Sunday, October 25, 2009

Board of Commissioners to dump appeals process?

STATEMENT AGAINST REVISIONS OF THE LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE, WHICH WOULD, IN EFFECT, DO AWAY WITH THE APPEAL PROCESS ENTIRELY IN “BARKING DOG” AND “DANGEROUS ANIMAL” CASES.

BY JEFF DE LA ROSA
_________________________________________________
Please read the Department's proposal to change the Municipal Code here.


“A proposed mark-up of the relevant LAMC sections is on file and will be provided to the City Attorney.”


Why? Why this is not "provided" to the Board and to the Public before the item is discussed or passed? Let’s see it, please.

Most notable of the reasons stated in the Dept.’s report for “revising” the appeals process are:

1. The current system is burdensome to the Board.
2. The Board delays scheduling of appeals.
3. The Board is not qualified to hear appeals.

First, I think that recently slamming the Board with a meeting consisting entirely of multiple appeal hearings was a calculated move—a move calculated to coerce/convince the Board to give up the appeal process. Helen Brakemeir has campaigned to be in charge of this for a long time. Are we now giving it to her? Please don’t.

To my knowledge, sections 53.18.5 and 53.34.4 of the municipal code were crafted after significant study by a panel of citizens. If that was not the case, it should be now. Any changes which affect so many lives of people and animals must be studied carefully before being changed as radically as is proposed. The process MUST be fair to all parties. The proposed changes effectively do away with the appeal process and leave only a “review” by the General Manager.

My initial reaction to the idea that the Board is overburdened by appeals is “too bad.” With power, there is responsibility. The Board is the ONLY chance of an impartial entity having any review of a decision to revoke a license or declare a dog as dangerous. The reason that appeals are most often too “extensive” is that the current procedures for appeals are not followed. Please refer to the Resolution regarding how appeals are to be conducted. The Board meets twice per month—sometimes. If the work isn’t getting done, perhaps more meetings should be scheduled and certainly no meeting should be canceled without being rescheduled.

“…the Board is compelled to delve deeply into the case...”

No they are not. It is only the Board itself which makes the choice whether or not to delve “deeply into the case.” If the Board were to follow the actual rules for appeals, this would not happen. It would be interesting to know how many Commissioners even know these rules. Please review them first, before voting on this item.

If the current appeals process is burdensome to the Board, then the process should be streamlined and rely more on limited-length written statements from the parties which outline and explain why the original decision is invalid. The actual appeal hearing should be limited to 15-20 minutes. This is all you get in the California Court of Appeals and it should be good enough for the Board appeals.

Delays? To my knowledge, it is the Department and Ross Pool who are responsible for the scheduling of appeals. To address delays, the appeal should be heard within a specified time of the filing of the appeal request. Problem solved.

The Board is not qualified? If the Board is qualified to set policy which affects the lives of people and animals in the City, then its members are qualified to hear appeals of decisions which are the result of those policies. There is no entity within the Department as qualified or impartial as the Board. Expecting a General Manager or other “designated individual” to be the final arbiter is placing too much power in the hands of ONE person. “Designated individual?” Like whom? Helen Brakemeir? One of the other Captains who have been found unfit to run a District? No. Is a General Manager, who most likely has less animal experience than a Board member, more qualified? No.

As I see it, the pitfalls of with proposed changes are:

1. Quasi-judicial decisions are placed in the hands of law enforcement officers. This is NOT exemplary of our system of justice. Where are the checks and balances? This is akin to having a police captain hear your speeding ticket case. Whether “directly involved” or not, there is too much probability that a law enforcement officer -read ACO- would hold a bias against an appellant.
2. The final decision is placed in the hands of the chief animal law enforcement officer or another law enforcement officer. See #1.

SUGGESTIONS IF THE BOARD WANTS TO CHANGE.

1. Appoint a citizen panel/tribunal comprised of animal experts to hear appeals. Train them in property law and due process OR get some lawyers to sit on the panel who actually understand due process. Offer training an alternative to license revocation.
2. Follow the rules and procedures which are currently in place. They might work.

This needs more study by qualified people before being passed. Please continue the item and get input from experts…like Bobby Dorafshar or the other members of Spay Neuter Committee.

I have no objections to the proposal to clarify the definition of “barking dog.” It’s necessary.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

BRING QUINCEY BACK!

To Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council:

The People and animals of the City of Los Angeles have suffered a great loss with the resignation of Archie Quincey from the Board of Animal Services Commissioners. Quincey brings 32 years experience in Los Angeles animal care and control to the Board. He is a dedicated, informed and honorable Commissioner and what this City needs and has needed.

