Saturday, May 16, 2009

DACC could be headed to court again

Nathan Winograd from the No Kill Advocacy Center sent a demand letter yesterday to the Board of Supervisors demanding that they correct DACC's violations of the Stipulated Order. If this doesn't happen, DACC will be back in court.

Click here to view the letter sent to the Board

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Updated: CBS 2 undercover report on DACC

Watch CBS 2 news tomorrow (5/14/2009) at 11:00 PM. They'll be airing an undercover report on DACC.

UPDATE: You can read about the report at http://cbs2.com/tv/animal.shelter.abuse.2.1009429.html and view it at http://www.cbs2.com/video/?id=102848@kcbs.dayport.com.

Contact the below people and demand accountability.

Gloria Molina
Supervisor, First District
Board of Supervisors
Email: Molina@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-4111

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, Second District
Board of Supervisors
Email: MRidleyThomas@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-2222

Zev Yaroslavsky
Supervisor, Third District
Board of Supervisors
Email: ZYarosla@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-3333

Don Knabe
Supervisor, Fourth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: DKnabe@lacbos.org
Phone (213) 974-4444

Michael Antonovich
Supervisor, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: MAntonovich@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-5555

William Fujioka
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Office
Email: BFujioka@ceo.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-1101

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Your tax dollars at work

The horrible conditions at the Lancaster shelter continue under the incompetent leadership of Marcia Mayeda. Michael Antonovich (and the rest of the Board) and William Fujioka continue to let her and her department get away with this gross misconduct, which continues to lead to the suffering of more and more animals.

Marcia Mayeda continues to keep her job paying almost $200,000 a year including benefits. We're in the midst of a recession where thousands of people are out of a job, yet Marcia is able to keep hers no matter how many times she or her Department violate policy and the law.

The below photos, taken within the past two weeks, depict very sick cats at the Lancaster shelter. One of the cats below is dead in its cage with blood coming out of its nose. If a member of the public had cats in this condition, they'd be arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. County will most likely blame a rescuer for the below conditions and do their best to skirt responsibility.













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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Animal abuse at Lancaster

Below are photos that were taken last week at the Lancaster shelter of an aborted fetus on one of the kennel floors and a dog licking the fetus. A picture is worth a thousand words and the below photos speak to the level of care, or lack of, that animals receive in County shelters.




Last Saturday, Cathy Nguyen, Rebecca Arvizu and I visited the Lancaster shelter. Overall, the shelter was OK with cleanliness, but was horrid with customer service and how the animals are treated.

Cathy witnessed Animal Shelter Aide K. Williams step on the back of a small dog with great force while breaking up a dog fight causing the dog to limp afterwords. Instead of removing the dog from the cage so another fight didn't break out, the employee removed the dogs kennel card. Dog fights would be less likely to happen if they didn't house so many dogs in one cage. The cage this dog was in had at least 9 other small dogs. Another person who was a member of the public and witnessed this abuse told Cathy that they'll do it again as soon as she leaves.

Cathy was staring into the distance while talking on the phone and an employee approached her and said, "You got a problem with me?" This is no way to treat a member of the public.

After Cathy and I left, Rebecca heard the sound of a dog being slammed against a door. This was followed by the screams of children who witnessed an employee manhandling the dog (a Pit Bull with stitches). After the children were instructed to take photos, the coward employee ran away.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I received the below email.

My name is Carol. I have been involved in rescue for about 9 years. I have to share this haunting experience of an hour at Lancaster Shelter on Friday February 20th. I am not sure where to start. I go everyday to visit with 2 pits that are waiting to be evaluated for placement. One is pregnant, they were going to put her down this morning but i begged them to re-evaluate her so she is for now safe. There are 3 kennel buildings at Lancaster, bldg 3 being the newest built. they also house the small and old in "the grooming trailer" and then there is the isolation room and the 900's which house the animals that are in quarantine. for some reason the only building that really gets any attention is the new building, that's the only section that is somewhat "sane". Building 1 which half of it is unassable to the public, housing mainly pits and "unadoptable" dogs.

