be false, you cyber bully. Why is it that you can spew all the nonsense that you want but you think that you have the right to chill other people's free speech because you don't agree with their opinions, hypocrite!

Anonymous said...

Now that's funny -- call someone a bunch of names on the Internet, then wind it up with "cyber bully." That's comedy, although it's pretty clear you didn't intend it that way.

If you are the same bright spark who wrote all the demonstrably false accusations against the human victim in this case then that IS libel.

Saying the records provided by LAAS itself show that the West L.A. shelter broke the law is, sadly for you, fact. "Irremediable suffering" is not, no matter what the tragically undereducated Kathy Davis says, in the eye of the beholder. It's been clearly defined by the Court and being skinny and dehydrated isn't it. You can fling all the (libelous) charges and insinuations you want on this site, but LAAS records are what they are. Your own records prove the case against you.

The truth is only going to make you sad, so maybe it's time for you to go back to online porn or something else more gratifying for you than reality. Facts are facts and getting mad about it just makes you look...hmmm....scared?

Anonymous said...

Hey "bright spark," what's the legal definition of "irremediable suffering"?

Anonymous said...

Dictionary says of irremediably:

not admitting of remedy, cure, or repair

That means the cat could not be repaired, suffering could not be stopped. You can't know that unless, in this case, there were blood tests to determine organ failure. Apparently no testing was done or attempt made even to feed the cat.

Winograd's definition:

poor prognosis of being able to live without severe, unremitting pain.

This was not true in this case.

Anonymous said...


You're a little late in asking, but since you clearly need the information...

According to the Superior Court, in the settlement of A Dog's Life Rescue v. County of Los Angeles, as cited in the Examiner article, irremediable suffering is defined as:

(1) An "irremediably suffering" animal is an animal with a medical condition who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting pain despite necessary veterinary care.

(2) "Irremediable suffering" may include: End Stage Renal Failure, Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) in kittens, Canine Parvovirus in puppies, severe blood loss, unconsciousness, severe head trauma and unmanageable pain.

(3) None of the following symptoms, standing alone, constitute "irremediable suffering:" diarrhea, vomiting, skin conditions such as ringworm or mange, ocular infection or conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, coughing or gagging, labored respiration which can be stabilized, and arthritis or weakness. A combination of any of these symptoms is not necessarily "irremediable suffering" unless the animal cannot live without severe, unremitting pain despite necessary veterinary care.

Anonymous said...

The relevant definition is that which was issued by the California court having jurisdication over LAAS. What is that definition of irremediable suffering?

Ed Muzika said...

Wow, that definition excludes the 25 Mason cats killed after impound because they were irremediably suffering. Some had runny eyes and noses, some had fecal impaction, but none were fed, given water, or treated in any way. The six kittens surrendered two days before were known as not having pan leuk or leukemia at the time of the raid.

Anonymous said...

#38, Despite the fact that there is no such word as "jurisdication" I think you should probably face the fact that ANY California court has ju-ris-dic-tion over L.A. Animal Services.

Either you are on crack or you are Kathy Davis - how do you think there is a court in California that doesn't have jurisdiction over a city agency?

PLEASE tell me you're just a shill and please God that you don't actually work for the city. You're one scary spectacle.

And Ed, yes of course that definition doesn't describe Ron Mason's cats. Mason's cats weren't euthanized. They were just flat-out killed.

Anonymous said...

According to the attorney who represented A Dogs's Life Rescue in the case of A Dog's Life Rescue v. County of Los Angeles‏ (Bruce Wagman of Schiff Hardin LLP) the definition of irremediable suffering set forth in the settlement agreement that resulted from the case, "only applies to the DAAC, the County."

Anonymous said...

"Irremediable suffering" isn't a term that was invented during the Dog's Life v. LADACC case. It's in the Hayden Act.

The terms of the settlement may be specifically binding on LACDACC (although rumor had it by May that they were already violating those terms) but a court's definition of a legal term isn't specific to one institution, that would be absurd. There's one Hayden Act for all of California, but although it explicitly applies to all shelters the County system has to abide by one clear definition and all the other shelters in the state can decide for themselves what "irremediable suffering" means? County can't kill for stabilize-able respiratory distress but City can kill for a hangnail? You really don't have to be a lawyer to see that that makes no sense. Like it or not, the Court has laid down precedent.

