Friday, July 31, 2015


Recently this blog reported the Grand Jury report for Devore.

While other shelters are cutting their days and hours, Devore has adhered to the suspended Hayden Law hours. Why? Because Devore cares, they know these extended hours are crucial to owners trying to find their pets after work. Or for those who work and want to adopt can find it easier. Even No Kill's great Rancho Cucamonga experiment has them closing one day a week. 

Other shelters are being mired in lawsuits. 

·         Week of May 24, 2015 – SAN DIEGO COUNTY:  A Veterinarian employed by the San Diego County Department of Animal Services files litigation against the County which alleges animal abuse, failure to following various State Laws pertaining to veterinary medicine and animal care along with discrimination.  The following link will take you to a news report regarding this litigation: and this link will take you to the filed lawsuit:  San Diego County Animal Services has been presented as a model for municipal animal shelter services which others should replicate.   

Or their Grand Jury wasn't so nice.

 Week of May 17, 2015 – ORANGE COUNTY:  The Orange County Grand Jury issues a scathing fifteen (15) page report alleging, “The County’s lack of leadership and lack of commitment to animal care.”  The report can be viewed at:  This report follows a critical 108 page performance audit that was authored by the County and released on March 24, 2015, which can be viewed at:  The Department’s Director resigned in late 2014.  Several critical news stories have been published about the current state of affairs at Orange County Animal Services and the following link will take you to just one of those many stories which is entitled, “Grand jury report rips Orange County over crumbling animal shelter”

Or are in turmoil because of No Kill activists.

         Week of June 7, 2015 – CITY OF IRVINE: The Irvine City Council receives a summary report from the private consultant JVR Shelter Strategies hired to assess the operations of the City’s animal shelter facilities after the Director of Animal Services resigns along with the City’s Chief Veterinarian who oversees shelter operations.  Animal Welfare Advocates aggressively attacked staff and personnel which forced the Director and Chief Veterinarian to resign.  The Irvine Animal Shelter has an operational budget of approximately $4,000,000.00 for shelter operations exclusively, not including field services or other operations, and was once presented as the State’s Leading Municipal Animal Shelter facility.  The City Council will be allocating additional funding and positions in FY 2015-16 as they continue their recruitment for a new Director.  The update for the City of Irvine can be viewed on the City’s website at: agenda item 5.1.

·         Week of June 14, 2015 – CITY OF HESPERIA: On Tuesday, June 16, 2015 the City Manager, Mike Podegracz authors a report pertaining to suspended Animal Control Laws (Hayden Bill-Senate Bill 1785).  The report can be located on the City’s website at: agenda item 11.  An animal welfare attorney attends the City Council meeting and states the report is significantly deficient and inaccurate.  The report appears to be inaccurate.  The City of Hesperia has been under attack by animal welfare “advocates/activists” for the past sixty (60) days and the City currently has a 50% vacancy rate at their animal shelter. 

Speaking of turmoil, the City of Los Angeles is a slow learner. They continued to hold on to No Kill, and this will be their second failure. 

·         Week of June 28, 2015 – LOS ANGELES CITY: A protest involving approximately 150 individuals has taken place this past weekend in front of the home of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  The following link will take you to an ABC7 news report of the protest:  and the following link will direct you to a YouTube video outlining the protest:  You may remember the City of Los Angeles was the agency that “bonded”  $154,000,000.00 to upgrade the City’s animal shelter facilities in early 2000.  The total project budget actually grew to in excess of $184,000,000.00 to build or remodel the City’s animal shelter facilities.  The total annual operating budget for Los Angeles City Animal Services is in excess of $43,000,000.00 and is arguably the highest funded Animal Control Agency in the State of California.


“Unfortunately, it seems like the no-kill movement has evolved 

from noble into the no-kill people on one side and the shelters 

on the other,” says Stacy Smith, vice president of Animal 

Advocacy, Humane Society of Flower Mound. “It’s a shame 

considering one was created to help the other. No-kill was out 

there before Nathan Winograd grabbed onto it, but what no-kill 

meant was you save the ones you could save. There was a 

whole plan laid out as to what was considered adoptable. There 

was logic and reasoning to it, and it was manageable and 

doable for any shelter to get started on it. I hate what it has 

become,” Smith continues. “Now it’s accusatory toward the 

shelters. These are the people who are putting in 60-70 hours a 

week. A lot of times they’re the only ones working in some of 

these rural shelters. It breaks their heart when they have to 

euthanize an animal. Then, you’re going to come along with the 

no-kill movement and accuse them of being murderers. It’s 


The above is an excerpt from this article, an excellent article, that describes the pitfalls of the No Kill movement by Nathan Winograd.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015