With no real management team in place in the Department and a real mess left behind by a bumbling General Manager, we must look to the Board of Commissioners for experience, guidance and leadership. Quincey was chastised for doing his job--getting to the truth and finding a solution. The case of Stu aside, Quincey has constantly reminded the Board and Department that we must license our dogs, follow the law and make new laws that help to stem the tide of abandoned animals and killing.

Management has insulted Quincey to his face, behind his back and in public which is unacceptable, shameful and should not be tolerated. We cannot afford a vacancy on the Board and certainly cannot afford not to have Quincey in his seat advocating for the law, order and compassion. Our shelters are overflowing with animals. With intake of animals up 30% and kill numbers even worse, due to economic issues in our nation, state and city, we need all the wisdom we can get and we got that from Quincey--for free.

Mr. Mayor, you must refuse Quincey's resignation, have a personal meeting with him to address his concerns and put him back where he belongs--in his seat on the Board where he gives us a mountain of insight and experience without compensation. Please support and uphold the integrity of this Board by standing behind your personal appointment, Archie J. Quincey. You have chosen to remain in Los Angeles and do the work of the people. At this time, the people need a full Board which leads, is forthright and honorable. You have the power to give them that. Please stand up and do so.

I encourage Council to pass a resolution which recommends Quincey's reinstatement. You, as the representatives of the People, approved this man's appointment. Don't let him go. He is doing what you asked of him: serving honorably.

When was the last time you saw female rescuers hug a Commissioner? I've seen it. I'd like to see it again.

Respectfully,

Jeff de la Rosa

I urge all readers of this letter to join with me in this campaign to return Archie Quincey to the Board of Commissioner without delay. Email addresses and other contact info which you can use to BRING QUINCEY BACK! are below.

Office of the Mayor:
mayor@lacity.org
JimmyBlackman@lacity.org

Board of Commissoners
Tariq Khero tariq.khero@gmail.com
Kathleen Riordn ninekitties@aol.com
Archie J. Quincey ajq1trq2@aol.com
Irene Ponce ireneponce@earthlink.net (spam filter, you must do as requested when you receive the return email for your message to be delivered)
Ruthanne Secunda secundar@unitedtalent.com

City Council-Public Safety Committee

Councilmember Paul Koretz Chair, Council District 5
200 N. Spring Street, Room 440; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7005; fax: 213-978-2250
email: councilmember.koretz@lacity.org, paul.koretz@lacity.org

Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, Council District 8
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 460; Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph 213-473-7008; fax: 213-485-7683
email: Councilmember.Parks@lacity.org,
Bernard.Parks.Jr@lacity.org

Councilmember Greig Smith, Council District 12
200 North Spring St., Rm 405
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7012; fax: 213-473-6925
email: councilmember.smith@lacity.org

Councilmember Dennis Zine, Council District 3
200 N. Spring Street, Rm.450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7003; fax: 213-485-8988
email: Dennis.Zine@lacity.org

Councilmember Ed Reyes, Council District 1
200 N. Spring Street, Room 410
Los Angeles, CA 90012
ph: 213-473-7001; fax: 213-485-8907
email: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org, ed.reyes@lacity.org

Friday, July 24, 2009

[UPDATED] Animal Services thwarts Board Officer Elections-Again.

CLICK HERE FOR BOARD's 7/27/09 Agenda (save it...it will change)

UPDATE 7/24/09 8:07 P.M. No, there was no reply to the letter; however, mysteriously a "special agenda" was added to the LAAS web site on Friday, July 24, 2009 5:00:04 PM. That agenda is for the elections of officers. What? They forgot? Here's the new addition http://laanimalservices.com/PDF/commission/2009/072709%20-%20Special%20Agenda.pdf

Below is the text of Jeff de la Rosa's letter to the the Interim General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, Kathy Davis. She's not doing so hot at 24 days in office.

July 24, 2009 VIA EMAIL
Kathleen Davis, Interim General Manager
Board of Commissioners
City of Los Angeles
Dept. of Animal Services
221 N. Figueroa St 5th fl.
Los Angeles CA 90012

DEMAND TO HOLD OFFICER ELECTIONS


Dear Ms. Davis, and Commissioners,

Pursuant to Article V of the Los Angeles City Charter, the Board is to hold an election of officers on Monday July 27, 2009. Unless there is another last meeting in July, your agenda does not comply with the law.

