ANIMAL WATCH-Hollywood celebrities, friends and animal lovers gathered on the roof-top deck of PETA’s LA headquarters in Echo Park last week to celebrate the life and loves of Prince—especially his compassion for animals. On June 7, 2016, Prince would have turned 58. 

This was an opportunity to not only learn about Prince’s involvement with PETA but also attain insight into PETA’s activities and goals for their Los Angeles office at 2154 Sunset Boulevard. 

Among those in attendance at the gala affair were Pamela Anderson and her son, Brandon Lee; Russell Simmons, the force behind the hip-hop revolution and creator of Phat Farm fashions; Belinda Carlisle, lead singer for the famous all-women’s pop band, The Go-Go's; Davey Havok, lead vocalist with rock band AFI, and other celebrities who have used their talent and fame to support and promote animal-rights. 

Mayte Garcia, Prince’s ex-wife, co-hosted the dazzling but respectful event and gave a touching speech about Prince, the private man, who spoke out passionately and candidly against animal cruelty in any form. "Prince didn’t want to celebrate birthdays, but to live life, to elevate and educate to the next level of enlightenment,” she said. 

The “Purple Rain” icon--whose life and music defied convention and boundaries--is widely quoted for proclaiming, “A strong spirit transcends rules.” He explained his aversion to celebrating his birthday to a Dutch television interviewer in 1999, "I don't celebrate birthdays. It stops me from counting days, which stops me from counting time, which allows me to still look the same as I did 10 years ago." 

He believed time was a trick and told The Guardian in 2011 that he did not age because "time is a mind construct...It's not real." 

In 2001 Prince, whose real name was Prince Nelson Rogers, became a Jehovah’s Witness, a decision he called a “transition,” rather than a conversion. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays or holidays. 

He was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in St. Louis Park in Minneapolis, where he was remembered fondly, according to E! News. A source is quoted as saying, "He was kind and gentle, funny and he liked to laugh.” 

In 2006, Prince was named PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity. He explained his vegan lifestyle simply, he didn't “eat anything with parents” because “”Thou shalt not kill’ means just that!” 

When critics pressed him for justification of his concern about animals in the face of widespread human suffering, Prince responded, “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” 

PETA chose this occasion to re-release “Animal Kingdom,” the song he donated to serve as a musical invitation to its 20th anniversary party in 1999. 

Mayte Garcia said she is working alongside the charity to mark June 7 every year to encourage Prince’s fans to support his legacy. 

Most Angelenos don’t realize that PETA--which has a history of stirring controversy with flamboyant campaigns--has been working quietly and steadily in Los Angeles since 2005 on popular and lauded local animal-protection issues. 

Lisa Lange, Senior VP of Communications, who heads PETA’s Los Angeles branch, told me: 

When we first opened an office in L.A. in 2005, we had a little one-room space in Silver Lake in the Roger Building on Rowena. . .but we grew too big for the space after we moved our marketing, corporate, youth, and social media divisions to L.A. 

We fell in love with Echo Park and the building we're in now. Thanks to Bob Barker's generous support, we now reside in one of the coolest neighborhoods in town. We love our neighbors, the proximity of Echo Park Lake, and all the vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. 

I asked her if we will see PETA involved at City Hall, testifying on local concerns. She responded: 

PETA has been a presence at City Hall for some time, weighing in on issues such as the wonderful bullhook ban, celebrating the City Council's decision to implement Meatless Mondays, and encouraging the City to enforce the strong spay/neuter ordinance that's been on the books (but largely ignored) since 2008.”  

Lisa said she started with PETA in 1992 as a campaigner before moving into the Communications Department and, among other progressive measures, developing PETA Latino.  

She also oversees the Animals in Film and Television Division, which has been successful in persuading filmmakers and the TV industry to stop using wild animals in productions and opt instead for computer-generated imagery and animatronics (such as in Noah, The Jungle Book, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes). 

