Culver City News
January 8, 2009
By Katie L. Fetting
Council shelter vote thrills animal lovers.
Move from Carson facility to Hawthorne shelter expected to improve conditions.
On Nov. 10, the city council voted unanimously to house Culver City pets and wildlife at the spcaLA shelter in Hawthorne in lieu of the current contract facility, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control shelter in Carson. The council's 5-0 decision proved welcome news to Culver City's animal rights community.
"This is an extremely positive move. Residents in other cities have contacted me to say this speaks very well of our city," said Deborah Weinrauch, director of the Friends of Culver City Animals. "We as Friends of Culver City Animals cannot praise the council members enough for their 5-0 vote in favor of the move to the humane SPCA."
For Culver City Councilman Gary Silbiger, the decision to change facilities was essential to the public interest."The SPCA is a very supportive organization and have been around for over 100 years. They're the leading organization for trying to reform the laws and practices having to do with all sorts of animals. (Mistreatment of
animals) harms us morally as a society," he said.
Though Silbiger admitted the new arrangement may slightly increase city animal control costs, the Hawthorne shelter "isn't a big ticket item.""If great services replace poor services and we have to pay a little extra, that's what city government does," said Silbiger. "No city overnment should be doing something that's not helpful just to save a little money."
Culver City animals are already being rerouted to Hawthorne, according to Silbiger."It started sometime within the last week. People should look for their animals there now," he said.
Complaints against the Carson facility have ranged from gross negligence to deliberate malice, according to Weinrauch. Multiple lawsuits have named Director of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Marcia Mayeda as a co-defendant along with the Department of Animal Control, the Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles County.
Weinrauch visited the Carson shelter "many, many times" and described the conditions as "beyond horrible." "(It was) filthy: Cockroaches in the food. No food. Urine and feces all over the walls. Animals sick next to animals that were healthy. Freezing cold. Filthy water or no water. Animals that had been injured had healthy animals jumping on them. Injured animals were sitting in their own feces and urine," explained Weinrauch.
In addition to the allegations of unsanitary conditions, a legal complaint posted to the Friends of Culver City Animals' website accuses the Carson shelter of euthanizing animals before the expiration of the state mandated holding period.
Mayeda denied the Carson shelter was breaking any laws.