New From CityWatch
15 CANDLES—(Editor’s Note: Have LA’s Neighborhood Councils accomplished what they promised 15 years ago? What have we learned? What would we change? I’m sure you’ve heard myriad answers to these questions. Most often from folks whose claims and participation were marginal. Greg Nelson created LA’s Neighborhood Councils. He was, at the time, Chief of Staff for LA City Councilman Joel Wachs who became the engine for Greg’s idea. For the first time, in this CityWatch retrospective, the person responsible for Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Councils looks back … and ahead … talks about how it happened and if he had it all to do over again, what he would change.)
EDUCATION POLITICS--How do you look parents in the eye and say you’ve taken a 174% pay raise right after you’ve closed the library at their child’s school?
CRIME STATS--Are you interested in exploring an unfamiliar street, but wondering if it's safe? Well, you can always look around for reassuring signs—such as the presence of a medical marijuana dispensary.
BELL VIEW-One of the many privileges of my middle class life is health insurance. As far as I can tell, it’s decent coverage. At least I think it’s decent – I can’t pretend to understand it, but I don’t feel like I’m one accident away from total ruin. In the midst of the current debate over the fate of the American healthcare system, it’s hard to overstate the level of peace of mind having basic coverage provides to a person. And despite the high price I pay for this coverage and the amount of work I have to do to maintain it, I recognize that – in 21st Century America – I’m privileged to have healthcare coverage.
DEEGAN ON LA-Movie producer Michael Costigan (“Brokeback Mountain,” “A Bigger Splash”) and his wife Linda are about to give Los Angeles County $98,241 -- but for what? The County’s Notice of Public Hearing says it’s for 3,275 square feet of mostly unusable, steep mountainside land adjacent to the Costigan’s Outpost Canyon home. The County operates on a $30 billion annual budget and doesn’t really need the money.
CAPITAL & MAIN--At 6 p.m. on any weekday evening, Interstate 10 from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles is the fifth most crowded stretch of road in the United States. A light rail line paralleling the freeway has done little to help, despite exceeding rider estimates. A carpool lane or road expansion would likely fail as well, due to a phenomenon known as “triple convergence”: When you make more room on a roadway, peak-hour drivers who would otherwise have detoured, taken the bus or left earlier, show up to fill it. (This may be the only application of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s novel interpretation of supply and demand.)
EASTSIDER-A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the upcoming Special Election to replace Jimmy Gomez in California’s 51st Assembly District. In that column I characterized an internal fight over the process followed to endorse a candidate as a “kerfuffle.”
PLATKIN ON PLANNING-By now most of us know what ails Los Angeles. To cite some of the city’s most imminent emergencies:
TRANSPO WATCH--To most of us, building a new highway, a new rail line, or a new bikeway (or any other mobility-oriented project) involves something that combines benefits to our Economy, Environment, and Quality of Life. Such a project should allow for greater mobility/freedom, and perhaps enhance the ability of ALL of us to financially benefit … hence the need for public funding.
THIS IS WHAT I KNOW--Hiking Runyon Canyon is one of LA’s most popular outdoor workouts – in a city where Angelenos drive to Flywheel or hot yoga. Getting close enough to the Hollywood Sign for that vacation Instagram post is on the to-do lists of many tourists.
URBAN PERSPECTIVE-O.J. Simpson won’t go away. I posed the question on my Facebook page “Should O.J. be paroled?” It drew an avalanche of responses. Even while respondents hotly protested they didn’t care, they still debated, raged, and fumed on the page about him. He still touches a sore nerve.
LIVING THE DREAM-When one thinks about the visionaries who made Hollywood what it is today, there are a lot of candidates to consider: Sid Grauman who dreamed up the picture palaces and movie premieres; C.E. Toberman, who built most of the grand buildings on Hollywood Blvd. and made the Hollywood Bowl a reality; the Chandler family and their associates who put the huge Hollywood Sign on Mt. Lee; Johnny Grant, who built the Hollywood Walk of Fame into an international icon. The list could go on and on.
