Culver City News
January 24, 2008
Letters to the Editor
Long List Against Carson Shelter
On Dec. 20, a lawsuit was filed against the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, its director Marcia Mayeda and Los Angeles County by the national No Kill Advocacy Center and two highly respected animal rescuers, Cathy Nuygen and Rebecca Arvizu. This long overdue lawsuit was triggered by the suffering and death of a Culver City puppy named Zephyr who died of starvation, untreated pneumonia and extremely cold conditions. Medications were available but never properly given to the dog.
The lengthy lawsuit and evidence reveal that animals in the six county shelters regularly live and sleep on cold, wet concrete in their own feces and urine, that healthy and adoptable animals are killed before the mandated holding period, that animals are misclassified as "ill" or "injured" in order to justify killing them before their legally mandated holding periods expire, and many, many more gruesome allegations that can be substantiated by photographic evidence and eye witness reports.
In addition, there is evidence that drugs are possessed and used by staff on county property, that animal records are "doctored," and that employees and volunteers are fired and suspended in retaliation for bringing up departmental misconduct.
If Culver City had its own, properly trained professional animal control officer, as Friends of Culver City Animals has advocated for years, would Zephyr and many other animals still be alive today? The answer is yes.
Following examples in other cities that currently have their own efficient and humane animal control officers, Zephyr would have been scanned with a working scanner for a microchip. There is evidence that county animal control officers do not do this. Zephyr would have been checked for tags, something that county animal control officers often overlook. Even if the animal wears a proper collar and license tag, the County often fails to contact the owner.
Assuming that Zephyr was a stray with no identification, there are many options that a properly trained Culver City animal control officer could use to comply with the law and ensure the safety and health of the animal. One is to hold the dog overnight or for a few days at a local boarding facility. Culver City taxpayers already pay for "sheltering" at the Carson shelter, and for approximately the same amount the animal can be boarded locally. This would give the officer time to notify the shelter that the dog has been picked up and to check lost/found flyers and other local resources in the area in which the animal was found. It would also give the pet owner time to find the dog or cat without traveling all the way to Carson.
The dog or cat would be checked by one of Culver City's excellent vets instead of a county vet, and if sick or injured, the animal would receive the proper medication and be vaccinated. Culver City taxpayers already pay for these services to be done by the county, but very often the county fails to actually do what they are paid to do.
Friends of Culver City Animals (FCCA) would be notified each time an animal like Zephyr is picked up, and thereafter work with other animal rescue organizations to ensure that the owner or a foster/permanent home for the animal is found. FCCA has an extensive list of excellent trainers who would evaluate and work with a rescue dog. If a cat is picked up, there are foster homes and outstanding local rescue groups that work exclusively with cats that could help. There are also many wildlife rescue groups to turn to when a rabbit, opossum, bird, bunny or other I form of wildlife is picked up. Based on their own admission, L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control kills all wildlife picked up in Culver City.
With the help of a local properly training animal control officer, many more humane options also exist that would benefit Culver City residents and animals.
Culver City taxpayers already pay the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control for expensive and appalling animal control and sheltering "services" that result in misery and death. With the current lawsuit, Culver City taxpayers are also paying for the County's legal fees to defend themselves. Last August, our City Council voted to extend the contract with L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control for five years. What a terrible waste of our tax money!
Friends of Culver City Animals