ANIMAL WATCH - This is just one in a long string of attacks at Los Angeles Animal Services’ shelters by Pit Bulls and other dogs with a known history or aggression.
The Department has recently, and is now< experiencing a massive departure of experienced volunteers, supervisors and shelter staff—apparently escaping what they perceive to be a hopelessly “sinking ship.”
Certainly, it is at least, a very dangerous and thankless place to work under current and recent management.
The ads for animals are now largely left up to any “rescue” group that wants to post and “save” dogs they may have never seen or met. Their glowing comments about even dogs with a bite history are part of the “No Kill” movement philosophy, which ignores the danger and injuries to other animals and people—including innocent pets and children—and focuses only on keeping every animal alive at all physical, emotional and monetary (medical and legal) costs.
HOW “NETWORKING” SHELTER ANIMALS WORKS UNDER “NO KiLL”
Here is the June 7, 2021, ad for Tyson on the website, ARF Harbor Shelter, adding a new photo to the album, and pleading for adoption of a known dangerous dog, which had already displayed severely aggressive behaviors and reportedly killed another dog. The post is indicated to be by a rescue organization that promotes Pit Bulls and other bully breeds.
Big dogs need love too! Meet Tyson, a handsome jumbo-sized gent who gravitates toward people and greets everyone with a tail wag and a friendly curiosity. Tyson knows his sit and shake commands, and happily gives paw with no treats offered. He enjoys short walks, but likes rolling in the grass even more, especially if there are belly rubs involved. Though Tyson tires quickly when on walks, he does need a strong handler because when he pulls, he really pulls.
Because of his size, Tyson should be in an adult only home, and he should also be the only dog in the home. Meet Tyson at the Harbor Shelter!
[This is “rescue talk,” which translates to: “Should not be with children and is dog aggressive.”)
What it doesn’t say is that Tyson was surrendered to the shelter by an adopter who wrote on the surrender form, “Do Not Adopt!! Very dangerous dog.” And then described why.
There are copious warning notes all over the form, and a much more graphic description of Tyson’s behavior—all apparently ignored by management.
HERE’S THE OFFICIAL SHELTER DESCRIPTION OF TYSON
Tyson ID #A1929902, 5-Years Old, 94-lbs Male. Intake date: April 21, 2021.
Harbor Animal Shelter [L.A. Animal Services]
Contact Info: Lifesaving Liaison, Delicia Hernandez
However, this was Tyson’s second surrender to the L.A. Animal Services’ shelter, and the recent adopter’s comments on 4-2021 were not as glowing as the “rescue” community, which may have had no real hands-on knowledge nor contact with Tyson but are part of the “live-saving” team effort for ALL dogs (especially Pit Bulls) regardless of the reality of their behavior.
The second owner (adopter) was apparently led to believe that Tyson would make a good pet and he was kind enough to be willing to take an older dog after speaking with shelter staff and possibly reading rescuers/volunteers’ comments.
(Tyson had originally been brought into the shelter and relinquished on 3/08/2020. Therefore, by time of the second attack at the shelter, he had been impounded for almost two years.)
TYSON KILLS ANOTHER DOG – SHELTER COMMENTS, AFTER RELINQUISHMENT BY ADOPTER
04/21 - “BEHAVIORAL BAD BEHAVIOR - when owner was turning in dog to the shelter, he was very upset and telling us he is scared for his life and that we should have never adopted this dog to him. He said this dog should not be adopted. Man didn’t seem to be very irrational, when he adopted this dog we staff explained all behavior on this dog and he still wanted to adopt dog. Staff also put an extra memo on dog that we notified owner of all behavior before adoption.”
Staff notes continued, “Owner stated that his dog got out and he chased him on the 110 freeway and that Tyson killed a homeless man’s dog. At time of impound dog didn’t give staff any problems however he was very focused on other dogs and noise. Keep alone.”