I asked about her primary goals for PETA in Los Angeles in the near future. She responded thoughtfully: 

Locally, I am very concerned that in recent years, some groups have taken the focus off the real solution to the homeless dog and cat overpopulation crisis—which is to create a ‘no-birth’ city by actively enforcing the spay/neuter ordinance and making spay/neuter surgeries available to lower income households. 

There are groups that like to blame the shelters for the need for euthanasia, and that's simply neither fair nor useful. 

We want to see an end to the NEED for euthanasia. We want to see an end to animal homelessness and suffering. There are too many animals living on the streets—getting hit by cars, being hurt by cruel people, dying slowly of disease, never knowing where their next meal will come from, and so on. This is the cruelty that we need to bring to an end. 

Author’s note: I think Prince would agree with that!

 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

ANIMAL WATCH--Councilman Paul Koretz’ naive doublethink now has the City Council ensnared between powerful competing groups—coyote advocates and feral cat feeders--that may soon be fighting mad. And, Koretz and Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette are caught inextricably in the middle.  

This is just one more example of why LA Animal Services must be moved from the unilateral decision-making by Koretz, Chair of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, and restored to oversight by the Public Safety Committee, where there might at least be discussions regarding potential unexpected consequences of animal-related policies.  

Koretz lacks personal expertise regarding animals and continually makes decisions based solely upon the advice or propaganda provided by affluent/influential animal-rights groups with political interests, without considering the negative impact on LA residents and--as in this case--their pets. 

On May 24, Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the San Pedro area, introduced a motion which Koretz seconded, instructing Animal Services to “…report on or before July 1, 2016, with a detailed plan on the Department’s Coyote Management Program…and recommendations for improvements to that Program that will further control the coyote population in the City’s residential neighborhoods, including any ordinances or City policies that will support the effort.” 

One day later, on May 25, the City Council, which is advised by Koretz on all things animal, approved $800,000 in the Mayor’s 2016-17 Budget for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on cats, with the goal of authorizing official Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) of feral cats (re-abandoning altered cats into the streets)—under the guise it is the only way the city will reach “No Kill.” 

It is important to understand that “No Kill” pertains ONLY to shelter populations and does not count the animals that die in the streets, which provides the impetus to NOT impound strays nor address problems that might cause more animals to be brought to the shelter.  

Neither Koretz nor Barnette was transparent with the Council prior to the vote on the $800,000 cat report.  Koretz did not advise his colleagues that TNR is already legal in L.A., with sterilizations of abandoned and/or unsocialized animals well funded by private grants, large pet-supply corporations; such as PetSmart, and major humane organizations, including Best Friends. 

Barnette did not disclose that “feeders” throughout LA trap street cats, have them altered and release them constantly, providing food outdoors to large groups of feral cats in “colonies” daily with no interference by L.A. Animal Services. 

The $800,000 EIR is intended to overturn a court injunction which prohibits using City funds to perform or promote TNR, without including mitigating measures to reduce the sources of the problem.  The goal of the injunction was to reduce the decimation of birds and small wildlife necessary to maintain the environmental balance, and to reduce public health risks posed by millions of outdoor cats. 

The City could simply negotiate humane safeguards such as, a “non-roaming” ordinance to require owners to keep their cats inside or in their own yards; mandatory licensing/microchipping of cats, and the right of property owners to remove nuisance feral cats by taking them to the shelter. 

Both Koretz and Barnette have absolutely rejected any measures placing accountability for cats on owners (as we do with dogs)—opting instead to spend $800,000 of taxpayer’s money for consultants to justify the fiction that millions of outdoor, ‘wild’ cats have no negative impact on the environment. 

But Councilman Buscaino’s coyote-report motion—to which Koretz added his name—is aimed at “…prioritizing resident’s [sic] safety through deterrence of these wild animals in our neighborhoods, in addition to the Department’s efforts to educate residents about coyote behavior.”  

 This is in direct conflict with the anticipated outcome of the $800,000 EIR.  