Sec. 503. Organization of the Board.
(a) Officers. Each of the boards created in the Charter shall elect one of its members President and one Vice-President. Officers shall hold office for one year and until their successors are elected, unless their membership on the board expires sooner. Elections shall be held during its last meeting in July of each year, but the board may fill the unexpired term of any vacancy occurring in the office of President or Vice-President at any meeting. (emphasis added)


I therefore demand that you either revise your Board’s agenda to include the mandated election of officers: OR

Cancel and reschedule your meeting to another day in July 2009 which will provide for proper public notice for an agenda which includes an election of officers according to the Los Angeles City Charter and Administrative Code-- A free election with the outcome not dictated by others.

If I am not informed in timely manner that you have taken proper steps to comply with the law I will pursue criminal corruption charges against you as well as civil remedies.



You’re not off to a very good start.

Sincerely,


Jeffrey de la Rosa

Cc:

William Carter, Office of the City Attorney
Council President Eric Garcetti
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Chair Public Safety Committee
Councilmember Dennis Zine, Chair-Personnel Committee;
Helen E. Zukin, President, City Ethics Commission:
Board of Animal Services Commissioners:
Commissioner Tariq Khero, President;
Commissioner Kathleen Riordan, Vice President;
Commissioner Irene Ponce;
Commissioner Ruthanne Secunda

The Lion of the Board of Commissioners has had it. Quincey resigns.

LA Animal Services commissioner resigns


From the Daily News:
LA Animal Services commissioner resigns
By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
Updated: 07/24/2009 09:28:30 AM PDT

A member of the Los Angeles Animal Services Commission resigned Thursday, accusing city employees of ignoring his demands for information and suggesting that some actions could be illegal.

Archie Quincy, who spent 32 years working for the Los Angeles County Animal Control Department, sent a letter of resignation to aides of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I don't need this job," Quincy said in an interview. "They don't know what they're doing over there and I'm afraid some of what they are doing is criminal. I just don't want to be involved with it."

Quincy, who was appointed in 2007, said he suspects the city Department of Animal Services has been withholding information or changing data in reports to the five-member commission.

The most recent situation involved information he had requested about a pit bull taken to a city shelter and the treatment of the dog's owner.

"When I ask for information as a commissioner, I should be able to get it," Quincy said. "Instead, all I hear are comments about me."

Animal Services officials said they were unaware of Quincy's resignation and could not comment on it.

The long-troubled department has been without a general manager since April, when then-chief Ed Boks resigned under pressure from animal advocates.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stu's Dad asks for a little help...

I've hit a rough patch and have sent out a request for help. My pride? I gave that up 4 years ago when I had to ask the world to help save my Stu. Notes on why I'm requesting assistance are HERE. Thank you in advance for any help you can send along.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For Annie...



One night in 1995 I came home to see a bouncy and black Cocker Spaniel trotting down my street in Los Feliz. I followed and the little dog stopped on the corner across the street from me. I sat on my corner and waited. She sat on her corner and looked at me for about 10 minutes. Finally she got up and trotted over to say, "hello." She was clean and well-groomed, so I knew she belonged somewhere. I placed an ad in the L.A.Times classified. The next day, a woman called saying that she has rescued "Annie" from the streets near Adams Blvd. months before. She had been a mess, was matted and filthy. While recovering with her rescuer/foster mom, Annie raised a litter of kittens and slept in their box with them.

The rescuer said she had placed Annie in a home in Beachwood Canyon, about 2 miles away from me, but Annie had escaped the yard on the first night by chewing through the wood fence and ended up facing me down on a corner in Los Feliz. The rescuer came by and confirmed the dog was indeed Annie and asked me if I would like to keep her. I said, "Absolutely, yes!" "Good, " she said. "She seems to like it better with you" --besides, I had a young kitten, Grace; and by now, Annie had taken her under her wing.

Over the years, Annie traveled across the country several times with me, always on her black pillow on the passenger seat, sporting her red collar . Once she locked me out of the car at truck stop at night by flicking the lock button while the motor was running. Other than that , she 's been my best friend and my most loyal companion. She's outlasted 5 girlfriends and was better to me than any of them. When I brought Maeve home at 8 weeks old, Annie took charge of her, too. She remained in charge as Maeve grew to be an 80 lbs. beauty. Then Stu joined us. They ignored each other for the most part, but I have caught them cuddling together on occasion. Annie hated the dog park. While Stu and Maeve played, she would sidle up to the nearest bench and wait for a human to come and adore her. She preferred people to everything, except kittens.