RANTZ & RAVEZ-First of all, a Big RaveZ for LA City Councilman Bob Blumenfield and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The Woodland Hills Recreation Center located at 5858 Shoup Avenue in the West Valley has a sparkling new pool and recreation center after a long four years of meetings, delays and construction-related problems. It was one thing after another that held up construction of the facility, including contaminated soil that had to be removed and heavy rains that hit the community.
I want to be the first to congratulate the Republican Party on passing a health care bill based on conservative principles that will help millions of people. It's called Obamacare. The Democrats passed it for you in 2010.
GUEST WORDS--Recently, at the Community Church in Woodland Hills, California, a woman sang “Amazing Grace.” She sang slow with sweet, lilting sorrow, letting each dolorous, weighty note saturate the space with sound. She sang right in front of the same pulpit where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once preached, on his birthday, on January 15, 1961. (Photo above: Ohio Governor John Kasich.)
CORRUPTION WATCH-Starting in 2014, Judge Alan Goodman and Judge James Chalfant warned us that Super Gridlock was being planned for Los Angeles, but we weren’t listening. Perhaps, we missed them sound the alarm. They used polite legalese.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--This was a very exhausting election season in Los Angeles, particularly in my part of Northeast LA, which includes both the highly contested City Council District 1 and Congressional District 34, vacated by Rep. Becerra. We had one election in each of the four months of March, April, May and June. That's two primaries and two runoffs. Out of curiosity, in January I started saving all the campaign literature mailed to my household, with the intention of weighing it at the end. I allow for the possibility that some mail was thrown into the garbage, but it wouldn't have been very much that was lost. I even rescued some flyers that my wife had angrily torn up.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--Many communities within our borders and around Los Angeles have complained about the consequences of local prostitution in their neighborhoods -- from condoms in gutters to late night activity outside their homes.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--Imagine if a company you never heard of showed up one day and placed an antenna on a street light near your house or even right next to your window, with several bulky cabinets, lead acid batteries, noisy cooling fans, and untidy cabling. (See photo above.)
ANIMAL WATCH-Best Friends' Animal Society, Los Angeles, is offering discounted pets as a 2-for- $10 pair during July. Their posted "Current Special" features two adult dogs. Is the former religious group -- which started as the Church of the Process of the Final Judgment -- -becoming desperate to achieve its (registered) mission to "save them all" and reach a "no kill" metric by the end of 2017?
CORRUPTION WATCH-The benefits of living in Los Angeles are god-given, while the liabilities are man-made. There was a time in the first part of the 1900s, when Angelenos more or less tried to preserve the good. Those days are gone.
FIRST TIME AVAILABLE--Monday, TransparentCalifornia.com released 2016 pension payout data from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) — the nation’s largest municipal utility district.
VOICES--Many Californians have fond memories of landing their first decent-paying job, working long hours to save enough for a down payment, and finally buying a family home. Many of us poured our weekends and hearts into repairing beautiful old houses.
LEANING RIGHT--While it's entirely fair to blame the GOP-led Congress for not having a plan or consensus to replace or improve ObamaCare after years of running for election/re-election against it, it isn't fair to not place the blame that belongs to so many Americans who want their health care for free. Particularly because so much of the "free" health care that we believe works so preciously well in Europe and Canada is being paid for indirectly by US, the American people. (Graphic above.)
THE COHEN FILE--A lot of people may not know that Benedict Arnold, the most infamous of colonial traitors, a prominent revolutionary war general who endeavored to sell the surrender of the fort at West Point for a price, had published a series of open letters to the "Inhabitants of the Colonies" justifying himself. Here are some selected excerpts from those letters.
GUEST WORDS--As a lawyer, there's little I've wanted less than to be part of a lawsuit. Contrary to movie and television portrayals, going to court is rarely the best way to fix a problem. There's no Judge Judy to dispense quips and quick resolution. Cases are more likely to drain money and energy without concluding in a way that satisfies anyone. But sometimes going to court is the only way to resolve things. Like when the president of the United States is violating your constitutional rights.
LA WATCHDOG--In his second inaugural speech that would make any upwardly mobile politician proud, Mayor Eric Garcetti took credit for the City’s economic recovery and promised us a glorious and prosperous future. But he was short on the details.
