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Wed, Jun

LA Animal Services Shelter Supervisor Severely Injured by Dogo Argentino/Pit Bull Dog Awaiting “Rescue”  

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH  - A beloved Animal Control Technician/Shelter Supervisor with over two decades of experience was the latest victim at the altar of “No Kill” in a Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) shelter, as she was feeding a large white female Pit Bull-type dog, named Brie—a stray labeled a “Dogo Argentino“ by the shelter—which savagely attacked her on Friday, May 31, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.   

“Leslie Corea was attacked this morning,” according to a media release by the City. Shelter employees confirmed that Leslie, who regularly worked with her employees, was in the kennels feeding a dog scheduled to be picked up by a “rescue,” when it vengefully turned on her.  

The victim was so badly injured that she is still in the hospital and by the time this is published will have had three surgeries. 

 A source close to this horrendous tragedy and photos provided by the victim show that that the bites were so vicious they tore the flesh from her bones and toothmarks can be seen on the bones on both legs.  There are also horrendous deep bites in her arms; and, when others arrived, the dog was “chewing on her head.”  

It was later reported that nobody working in the front area of the shelter could hear her screaming as the dog ripped her flesh from her body. 

The Los Angeles Times—which recently criticized Los Angeles County shelters for euthanizing a dog that had obvious serious adaptive issues and was visibly suffering emotionally in the shelter environment—seemed in its article on this attack (L.A. City employee badly mauled by dog at Harbor animal shelter) to approve of the efforts made on behalf of this dog, which gave serious behavioral warning while impounded by the City until it predictably inflicted serious injury on an employee.  

But this could also have been an attack on someone who adopted the animal, trusting that the City is the expert and has an obligation to public safety and would not place individuals and families at risk. According to notes on the dog, there was ample evidence that this dog could be dangerous.  

Following is a combination of reporting by employees, the victim and preliminary records of what occurred on May 31, 2024 at the Harbor Animal Shelter in San Pedro, CA. 
 
Animal Care Technician/Shelter Supervisor Leslie Corea went to bring Brie out to the rescue which had responded to a plea that she was becoming uncontrollable and unpredictable due to the extensive confinement, and she had been placed on the “red list,” meaning she was being scheduled for euthanasia if no “rescue” wanted to take her. 
 
ACT Supervisor Correa went to the location the dog was being held and, as she attempted to leash her to bring out to the “rescuers,” who were picking her up, she was viciously attacked by the dog..  
 
It was reported by those working then that the attack caused so much loud barking in the overpacked shelter and dogs caged in the hallways, that the front desk could not hear her repeated calls for help from a back kennel, and she had to grab her personal cell phone to call 911 and advise an LAPD dispatcher that she was being attacked and her location in the shelter.
 
An employee on duty immediately rushed to the back and found her lying in a pool of blood. Her work pants were shredded along with the flesh on her legs ripped from the bones. Her face was also bleeding profusely and the dog was chewing on her head when employees found her, but she was still awake and alert when the ambulance arrived and she was transported to the hospital.  
 
One of the reports stated that the dog, Brie, was being held for a responding “rescue” which had been delaying picking up the dog and had finally decided to get her. There was reportedly a representative there at the time and this was the reason Leslie went to leash the dog.  Initial unofficial information states that “the dog had been held an extra two weeks for the “rescue” but, of course, they did not take her after the attack.”  
The dog was immediately euthanized and the body taken by County Health Department for rabies testing.. 
 
Leslie is still in the hospital awaiting further surgery, with a very long recovery ahead for her.

Leslie Corea Wounds from Dog Bite (released by victim to CityWatchLA.com

 

The plea used to get a commitment from a “rescue” to take this dog included the statement on 5/30 that it was an “Extremely Urgent” dog” and that it “is red listed” and in need of adoption/rescue by 5:00 pm on Thursday, 5/30/24. “In our control, she jumps, is barking, panting, and bites at the leash. She is not doing well. In a crate, she would bark all the time.”  

Rescues have even less space than a shelter, so what is expected to improve this dog’s stress, anxiety and fear by merely transferring her out of the shelter? At some point, we humans have to admit the tremendous stress that these living beings experience when kept on the edge, surrounded closely by other dogs, 24-hours a day. And, this one was signaling she was at her breaking point.  

The Times report immediately switched the blame to the public in an e-mail sent out later that day, stating that “The city’s animal shelters are in crisis because of a lack of space and an influx of animals and it urged the public “to step up to adopt or foster dogs.”