This adopter had entered the following (and other) notes on the relinquishment form:
“DON’T ADOPT!! VERY DANGEROUS. Does not like to play. Does not let anyone enter—attacks the door. Does not like other animals.”
TYSON AGAIN MADE AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION
Notes by Volunteer One Month Later (5/21)
Tyson appeared excited & friendly in his kennel as he wagged with a loose body. We leashed him up thru the front kennel door & went to the large yard right near his kennel. It was our first time meeting so we kept him on leash & he was very happy to be outside. He didn’t actually pull too strongly as we walked back & forth in the yard. He seemed to get overstimulated with too much attention right away, so we just walked around initially. . .We didn’t pass any dog kennels on the way back but he does seem to get ramped up when other dogs walk by while he is in his kennel so we have been trying to change our route so as not to stress him too much.
(Author’s note: Tyson is so aggressive that they don’t want to walk any dogs near his kennel but want him adopted to the public.)
TYSON IS STILL IN SHELTER AND AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION IN 2022 – Volunteer Notes (1/9/2022)
1/9/2022 - TYSON (#A1929902) Tyson is easy to leash through the back cubby door. He gets very excited to come out & has no leash mouthiness by this method & is calm once he is leashed & out of his kennel…He was walked to the small yard & thoroughly enjoyed his favorite enrichment activity of chewing & ripping up plastic toys.… Tyson was walked back with no issues. He will kennel fight if allowed (which I did not allow). He was thrown a treat & went right into his kennel & then into the back cubie.
THEN TYSON ATTACKS A FRIEND (LAAS VOLUNTEER)
On 2/3/22, this behavioral note was entered in the LAAS system:
Dog bit a volunteer today. Volunteer was taking dog out from the cubby. Volunteer’s keys slid down to her wrist and were dangling. She thinks he was going after them and bit her hand/wrist area.
When she told him “no, let go” he bit harder. Other volunteers nearby were able to get the dog off her. When dog was being taken back to OBS he had her keys in his mouth. Volunteer had to be transported to hospital.
(Author’s Note: It is sad that in so many attacks that demonstrate a dog is unsafe, the victim will try to justify the bad behavior, so that the dog can remain available for adoption.)
2/3/22 BEHAVIORAL - Volunteer Comment - Date of Interaction: 2/3/2022
TYSON (#A1929902) Like we have done numerous times when taking Tyson out, Ann leashed him up through the back cubbie and I secure the gate and they followed me to the small play yard. This time once he was leashed and barely out of the gate he latched on to my left gloved hand. The key was at my wrist because the plastic bracelet was stretched out and didn’t stay up on my arm. He wasn’t attacking me but fixated on that key.
(Author’s note: This perception changed in victim’s later testimony to the LAAS Commission, below, which often happens when the realization sets in that the dog may have intended to bite and probably knows the difference between keys and human flesh.)
PUBLIC COMMENT BY VOLUNTEER SEVERELY BITTEN BY TYSON
(The following is not an official transcript but excerpted from Commission audio on February 8, 2022. Entire group of comments can be heard here, including opinions about the resignation of Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Almos.)
“My name is Nancy…I’m a volunteer at Harbor shelter. We have a lot of issues…I was injured and rushed to the Harbor Trauma Center on Thursday.
I took out a dog with a partner--a dog I had worked with before but he hadn’t been out of his cage since the 23rd. We put a leash on him as usual and we go out to the play yard and have a good time. But none of our keys work and I had the bracelet on my wrist with the keys attached. He he grabbed onto my wrist and bit down and bit down and I thought I was going to bleed out.
I am a result of the way…We cannot go on like this. We have no staff. None of our volunteers are coming back. It is an inhumane way to go. I am emotional. If I could show you a picture of my wrist that is barely hanging on, I would. We are keeping them alive and we are killing them. If I’m going to die for these dogs--and I am not--I am going to fight for them. I don’t care…No Kill. We are keeping these dogs alive and we are killing them. The public needs to know…they need to know that this cannot be done. My partner blew the whistle and nothing was done. We are on our own. We’re risking our lives for these animals.” (Listen here.)