Annie has been mauled by a big dog on the Elysian trail, suffered glaucoma and the loss of one eye and so many ear infections that she finally went deaf. Losing those senses never phased her as she marched on with that Spaniel nose and never complained. Her love was unconditional and I returned her love by staying by her through all of her ordeals and her joys. She was always a happy little pup and let me know it. She wasn't a kisser but she would rest her head on my knee as a sign they I was hers.

For the last several days, Annie has been letting me know that she would be leaving me soon. She stopped eating. Then the next day she stopped drinking water. She has been weak and stumbling. Last night I gave her water from a syringe as I held her in my arms, crying. At about 3 a.m., I put her down on her bed and I went to sleep. This morning we were going to the vet to confirm what I already knew: She was at least 16 and her time left with me was short.

I picked her up from her bed and gave her a paper towel , so she could pee because she could not stand. Holding her in my arms, I tried some more water. She took a few drops and lapped it up. Suddenly, her legs thrust out stiffly as she took her last breath or her heart gave out. Her tongue went still and her mouth hung open. Then her head fell onto my chest and her little plush legs went limp. She was gone.

It was as if she had waited until I could be with her before she departed. I'm sure of it

She did not complain this morning but for a tiny little whimper seconds before she left me.

I will miss her more than words can describe. I had hoped she would be here when Stu comes home. I hope Maeve will be alive when he does. I wonder if he felt her go.

Rest easy, little one. I loved you so much am so thankful for your love and for what you have taught me. Rest easy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Board of Animal Services Commissioners moves to amend L.A. Code to free Stu!

The Board convened at about 10:30 (a half-hour late) and immediately began discussion of Item 3A regarding Stu. Although newly installed Interim General Manager, Kathy Davis was present for her first meeting ever, but she did not even get an introduction. I can't say I've ever even seen her before but she sat next to the City Attorney in the GM's spot...and was entirely silent.

The Board took Public Comment from a large group of concerned citizens, some who traveled from as far as southern Orange County to support Stu. The Board requested that no action to "euthanize" Stu be taken at this time. At 11:05 the Board withdrew to closed session to consult with Assistant City Attorney Laurie Rittenberg, the supervising attorney on Stu's court cases.

Although the Board estimated that they would return to open session at 11:45 , they did not return until past 12:30 p.m at which time, Commissioner Riordan introduced a motion that the Board make a recommendations to Council to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code section covering "dangerous" dogs which would allow the Board to modify a "dangerous" designation made by a general manager, even long after the appeal process has been finalized. Commissioner Riordan stressed that the amendment be retroactive to cover Stu's case. Commissioner Ponce seconded the motion and it was passed 4-0 (Commissioner Secunda had left the meeting by this time and did not take part in the vote).

What this means is that , at a subsequent public meeting (presumably on July 27, 2009), the Board will actually make a recommendation to City Counicl to amend the code in order to give the Board the power to reverse a GM's decision AFTER the appeal had been finalized. I take this to mean that the Board, once empowered by the code change, intends to remove the "dangerous" designation from Stu which would allow the Board to send him home under reasonable terms and conditions for his care and control.

I do not know how long this will take, but apparently the Board intends to ask the Coucil for an expedited consideration of their request for the code change.

I'm a little frazzled by the whole thing beause it doesn't seem real. I'm encouraged, but I will believe it when I see it. This could take months or weeks or the Council could refuse to the amend the code.

NOTE: The Board will hold their annual elections for President and Vice President on July 27. Last time the "election" was more of a mayoral "appointment" of Tariq Khero as interim President following the resignation last fall of Glenn Brown. Who's up?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ed Boks Turns in His Badge...and unveils 5-year Strategic Plan

"A zombie is a mythical creature that appears in folklore and popular culture typically as a reanimated corpse or a mindless human being." source: http://en.wikipedia.org


This new "5 year strategic plan" quietly appeared today at laanimalservices.com.

Ed seems to think that now is a good time to unveil his plans for the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services..on his way out the door. It may make you wonder whether this was part of his exit deal and reminds us of the $50,000 which was paid to the last GM, Guerdon Stuckey, for few pages of drivel.

http://laanimalservices.com/PDF/reports/fiveyearstrategicplan.pdf

No doubt, the Board knows nothing about this new plan for its department. None of them are credited in its "list of contributors." The plan has replaced the Annual Report which is now absent. Also, Boks is still blogging http://laanimalservices.blogspot.com/2009/07/change-of-address.html.