What you do have to be is a City employee to argue that you and only you get to decide if a cat, dog, rabbit, or bird lives; that the law that exists to regulate shelters somehow doesn't apply to you. That takes a certain kind of disregard for humane treatment of animals, plus a deep-rooted arrogance and belief that you're above the law.

The thing is, you're not.

Anonymous said...

This person asked a question and then seemed to know me so well, he was able to comment on my person and goals:

"Why are you reading this blog if you can't step up and speak out for animals? either you're here because you care about animals or you're here to sneakily and underhandedly undermine people who fight for animals. If that's why you're here then I'm sorry your goals in life are so pathetic"

My answer to question #1:

Because the blog is there for the public to read.

#2: You say that you are sorry about my goals in life.

My answer to you: "Don't worry Jimmy Falon!"

#3: You seem to think I "sneakily and underhandedly undermine people who fight for animals by a simple comment like, Let's leave the kitty to rest now?

You are projecting. I'm afraid you must be the one playing useless underhanded and undermining games, since Me thinks thou protesteth too much.

At this point of your commentary, it has nothing to do with the cat and everything to do with searching for someone who doesn't have a violent bone in his body to spew vomit on and walk away.

Where else are you going to vomit if your toilet is full?

If you would clean out your toilet, you wouldn't need to have someone to barf on.

Anonymous said...

Why would someone not microchip their cat after 17 years?

Too many cats to microchip and they're afraid they don't want to be caught with too many cats because microchipping provides a record of rightful ownership?

Microchipping the cat would mean having to be called by the shelter and owner would forced to show proof of medical care?

Owner would have to go to the shelter to get his cat out and would be required to pay impound fee and doesn't want to be bothered with calls that his cat was found and was turned into a shelter?

If you don't microchip your cats with the minimal $25 fee that it costs to do it at a shelter, then pay $80 to do it at a vet. If you don't do either for any of your cats, you don't want to know whether or not your cat has been turned into a shelter.

Better turned in at a shelter and be notified after the cat has been scanned for a microchip upon receiving, than end up in somebody's trap two blocks away and end up in some hoarder's home with 20 other cats inside the house, while the cat is caged up every weekend at some PETCO waiting for years to be adopted out, and no one ever bothers to check for a microchip.

One of my cats was microchipped and the ONLY reason I ever got her back was because the person who trapped her called me, trying to get the "new stray" cat fostered and never bothered to take the cat to a vet or to a shelter to have it scanned for a chip. The trapper just took the cat to a vet and the vet sliced her open, NO PAIN MEDICATION and NOT ENOUGH ANESTHESIA, so that when I called the vet myself to ask them to scan for a chip BEFORE they opened up the cat, it was already too late. They cut the cat open, she was already spayed, and...BEEP...BEEEP...BEEEP! She was chipped and it was MY CAT!

People feed other people's cats, they get lost, cross the streets and can't seem to find their way home again. But, nobody out here seems to scan for a friggen chip. THE SHELTERS at least scan for a F'in CHIP and they call you to pick your cat up and demand you provide medical care for your cat if it needs it.

My taxpayer money isn't going to go to paying for medical care for someone's owned cat who didn't bother to chip the cat and doesn't want the cat back. THAT is the owner's responsibility.

A chip will never determine where your cat is at any given moment, BUT it will alert you to the fact that your cat ended up in a shelter, ASAP!

IF you don't want to know where your cats are, and you don't want to chip your cat, you don't want to know where your cats are, and you can care in the least that your cat ended up in the shelter. THAT is what you call "natural attrition" for the irresponsible and neglectful people who can care less about their cats getting trapped and taken to a shelter. Obviously they don't want them back, because they don't want to be notified.

AND, where was the "petsitter" anyway. Why didn't she look at the shelter for the cat when she discovered the cat was nowhere around at feeding time twice a day. Why didn't this person notify the owner of the cat that his cat was missing? Because people leave just set the food down and walk away. Who cares where the cat is or what has happened to it, right?

Spay and neuter goes hand in hand with microchipping. For those who are irresponsible, they go lukewarm and don't want full responsibility for their animals.