in the remaining half of building 1 and in building 2 are hundreds of dogs. there were uncountable fights while i was there. the sounds of that i will never forget, the cries, howling, growls, barking were non stop. the kennel workers could not keep up with it, they would separate one and another fight was going on. it was crazy. it was horrific! the community service workers were trying separate dog fights, the kennel attendants couldn't keep up. the dogs in buildings 1 & 2 are so crowded, even for me it was so overwhelming to look at these dogs that were so crowded in a run, seriously, 5-6 in a run, big dogs, in one case 3 shepards and 2 rotties,when they close the doors at night these dogs couldn't turn around. the heat was on and the dogs spilled their water as no room to move, the heat is good as it is so cold up here, but it only fed the irritablitiy of these poor dogs, they are so starved for attention that when you stop in front of the runs they start fighting to be the closest to the front. therefore the few people that were there looking to adopt are so shocked or whatever they just walk away. how these poor dogs are able to eat out of one bowl amongst the cage partners is a mystery.so these 2 runs are really just housing until they are drug to the back to be euthanized as there is not much hope for them.too overwhelming for any hope. when one fight broke out it frayed on the other dogs nerves and if they werent hiding in a corner shivering and terrified ( mainly the small ones) there was full blown fights, nasty fights! in one particular run, # 206, there were five brindle shep mixes standing over a long haired shepard mix, she was so paralyzed with fear she lay on the floor shaking as every move she made these 4-5 other dogs pounced on her. several passerbyers walked away in tears. we notified the k/a's but as was obvious there was no place else to put her. in just the hour i was there this time we counted 12 dogs being brought in by the public, dozens others brought in by field officers. i was talking to a lady and we heard terrible cries by what appeared to be a small dog. we turned to see a very large animal control officer dragging by a comealong, a tiny, 7-10 lb terrified dog into this hell. she was not vicious, too small to hurt anyone, but yet this 300 lb man( i use that term loosely) found it appropriate to drag her as she tried to hold on to the ground she was being drug on. other than that one field officer i have to say that the other shelter employees appeared to be doing what they could to break up the fights and keep the water bowls full, etc. in the grooming trailer 2 volunteers were trying to bottle feed 7 new born puppies that came in w/no mom. while another worker drug in pit bull moms that had obvious milk sacks, no puppies though. saw 3 of those brought in in an hour.I know all of the shelters are full with the economy as it is, but Lancaster has always been the dumping grounds for dogs, because of the vast amount of land where hoarders thrive, the dog fighters on rural parts of town, the area is a popular spot to drive out to nowhere and dump your dog. we have numerous reasons that our shelter is always so overpopulated. i would just ask someone that is not as grief stricken as i am right now, seriously can not even talk about all that i saw and heard, there has to be something more we as animal lovers can do to educate people, help the shelters, something. i checked on several tiny maltese/poodle mixes, they were owner surrenders, reason: cant afford to feed" whats that about! Please forward to everyone you can, i am not sure what i am asking for but just distraught and desperate to stop this madness @lancaster.

thank you
Carol

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Section 1983

Nathan Winograd and Sheldon Eisenberg published a document on Section 1983. It explains how under this Federal statute, a government entity, such as Los Angeles County DACC, cannot retaliate against you for exposing malfeasance and what legal recourse you have should you be retaliated against.

When you are aware of violations and don't speak up, you become part of the problem. Violations of policy and law should be brought to the attention of those entrusted with oversight. Otherwise, the same violations will continue to occur.

In the case of DACC, it is a battle that cannot be won easily. However, the more people that speak up and expose malfeasance, the more exposed DACC will become and the likelihood that the change that is so desperately needed will be achieved. DACC and other government entities are counting on your fear of retaliation as a means to get away with violating the law.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Wish for Animals fiasco

Date: Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:32 PM
Subject: A Wish for Animals
To: Diane Reagan


Dear Diane Reagan:

This email is in response to Patricia Learned’s January 27, 2009 response to PR019. Regarding A Wish For Animals and Toni Eakes, the letter stated, “We have no records relating to the Acton address; the Laguna Niguel location is not in our jurisdiction; and we have no records regarding this individual.”