VETERINARIAN PLEADS FOR END OF “NO KILL” AT LAAS SHELTERS
“This is Paula Neilson. I am a retired veterinarian and volunteer at the Harbor. I go on record as being fully opposed to the whole “No Kill” movement. I see dogs like Paxton at Harbor shelter, literally rotting in a cage for almost two years now. He is “rescue only.” He is a difficult dog and is not being networked and I am not blaming anyone at the shelter. I am blaming the whole “No Kill” movement, which defies second-grade math meaning there are too many animals being born for the number of homes available.”
“I see this as a political football."
"I see dogs that have bitten and attacked people in sitting back in OBS for months and months at a time. Because to simply euthanize that animal It is inhumane to not put that animal out of its mental misery. But it isn’t done because it would destroy the “No Kill” statistics for L.A. City…and how that looks on paper.”
“I prefer euthanasia for some of these dogs. I honestly prefer going back to the old way but not with so much killing. Maybe not to the extent they were before. But I see so many dogs mentally suffering, because we have so many like Tyson, who was a nice dog but going crazy spinning in a kennel. He is losing his mind, and no one will do anything about it. I am pro-euthanasia for many of these dogs that are being housed with no end in sight.” (Listen here.)
WHY WOULD A/GM ANNETTE RAMIREZ MAKE THIS DOG AVAILABLE FOR “RESCUE?”
Tyson was put on a 24-hour hold on the “Red Alert” list. This means he could have been taken free of charge by any “rescue” organization and offered for adoption by that group—releasing the City from liability. (Animals do not have to be released by the shelter after they exhibit behavior that could be life-threatening. This is a political decision, not a binding obligation under law.)
ALERT - 02/14/2022 A. Ramirez AGM #081 “This dog has been authorized for placement on the Red Alert List and if not committed to by rescue, may be euthanized after 48 hours.
Finally, Tyson was euthanized for “safety” on 2/16 – because no “rescuer” took him to relieve the City of liability when he bit (or killed) the next time.
In future articles, we will be taking a closer look at the animals which are listed on the LAAS website as having been in “foster” for many years. This keeps the City liable for behavior and costs because the “foster” does not assume ownership. It also can keep the pet from finding a permanent home.
GM DANA BROWN’S SUDDEN DEPARTURE LEAVES RAMIREZ IN CHARGE TEMPORARILY
Annette Ramirez is a carryover from GM Brenda Barnette’s regime and was constantly relied on by Barnette to carry out her Best Friends Animal Society “No Kill” and other programs, but she also brings a history which may add to Mayor Garcetti’s political woes.
Sadly, for the animals and staff at Los Angeles Animal Services, Ramirez was appointed the Acting General Manager on 2/28/22 upon the abrupt departure of Dana Brown from her short tenure at L.A. Animal Services—to return to the Personnel Department.
Ramirez—like GM Brenda Barnette—remained silent and did not express personal remorse regarding the many tragic attacks that have occurred during her years in various management positions, nor has she admitted any responsibility, and she repeatedly recites the “No Kill” philosophy from a robotic stance.
Hopefully, she is only an interim placeholder, because—if the past is any indication of future performance—it is easy to predict that her “leadership” will be more of the same.
CityWatchLA reports about attacks to adopters, volunteers, employees and the public at our shelters and to adopters ,beginning with the tragic mauling of Animal Care Technician Priscilla Romero, whose coworkers risked their own safety to save her life and not one member of management, nor the Commission, contacted her in the hospital.
This has been followed by numerous irresponsible and costly attacks on the public and at the shelter, where the horrific damage to animal and human lives seems to just be considered “the cost of doing business” by the City and LAAS management.
(Be sure to follow CityWatchLA.com to keep up with this—and other—animal issues.)
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a contributor to CityWatch and a former Los Angeles City employee.)