Ed Boks refuses to be forgotten, just like the narcissist he is.Now he's calling himself "laptopdog." Get it? he's still "top dog."

Go way, Mr. Boks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I had to share this with you...

An email message from Teresa to the Board of Animal Services Commissioners:

All dogs are Sacred, they come from afar to teach mankind, how to open up his heart and to luv unconditionally,Dogs are our protectors and keepers of our spirits, they guide our spirit home when we cross or go thru changing of worlds, Dogs are beyond human intelligence, they speak the language of the Birds as all animals do!They are psychic, they are used to assist mankind in police force,and in medical programs. Finding cancer and tumors in humans before they even know they are ill.When mankind learns to awaken his heart and to listen from his Soul, then he will evolve and become whole.For mankind has forgotten his promise to be the keepers and protectors of all animal kingdom, For we are One thru Divine Source, Lifes breath running thru all living, breathing creatures!Please respect and honor the lives that have come to you, to assist you and your families in need.You are now in a position to be of assistance to this sacred Dog Stu, the love that you will give to him, is the love you give to yourself,the suffering you cause him, will be the suffering you cause for yourself, for this is Universal Law and Karma on Planet Earth,Hashi Inkba/Sun Father Mother Moon,I beg you to open your hearts to assist in changing laws to protect all animals now,blessings yakoke
Native American Church Of The Ghostdancers
Indigenous Peoples Council
Native American Masonry
Past Master
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-indian-ponies-wild-mustangs.html
Refugee Advocate/Wild Mustangs/Bison
Federally recognized Native American Church Body
Conservancies for Indigenous Life
Please sign our petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/indigenoous-American-Refugees-United-Nations-Status

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Katherine Varjian's Day in Court: Beverly Hills Woman Who Cares for Cats Could beJailed.

Beverly Hills, California. July 1, 2009.
Court reporting by Pam Holt.

[Katherine Varjian appeared in Court today to defend herself against a recently deleted Beverly Hills Ordidance which prohibits the feeding of "non-owned" animals; In this case, Ms. Varjian has cared for a colony of about 20 cats. Ed.]


The crowd (which I estimate to be 20+) which came to support Katherine Varjian (identified with red ribbon armbands) included Ed Boks, who offered to tell the judge about the agreement LAAS created with the city of Beverly Hills. This agreement matched the animal control laws in Beverly Hills with those of the city of Los Angeles, where feral cat care taking is legal, making the anti-feeding ordinance no longer in effect.

Believe it or not, the Beverly Hills City Councilmembers are voting on an "emergency motion" to REINSTATE the inhumane ordinance at their next meeting on Tuesday, July 7th at 7 PM, so we have to make a strong showing then. The prosecutor was saying that it was a "mistake" that the cruel ordinance got deleted! The judge was not ready to make a ruling today because she says she just got the paperwork 2 days ago and needed to absorb it more thoroughly. Katherine's daughter, who is an attorney representing her, wanted a ruling today because the city council may reinstate the ordinance. So, if the ordinance will be reinstated, the judge will hear the case and make a ruling on August 7th at 1:30 PM.

If the city council doesn't vote to reinstate it, then the case will be dismissed.

Only once was feeding ferals even brought up (and it was probably a good 35-40 minutes or so of back and forth legal jumbo). No chance was given to mention how Katherine practices TNR [trap/neuter/release] and adopts out any kittens or cats that can be socialized. The city of Beverly Hills should be giving her an award, not arresting her!

Anyone who would like to tell Beverly Hills City Council how they feel about their "emergency meeting" and quest to jail a kind-to-animals senior citizen should attend:

Council Meeting
Tuesday, July 7 , 2009


Beverly Hills City Council, Rm. 400
455 N. Rexford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Mayor and City Council: (310) 285-1013
email: https://clients.comcate.com/newrequest.php?id=31


Pam Holt is an activist and advocate for animals, a Registered Veterinary Technician, Certified Animal Massage Therapist and founder of Buddah Dog Animal Massage. BW thanks Pam for her coverage of this ludicrous persecution.

Marie Atake speaks for Stu:A Letter to the City Attorney




To: David Michaelson, Branch Chief (the boss of Dov and Todd Leung)

I am a former Commissioner on the Board of LA Animal Services of the city of Los Angeles, and am currently sitting on the city’s Spay/Neuter Ordinance Advisory Committee, as a District-11 appointee.