LAAS estimates there are 3.5 million feral cats in Los Angeles.  Creating feral cat ‘colonies’ all over the city, maintained by “feeders” who dump cat food in accessible areas and provide containers with fresh water, also attracts rodents and other wildlife to the location—including coyotes.    

Experts in coyote control unanimously agree that NOT feeding pets outside and NOT leaving pet food and water bowl outdoors is fundamental to any coyote-control program.  

In fact, on June 1, L.A. Animal Services Wildlife Officer Hoang Dinh told Fox 11, "Most importantly, it’s important to keep pets inside and doors closed when there are coyotes roaming neighborhoods. Dog and cat food is a big clue to the coyotes that there is food nearby in the form of someone's pets." (He either inadvertently or intentionally omitted feral-cat feeding.)  

There is another important aspect of humans providing food to feral cats, which in turn become food for coyotes. When a feral-cat feeding station appears in a vacant lot or urban alley, appreciative coyotes quickly realize a human has set up a smorgasbord.  

 This teaches them two things:  (1) humans are not the coyotes’ enemy; and (2) the intended benefactors—the feral cats themselves—also become a food source that does not require hunting. 

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides an informative section on avoiding coyote conflict, including:   

  • Coyotes eat wild species, but they are known to eat pet food, garbage, garden crops, livestock, poultry, and pets (mostly cats).
  • Don’t feed feral cats  (domestic cats gone wild).Coyotes prey on these cats as well as any feed you leave out for the feral cats.
  • Humans increase the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes by deliberately or inadvertently feeding the animals, whether by handouts or by providing access to food sources such as garbage, pet food or livestock carcasses. When people provide food, coyotes quickly lose their natural fear of humans and become increasingly aggressive. They also become dependent on the easy food source people provide. Once a coyote stops hunting on its own and loses its fear of people, it becomes dangerous and may attack without warning.

Buscaino’s motion claims, “While coyotes typically pose no threat to humans, these interactions create safety concerns for parents and owners of small pets who are unsure of the coyote’s aggressiveness.”  

That’s not exactly accurate according to residents who say they have observed the aggressive nature of the “urban” coyotes in L.A. who are born and raised in or near highly populated communities and have lost their fear of humans. 

We also can't ignore the four children attacked in Orange County within three months last year, including a three-year-old inside a garage with her father present. Plus, KTLA reported two attacks in Elysian Park in 2015—one a 3-year-old girl and the other an adult male. 

UC Davis published an important GUIDE to identifying progressive problem coyote behavior, which is well worth reading in its entirety.  Here are several excerpts: 

  • Recognizing Problem Coyote Behavior

As coyote numbers increase in cities, they become accustomed to the presence of people, especially if the people do not harass them. Studies of coyote attacks on pets and on humans have revealed a predictable pattern of change in coyote behavior in these environments. This progression is accelerated when coyotes are provided abundant food, either unintentionally or intentionally, in residential areas.

When it reaches the point where pets are being attacked or coyotes are seen in neighborhoods in early morning or late afternoon, area-wide corrective actions are recommended to prevent an escalation to attacks on humans . . . (See Responding to Coyote Aggression and Attack.)

  • Sequence of increasingly aggressive coyote behaviors
  1. Increase in coyotes on streets and in yards at night 
  2. Increase in coyotes approaching adults and/or taking pets at night
  3. Coyotes on streets, and in parks and yards, in early morning/late afternoon 
  4. Coyotes chasing or taking pets in daytime 
  5. Coyotes attacking and taking pets on leash or near owners; chasing joggers, bicyclists, other adults 
  6. Coyotes seen in and around children’s play areas, school grounds, and parks in midday
  7. Coyotes acting aggressively toward adults in midday
  • Hazing and Behavior Modification.

Using sound or visual stimuli to keep coyotes away from livestock or other resources will provide only temporary effectiveness, if any. . . In the absence of any real threat, coyotes quickly adapt or habituate to sounds, flashing lights, propane cannons, scarecrows, and so on.

