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Mon, Jul

“No Kill” Policy is Blamed for the Brutal Dog Attack on LA Animal Services Supervisor Leslie Correa

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH - At the June 10, 2023, L.A. Animal Services Commission meeting, GM Staycee Dains identified the tragic Pit Bull-Dogo Argentino attack on shelter supervisor Leslie Correa as the impetus for a new protocol. This protocol aims to ensure that dogs are not kept in overly stressful conditions, living in crates, deprived of care, attention, and exercise, and injuring themselves and others—in the name of "No Kill."

This “temporary change” will also include a policy for euthanizing animals that are obviously physically and mentally suffering and deteriorating under these conditions and cannot be adopted or fostered because of the threat to the safety of humans and/or other animals and the City’s liability.

This change in LAAS policy also reflects growing concern over the increasing number of court cases with millions of dollars in settlements resulting from the release of an animal that causes extensive damage to the adopter, a relative, or another victim.

Dogs displaying behavior indicating a severe FAS reaction (fear/stress/anxiety) to long-term shelter confinement in crates, with inadequate exercise or other enrichment in an understaffed shelter, will be put on a list allowing them to be taken by a “rescue” within three days, after which they will be euthanized. Animals on this list will only be released to registered non-profit rescues and New Hope Partners.

Is This Real or a Ploy to Increase the Budget?

This announcement came after the Department’s Finance Office reported a long list of cuts to fund programs and staffing of L.A. Animal Services. The GM also recently requested the elimination of the graveyard shift staffing, which would leave animals alone even more.

At a recent meeting, a commenter stated that the entire budget for the Department, which cares for all the city’s unwanted, lost, stray, ill, and abandoned animals, receives less than 1/2 of one percent of the City’s total budget.

It is hard to tell whether the return to the former longstanding policy of humane euthanasia is a ploy to arouse a campaign by “rescuers” and the public to increase the LAAS budget or a serious concern about health and safety, emphasized by the recent attack on Shelter Supervisor Leslie Correa.

Attack Shook the City

This plan would mean the end (or at least a suspension) of the “No Kill” claim made by Best Friends Animal Society regarding Los Angeles and would undoubtedly ruffle some political feathers. LAAS GM Dains commented that she had spoken to Leslie after the attack, and the veteran supervisor “wants change, and she wants it now.”

Animal Shelter Supervisor Leslie Correa, whose life was spared only by fighting with the dog, said she found and grasped a brick that she used to inflict enough damage to stop the 63-pound Pit Bull. She had not been able to contact the front desk due to the poor quality of the City radios.

Supervisor Correa Fought for Her Life

At the Commission meeting, GM Dains briefly mentioned the valiant fight by Leslie Correa against the Dogo Argentino named Brie, who suddenly attacked her without warning while she was alone with her in a kennel at the Harbor Animal Shelter.

A Brick Saved Her

Dains told the Commission on June 10 that “while Leslie was primarily responsible for saving her own life, two officers arrived after learning about the attack, and the male officer had ‘offered his body’ to divert the dog away from Leslie." However, according to Leslie, neither of them had direct contact with the dog because she had been hitting it with a brick she found on the floor. She threw the brick, hitting the dog in the head after she saw the two officers. This caused the dog to run into an open yard/parking area at the shelter, where the male ACO captured her.

Dains claims she has spoken with and visited Leslie Correa, and Leslie confirmed that she came to see her on the Sunday after the attack.

Other ACOs Speak Out

Angela Llerenas, a current Animal Control Officer with 25 years of experience with LAAS and an SEIU shop steward, spoke to the Commission about the fact that this department is not prepared to be “No Kill” and that the conditions for the animals and employees are extremely dangerous. She stated that “all the employees are in jeopardy.”

Staycee Dains has apparently found managing one of the largest animal shelters in the nation more difficult than anticipated. Her pledge to increase adoptions turned into a dubious victory with only 2,365 in 2023 vs. 2,165 in 2022.

GM's Report on Dog Attack Has Different Ending

According to GM Dains, two LAAS employees rushed out to help Leslie Correa during the attack. The male officer “offered his body” to distract the attacking dog from the victim, who was bleeding heavily and lying on the kennel floor. However, Dains might not know that while trying to escape the attack, Leslie Correa had rolled over to a spot where she located a loose brick and began using it to hit the dog and stop the attack. By the time the two employees arrived, the dog had already stopped attacking her and ran out into an adjacent enclosed parking lot at the shelter because she threw the brick at it and hit it. It was then that the officer was able to capture the animal using a catch pole.

Staycee Dains’ Concern About the Attack at the Shelter

GM Dains certainly has expressed far more concern about the attack on Leslie Correa than her two immediate predecessors, Brenda Barnette and Annette Ramirez. She did visit her once a few days after this horrific event occurred and stated she has called her.

But one issue needs to be clear because it validates the strength and courage of this amazing woman. Contrary to one version of this horrific event recited publicly twice by Staycee Dains, who said at the June 10 Commission meeting that the victim advised the Commission she had visited and spoken to Supervisor Leslie Correa, this certainly did not occur soon after or on the night of the horrific event that could easily have ended Leslie’s life.

At the meeting, GM Dains repeated a commendation to two Animal Control Officers for coming to her rescue, with one of them “offering his body to the Pit Bull” to divert it away from the severely injured employee, who told Channel 4 news, “he tore off half of my hip.”

THE STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF L.A. ANIMAL SERVICES

Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Agenda & Various Documents
Commission Audio

LAAS DOG OCCUPANCY METER ON JUNE 17, 2024 

ALL SHELTERS

1, 442 dogs

CAPACITY

737  (TODAY +5 in /0 out

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

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