If you have one cat, spay, neuter, and microchip that ONE cat. If you have forty cats, you s/n and MICROCHIP ALL FORTY CATS.

This person obvviously didn't want the poor skinny cat back. Too costly to microchip, or just lazy? And this is a manager of an organization? How many cats from this organization are roaming out there with no chips?

Anonymous said...

The court case referenced in the article resulted in a settlement agreement, not a decision by a judge or a jury. A settlement agreement is basically a contract between the parties. It only applies to the parties to the agreement. It is not a legal precedent. The Hayden Act does not contain a definition of irremediable suffering. There is no definition of irremediable suffering in California law. The settlement agreement is not California law because it does not apply to anyone other than the parties.

Anonymous said...

No my friend, for me this is all about the cat. This cat, the next cat who demands a little work from LAAS staff, the next dog, rabbit, bird, etc. Unfortunately I have no choice but to let this cat rest, because of the tragic entrance of LAAS into his life, which ended it. We can't give him back the months he had left, and we can't let his owner give him one more hug and kiss. But I'll be goddamned if I'm going to let Didier die in vain.

Britney Spears blogs are open to the public too. You're here for a reason, and it's not helping animals.

Making excuses or trying to obscure the truth about how LAAS broke the law will lead directly to more innocent animals' dying before their time. That is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...


Please read the article before you criticize and make up stories about what happened.

Criticizing things that only happened in your head makes you look addled.

And it'd be good if everybody could stop trying to find reasons that LAAS is not at fault. You don't get to make up definitions for irremediable suffering, or deny that two perfectly explicable words in English don't actually mean anything at all.

LAAS broke the law. They killed a cat in 86 minutes who should have been afforded the four days plus the day of impound that was his right under the law.

All the rest is your attempt to obscure the truth to save your own butts. That doesn't make you look addled, it reveals you as genuinely uncaring, unpricipled and inhumane.

Anonymous said...

Do you know how the owner of the cat would have been able to give that last hug and kiss to his cat?

If the owner would have bothered to put some identification on the cat, meaning he wanted to be notified. The owner didn't bother to put identification on the cat. He didn't want to be notified. He gave up his choice to be notified. He gave up his choice to hug and kiss the cat before the cat was left in a shelter to die. That, dear friend, is what is inhumane and uncaring. Putting decent identification on your animals is what saves your animals lives. THAT is what covers your butt.

I am not saying that the shelter was right to kill Dieder. You know very well what I am saying, dear friend. I am talking about wanting to make sure your cats are safe from the shelter. If you want to save your cats from the shelter, you remove them immediately. But how can you remove your pet from that prison if you don't even bother to put updated identification on your pet so that you can get a call telling you the pet is there and so you can go out there to save its life.

I'm not making excuses for the shelter, but don't enable the owner by making excuses for him too. Putting identification on your pet saves lives, and you know that. Why don't owners put identification on their pets? Some just don't bother enough about their pets. They are just not that important to them. That is what is inhumane and insufficiently caring. Your pets have identification, and so do mine.

Anonymous said...


You can have all the opinions you want about Didier's owner. I don't care what you think about that. But the Hayden Act is the law, and it exists to tell shelters what they can and can't do with lost animals.

Animals get lost, that's one of the reasons shelters exist. The Hayden Act tells shelters in no uncertain terms that lost animals MUST be held for four days, plus the day of impound. The ONLY exception is when the animal is irremediably suffering.

LAAS' own records prove that Didier was not irremediably suffering. That means LAAS broke the law by killing him in eighty-minutes, rather than holding him for four days plus the day of impound.

The Hayden Act does not apply only to animals who have owners you approve of. It does not say you can kill an animal if that animal doesn't have a collar or a microchip. It says, plainly and clearly, that lost animals who are not irremediably suffering MUST be held for four days plus the day of impound.

That's all there is to it. Blaming the owner is missing the point. Not to mention that it has nothing to do with the animal. What kind of person argues that it's no big deal to kill a cat who didn't have a collar?

The law isn't to protect owners, it's to protect animals. It's the law, it applies to LAAS, they broke that law, and they should be made accountable for killing this cat illegally.

It's arrogant enough to judge another pet owner without having all the facts, which your comment makes clear you do not. But it's past arrogant to say that if a cat has an owner you don't approve of that cat doesn't deserve to live just as much your animals or mine.