In an email dated July 3, 2008, Marcia Mayeda stated, “I made an unannounced visit to A Wish For Animals this morning. . . . The reasons for delays in the permitting for this facility have to do with the processes required by Regional Planning and Building and Safety.” If Marcia visited the AWFA on July 3rd, why was there no report regarding their visit produced responsive to my Public Records Act request? Was this visit as real as the Department’s multi-year department improvement program established in 2001? Furthermore, if Toni Eakes was in the process of obtaining a permit, why were there no records responsive to my request such as a kennel license application?

The Department of Animal Care and Control knowingly allowed Toni Eakes to act in violation of County Code §§ 10.20.030, 10.20.370(A), 10.28.020, 10.28.060(A), and 10.40.100. How are you going to hold the Department accountable for doing so?

The rescue community is blind copied on this email so that they can blast and cross-post the Department’s incompetence in dealing with AWFA in violation of County Code. I have also openly copied everyone copied on Marcia Mayeda’s July 3, 2008 email.

County Code Legend

· § 10.08.120 defines a dog as “any dog of any age, including female as well as male.”
· § 10.08.130 defines a dog kennel as “any lot, building, structure, enclosure or premises whereupon or wherein four or more dogs, over four months of age, are kept or maintained for any purpose, including places where dogs are boarded, kept for sale, or kept for hire.”
· § 10.20.030 requires “every person owning or having custody or control of any dog . . . over the age of four months in the unincorporated territory of the county of Los Angeles . . . [to] obtain a license from the director for each of such dogs . . . and shall pay the fees for such licenses as set forth in Section 10.90.010.”
· § 10.20.370(A) requires that “an owner or custodian who offers any unaltered dog for sale, trade, or adoption must include a valid unaltered dog license number with the offer of sale, trade or adoption, or otherwise state and establish compliance with Section 10.20.350.”
· § 10.28.020 requires “every person desiring a license to operate an animal facility . . . [to] file an application with the department upon a form to be provided by the department, and at such time pay the required fee and any applicable penalty as set forth in Section 10.90.010.VII.” Furthermore, § 10.28.020 states that “[a] person . . . who operated an animal facility without the required license, shall pay the penalty set forth in Section 10.90.010.VII.C.4., in addition to the license fee.”
· § 10.28.060(A) states that “any person, including a new owner of an existing organization or business shall not conduct or operate any animal facility listed in Section 10.90.010.VII. . . . without first obtaining a license from the department.”
· § 10.40.100 requires “[e]ach holder of a kennel or pet shop license within the authority of Los Angeles County . . . to provide the department of animal care and control with a regular listing of all animals sold, including the name and address of the owner, according to the procedure and form as provided by the director.”

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Video footage of Felix Reyes animal abuse

Today I received the video footage of Felix Reyes brutally abusing a Rottweiler with a dislocated hip at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter. Two of the video files were corrupt and as such I will be requesting non-corrupted copies of the corrupted files. In the meanwhile, I put together the three non-corrupted files.

County didn't want to release this footage under the California Public Records Act and as such put a price tag of $500.00 on it to deter its release by claiming that the video footage needed to be redacted to block out faces of members of the public and employees for privacy and personnel reasons. County had no merit to this claim as I informed them that no expectation of privacy is reasonable and backed it up with legal authority. They continued to insist that they were right. In the end, their plan to charge $500.00 backfired as it was split with a major television station requesting the same video footage. The footage needed to be released regardless of the cost, even if it meant taking County to court to be ordered by a judge to hand over the footage. County's response to this Public Records Act request was in violation of the following provisions of law: Government Code Section 6253 (a), (b), (c), and (d); and California Constitution Article 1, Section 3(b)(1). This is not the first time they've violated the Public Records Act.

