SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Marcia Mayeda Reflects on 20 Years at Animal Care & Control | Third in a Series

Marcia Mayeda, Director of Animal Care and Administration, Los Angeles County.

Today’s blog is the third and final article in the series, reviewing how the Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control (DACC) has improved its operations over the last two decades. This edition describes how DACC can work with the community to provide resources to help parents of pets and how it has revolutionized animal adoption and customer service programs.

Animal welfare agencies play an important role in helping people and the animals they care about. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is reuniting my lost pet with my family. It’s very scary for parents of pets whose beloved animals are missing, and just as scary for lost animals. I have many memories of witnessing a happy reunion of a lost pet and his family, but especially always smiling.

In the late 1980s, I worked for the Helping Hands Humane Society in Topeka, Kansas. One day, as I walked through the kennel, I noticed a giant black dog, about 100 pounds, with very long ears and soulful eyes. Due to his long ears, deep chin, and sad eyes, I could say he clearly had a bloodhound in him. He wore a shiny coat and was in good condition with the expression “I have a family!”, Which is often seen in the eyes of lost pets. He stood out as something special to me, and I kept his presence in our shelter.

This was before the internet, social media, mainstream use of microchips, and other resources used today to reunite lost pets and their owners. We relied on the daily lost property office in a local newspaper to find an ad trying to reunite the lost property office and its family. Later that day, when I was checking an ad for a lost property office, I saw an ad that I was convinced of being this dog. He was identified as a black Labrador retriever / bloodhound mix named “Droopy” (I’m sure he sees his drooping ears). Droop was lost while his family was camping along the Kansas River, about 20 miles from our shelter. Being a Bloodhound mix, I’m sure he was fascinated by the scented Smörgåsboard he found and kept chasing his nose until he got lost. He followed the river 20 miles to reach our city. There, the park ranger found him and took him safely in our shelter.

Droopy belonged to a family who lived in Wichita, about 140 miles from Topika. They were wasted looking for Droop near the campsite and had to go home hoping that an ad in a local newspaper would bring him home. I immediately called the owner. The owner was incredibly overjoyed and immediately took two hours to go to our shelter and get him back. They later sent me kind notes and bouquets to thank them for reuniting with Droopy. He clearly meant the world to him. Animal shelters play an important role in maintaining the bond between humans and animals. DACC has made great strides in improving work in this area over the last two decades.


In 2001, DACC’s business did not focus on public services in terms of striving for superior customer service and engaging the community to promote animal welfare objectives. DACC’s approach was highly enforcement-driven and was not considered necessary for flexibility to meet the needs of pet owners. Efforts to reunite them with pets like Droopy were scattered and not part of the staff’s daily expectations. People who regain lost pets could not afford to pay the impound fee needed to redeem their pets and sometimes had to deposit them at DACC. The adoption process was difficult due to the long lines in the care center lobby and the time it took to complete the process, and sometimes people remained frustrated without adopting their pets. No efforts were made to implement promotion, cost reduction, and other incentive adoption programs to adopt more animals.

Many staff looked at animal rescue groups with hostility and ambivalence, rather than collaborating with them to save animals, without mutual understanding of each other’s resources and intentions. There was also a sense of competition rather than cooperation with other animal institutions in the area. With the exception of the official rabies vaccination clinic, no resources were provided to the community to support their animal needs. Care center volunteers were very discouraged and few, except for the dedicated group at the Agura Animal Care Center.

Long lines of customers plague care centers, cause anger and frustration for those in need of our help or trying to comply with pet license requirements, and put extreme stress on the overwork. rice field. Antelope Valley counties were dissatisfied with the service provided to the Communication Center in Downey, nearly 100 miles away. Given the unique geography of Antelope Valley, staff found it difficult to make efficient calls.

DACC has undoubtedly accepted all animals brought to us without providing intervention services so that families can keep pets. The animal flood also included the capture and acceptance of healthy wildlife that was annoying to the population. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit the movement of wildlife more than a mile away from where it was captured, so it is the only option offered to wildlife brought in by the general public. Was euthanized. This did nothing to resolve annoying wildlife concerns, as other animals quickly filled the gaps left by the removed animals, and the problem continued.


Twenty years later, we completely overturned the old approach to customer service and community engagement. We constantly consider and implement service improvements to provide better customer service, request training and regularly update policies and procedures to ensure that all staff comply with them. ..