Like it or not, some people let their cats out. There is no law requiring them to put collars on their cats (not to mention that many people feel it's unsafe to put a collar on an indoor/outdoor cat as it could strangle on a branch or other hazard). There is no law requiring people to microchip. There IS a law that says shelters can't just kill at will. And fortunately that law isn't subject to the whim of individuals who would rather judge other humans than protect animals.

Anonymous said...

"Blaming the owner is missing the point."


What kind of person argues that it's no big deal to kill a cat who didn't have a collar?

NOT A CHANCE! Nooooo way was I arguing that it's no big deal to kill a cat who didn't have a collar : ( No sir. No, no, no! On the contrary, I was very upset because Didier's life could have been saved with a simple microchip! He DIDN'T have to die!

I know you say that lots of people don't put collars on indoor-outdoor cats because they can get stuck on a branch. That's what break-away collars are good for. They lose them, sure. But, you have to keep replacing them once in a while when the cat loses his collar. A chip is just double safety. It's the fact that Didier could have been so easily returned to his owner, as would so many animals if people would microchip and put identification collars on their animals. Double protection.

So many animals die not only because the shelter breaks the law, as you are saying--(and I am not disagreeing with you on this in the least---Though you seem to think that it is arrogant of me to think this and you don't care what I think, as you have said: Millions more animals would be saved if people would simply put valid identification on their animals.

"The law isn't to protect owners, it's to protect animals."

Yes. That's exactly what I am talking about! Protection! Protecting your animals and my animals - all of our animals - FROM dying needlessly at an animal shelter--protecting them by putting double identification on them.

"It's the law, it applies to LAAS, they broke that law, and they should be made accountable for killing this cat illegally."


"It's arrogant enough to judge another pet owner without having all the facts, which your comment makes clear you do not. "

I don't think it's arrogant to wish that Didier's life could have been saved by one simple $25 chip and a $12 break-away collar with his phone number and his name, saying" My name is Didier, and this is my telephone number." And the sound of a BEEP going off telling the shelter to keep their hands off this cat because this cat is clearly an owned cat and someone cared enough to put identification on the cat and wants him back.

" But it's past arrogant to say that if a cat has an owner you don't approve of that cat doesn't deserve to live just as much your animals or mine."

No, no, no! That is absolutely wrong. On the contrary. I am deeply saddened by the fact that this cat who lived 17 years could have lived longer with someone who loves him if he had proper identification telling everyone in the city that there is someone who loves him and wants him back and the name of that person who loves him so very much is a phone call away, and that he doesn't need to stay one single day frightened and caged up in an animal shelter.

I do understand what you are saying. As a matter of fact --believe it or not, and I know you don't care what I think because you have already said so--I actually appreicate the manner and tone you used in explaning the law in further detail in comment #49.

It is just so close and yet so far, and consequently too late, that Didier could have been saved, just like that, at the snap of your fingers. That's the sadness and frustration.

Anonymous said...

"There is no law requiring people to microchip. There IS a law that says shelters can't just kill at will. "

That is exactly right! You can't count on people obeying the law, not even the shelters! But, we CAN do something to protect our animals from those at the shelter who are breaking the law.

"And fortunately that law isn't subject to the whim of individuals who would rather judge other humans than protect animals."

That is right. I agree. So I say, protect your animals against the whim of a shelter who would rather see your animal die than go back to his owner.

You can protect your animal against death at a shelter by microchipping and placing a collar on him with his name and current phone number. Who cares if microchipping and collars aren't the law, as long as it saves the lives of your animals and protects them from illness and death at an animal shelter.

Anonymous said...

The difference between individuals breaking the law and shelters breaking the law is this: If an individual breaks the law the shelter goes after the individual with absolute vengeance (that is if the individual isn't someone scary like a drug-dealing dogfighter, in which case LAAS ignores them to go after decent guys like Ron Mason). You can lose your animals, your freedom, your rights, your reputation, and if you have no help, your money and even your house.