In the words of President Obama in a memorandum regarding the Freedom of Information Act, "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve." County has a lot to cover up and this is why they make Public Records Act requests seeking such records difficult to obtain.

Please note that the below video footage is extremely graphic. Select a download below or click play in the embedded YouTube video. You can also read and download the internal report regarding this incident here.

There is no substantiated case for this incident in the reports on the LA County Fraud Hotline website. As such, this was never investigated by or referred to the Office of County Investigations or no wrongdoing was found if it was investigated. No criminal animal cruelty charges were filed and Felix Reyes was not fired. It is reported that he's still an employee of the Department of Animal "Care" and Control working at the call center located at the Downey Animal Shelter. Felix Reyes should not be allowed to work in any occupation that deals with animals.

This abuse establishes a pattern as outlined below:

On the show Animal Cops on Animal Planet, people have been arrested and charged for lesser offenses of animal cruelty. Felix Reyes needs be charged with felony animal cruelty and fired. Demand that this happen by calling and emailing the County officials listed below. Also, contact any media contacts you have and refer them to this blog entry.

Steve Cooley
District Attorney
County of Los Angeles
Email: SCooley@da.lacounty.gov

Debbie Knaan
Deputy District Attorney
County of Los Angeles
Email: DKnaan@da.lacounty.gov

District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210
Phone: (213) 974-3512

Gloria Molina
Supervisor, First District
Board of Supervisors
Email: Molina@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-4111

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, Second District
Board of Supervisors
Email: SecondDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-2222

Zev Yaroslavsky
Supervisor, Third District
Board of Supervisors
Email: ZYarosla@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-3333

Don Knabe
Supervisor, Fourth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: DKnabe@lacbos.org
Phone (213) 974-4444

Michael Antonovich
Supervisor, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: MAntonovich@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-5555

Kathryn Barger Leibrich
Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: KBarger@lacbos.org

Tony Bell
Assistant Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: TBell@lacbos.org

Dr. Lori Glasgow
Assistant Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: LGlasgow@lacbos.org

William Fujioka
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Office
Email: BFujioka@ceo.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-1101

Lari Sheehan
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Health & Mental Health Services
Chief Executive Office
Email: LSheehan@ceo.lacounty.gov

Wendy Watanabe
Acting Auditor-Controller
Office of Auditor-Controller
Email: WWatanabe@auditor.lacounty.gov
Office: (213) 974-0729
County Cell: (213) 446-1345

Raymond Fortner
County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: RFortner@counsel.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-1811

Richard Mason
Assistant County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: RMason@counsel.lacounty.gov

Leela Kapur
Chief Deputy County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: LKapur@counsel.lacounty.gov

Diane Reagan
Principal Deputy County Counsel, Health & Mental Health Services
Office of County Counsel
Email: DReagan@counsel.lacounty.gov
Office: (213) 974-1868

Marcia Mayeda
Director
Department of Animal Care and Control
Email: MMayeda@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 256-2406
County Cell: (562) 716-3278

David Dijkstra
Chief Deputy Director
Department of Animal Care and Control
Email: DDijkstra@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 728-4620

Derek Brown
Deputy Director, Operations
Email: DBrown@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 728-4572
County Cell: (562) 537-7372

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Spinal Monday

Below is the description of an incident that occurred at the Carson Animal Shelter in March 2005. This incident is referred to internally by the Department of Animal "Care" and Control as Spinal Monday.

There was one rabbit in a cage that was so small it couldn’t move. It had no food or water. The other cages were very old and filthy. There was rotting vegetation (black wilted lettuce) in the cages and flies were swarming all over it. The rabbits were standing on the food and defecating and urinating on it. Several cages were overcrowded. It was very warm in the room and odor of rotten veggies and feces and urine was overwhelming. There was an aborted rabbit fetus on the wire floor and one of the rabbits started to nibble on it. There were cages stacked on top of each other. One rabbit had severe injuries to its eyes and the eyes were ulcerated. This rabbit was being attacked by the other rabbits.