A personal note from Paulette Dean, the executive director:
On June 1st, I marked my 23rd year as the director of the Danville Area Humane Society. The animal welfare field was different back then. Rescue groups took dogs, mostly purebreds, from public shelters and found them homes. Public shelters accepted all the animals that came to their doors. Shelter employees quietly did society's dirty work, and people preferred not to hear about it. Volunteers with private groups and shelter employees gathered at conferences to learn from experts and from each other.
That has changed. Now, the state of animal welfare has become cannibalistic. Employees of open-admission shelters are labeled unfeeling at best and cruel murderers at worst. People vent on social media outlets, and eviscerate the people they disagree with. Public shelter employees and animal control officers who are still tasked with cleaning up society's mess of pet overpopulation, cruelty, and sadness are vilified by people who love having a voice from the safe harbor of their computers. It is no wonder that legislators and donors have grown weary of people in the animal welfare field.
The victims, as always, are the animals. All of the fighting and shouting and mean-spiritedness suck the life out of the mission of helping the animals.
So, the Danville Area Humane Society and I will not enter the fray. We will remain too busy providing for the day-to-day needs of the animals. We will occupy ourselves rescuing animals in peril in trees, storm drains, highway medians, and houses where cruelty happens quietly and ferociously. We will preach spaying and neutering until we lose our voices. We will do everything in our power to find loving, responsible homes for our shelter animals. We will hold community dog washes and pet photos events with Santa and the Easter Bunny to raise money. We will continue working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to do what we can to help animals.
We will continue to be criticized, but know this: Our belief is that the vast majority of people who work in open-admission shelters work for the animals, and their efforts come at great personal emotional cost. Even though people comment about how we must be so uncaring because our shelter euthanizes animals, we grieve. Our grief is for the suffering we see every day. We will continue to be sworn at and called killers by the very people who are releasing yet another litter of kittens and puppies to us. We will go home at night, numbed by what we have witnessed that day. We will read the negative, hate-filled comments on Facebook and on on-line media websites. We will get up the next morning, ready to face another day because of the animals we have helped.
The Danville Area Humane Society does not have time, nor will we make time, to enter the cannibalistic fights. Instead, we will thank the city and county administrators who allocate funds for animal programs. We will thank the animal control officers who don uniforms every day to do their tough jobs that earn them contempt with some people. We will be grateful for shelter volunteers who enrich the lives of the shelter animals. We will remain in awe of shelter staff members. We will even appreciate the work of other animal organizations, even as their voices are shouting hate at us.
Simply put, we refuse to enter the negative world that the animal welfare world has become. Instead, we will put our energies into helping the animals. Cannibalism among ourselves is not a sustainable program, and the animals will suffer.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


The 2014-2015 Grand Jury investigated Devore Animal Shelter (DAS) in response to a public complaint alleging that the facility failed to adhere to its policies and failed to comply with the Hayden Law. DAS is a county facility administered by the Department of Public Health. 

The No Kill activists filed complaints, had every opportunity to present any evidence of their allegations and accusations. Where was the evidence?

 The Grand Jury also investigated the following issues at DAS: micro-chipping of animals (implanting of a micro-chip under the skin of a domestic animal as a means of identification); number of animals being euthanized; sick animals not being isolated from the healthy population; and Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) not being utilized. 

In a 2001 decision, the Commission on State Mandates found that some provisions of the Hayden Law were reimbursable state mandates meaning that funds would be provided to carry out the provisions of the law. In 2009, provisions of the Hayden Law that were deemed to be reimbursable state mandates were suspended when the Governor and the legislature failed to make allocations for reimbursement within the budget for those provisions. 

The provisions of the law that are currently suspended and unenforceable are as follows: 
1.  The requirement that each animal brought into a shelter be held for a minimum of six business days, unless the animal is available for adoption or owner-redemption on one weekend day or one weekday evening. In that case, the animal must be held only four days (Food and Agricultural Code §31108, §31752, §31753) Devore is still adhering to the six days although it is suspended. 

2.  Some of the records that allow shelters (and their owners or rescue/adoption groups) to track animals in the system (Food and Agricultural Code §32003)

3.  The requirement that animals other than cats and dogs receive the same conditions of holding and care as cats and dogs (Food and Agricultural Code §31753)

4.  The requirement that shelters maintain lost/found lists and provide the names and addresses of other shelters in the area (Food and Agricultural Code §32001) 

5.  The required use of a standardized protocol to determine whether a cat is truly feral before denying a cat the benefit of the longer holding periods enacted in the Hayden Law (Food and Agricultural Code §31752.5).

What is still in effect, unfortunately, is the requirement that shelters release animals to animal rescue and adoption groups qualified under Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) non-profits that have requested an animal prior to his/her euthanasia (Food and Agricultural Code §31108, §31752, §31752.5, §31753, §31754) 

And there is the quandry. Are all rescues the same? Should aggressive animals be released to rescues? Even medical cases, should those be released to rescues without checking to see if their financial record warrants them getting a medical case? 

