Culver City Observer
April 30, 2009
Letters to the Editor
Culver City has a dirty, little secret that officials would prefer no one knows about: animal abuse.
I was at the Boneyard a few days ago with my dogs and witnessed two young women beating and choking their young dog. As his cries of terror and pain pierced the air, many of us tried to stop the girls from hurting their dog. We yelled at them, but they ignored us; one giggled on her cell phone while the other continued to smack the dog on its head. Perhaps because of our anger and outrage, they left the park, but continued their physical assault as they dragged the crying dog on his stomach over the dirt and gravel, over the gutter, onto the sidewalk and down the hill. They repeatedly kicked his hindquarters, and, at one point, grabbed him by the collar, lifted him completely off the ground, and chuckled gleefully as their dog gasped and gurgled, his legs struggling wildly in the air. The dog could not breathe! When they saw me following them, they threw the dog in the back seat of their car, hit him several more times, and drove off.
I took their license plate number and immediately went to Culver City police to file an animal abuse report. I expected the police to be as appalled as I, and that they would want to track the girls down through their license plate number. After all, it is against the law to abuse an animal.
The officers were polite, but not overly concerned. They didn't take a report from me, and were unsure what agency to refer me to to report the abuse. SPCA? LA County Animal Control? (sic) Which one? What's the telephone number? When I asked why Culver City did not have their own agency or officer to report to, the officers shrugged: no one has been hired yet, and, anyway, Culver City doesn't even have a truck to use for an Animal Control officer. I was also told "everyone" is short-staffed, there isn't enough money, "County" doesn't care or want to do anything, and, besides, the police officer told me, people can punish their dogs. The officer thought that what the women had done to their dog was "just a little animal abuse."
I was adamant and persistent: I wanted to report these girls: they committed a crime. I suggested the officer call LAPD's Animal Cruelty Task Force ( ACTF ); he had never heard of that unit and was glad I told him about the task force, but said he didn't think they'd help because "LAPD and CCPD don't get along." He finally found a telephone number for "County in Carson," and gave it to me, but doubted they'd take a report from me. County doesn't care. Another officer told me County was like a "concentration camp for dogs." Over and over I was told, "no one cares."
They're wrong. I care. And so I called. And called. And called. I left several voicemail messages for county Animal Care and Control (ACC), and two voicemail messages for the County "Major Case Unit." No one called me back. Animal Care...who are they kidding?
When I finally spoke with a woman at "County," she told me it's "against the law" for them to "track" a license plate number, and wondered why CCPD hadn't done that -- "it's their job" -- or taken a report. I begged her to take the report from me, get the necessary information from CCPD and help this dog. I told her I was concerned the girls would hurt him even more; maybe the dog would die as a result of their abuse. The woman at County finally took my report, but then told me "they probably wouldn't be able to do anything" because the license plate number wasn't enough information, and they got so many abuse calls everyday, and they didn't have enough people to check on each call. It's not that this dog is worthless, but, well, y'know....
A day after I saw the dog being beaten, and after leaving a message for Police Chief Don Pedersen, I spoke with the officer who will eventually supervise an ACC officer "just for Culver City." I also spoke with a Watch Commander, who then had a Community Service Officer take a report from me. She had no idea what procedure would be followed, but was told that, "at some point," after the "paperwork went through channels," it would "end up at County." I have followed-up with phone calls to County, but no one has seen a report from CCPD, or even pretends to care about that dog.
I am worried about that dog. I am scared the dog may have been beaten to death. And I'm worried about all the other animals in Culver City whose pain and suffering may be ignored. I am frustrated and angry that CCPD and County didn't care enough to act immediately to help this vulnerable dog. I am concerned that it is taking Culver City so long to hire "their own" ACC officer, and to properly equip a truck. How many more animals will be abused as a result of the delay? How long will apathy about animal abuse in Culver City be tolerated?
Please, don't make this all about the money. How much does it cost to be kind?
Culver City 90230