LA WATCHDOG--At the All Star break, our Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record (.678) in Major League Baseball, having won 61 games and losing only 29. Over the past month, they have notched 24 wins and only 4 losses, a winning percentage of an impressive 85.7% This streak included three game sweeps against the then first place Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing the Bums to open a 7½ game lead over the second place Diamondbacks in the National League West.
LA WATCHDOG--One of the most frustrating things about driving in the City of Los Angeles is when a clueless or inconsiderate driver is unable to make it through the intersection before the light turns red, creating a gridlocked intersection. This results in even more congestion on our City’s already clogged streets, safety issues for both drivers (just ask Venus Williams) and pedestrians, increased pollution, and a bevy of frustrated drivers, many of whom express their displeasure by laying on their horns and making not so polite gestures with their hands and fingers.
LA WATCHDOG--On Monday afternoon of June 19, 2017, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners sent us a notice that they were holding a Special Meeting on the following day, Tuesday, June 20, at 11:30 in the morning, to approve the new contract between the Department of Water and Power and the IBEW, its domineering union that is led by campaign funding Union Bo$$ Brian d’Arcy.
THE BERNIA BATTLE--As Democrats scramble to form a coherent and inspiring message for the 2018 congressional elections in the face of a historically unpopular president, billionaire Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer argued in a recent interview that they should look no further than the platform of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). (Photo above; Tom Steyer.)
RESISTANCE WATCH--On Wednesday, our beloved Congressman Brad Sherman took a huge leap and put himself at risk to introduce Articles of Impeachment (photo above). This is a monumental step, as he went beyond the confines of the Democratic Party and put our nation first. As a result, he is getting haters, trolls and threats on Facebook. Furthermore, he will get flack, not just from Trumpers and Republicans, but from Democrats too.
RESISTANCE WATCH--With the public comment period ending Monday, there are just hours left for the public to weigh in on President Donald Trump's order that threatens protections of 27 national monuments designated since 1996.
RESISTANCE WATCH--Organizers of the Women's March on Washington—which took place the day after Donald Trump's inauguration and inspired solidarity marches in hundreds of cities across the globe—are planning a protest against the National Rifle Association for July 14, in response to a video published to the NRA's Facebook page last month.
ANIMAL WATCH--Let's say you’ve discovered some mouse droppings, maybe even seen a mouse or rat scurrying by one night. So you decide to get some rat poison and put it out confident the problem has been solved. The rat eats the poison and makes its way across the yard where it catches the eye of a cat, a hawk, an owl that move in to catch this easy prey because it has slowed down or is moving erratically. Let's say the neighbor’s cat catches it, eats it. A few days later the heartbroken neighbor is posting signs wondering where their cat has disappeared to while a distraught neighbor a few doors over is calling dead animal pick up for the cat lying under the bushes.
This is not an unusual scenario. Using poison to kill rodents creates a serious hazard to cats and local birds of prey.
From PetMD –
Strychnine is a very strong and dangerous poison that is often added to bait for killing rats, moles, gophers, and other rodents or unwanted predators. Having a very short duration of action, the clinical symptoms of strychnine poisoning typically appear within ten minutes to two hours after ingestion, resulting in sudden death.
Patients often will die due to spamming of the muscles involved in respiration, resulting in strangulation. Cats of all ages are equally susceptible to the adverse effects of strychnine.
The following are some of the symptoms of strychnine poisoning:
- Limb rigidity
- Stiff muscles
- Uncontrolled violent seizures (sometimes in response to bright lights or noise)
- Severe spasms leading to arching of the head, neck and back in extreme hyperextension (opisthotonus)
- Elevated heart rate
- High body temperature
- Breathing difficulties, inability to breathe,
So how do we get rid of rats without creating lethal danger to our wonderful local cats, hawks and owls, all of whom provide the BEST way to kill rats and mice?
First of all a message to all the kind people providing food to their local feral population, do NOT put food out and keep it out. Put it out at specific times in the day and pick up whatever the cat doesn’t eat. That food attracts other creatures as well. Cats will know when the food is coming especially if you call them every time.