FINDINGS 1. The staff of the Devore Animal Shelter complies with the Hayden Law and all applicable procedures:

1.  The Chameleon database system maintains adequate record keeping. Animals are reunited with the owners when address information is current 

2.  The staff of the Devore Animal Shelter does not utilize Trap Neuter Release as it is not a mandate when feral cats are found, and funding is not available for TNR (Food and Agricultural Code §31752.5c). 

3. The Devore Animal Shelter utilizes donations and contributions in an effective manner. 

COMMENDATION The Devore Animal Shelter staff is commended for encouraging the assistance of outside groups and organizations in locating permanent homes for their animals and for utilizing ARFF, as a means to enhance revenue. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015


In the past couple of weeks, San Bernardino experienced another big fire. Notices were sent out to rescues that had placed 'holds' on pets at the shelter to come and pick them up. The shelter needed room for evacuated pets. 

Devore is very fortunate in that there are many reputable rescuers in their network. Devore is also preyed up by some not so reputable individuals and groups taking advantage of the Hayden Law. Right before the fire, on June 9th, 45% of the dog kennels at Devore had holds on them, most from out of state phone numbers. 

But, really what can rescue holds do to the shelter pets is a better question. Why these holds? Could it be to solicit more pledges? Is it to actually save lives? Some rescues use it to save lives, some use it to raise money, money that is often unaccounted for and often the pet the money was raised for sits in the shelter and is euthanized.

When a rescue has a hold, that means the space becomes a private kennel basically. At one time, a major agency reported that 40% of their kennels were holding for rescues, some for as long as a month. These 'rescues' yell the Hayden Law if they drag their feet and fail to do their duty, the pet is euthanized, the rescues had their chance or chances. Holds are not dictated by law, they are a courtesy. Some rescuers think it is an entitlement, but they are wrong. 

Understand that a hold means taking up valuable space, and it means another can go down to keep that space on hold. Devore makes an effort to move out the ones with holds before euthanizing for space. Usually when the shelter reaches the point where space is an issue, they won't grant additional extensions based on how long the pet has been in the shelter. Rescuers don't realize they can affect others when they fail to show to pull their holds. Rescues drag their feet, leaving pets in there for as long as they can; often times this can mean the pet becomes ill. Although the rescues are made aware of the urgency with the sick pets, they will come to the shelter and decide to adopt other well pets instead. Typical case is the Zephyr in Los Angeles County. The rescuer walked by that dog for a month, watched that dog getting sicker, even took a picture of Zephyr dying, but went on to get others out instead.

Animals that are on "hold" status pose a dilemma for staff; they struggle between euthanizing an animal versus holding on in the hopes that a volunteer or rescue group will meet their commitment to take the animaL. Even when an animal on "hold" is euthanized for humane reasons, staff is often criticized even if it is in the animal's best interests. In this instance, staff erred on the side of trying to accommodate the volunteer's wishes.
On December 1, 2007, Zephyr passed away. Zephyr had been in the Carson Animal Shelter for five weeks and on "hold" for the volunteer for a month.

One of the challenges faced by the Department in its efforts to work with volunteers or Adoption Partners is ensuring that the animals these partners place on "hold" are removed by them in a timely manner. This is critical because animal shelters cannot become a place to keep animals for extended periods of time. Animals that are housed too long at a shelter become stressed, are exposed to illnesses from other animals, infect animals with their own illnesses, and take up valuable cage space needed for new arrivals. Moreover, overcrowded shelters exceed staff's capacity to effectively and humanely care for the animals.

As part of the Department's review of the holding practices used by Adoption Partners and volunteers, it was discovered that the Carson Animal Shelter in particular had a large number of animals being held for a very extended periods of time. In fact, over 50 dogs were being held by volunteers or rescue groups, some for as long as five months. The Department has corrected this abuse of the system by insisting the animals be removed in a timely manner.

Online there are people complaining about the Devore shelter on holding times. Those very people have a considerable record of Devore extending holds for them as many as 25 times. Yet they condemn. When they condemn, it is because they failed to do their responsibility and pull the pet before euthanasia became necessary.

As of the writing of this piece, which started before the Lake Fire, Devore has 82 dogs listed in inventory. Thirty seven (37) of those are on hold for rescues. That is almost half of their inventory. Will they all be pulled in time? How much money in pledges will come in while the animals sit in the shelter? 

Anyone these days can sit on the computer, pull pictures of shelter animals and set up a pledge account. There is no followup to see if the pledged pets really ended up safe and in a forever home. All you have to do is post a 'freedom' picture and collect those pledges. The pet could have been dumped on the side of the road for all anyone knows, or worse.

Another question is if these pledges are reported as income? Some of these people aren't non profits so how is this reported for tax purposes? There are a lot of questions surrounding these pledges, transports, etc. Pets are being shifted around in appalling numbers, unaccounted for, and many unaltered. It is time for regulation of the field of rescuing and transporting, heavy regulation with power of enforcement. 

The courtesy extended by Devore to hold pets for rescue is being taken advantage of. Devore shows it's commitment to wanting to save pets with this courtesy. Be respectful of this extended courtesy.