Will Paul Koretz and Brenda Barnette ignore the warnings of scientists and other experts?

How will Koretz (who had 19 cats as a child and has made TNR a priority) resolve the looming undeniable conflict between the vocal advocates for coyotes and TNR/feral-cat feeders without negatively impacting his current fundraising efforts or re-election?

Is seconding Councilman Buscaino’s motion a sincere attempt by Koretz to determine and implement coyote deterrence for public safety or merely lip service and a ploy to assure the status quo is not changed in regard to coyote management?                                               

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.)

ANIMAL WATCH-A Pit Bull named Sammy with a prior record of repeated aggression and who had just bitten a Los Angeles Animal Services kennel worker in the abdomen, was released on April 28 to NovaStar Rescue, at the personal instruction of LA Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette. NovaStar states on its site that it started in 2012, lists only a PO Box address in Ola, Arkansas, and describes itself as “[a] small rescue in Ola, Arkansas. The main focus of NovaStar is to . . . save the pitties, the most loyal yet most misunderstood dogs.” 

“Sammy” was the name given to the dog by kennel staff. He was “Sodom” when he was surrendered to the shelter on January 28 by his owner, who reportedly gave the reason that the dog had “tried to bite him.” A behavioral memo that same day by an Animal Care Technician states, “dog growled and snapped move with acd [animal control device] and according to owner dog is a guard dog.” 

Sammy was described as a Male, Unaltered, Black and White American Staffordshire Terrier, Age: 5 yrs. Weight: 69 lbs. (Impound #A1608123) on PetHarbor.com, where he was listed for adoption to the public. 

During the time Sammy was being offered to a “forever” home, he was chalking up warnings by shelter personnel -- warnings such as: “dog attempted to bite through the kennel when I was lowering the guillotine door on the kennel next to his. be careful when anywhere near this dog;” “this dog is getting worse. lunges at kennel door, growling, barking, biting at door;” “THIS DOG IS VERY AGGRESSIVE. WHEN I GOT NEAR KENNEL DOG LUNGED TOWARDS FACE AND WAS TRYING TO BITE THROUGH KENNEL CAGE. USE CAUTION WHEN HANDLING THIS DOG….” 

Then on April 14, the memo reads, “DOG BIT AN ACT. RABIES OBSERVATION.” The rabies observation is a standard procedure required by the County Department of Public Health (DPH) when a dog bite breaks the skin. The dog is quarantined for ten days. (This is mandated whether or not the dog has a current rabies vaccination.) 

On April 24, at 4:28 PM, an e-mail from a private g-mail account was sent to Brenda Barnette, stating: 

“Attention Brenda and Mario: 

“I am providing you notice prior to the euthanasia of ID number A1608123 [North Central] that he has rescue interest. Pursuant to California Food and Agricultural Code section

31108 (b) you are prohibited by law to kill him/her. This is your official notice of rescue interest for ID number A16081234. DO NOT KILL HIM! 

“If you do, you will be in direct violation of FEDERAL CODE and will be prosecuted by intent policy and California Animal Networks will press charges. 

“Pursuant to section 31108 (b) of the California Food And Agriculture Code: 

“(b) Except as provided in Section 17006, any stray dog that is impounded pursuant to this division shall, prior to euthanasia of that animal, be released to a nonprofit, as defined in Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, animal rescue or adoption organization if requested by the organization prior to the scheduled euthanasia of that animal. 

“Paperwork was sent in from NovaStar Rescue placing a hold on this dog. “PLEASE ADVISE. 

“Tiffany” 

At 4:53 pm, April 24, Brenda Barnette responded, with cc’s to three LAAS staff/shelter personnel: 

“Tiffany,

Will the rescue pick him up Monday? I do not know if this dog is in danger, but you can’t put an indefinite hold on an animal. Please check, I notice that you gave two different “A” numbers.