There was a rabbit that had been in the cage with an exposed spinal cord for OVER one week. The rabbit was still alive, bones exposed and all. A volunteer had complained when she saw it on a Saturday. Marcia Mayeda got the message on a Monday; one week after the volunteer saw it. As such, this delayed DACC administrative staff from going out to the Carson Animal Shelter to investigate.

Medical treatment was ordered for 3-4 of the rabbits. They all had to be put to sleep immediately.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

DACC hold policy change

Date: Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 8:57 PM
Subject: DACC hold policy change
To: William Fujioka


Dear William Fujioka:

It has been brought to my attention that DACC is changing Department policy effective February 1, 2009 prohibiting rescue groups from being the first interested party. Rescue groups can be interested parties after the first interested party, but will be placed in a lottery system of up to 10-15 people (rescuers and members of the public). If the first interested party falls through, the remaining interested parties have to show up to the shelter and be present for the lottery drawing. How is this helping the animals find homes? More animals will die because of this. It’s very obvious that the Department is not interested in finding homes for as many animals as possible and would rather see them killed.

You’ve stated in the past that you and the Board of Supervisors are attempting to bring change to the Department. Is this what you consider change?

This policy modification was the doing of Derek Brown and he was supposed to inform rescue groups of this change weeks ago. Since he failed to do so, I have done his job for him and copied the rescue community on this email. I have provided contact information below for the members of the rescue community blind copied on this email so they can voice their disgust for this policy change.

"i agree that everyone did an outstanding job on this matter! However, we do not need a paper trail on this. Everyone, please delete these e-mails from your computers and empty the trash files. Thanks!" - Marcia Mayeda

Gloria Molina
Supervisor, First District
Board of Supervisors
Email: Molina@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-4111

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, Second District
Board of Supervisors
Email: SecondDistrict@bos.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-2222

Zev Yaroslavsky
Supervisor, Third District
Board of Supervisors
Email: ZYarosla@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-3333

Don Knabe
Supervisor, Fourth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: DKnabe@lacbos.org
Phone (213) 974-4444

Michael Antonovich
Supervisor, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: MAntonovich@lacbos.org
Phone: (213) 974-5555

Kathryn Barger Leibrich
Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: KBarger@lacbos.org

Tony Bell
Assistant Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: TBell@lacbos.org

Dr. Lori Glasgow
Assistant Chief Deputy, Fifth District
Board of Supervisors
Email: LGlasgow@lacbos.org

William Fujioka
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Office
Email: BFujioka@ceo.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-1101

Lari Sheehan
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Health & Mental Health Services
Chief Executive Office
Email: LSheehan@ceo.lacounty.gov

Wendy Watanabe
Acting Auditor-Controller
Office of Auditor-Controller
Email: WWatanabe@auditor.lacounty.gov
Office: (213) 974-0729
County Cell: (213) 446-1345

Raymond Fortner
County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: RFortner@counsel.lacounty.gov
Phone: (213) 974-1811

Richard Mason
Assistant County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: RMason@counsel.lacounty.gov

Leela Kapur
Chief Deputy County Counsel
Office of County Counsel
Email: LKapur@counsel.lacounty.gov

Diane Reagan
Principal Deputy County Counsel, Health & Mental Health Services
Office of County Counsel
Email: DReagan@counsel.lacounty.gov
Office: (213) 974-1868

Marcia Mayeda
Director
Department of Animal Care and Control
Email: MMayeda@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 728-4882
County Cell: (562) 716-3278

David Dijkstra
Chief Deputy Director
Department of Animal Care and Control
Email: DDijkstra@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 728-4620

Derek Brown
Deputy Director, Operations
Email: DBrown@animalcare.lacounty.gov
Office: (562) 728-4572
County Cell: (562) 537-7372

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Today at the Downey Animal Shelter

Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 9:46 PM
To: Diane Reagan
Subject: (no subject)

Dear Diane Reagan:

I visited the Downey Animal Shelter today and there were numerous cages with feces, dogs laying in or near feces (of which I’ve attached the most disgusting examples), and a cage with a pill on the floor. The cage with the pill on the floor wasn’t occupied by a dog when I took the photo, but since the pill was in dried wet dog food and was disgustingly located by feces, it’s obvious that this pill was intended to be taken by a dog. How is this properly medicating an animal? Furthermore, the amount of feces in cages indicates that the Downey Animal Shelter is either understaffed or staff aren’t properly doing their job pursuant to Department policy. The lack of sanitary conditions and proper cage disinfecting are why rescuers claim that 90% of the animals rescued out of Los Angeles County shelters end up sick with giardia, canine parvovirus, distemper, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, upper respiratory tract infection, etc. It’s obvious not much has changed since you entered into a stipulated order for Cathy Nguyen, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al.





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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lancaster Animal Shelter

From: Jane Garcia
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 5:30 PM
To: Paula East (City of Lancaster)
Cc: Norm Hickling (County of Los Angeles)
Fwd: Lancaster Hell Hole..1 pup murdered, 1 more to go!!!

Dear Ms. East:

This email is doing the rounds of the rescue community in the Los Angeles area.

After years of being ignored and fobbed off with excuses by a department which takes no responsibility for the actions of its staff or, it seems, for what goes on within the walls of its shelters, the humane community has had it with the Lancaster shelter, its inefficient staff, its apparent inability or unwillingness to enforce laws, and its rush to euthanize animals without bothering to seek help from rescue groups which may be able to save the lives of these now-dead dogs and cats.

What more will it take for the officials of the city of Lancaster to say "enough"? City officials need to make LACCC management and staff accountable for their actions and lack of enforcement of the law and of its own policies.

Unfortunately, it has taken lawsuits for the humane community to get any meaningful response from LACCC management, and even then they admit no responsibility for what goes on within the walls of their shelters whether it's allowing a dog to die from the cold or violating the Hayden Law which restricts the euthanasia of dogs and cats before a prescribed number of days.

LACCC conducts its own investigations into serious allegations of wrong-doing. Each and every time it has found itself not guilty and absolved its management and staff. This is apparently with the blessing of the LA County Board of Supervisors which accept its findings with an almost audible sigh of relief that here is another problem they don't have to worry about. Marcia will deal with it.

I urge you to dispense with the services of LA County Animal Care and Control and set up your own animal control department. The City of Lancaster has a reputation of being a haven for backyard breeders. Why is it a haven? Because LACCC fails to enforce the laws the department wanted passed.

I'm not sure what the benefit of having such an inefficient, despised group in your area other than as a charnel house for animals unfortunate enough to end up there.

It does no humane education about the benefits of spay/neuter. Perhaps this is because the Lancaster shelter provides no low-cost spay/neuter services--which it is supposed to do--other than a couple of days a year. Instead it hands out vouchers for a minimal amount, and only to people who meet the tough qualification requirements to get one.

The City of Beverly Hills has already terminated its contract with LACCC. Culver City residents are fighting to get their own shelter because of LACCC's inefficiency and lack of improvement, despite years of empty promises.

It took media exposure to reveal that a puppy mill was operating right under the noses of LACCC inspectors.

It took media exposure to reveal that the body of a dead dog had been lying in the yard of its senior owner for days, despite calls to the Lancaster shelter to pick it up.

Staff are rude and lazy. Callers can be on hold for an hour before actually getting to speak to someone.

I visited the Lancaster shelter and saw a kennel worker kick the metal door of a cage filled with dogs to scare them away. She then opened the cage door and literally threw a large metal bowl of kibble into the cage.

Terrified, the dogs scattered. Their food was strewn around the kennel. Some of it landed in piles of feces which had not been cleaned up. The place is a nightmare.

LACCC allowed a unlicensed kennel to operate in your area for more than a year, fully cognizant of the fact that there was no license and that the facility was not up to code.