We also discourage the use of glue traps as it is a particularly cruel and inhumane, time consuming way to kill a rodent. The mouse runs onto it, sticks, and is terrified while its struggles to escape. It will either die slowly of dehydration or starvation. The traps can rip off fur and skin while they struggle, and rodents have attempted to chew through their own limbs to get free. Other animals can get trapped on it as well.
There is now a popular, new and effective trap that is being used by responsible residents. An electric trap. Small box with lure at back. Only mice and rats can fit in and are immediately zapped. More humane and less messy than the old fashioned snap traps. Just Google electric rat traps.
Here are some websites that give excellent instruction on ways to discourage rodents from visiting at all including the use peppermint oil - Add 20-30 drops of peppermint essential oil to each cotton ball and lay strategically around your home. Refresh every week or so, or whenever you notice the smell is fading.) Did you know rodents hate to cross aluminum foil?
(Dianne Lawrence is a dog trainer and the publisher of The Neighborhood News. Reach her at: whatagooddogla.com/)
ANIMAL WATCH-At the March 14 LA Animal Services Commission meeting, Brenda Barnette included in her GM Oral Report a short but very precise and lucid overview of the Animal Services’ widely publicized hearing held on March 1. This was the inquiry to determine whether two Pit Bull that killed a tiny Pomeranian and then inflicted injuries which may have resulted in, or contributed to, the death of the dog’s owner, Valentin Herrera, 76, should be declared “Dangerous Animals.”
Barnette concluded with a clear and succinct statement: “Those dogs have been humanely euthanized.”
She later told a CBS reporter that she may have been confused and claims she “misspoke.” However, Barnette was voluntarily summarizing one single event---not discussing a number of cases or under stress that might have muddied her memory.
None of the Commissioners has experience in animal control, but they are thoroughly familiar with LA Municipal Code SEC. 53.18.5. HEARING PROCEDURES AND LICENSE REVOCATIONS, since, with Commissioner Larry Gross presiding, they serve as the Appeals Board in Dangerous Animal and Barking Dog hearings and review these cases regularly. In fact, they had heard four such appeals that morning.
But, with three attorneys present, not one asked about the euthanasia of the Pit Bulls prior to an appeal period. GM Barnette’s statement was delivered so unequivocally that no one raised the basic question to determine the right of LAAS to euthanize: “Did the owner relinquish the dogs?”
On Monday, March 20, after my CityWatch article appeared, LA Killer Pit Bulls Euthanized…Are Dog Attacks Now an Epidemic?, which quoted Barnette’s statement, I received numerous communications from reliable sources that the Pit Bulls in the Lincoln Heights attack were very much alive and being held at North Central Animal Shelter awaiting the end of the owner’s appeal period on March 22.
At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, I electronically submitted a California Public Records Act Request (CPRA) to Commission President David Zaft and GM Brenda Barnette, asking for the records in their database regarding the status of these dogs.
Very promptly, at 2:20 p.m. I received all requested material, and a surprise! An entry by a shelter supervisor at approximately 3:45 p.m. on March 20, states:
“Administration has notified me that (Redacted name) is appealing DA 171117 NC and the determination that her dogs are “dangerous” (A1679513 AND A1679514). These dogs are to be held until the appeal is decided.
How could Brenda Barnette, who has more than six years as General Manager at one of the largest animal-control agencies in the U.S. and is the person who signs the decisions made at all Dangerous Animal hearings, forget there is an appeal period before allegedly dangerous dogs can be euthanized under law?
Also, there were two Assistant General Managers, Louis Dedeaux and Dana Brown, in the room at that time. Either could have slipped a note to their boss or whispered in her ear that she “misspoke.” (Asst. GM Louis Dedeaux has over 25 years in field and shelter experience at LA Animal Services and is the person who approves ALL animal euthanasias in City shelters.) Since neither of them corrected her, there was no reason for anyone present or those listening to the "On Air" broadcast to doubt Barnette’s word.
ALARMING INFORMATION FROM KENNEL IMPOUND
Here’s a little more information garnered from the Kennel Impound Cards: The two Pit Bulls involved in the February 2 attack on Mr. Herrera and his dog are named, “Rocky” (60 lbs.) and “Blue,” (83 lbs.) Both have a DOB of 02/03/2015. Neither is neutered or microchipped. There is no indication of dog licenses. Their physical condition does not indicate any negative findings but the description for each under OBJECTIVE FINDINGS, reads, “Patient will not allow full examination – SCARED.” A note for Rocky’s skin condition states: “MUZZLE SOILED W/BLOOD O/W OK.”