“Brenda” 

It is surprising that -- considering the documented history of this dog -- -the GM would release it for adoption, first to the public (before it bit the Animal Care Technician) and then to a ‘rescue.’ Ms. Barnette could have easily determined that the above Fd. & Ag. Section did not apply, because this dog was not a “stray.” Additionally, according to legal experts, there are no federal laws governing this issue. 

So, was Brenda unsure of the law, or intimidated by the threats of an individual who does not appear -- nor claim -- to have a formal association with either of the groups she identifies in her email? 

Secondly, GM Barnette acknowledged that it was a dangerous animal by requiring under the condition of release, according to reports, that Sammy leave the state and be taken to Arkansas. 

Here is the LAMC Section that describes how an animal can be declared dangerous: 

SEC 53.34.4. DANGEROUS ANIMAL – PROCEDURES. 

(b) Dangerous Animal-Declared. The Department, after a hearing, may declare any dog or other animal to be a dangerous animal whenever it has bitten, attacked or caused injury to any human being or other animal. 

Apparently the GM’s order was not taken seriously by the local rescuer, because on May 15, Los Angeles Fire Department and LAPD responded to a small, unkempt older house on White Knoll Drive, Los Angeles 90012, (near downtown LA) at approximately 9 pm, where a pit bull was attacking a woman who “was visiting dog to determine if she wants to adopt from the rescue who had been fostering the dog.” That dog was later identified by LA Animal Services as Impound #1608123, “Sammy.” 

The victim was unidentified in the LAFD report, except for the first name, “Melanie,” at a 760-485-XXXX phone number. 

“Sammy” was alive but had been stabbed 19 times by a neighbor who heard the victim screaming. He was transported to an emergency clinic, where he was euthanized, according to the County Dept. of Public Health report.  

Ironically, on May 16, NovaStar Animal Rescue posted on Facebook: 

“For those of you who follow this rescue you probably saw the writing on the wall. Terre has been taking in more dogs than we have been able to place. NOVASTAR IS FULL. We cannot take any more pups. Please help!” 

So who is “Tiffany?” Is she a qualified rescuer under LA Animal Services criteria? Did she sign a release form that she was aware that the pit bull had attacked a human, causing bodily harm, and that he had exhibited a pattern of aggressive behavior? 

Since he was not transported out of Los Angeles, is the City potentially liable for injuries to the victim? 

If Tiffany was designated as a legitimate member of NovaStar Animal Rescue in Arkansas for the purposes of “pulling” Sammy, can that organization or the California Animal Networks, which Tiffany claimed would “press charges” if Sammy was not released, be held legally and/or financially responsible for the attack? 

Or is this just a symptom of a greater quandary? There is no state or federal law governing “rescuers.” There is no prior experience or training mandated, nor are there maintenance, health and sanitation requirements for privately housing multiple animals for adoption. There is also no prescribed inspection or monitoring of care and condition of the animals and no mandate for insurance or standards for temperament of animals sold/adopted to the public by rescuers. In California there is no permit or license issued to establish accountability. To become a “rescue,” all that is necessary is a nonprofit tax status, as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

The safety and lives of not only adopters and their families and pets, but also the dedicated people who care for animals in shelters and humane societies -- and the rescuers, themselves -- need to be given more thoughtful consideration. At least five shelter employees at LA Animal Services have reportedly been injured in dog attacks in the last three months, two sustaining possibly permanent damage.

Rescuer Rebecca Carey, 23, was killed in her home in 2012 by dogs she had ‘saved.’ And, an 18-month-old pit bull, named Lily, viciously attacked her adopter and rescuer Patricia Agnello as she was placed in the car with her new “fur mom.” Lily was stabbed-death by a neighbor to save the women. 

Although there are highly responsible and competent rescuers all over the country who maintain high standards for both themselves and adopters, there are also those who act on emotion and make poor decisions as to how many animals they can adequately care for and which animals may not be safe to rehome. 