The unlicensed kennel opened because Lancaster shelter staff knew for almost a year that a hoarder was collecting animals on a nearby property, yet did nothing until the situation became a crisis. When Lancaster staff finally acted, a large number of dogs were moved to the property which had no permits and inadequate facilities to house them.

How many more times does the City of Lancaster have to be embarrassed by LACCC before it acts?

Sincerely:
Jane Garcia

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 4:09 PM
Subject: Lancaster Hell Hole..1 pup murdered, 1 more to go!!!

NETWORK FAR AND WIDE, AND GET THIS REMAINING PUP OUT BEFORE SHE TOO IS MURDERED. LANCASTER, CA "SHELTER" IS A KILLING GROUND!!! I DO NOT TRUST THE WORKERS....

ASHLEY PAIGE WILL TRANSPORT AND TAKE REMAINING PUP IF SOMEONE WILL BAIL OUT!!!HURRY, LATER MAY BE TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!

Lancaster Hell Hole, they call a shelter
661-940-4191

Few days ago a young woman brought in 2 stray puppies, 3 months old.

Ashley Paige would have taken them both today, but today I was told by "Kenya" at the Shelter that:

Female Pup A3921999 3 months old was euthanized because it bit a child.

Female Pup A3921997 3 months old is still available and 2 potential adopters are wanting to get her
I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS!

Ashley Paige called the shelter and was told the one they put down was a MALE and it bit a WORKER.

If they do not know the difference between a male and a female, and a child and a shelter worker, then how could I believe the real reason they MURDERED this poor innocent pup, and how can I believe that there are people waiting to adopt the remaining female?

PLEASE SOMEONE GET THERE AND BAIL THAT ONE OUT IMMEDIATELY and CONTACT ASHLEY PAIGE.... She has transportation and will take her in...!!! HURRY!!!

Joy Ray

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We didn't retaliate... oh, wait... we did


Pictured above is an excerpt from the email I blasted describing the settlement. Diane marked up that email with a comment of "County never retaliated." Click on the image above to enlarge it. They don't consider the following against members of the public, volunteers, staff, and entities retaliation?

  • Banning Cathy Nguyen from adopting as a private citizen and on behalf of Adoption Partners
  • Firing Janet Taylor from volunteering and banning her from adopting as a private citizen and on behalf of Adoption Partners
  • Removing the Irvine Animal Care Center and the Seal Beach Animal Care Center from the Adoption Partners program
  • Issuing orders that the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter can't participate in the IACC's super adoption event after they had planned to do so
  • Going on a fishing expedition via the Office of County Investigations searching the computers of employees that provided information on wrongdoings of DACC to members of the public
  • Placing ex-DACC employees Ron Edwards, Christine Franco, and David Nelson on the Do Not Adopt list for no reason

Below is an email from Diane Reagan, Principal Deputy County Counsel, that is nothing more than a joke. My commentary is below in red.


From: Reagan, Diane
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:53 AM
To: Sheldon Eisenberg; Melissa Bonfiglio
Cc: David Casselman
Subject: Complaint under Nguyen Settlement Protocol


Dear Melissa and Sheldon,

We received a complaint under the Nguyen protocol on November 21st. I learned this morning that while the Department has done some investigation, they need more time to follow-up—due to the intervening holidays. We would appreciate a one week extension to January 12th to respond. I apologize for the last minute request. (The documents produced by County place blame on the rescuer. Doesn't that remind you of Zephyr?)

Also, we have been distressed at some of the news stories/blog accounts which have been released regarding the settlement, which contain inaccurate information regarding the settlement. There appears to be a desire to cast the Department in a negative light (sounds like the truth hurts), despite the fact that the County admitted no wrong-doing (they never admit wrongdoing because that would only require accountability), and is required to do nothing by the agreement that it was not already doing or required to do by law (if breaking the law is considered following the law, then yes, they were following the law). While we believe that we would have prevailed in the trial of the case (yes, if Fujioka or the Board of Supervisors was the trial judge [i.e. obstruction of justice email]), we entered into this agreement with the plaintiffs in a good faith effort to conserve court and party resources. We acted in good faith, and continue to act in good faith, and with a great deal of restraint and respect for your position (cough)—in hopes that we can continue to work together for the benefit of the animals (like breaking the law and retaliating as described above?). We would appreciate reciprocal treatment (like the treatment they put the plaintiffs through during the discovery process making discovery very difficult and the witch hunt County went on during the deposition portion of the case?). Perhaps a joint press release would set the record straight (they should also suggest that the plaintiffs and defendants join hands around a camp fire and sing a song or two).