There was no admonition to the shelters to assure families that adopt have the assurance that there is nothing known to the shelter but not disclosed about the dog that could place their family in danger, although they are already legally required to disclose serious behavioral concerns or history. But the dog which attacked Leslie was already known to be a ticking time bomb and was still being released to a “rescue” to place in a home.

THERE ARE MANY VICTIMS WHEN AN ATTACK OCCURS AT LAAS OR ANY ANIMAL SHELTER

But another notable issue is that the e-mail sent out by Staycee Daines made no mention of the serious condition of Leslie Corea; but, rather, it became a media moment for Staycee to continue the tradition of discounting both the injuries to the direct victim but also the employees’ fear, suffering and emotional state after witnessing or being informed that a colleague suffered an event that could have easily ended her life right in front of them. Reportedly, neither has GM Daines made any personal contact with her injured kennel supervisor.

The mention by Staycee Dains in the e-mail she sent to staff later that day that psychological assistance will be provided to employees and their families seemed merely something she was told to include, because she referred to it as a “future event.” Debriefing after witnessing or being notified of as serious an incident as occurred at the Harbor shelter needed to happen THEN and was easily accessible through contracting with other departments which have law-enforcement or emergency responders who are observing or experiencing traumatic events, in order to avoid delayed PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)--an insidious enemy that strikes without warning.  

This omission in the e-mail sent out by the LAAS General Manager about the tragedy that had just occurred to Leslie Corea was so obvious that even the Times noticed and commented, “The e-mail didn’t mention the incident involving the staffer…”“ , 

THE RESPONSE OF LA ANIMAL SERVICES GM DAINES

Contrary to the statements issued by General Manager  provided the impression that there was  an immediate response by management, , Staycee Dains, according to a report by someone close to the victim, has not visited Leslie Correa nor contacted her personally, nor has anyone else in upper management. 

 Her profound expression of concern is, therefore, lacking the substance that was hoped would follow the practice of ex-GM Brenda Barnette and later Acting GM Annette Ramirez to issue public statements regarding a tragedy that was intended to attract more donations and possibly another budget increase, but only lip service given to the victim and the emotional needs of the shelter employees who were present—and undoubtedly suffering from fear that they will be the next victim.   

The public should be concerned about adopting any but the most sociable animals in the shelter and demand to see ALL records and notes in the animal’s file before considering taking it into their home. Not all animals are suitable for all living situations. Also, even one adoption of a dangerous dog can be harmful to the reputation of the shelter and will drive adopters to breeders. 

If the City wants to assure it--and the taxpayers-are not liable for attacks that occur, the Department of Animal Services should be required to produce these records upon request in their entirety to any potential adopter, before an animal is released.   

 It should also stop catering to the lie of “No Kill” and hire a General Manager who can deal with the realities of the warnings given by animals and honest evaluations can be made available to adopters  based on the actual behavior of the animals so that they—along with staff and volunteers—are as safe as possible. 

This dog had already indicated its lack of tolerance for confinement and provided adequate warning that it was a “ticking timebomb.”  Thus, the answer was to get it to a “rescue,” which does not have the same governmental vulnerability to high-profile lawsuits. 

A rescue may then try to adopt out a dog with issues like this to the public through photos of her in her best moments interacting with someone walking her or giving her treats.  However, according to a responsible source, there was a report in her file that she had already bit someone at the shelter.  This was allegedly explained away as “a volunteer had been feeding her treats and the incident occurred when she stopped providing them and she was reaching for more.” 

LAUNCHING AN INVESTIGATION?

Megan Ignacio, the latest in a long list of spokespersons for L.A. Animal Services, stated that, “the Department’s “staff and volunteers are devastated by the injuries” and “L.A. Animal Services has already launched an investigation into this,” But, is there any indication this “investigation” will produce any tangible improvements, or will it merely create a paper trail ending wih the usual perfunctory “thank you” at a Commission meeting. 

Thus far, despite her declarations of concern, reportedly no member of upper management, including GM Staycee Dains, has even visited or called their injured colleague, she .says. 

See:   LA  Animal Services' Employee Mauled by Pit Bull . . .Who .Cares?

A retired employee heard about this latest tragedy involving Leslie Corea and sent a wise observation: ” It’s no longer IF you will be attacked at LAAS, but WHEN!”  

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)