Based upon the rapidly increasing number of tragic attacks by adopted dogs (including the April 22 killing of a three-day-old baby in San Diego by a recently adopted Pit Bull,) isn’t it time the CA Food and Agricultural Code that mandates unsafe animals “shall” be released to rescues upon request be reconsidered by California lawmakers?

                                                           

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

 

ANIMAL WATCH-Rabies is a virus that infects the brain and ultimately leads to death. Any mammal can spread rabies. It is also preventable in pets by keeping their rabies vaccination current. It is hoped the following media reports will demonstrate current instances and tragedies that will cause every dog (and cat) owner to follow the State rabies law and keep California safe.

ANIMAL WATCH-Before Brenda Barnette was hired as General Manager of LA Animal Services in 2010, the mantra for the Department was, at all times, “officer, animal and public safety.” Whenever there was a major disaster such as a fire or an earthquake, Animal Control Officers were placed on alert at all city shelters -- whether of or not they were ultimately dispatched to the emergency scene. 

The Animal Services’ Emergency Response Coordinator (for many years the well-known and highly experienced Captain Karen Knipscheer), once notified that a fire/disaster command center had been set up, and aware that the focus of fire and police personnel is to stop destruction and evacuate humans, would either go to the location or send a representative to advise that LA Animal Services was available to help with any animal-related need. 

But, in the current LAAS “Department Emergency Plan,” it states that, The Department of Animal Services will send an Agency Representative (AR) to the Police [Fire/Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control] Incident Command Post “ONLY when requested…” (Emphasis added.) 

On Monday, May 23, at 2:20 pm, a fast-moving fire was reported near the 13000 block of Wheatland Avenue above Lake View Terrace and at the border of the Angeles National Forest. Hundreds of city, county and federal firefighters joined to protect the multi-jurisdictional area. Spotter planes and water-dropping helicopters helped battle the blaze, which burned a total of about 185 acres. 

On that day, prompt response, the level of preparedness and expertise, and the wind-direction blew the fire away from structures and into the National Forest; no evacuation was required. 

However, notably absent to those who worry about pets and other animals in these situations (Lake View Terrace and other Valley areas still have substantial equine communities) was any announcement that LA Animal Services was on standby in case the wind-blown fire changed its course and headed toward populated areas.

City fire Capt. Daniel Curry told KTLA.  “The fire spread very rapidly due to the steep terrain and the status of the fuels in the area.” The south end of the fire, closer to homes, was part of the containment line, he said. Special attention was given to protecting structures in the Little Tujunga Canyon Road to Big Tujunga Canyon Road areas "as a precaution," according to Los Angeles Fire Department’s Erik Scott.

Angelenos are aware that fire season is approaching and that the “Big One” may rock Los Angeles at any time, putting their homes instantly in danger. The City advises us to be prepared. That message also applies to pets and large animals who will need to leave disaster areas with their owners or to be evacuated by LA Animal Services and taken to safety. 

But, recent changes in the allocation of funds for LA Animal Services by the Mayor and City Council have resulted in a lack of resources that have been the stalwarts of safety for animals during past emergencies. City Hall doesn’t seem to care much. 

While the Council Budget & Finance Committee easily allotted $800,000 of taxpayer money for a Feral Cat/Trap-Neuter-Release/Relocate Report so that feral cats can be released to roam unimpeded on residential and commercial property throughout the city and be sterilized using City funds, it rejected a request for ten badly needed animal control trucks as part of the replacement of the dilapidated and unsafe LAAS fleet not replaced since 2000 and 2003. 

The current situation is that the Animal Services’ entire fleet of animal control trucks (animal collection vehicles) needs to be replaced immediately. Some can no longer be driven safely on the streets and officers state that, even when sent for repair, they seem to break down almost immediately. 

Dangerous enough under normal conditions, but should trucks that break down or suddenly not start, with failing brakes and doors that fly open (both on the passenger cab and animal compartments) be allowed behind fire lines? 