On behalf of myself and on behalf of our County family, we wish you and your families and friends a conciliatory and productive 2009! (cough)

Diane C. Reagan
Principal Deputy County Counsel

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Update on County

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I would return and start posting to this blog. I'm back. :)

My current efforts are focused on the Office of the County of Los Angeles County Counsel. I've been working on a number of public record requests, most of which are related to the Department of the Animal Care and Control. Whenever I request record that they don't want to disclose that is not protected from disclosure by provisions of the California Public Records Act or other applicable law, they become evasive and difficult to work with. They continue to violate the California Public Records Act (Govt. Code Section 6250 et seq.), California Constitution Article 1, Section 3(b)(1) and are questionably in violation of Rule 1-120 and 3-110 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

Taking on a large county government, especially one that is unethical and breaks the law, is an arduous task that is not won easily. I'm in it for the long run and will not give up, as I'm sure that's what they're hoping for.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is this blog dead?

The last post to this blog was in October. Somebody posted a comment a couple of weeks ago asking what happened. Things have been busy, but this blog will pick up soon.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

DACC Stipulated Order: Cathy Nguyen, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al.

On October 20, 2008, a judge signed a stipulated order for the lawsuit Cathy Nguyen, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al. At first, some of you might be disappointed that the case didn’t make it to trial. However, this settlement is great news. The settlement mandates that the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control will:

1. Not kill an animal during the State mandated holding period unless the animal meets narrow exceptions permitted by law
2. Provide veterinary care to ill and injured animals
3. Release animals to rescue groups instead of killing them
4. Not retaliate against rescue groups and volunteers who publicly expose agency malfeasance
5. Restore the volunteer and rescue rights of plaintiff Cathy Nguyen
6. Provide access to shelter records to ensure compliance

Because State laws allows animals who are “irremediably suffering” to be killed immediately upon impoundment, DACC agreed to a specific definition of what constitutes irremediable suffering to eliminate unlawful killing of animals under this narrow legal exception as follows:


An animal with a medical condition who has a poor or grave prognosis for being
able to live without sever, unremitting pain despite necessary veterinary care.

Examples of animals who have been killed in the past but who are NOT irremediably suffering include animals with ringworm, mange, URI, arthritis, and labored breathing.

If this case had continued to trial, the outcome might not have been as great as in the settlement. County now has a court order to follow the law, including a definition for irremediably suffering. Also, had the case gone to trial, the judge still would have issued an order to follow the law if the judge found DACC in violation of the allegations in the lawsuit. At that point, the order would still have to be enforced. With the settlement, many months to years were cut out and we can now begin to enforce the order. Should DACC violate the order, below are the next steps of legal action, the same as if it had carried out to trial and prevailed:

1. The violations can be brought to the judge’s attention after providing appropriate notice to DACC.
2. If violations continue to occur, the court may take actions it deems appropriate to compel DACC’s compliance with the order, including the possible appointment of a monitor.

Please carry the stipulated order with you whenever you visit a DACC shelter. If you witness violations, show this document to shelter staff and demand that they follow the stipulated order. Please document the violation using the stipulated order violation form. You should be prepared to give a declaration under oath if necessary.

Please contact the following people if you witness violations of the stipulated order:

Cathy Nguyen
Plaintiff
Email: cathyn3 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Nathan Winograd
Plaintiff
Phone: (510) 530-5124
Fax: (510) 530-1317
http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/contact.html

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