Animal Services Dept. wants to kill an owned dog in an obvious miscarriage of justice that is playing out before our eyes. The owner’s due process rights at the administrative hearing and at the administrative Appeal were stymied in multiple ways. 1) Expert evidence supporting the dog was kept out at the hearing level, 2) a city Commissioner hearing the Appeal engaged in ex parte communications with the appellant, formed a personal bias, and pushed the others toward her personal bias formed in that ex parte communication. Evidence that in the four intervening years the dog has had no problems has also been kept out.

The Commissioner engaging in the ex parte communications is gone. A majority of the current Commissioners, having heard the due process accusations, and one of the Commissioners being personally aware of the due process accusations, want to drop the case. However, their efforts have been obstructed. A State Court decision that will let LAAS kill the dog, “Stu” is imminent. But after two separate Commissioners formally requested that an agenda item for a vote to drop the case, the item was kept off the agenda. Their last scheduled meeting for June 8, 2009 would have been their last chance to vote before the State Court decision that will likely kill Stu. That meeting was abruptly canceled for no reason. The public has consistently spoken to save Stu and they have been summarily ignored. The owner has done this mostly without a lawyer, having spent all his money trying to keep his beloved dog alive.

This case goes far beyond the one dog. This case demonstrates the abuse of process which has taken place and the due process violations now being tolerated by the city. As a result of the city not taking responsibility for the past violations, city’s time and monetary resources are being spent to continue its prosecution even after the city’s due process violations came to light.

Even murderers are allowed to go free when their due process rights are violated. In this case, there are so many due process violations I lose count. More detail is in an article at this link:
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-1779-LA-Pet-Rescue-Examiner~y2009m6d17-Playing-political-games-with-a-dogs-life

I’ve been fighting for this dog’s life and fighting for the city’s integrity since I was on the Commission. Stu has been kept behind bars for 4 years already. He’s old now, and probably has only another year or two to live his natural life unless cut short by this travesty.

In my letter of resignation from the Commission on the Board of Animal Services Dept. to Mayor Villaraigosa almost two years ago (http://marie310.blogspot.com/2007/09/resigning-from-laas-commission_03.html), I wrote the following, and it was referring to Stu’s case:
“Recently, the Commission discovered its serious procedural problems with a past appeal. I was not involved with this particular appeal, however, I felt it was the Commission’s sworn duty to right its wrongs, and restore its integrity, when the process was violated, with unfairness and prejudice appearing high and harmful.
“Unfortunately I have learned that certain members of your administration, this department and the Commission are incapable of acknowledging errors, therein misleading the public. Such actions (or inactions) are resulting in the needless suffering and death of many animals, mistreatment of the public, and wasting of financial and human capital.”
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bubMhSLA3sU)

It is significant that, in the lower State Court case regarding the owner’s other dog, the Judge ruled in favor of the owner on the same issues of due process.

Meanwhile, this case has been an ongoing battle for four years! For four years, it has been draining city human and financial resources, to pursue a case with due process violations by the city. I’m really astonished with the wasteful and negative behavior of Mr. Todd Leung, the city attorney, along with others who perpetuate this inhumane condition for Stu. I wholeheartedly understand his owner’s frustration, and the growing public anger as the city tolerates this failure of justice.

Since Stu’s owner is not a lawyer, he may not have done a good job framing the due process violations for the Court, but the Commission is aware of them, and so am I. Attached please find my Declaration in the case.

If we are to believe the Mayor’s statements that the city has a budget crisis, shouldn’t we see the City Attorney’s resources better directed than wasted on so many years of litigation over a now 10-year old dog when the initial hearing was tainted with due process violations!?

This is 1) sheer animal cruelty 2) a total waste of our tax-dollars. The city attorney’s office should not be accepting due process violations against any constituent.

I urge you to take immediate measures to correct the procedural and due process violations by withdrawing the city’s opposition to the case. Anything less is supporting constitutional violations. The State Court decision is imminent and this needs to be cleared up right away. I hope you can and will help.

Graciously,
Marie Atake

Linda Barth. The new face of L.A. Animal Services.


While Barth is only the Asst. GM, Kathy Davis has been propped up in the GM chair as a placeholder. In reality, Barth has been running the Department for at least 6 months while Ed Boks was being groomed for the exit door.

Davis has never been to a Board meeting and nobody knows anything about her. Don't expect a new GM anytime soon. They are either putting her there to fail, so Barth can take over or will let her sit there and take the heat and the money as long as she toes the party line.

Monday, June 29, 2009

STU DIES July 23, 2009! Mark your calendar.