When CBS spoke to the grandson of the victim, Valentin Herrera, he was upset that the owner is requesting return of these dogs. However, an expert opined that it is possible the decision to appeal has as much to do with limiting potential civil liability. Simply allowing the dogs to be euthanized could be interpreted as an admission that they are dangerous, he said. The owner may believe there is a possibility of overturning the ruling by the LAAS Hearing Examiner, either on an appeal to the Commission or by filing an action in Superior Court.
If the owner prevails, it could mean the dogs will be released to her and returned to the Lincoln Heights location or merely moved to a location outside the city limits.
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME GM BARNETTE HAS “MISSPOKEN.”
Brenda Barnette -- who had no animal control or law-enforcement experience when she was appointed to be LA City’s “Top Dog” by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- has “misspoken” or “misinformed” on numerous occasions, with very costly results to taxpayers, animals and LAAS employees.
Here are just a few of the published examples:
Aug. 5, 2011 -- Guns, Ammunition Seized at L.A. Animal Shelters as Probe Expands
June 13, 2013 – Los Angeles Animal Services Captains Cleared
July 23, 2017 -- LA Animal Services' Employee Mauled by Pit Bull ... Who Cares?
SHOULD “MISMANAGEMENT” BE EXCUSED?
Barnette’s annual salary is now over $230,000 (Comparatively, Governor Jerry Brown makes $190,100, and the Assembly Speaker and Senate President pro tem are each paid $119,734, according to the LA Times.)
Shouldn’t we expect that she would not “misspeak” or “misinform” (without correction) on a matter as serious as Pit Bulls that are alleged to have killed a man and his dog?
Should the Commission (or anyone else) believe her on other issues -- including her insistence that Los Angeles is almost “No Kill,” although streets in many areas are rife with stray dogs and cats and thousands of homeless animals are merely being transported to other cities/states or “fostered” without a permanent home?
After more than six years, shouldn’t Barnette be expected to know the basic elements that are a regular part of her job?
Barnette’s “mismanagement” has systematically devastated a vital public safety department and endangered her staff, the public and animals; but there have been no consequences.
Is that because Barnette is automatically excused from “misspeaking” or “misinforming?” Or, is it because the political leadership of Los Angeles does not want to bring attention to its own rampant systemic manipulation of the truth?
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
ANIMAL WATCH-GM Brenda Barnette announced at the LA Animal Services’ Commission meeting on March 14, that the two Pit Bulls impounded after the tragic attack which killed Valentin Herrera, 76, and his small dog last month have been euthanized.
Mr. Herrera and his 5-year-old Pomeranian were walking in the 2600 block of Lincoln Park Blvd. near his home on February 2, when two male Pit Bulls which had escaped from a nearby yard grabbed the tiny dog, "shredding his body like a piece of material,” according to a neighbor. An eyewitness said that the owner of the Pit Bulls saw the dogs attacking but took no action to stop them.
When he tried to save his best friend, Mr. Herrera was also attacked, suffering severe injuries to his head and arms.
He underwent surgery but remained in a coma and never regained consciousness. According to a statement by a family member on their GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses, "...after about 3 weeks of being in the hospital the doctors have told us that his brain is no longer functioning. The family and I have decided to let him go and rest, because we know he has been through so much."
Mr. Herrera died on February 28, just before a scheduled hearing on the attack by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services on March 1.
Brenda Barnette told the Commission that because the hearing was so emotional for both the victim’s family members who attended and the owner of the Pit Bulls, reporters were allowed in the room but no cameras were permitted inside.
KABC reported that, although the owner of the dogs did not want to be on camera, “at the hearing he said he was on medication at the time and in shock.”
A disabled woman, who claimed she lives on the same property as the owner of the Pit Bulls, previously told KABC that “the dogs were her ‘security’… against intruders who invaded the yard to steal fruit from its trees.” An earlier report stated that the dogs were not licensed.