But what happens when the shelter breaks the law is this: the shelter tries to cover its butt by going after the owner. Arrogant hacks like Dr. Feldman threaten you by saying you could be charged with neglect and cruelty, because he's so stupid, and such an incompetent vet, he can't get that no cat who was neglected or abused would ever make it to the age of seventeen. He makes up the law (or doesn't know what it is) so he implies, both to you and in City records, that you are in the wrong for allowing your cat outside.

If the shelter breaks the law and kills a cat the unions will step in and ensure that no one pays for making the ultimate error. The Mayor's office and incompetent, overpaid hacks like Linda Barth and Kathy Davis will drop everything, not to do their actual jobs - jobs that we pay them six figures for - but to cover up a clear case of lawbreaking and obstruct any kind of investigation.

Shelter staff (and vet staff and oh, maybe City administration) will go on animal advocacy blogs and try to obscure the issue by saying absurd, empty-headed things like "Oh, that cat's third eyelid was showing, the shelter did nothing wrong in killing him..." which really only proves that they're not only immoral people, but jaw-droppingly stupid.

If I have four cats, or feed and TNR strays I could go to jail, with City TV cameras recording every violation of my rights. But if the shelter kills a cat who clearly had an owner, who shelter staff AGREED with the woman who brought him in that he had an owner, then they will wriggle and squirm to evade the truth, to not take responsibility like decent humans, not to mention City employees, that is to say: OUR employees.

The difference is if you're LAAS you can kill with impunity. Dr. Feldman still goes to work and collects his paycheck from us. Kathy Davis announces she's just bought a house. Linda Barth, despite her lack of qualifications, despite her being named by a majority of department employees as an incompetent and retaliatory manager, keeps her high-paying gig with the blessing of our embarrassment of a Mayor. There are absolutely no consequences, so they keep on killing because not one of them cares about how many animals die. They're not individuals, they're just numbers,

In Didier's case I bet all he was was a cat they didn't feel like caring for, who they thought they could get away with killing. They were wrong.

And don't trust breakaway collars - sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. If they don't, a cat can strangle.

Anonymous said...

I hate the content, but love this style of argument you posed. VERY exciting, truthful, to the point, REAL, true-to-life, non-violent defense, ounce per ounce. Again, I realize you don't care what I think, but I am going to tell you anyway: Purr-fect indeed.

BRAVO Muzika!

Anonymous said...

Can we also address that according to an interview with "Dog Days in LA" magazine Kathy Davis does say she just bought a house? Doesn't that kind of imply that she thinks she'll be staying here longer than the six months the Mayor extended her appointment?

Would she really step aside, and down, back to Assistant GM, if the Mayor was genuinely recruiting for a permanent GM? Or does she have some sort of assurance that she's going to stay on as GM, with Linda Barth's hand working Davis's strings?

You should read the interview. The magazine asked her about Boks and she declined to answer. She says, "If any of your readers have room in their heart and their home for just one more pet, please visit one of our six Animal Care Centers," although she doesn't touch on the fact that many people who have room in their hearts and homes can't adopt because of City pet limits.

She also doesn't have any pets of her own. I used to think it didn't matter if a GM had pets; I hoped they'd be too busy working. But now I realize two things: it's a lot easier to take the deaths of animals in stride if you don't have any of your own. And, in the larger view, how does someone who doen't make caring for animals a priority in their personal life possibly have the understanding needed to serve both animals and taxpayers who own and love or want to adopt animals?

At some point shouldn't we have had enough of glib, evasive GMs who show no signs that they have any actual love or care for animals?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like she's staying, with the help of our Tapatio Mayor.

""If any of your readers have room in their heart and their home for just one more pet, please visit one of our six Animal Care Centers," although she doesn't touch on the fact that many people who have room in their hearts and homes can't adopt because of City pet limits."

Yeah. They push you to TNR and adopt and then they go after you for doing what they tell you--but not before you've spent thousands of $$$ a month making room in your home and your heart doing what they "encourage" you to do.

We pay and animals die.

Diedre said...

I tried to download the magazine from google hoping to read the article, as you suggested and my computer screen went blank and then my computer wouldn't shut down. I tried.

I hope you have a warm and cozy Christmas Eve with your family, after getting all the cats at your different stations fed.

I'm hoping that the food that is being left under the trash bins in the back of the Indian market is one of your stations.

Merry Christmas to your family of cats and your TNR's.