DACC has improved its pet reunification strategy in several ways. The Shadow app, accessible from our website, is a tool for people who have lost or found their pets to connect and reunite their pets. We also use social media and local neighborhood online groups to provide information and advice to help lost pets find their way home. Our officers mount microchip scanners on trucks and scan all captured animals. Animals with microchips are taken directly home and reunited with their owners as soon as possible. We are currently considering the use of face recognition software for pets and are taking further steps. DACC wants to work with pet owners who are experiencing financial difficulties to recover lost or trapped pets and, if possible, reduce or exempt them. Grants and donations primarily subsidize these costs.

DACC and the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation (ACF) are also working together to address situations where pet owners feel they must relinquish their ownership to DACC. Keep a pet. The ACF will fund a care voucher program that DACC staff employs to assist pet owners in need of financial assistance, local veterinary services, temporary boarding, grooming, pet food and other necessities. Introducing participating providers. The ACF and its granting agencies have been strengthened to keep pets and their families together and reduce the influx of animals unnecessarily admitted to animal care centers. With their support, DACC staff have the resources to provide substantial assistance to pet owners in need for the purpose of keeping pets.

The move to DACC’s reservation-based service has eliminated customer queues, improved service levels, reduced animal stays, and increased hiring rates. The appointment allows DACC staff to provide visitors with the best adoption experience and better prepare for a better match with the pets available. Dogs and cats, often overlooked in the past, gained more visibility with this approach, and many special needs and long-stay animals found new homes this way.

The newly launched Love at First Sight adoption process provides a rapid animal assessment and preparation process, allowing animals to be used for adoption more quickly, and adopters can choose which animal in the care center. It’s easy to identify if you’re ready to go home on the same day. This process includes the necessary health examinations, contraceptive castration / contraceptive castration, and better coordination of behavioral assessment. Previously, employers had to select animals first and then wait a few days for the process to take place, often visiting care centers multiple times. No more – they can take their new family home that day!

ACF and DACC have also begun offering low-cost contraceptive / contraceptive surgery services to cats in the community, reducing the number of unwanted kittens born and euthanized. Purrfect Fix is ​​a program that works in collaboration with a local community cat organization that already supports cat caretakers in Los Angeles County. Purrfect Fix castrates or castrates cats, vaccinates against rabies and other preventable cat diseases, and treats fleas and worms. After surgery, the cat is returned to its original environment and can be kept, but cannot give birth to unwanted offspring.

DACC currently has a vibrant volunteer program with several full-time volunteer coordinators on staff. In 2019, more than 1,300 volunteers helped animals with ACC for a total of 44,341 hours, helping them in special events and emergency evacuation. The COVID-19 pandemic has naturally reduced face-to-face volunteering, but after implementing new health measures, we are now recruiting and engaging volunteers to help us again. Volunteers are invaluable to help DACC effectively implement animal welfare and adoption programs and maintain community involvement.

DACC is currently establishing an adopted 501 (c) (3) adoption partner program for non-profit animal rescue groups, allowing them to act as partners in animal rehome efforts. Some of these animals require further medical or behavioral treatment, and adoption partners can provide this assistance through the program. The system provides a structured means of notification and outreach to allow adoption partners to adopt animals in need of service. We currently have partnerships with over 380 animal rescue organizations.

We no longer accept healthy wildlife, only sick and injured wildlife. We work closely with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups to help these animals recover and return to their original habitat. We have also established a second communication center at the Lancaster Animal Care Center to meet the unique geographical needs of Antelope Valley.

DACC is currently partnering and collaborating with animal agencies throughout the state, especially in Southern California. We have mutual assistance agreements with 20 regional animal and management agencies to help each other in the event of a wildfire, landslide, or other disaster or emergency. DACC participates in the programming and training of the California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals). Partnerships between other ministries include collaborative work on large-scale animal cruelty cases. We are happy to help our animal welfare colleagues protect our community and the people and animals in that community.

DACC’s approach to servicing the community is from a heavy-duty, bureaucratic authority to support inhabitants’ animal problems, evaluate animal life-saving programs, and work with other animal groups and institutions. Transformed into a community resource agency that offers the best resources. To the community. I am honored to have been entrusted with these important responsibilities. We pay tribute to the dedicated staff and volunteers who work every day to fulfill our mission.

Marcia Maeda

Marcia Mayeda is Director of the Los Angeles County Animal Care Administration.

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Marcia Mayeda Reflects on 20 Years at Animal Care & Control | Third in a Series
Source link SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Marcia Mayeda Reflects on 20 Years at Animal Care & Control | Third in a Series

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