Another resident of Lincoln Heights, Stephanie Grizelle, informed CBS that the same two Pit Bulls had killed her small therapy dog, Tulula, four days earlier, as her two young children watched. She added that both children required therapy.
Valentin Herrera was a steelworker who came to Los Angeles from Jalisco, Mexico. He purchased the home in Lincoln Heights in 1996. His son, Luis, described his father as a strong, loving man and wonderful father. Mr. Herrera leaves behind his wife of more than 50 years, Anita, children and grandchildren, and a shaken and grieving community.
THE INDIRECT VICTIMS OF DOG ATTACKS
Pit Bull attacks or other severe dog attacks, whether fatal or not, affect far more than the obvious victim. They impact neighbors and others who witness the grisly event or the aftermath. A family is often robbed of a parent, child, spouse, or animal companion. Even if the victims live, they may be permanently grossly disfigured and mentally traumatized -- unable to recover a previous lifestyle or continue a career. If a child is severely injured or killed, future hopes and dreams are lost forever.
Additionally, the family of victim of a dog attack can often suddenly find themselves with overwhelming unexpected veterinary, medical and/or funeral bills.
ARE PIT BULL ATTACKS BECOMING EPIDEMIC?
A prior CityWatch article about the attack on Valentin Herrera cited numerous recent local Pit Bull attacks, but this is not a problem unique to Los Angeles.
Here are just a few of the many attacks reported across the country from December 2016 – March 2017:
On March 16, 2017, a 63-year-old woman underwent surgery after she was attacked by two pit bulls in Pembroke, NC, according to the Red Springs Citizen. Both dogs were euthanized for rabies testing. The woman’s identity and condition were not yet disclosed because the case is also being handled as a “communicable disease investigation."
Early during 2016 a pit bull attacked and killed a Lumberton child, the report said, prompting the city to adopt an ordinance targeting dogs deemed “vicious.” A Pembroke woman lost an arm after being attacked last year by a Pit Bull.
On March 13, 2017, Chris Kazmierczak, 22, was walking to his car with a friend in Bensenville, IL, when he said he heard something running up behind him. "...(I) turned around to see what it was and next thing I know the thing was on my arm," he told WGN-TV. He described the attacking dog as a white Pit Bull, wearing a collar. His friend was finally finally able to kick and pull the dog away, but Kazmierczak will need to undergo rabies treatment if the animal isn't found.
Also, there is a gaping wound on his left arm and about 30 bite marks. Kazmierczak does construction for a living and said he won't be able to work with his hands for at least two months.
Feb 22, 2017- Joliet will hire a part-time police officer whose sole job will be to follow-up on dangerous dog calls. Last year in July the city revealed that they had 11 dangerous dog hearings concerning 17 dog attacks in 7 months. The city admitted that most attacks were committed by pit bulls, but would not give exact numbers. In August, after that city report on dangerous dogs, another serious Pit Bull attack left a woman nearly dead.
So far this year, Yarmouth has seen at least three pit bull attacks on small dogs, one which led to the death of a 3-year-old terrier named Doc….the type of dog known as Pit Bull shows up more in reported attacks across the Cape than any other breed, according to the Cape Cod Times.
Between January 2016 and February 2017, Yarmouth logged 19 Pit Bull bites on dogs and people, according to data from the town's Board of Health. Not included was a recent incident in which a Pit Bull bit its owner, severing the top part of her finger when she tried to break up a fight between it and another Pit Bull, according to Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steven Xiarhos.
Across the Cape during the same period, towns reported Pit Bull bites on humans and dogs 58 times. Pit bulls represented 12.6 percent of the breeds listed in the bite reports, but make up only 1.2 percent of the registered dogs on Cape Cod.
Police Fatally Shoot Two Attacking Pit Bulls in Bushwick [NY]
On March 11, 2017, police officers shot and killed two Pit Bulls that were mauling a man, according to the NYPost.com.
NYPD reported that multiple officers rushed to an apartment near the corner of Hancock Street and Bushwick Avenue at roughly 10:30 p.m., where they found a 50-year-old man inside being attacked by the two dogs. The injured man, identified by the Post as Paul "Nitty" Davis, was rushed to Kings County Hospital.