What?! That's right. The only thing keeping Stu alive right now is that the Court decision does not become final for 30 days after the ruling. The ruling was issued June 23, 2009--ONE DAY after Board President Tariq Khero and City Attorney Dov Lesel assured the public that there would be NO COURT DECISION for several weeks....at least. Let's listen, shall we?
(audio clip to come).

THE DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL SERVICES CAN KILL STU ON JULY 23
AND THERE IS NOTHING TO STOP THEM--
EXCEPT YOU.

The Board first took up the matter of revisiting Stu's case and his horrible care in the pound in May 2007. Several attempts were made by the Board to place the issue of Stu on the Board's agenda. All of them were blocked by Ed Boks and Linda Barth. Finally, after 3 months, the Board voted on August 27, 2007 to move Stu from the pound to Bobby Dorafshar's K9s Only facility for the duration of the legal proceedings.

Then we went through 2 years of Court proceedings and brief-writing, etc., etc. City Attorney Todd Leung lied to the Court in his briefs and blocked any attempt to allow the truth into the case.

So, here we are. The City had been successful in keeping the truth that Stu did not receive a fair hearing out of the Courts. Saving Stu and sending him home is now in the hands of the City government. Here's what has to happen:

  1. The Board must call and hold a Special Meeting before July 13, which is the next regular Board meeting.The president may call the meeting or 3 Commissioners may call the meeting. As of this writing, no one has called a meeting. At this meeting, which is not scheduled, the Board must discuss the recommendation which they will make, in writing, to Council and the Mayor.
  2. At the regular meeting on July 13, the Board must vote to send the recommendation to Council. Council will either refer the matter to the Public Safety Committee or the PS Committee may waive consideration and refer the matter back to the full Council. The City Attorney will advise Council on what powers they have to Save Stu and send him home. Because of the red tape that a recommendation will encounter, the Board must also vote to stay the order to kill Stu for 60 days to allow the matter to work its way through the bureaucracy.
  3. If the Council votes to make a recommendation to the Mayor, then the Mayor will decide upon the recommendation.
Meanwhile, Board members AND THE PUBLIC may lobby Council members in favor of the recommendation. City Attorney Dov Lesel told them this on June 22, 2009-- that they may contact Councilmembers as individuals or as a Board.

Here's what's happened so far:

Members of the public , and myself, have urged the Board to hold a Special Meeting. The president, Tariq Khero OR 3 Commissioners may call a meeting with 24 hours notice. The Brown Act does not prohibit Commissioners from discussing the setting of a Special Meeting.

Here's what the Board has done: NOTHING.

Here's what you can do: Demand that a Special Meeting of the Board be called before July 13.

Email or preferably FAX your demand that the Board call and hold a Special Meeting before July 13.

  1. FAX the Board 213-482-9511. On your Fax COVER SHEET, direct the Board Secretary to forward your fax to ALL Boardmembers IMMEDIATELY.
  2. FAX Board president Tariq Khero at his office:

    Nasatir, Hirsch, Podberesky & Genego,PLC FAX: 310-392-9029 [corrected]

  3. Call Tariq Khero at his office: 310-854-4170
  4. Email all Boardmembers and REQUEST A REPLY: tariqkhero@gmail.com,
    ninekitties@aol.com, ireneponce@earthlink.net, secundar@unitedtalent.com,
    ajq1trq2@aol.com
  5. CC Jeff on your emails: stu.911@gmail.com
  6. Flood Animal Services' phones with calls demanding a meeting of the Board
213-482-9506, 9501, 9505,9504

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An Open Letter to the Los Angeles City Council to Save My Dog, Stu.


When an issue is presented to Council for action, Council President refers the issue to the appropriate Committee for review and recommendation. The Public Safety Committee oversees the Department of Animals Services. I started there.

Click here for City Council Website Directory
Click here for Council Officers/Committee Assignments
Click here for the Council Calendar

June 23, 2009

City Council
Public Safety Committee
City of Los Angeles
c/o City Clerk, Room 395
City Hall, 200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-4801

Dear Councilmembers Weiss, Zine, Parks, Smith and Reyes,

Below is a link to Kate Woodviolet's Examiner.com follow-up story on my dog, Stu, his 4-year-old case and the evidence of malfeasance and obstruction on the part of certain employees within the Department of Animal Services. Please be aware, that only 10 days prior to the oral arguments in the Court of Appeals, the City Attorney's office sent me the attached draft settlement offer (and opposed my request for a continuance in the Court so that I might discuss the offer further) with full knowledge that no consummation of this proposed settlement could be expected in time for the City Council to approve it, before the Court ruled.