This lack of assistance by Animal Control Officers to pick up pets trapped in homes during a fire or disaster, or to catch frightened animals that have escaped, could leave beloved furry and feathered family members behind to die. 

The Department is expecting (after unconscionable delays) to hire 30 new animal control officers soon; however, if there aren’t enough vehicles, they will not be able to work in the field. Even with 13 anticipated new vehicles that are tentatively expected within ten months, this will be fraction of what is needed to replace the current decrepit fleet. 

Even now, animal control officers that could be helping injured and stray animals and doing humane investigations are reportedly sitting in the shelters because of a lack of vehicles. 

This should be no surprise to Councilman Paul Koretz. 

During a report to the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee (chaired by Koretz) on September 16, 2015, at which Koretz feigned great concern about heat affecting animals in collection vehicles with inadequate ventilation or cooling, he was advised that the officers, animals and the public are endangered by the deterioration and poor mechanical condition of the fleet of collection trucks. General Services Fleet Director Richard Coulsen confirmed there are repeated breakdowns while officers are driving trucks which are “falling apart.” Koretz has never agendized this matter again. 

Coulsen announced at the May 24 LAAS Commission meeting that there is now authorization to order twenty-two trucks by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year for another partial fleet replacement. Director of Field Operations Mark Salazar has subsequently recited a litany of fiascos occurring from LAAS designing totally unsuitable vehicles and then receiving new trucks that have such serious defects they have been returned to the manufacturer. In addition, he has noted the painfully slow process of upgrading vents on ten 2008 animal-rescue vans currently not in use because they lack an alternate air-circulation system. This left Commissioners and attendees obviously confused. 

After Salazar’s additional lengthy and convoluted excuses for all these mistakes, frustrated activist Michael Bell stated in public comment, “…I didn’t understand anything you said. It seemed one thing piled on another…this is just silliness.” He encouraged the Commission to “just get this done because it is obvious that General Services and Officer Salazar are not doing it.” 

With the current deficit in officers and equipment (the Department also has 33% less horse-hauling vehicles,) it is important for all small and large-animal owners to realize that, if a disaster hits, you may be on your own.

The following are some basic tips from experts for saving or safeguarding your pets and horses in a disaster. However, since each situation and animal is different, please talk with your neighbors, experts and community advisors and/or go on the Internet for a wide variety of information. (Plus, we invite any readers to leave comments to help.) 

Devise a disaster plan in advance, which includes -- but is not limited to -- these basics, and please microchip your pets and horses. 

SMALL ANIMALS: 

  1. Have a strong kennel/travel cage that can be securely latched ready for each pet.  (Keep it in a place easy to access quickly.) 
  2. Store or fill containers with enough water to sustain your pet for several days. 
  3. Have a tightly closed container filled with enough food for each pet (use the kind your pet regularly eats) for several da
  4. Keep a fresh supply of medications your pet takes (enough for several days).
  5. Have some toys/blankets familiar to the pet ready to take. 
  6. Practice placing your pet in a kennel/cage at least monthly, so that it is comfortable with the process.
    Rotate/replace food/water/meds every 3 to 6 months. 
  7. Have your pets’ licensing/microchip info handy to take, along with a photo of you with your animal(s). Keep contact information current on microchip and license.

LARGE ANIMALS: 

  1. Have a plentiful backup supply of water, and plenty of buckets available to take with you. 
  2. Halter/lead rope for every animal. (For smaller farm animals, keep transfer cages easily available.) 
  3. Training and practice. Make sure your animal loads in a trailer quickly and easily before an incident occurs. 
  4. Have an evacuation plan in place. Know where you expect to take your animal(s) and practice ahead of time. 
  5. Have special feed or medications set aside with easy access in an emergency. 
  6. Have your horses microchipped and update the contact information regularly
  7.  Have any licensing/other info ready to take with you, along with a photo of you with your    horse, showing any special markings on the animal.

                                                                       

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.