The dogs belonged to Devon Dixon, 26, a roommate of Davis, who said he had rescued them from a neighbor's yard after they had been abandoned, the Post notes. Dixon recalled trying to beat the dogs back with a two-by-four board, but was unable to stop them until police arrived and shot both dogs.
“But they had to, Nitty was losing a lot of blood," he told the Post.
Pit Bull seriously injures four-year-old boy in Pocatello
On Sunday, December 4, 2016, a four-year-old boy in Pocatello, Idaho, was attacked by a Pit Bull owned by his mother’s boyfriend, reports KIFI. The mother has custody of the child.
The boy’s father explained that the “…attack damaged two of the boy's facial nerves, which control movements, like smiling. Other wounds damaged the spit glands, the upper lip and below one eye.” Surgery to repair the boy’s face took six and a half hours and more than 1,000 stitches, according to the father. He said the surgeon told him it was one of the worst cases he’d ever seen and they don’t know if his son would ever get back functionally and he will have a big scar.
THE NATIONAL PIT BULL AWARENESS VICTIM page shows the faces and tells the stories of Pit Bull attack victims all over the country. The organization also provides the following statistics that show the increase in attacks:
Pit bull attacks on humans in the U.S. have reached an epidemic level, increasing 773 percent from 2007-2014. In a 30-year study of dog attacks in Canada and the US, 3394 people were attacked by dogs in a fatal and disfiguring manner. 2,113 or 60% of the attacks were by pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
From 2009 to 2016, the most recent 8-year period, pit bulls averaged 22.9 deaths per year, a 690% increase, according to U.S. Pit Bull Fatalities.
Following are the listed attacks from June 2016 - Feb 2017:
Valentine Herrera is the 508th American killed by a Pit Bull.
- February 2017, Los Angeles County, CA
Valentine Herrera, 76
Fatal pit bull attack
- January 2017, Fulton County, GA
Logan Braatz, 6
Fatal pit bull attack
- December 2016, Cabell County, WV
Isaiah Franklin, 6
Fatal pit bull attack
- October 2016, Staten Island, NY
Daisie Bradshaw, 68
Fatal dog attack involving pit bull(s)
- September 2016, Shawnee County, KS
Piper Dunbar, 2
Fatal pit bull attack
- August 2016, Jefferson County, CO
Susan Shawl, 60
Fatal pit bull attack
- August 2016, Clark County, NV
Derion Stevenson, 9
Fatal pit bull attack
- August 2016, Screven County, GA
Michelle Wilcox, 30
Fatal pit bull attack
- July 2016, Honolulu County, HI
Crisencio Aliado, 52
Fatal pit bull attack
- July 2016, Navajo County, AZ
Kayden Begay, 3
Fatal pit bull attack
- July 2016, Wayne County, MI
Elizabeth Rivera, 71
Fatal pit bull attack
- June 2016, Fresno County, CA
Susie Kirby, < 1
Fatal dog attack involving pit bull(s)
- June 2016, Penobscot County, ME
Hunter Bragg, 7
Fatal pit bull attack
- June 2016, San Joaquin County, CA
Earl Stephens Jr., 43
Fatal pit bull attack
(See more at U.S. Pit Bull Fatalities)
DogsBite.org provides Google State Map: “California Fatal Pit Bull Attacks”
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
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.
- Have a strong kennel/travel cage that can be securely latched ready for each pet. (Keep it in a place easy to access quickly.)
- Store or fill containers with enough water to sustain your pet for several days.
- Have a tightly closed container filled with enough food for each pet (use the kind your pet regularly eats) for several da
- Keep a fresh supply of medications your pet takes (enough for several days).
- Have some toys/blankets familiar to the pet ready to take.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have a plentiful backup supply of water, and plenty of buckets available to take with you.
- Halter/lead rope for every animal. (For smaller farm animals, keep transfer cages easily available.)
- Training and practice. Make sure your animal loads in a trailer quickly and easily before an incident occurs.
- Have an evacuation plan in place. Know where you expect to take your animal(s) and practice ahead of time.
- Have special feed or medications set aside with easy access in an emergency.
- Have your horses microchipped and update the contact information regularly.
- 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.