These are not coincidences and let me assure you, there have been no coincidences in this case. Ever. This case is one of the last vestiges of the inept and embarrassing tenure of Ed Boks. The only thing left to clean-up (that I know of ) of the mess Mr. Boks made of this Department will be the lawsuit I must file against him and others for these despicable acts. We are about to welcome back to our City legal system what is promised to be a new era of integrity, so says Mr. Trutanich. I hereby give you an opportunity to usher that era in with my dog, Stu in tow.

I beseech you to consider compassionately what I hope will be a forthcoming recommendation from the Board of Animal Services Commissioners to your Public Safety Committee or to the full Council, which will , as I understand the intent of the Board, attempt to preserve the integrity of the Administrative Hearing process, the Department, the Board and the City of Los Angeles by setting aside the previous ill-founded decision to declare Stu to be dangerous and order his destruction. The Board, which you have entrusted to make these decisions is unified on this issue as are thousands of people from our City and around the world: the consensus is to send Stu, a non-dangerous animal home to live out his remaining last couple of years. He was 6 years old when he was first impounded. He is now at least 10 (or 70 in human years).

The Court of Appeals could not remedy this injustice as there was a defective record before them and only myself, a non-lawyer, presenting it to them. However, although the Court has failed to right this horrible injustice , because it was confined to the incomplete record of the case, your Committee and your Council are not so constrained. Please find the time and the attention which this most deserving matter requires.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1779-LA-Pet-Rescue-Examiner~y2009m6d23-Appeals-Court-rules-against-Stu--could-allow-Animal-Services-to-kill-senior-dog


Thank you,

Jeff de la Rosa
Council District 13

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Board of Animal Services Slips it's Collar


Somebody forgot to tighten the choke collar
which has plagued the Los Angeles Board of Animals Services Commissioners since...forever? At their meeting on June 22, 2009, the Board seemed to go rogue and would not take "no" for an answer. Nor would they take "no answer" for an answer.

For a full week, since Kate Woodviolet's piece on Stu's story appeared at Examiner.com, the Board,City Attorney's office and Linda Barth have been barraged with emails, calls and messages from countless Stu supporters demanding and pleading for mercy and justice.

Item 4A on the agenda, the case of Stu, the evidence dog, which has been impounded for 4 years while his owner/guardian has battled to save him from Death Row and certain execution, was the impetus for the Board shaking off their restraints, but this very admirable show of blazing courage from a Board which has, for years, been accused of being a rubber stamp for the General Manager(s) and the Mayor quickly spread to all business within the Board's control. The last time the Board took bold action in the case of Stu, on August 27, 2007, when they voted unanimously to release Stu from the pound after 2 years and move him to the luxury digs at K9s Only in Tarzana, the Mayor's office clamped down hard. Former Commissioner Marie Atake resigned in protest and disgust and Commissioner Riordan is rumored to have been threatened with removal from the Board after 9 dedicated years of service.

From the 6/22/09 Agenda:

4. DISCUSSION ITEMS
A. Oral Report from the City Attorney on status of Case: Jeffrey Peter De La Rosa v. Animal
Control Board of the City of Los Angeles, et al.; Los Angeles Superior Court Case #
BS104836; Court of Appeal, Case # B202071.

CLOSED SESSION: The Board of Animal Services Commissioners may meet in closed
session with the City Attorney as its legal counsel pursuant to Government Code section
54956.9(a).

First, the was no oral report from the City Attorney. Dov Lesel claimed that Todd Leung, the "litigation attorney" was "not available" to come to the meeting (his office is next door in City Hall East), but sources tell BoardWatch that Mr. Leung was not otherwise engaged in court appearances but was, instead, sitting in his office when the agenda item was called.

+/- Read more...

On the Board's first pitch to the City Attorney at hand, Dov Lesel, Board members asked what actions were in their ability to take to stop the madness of the 4 year persecution of this innocent animal. Mr. Lesel's first response: The Board can do nothing. It's in the hands of the Court of Appeals, he claimed, as the case was submitted (final argument was heard) to the Court on June 18.

Commissioner Quincey was boiling. He stated the he had asked for his motion regarding Stu (the motion was for the Board to direct the City Attorney to withdraw opposition to Stu's owner's appeal in the Courts) to be placed on the agenda more than a month prior (actually , it was more than two months ago, on April 14, 2009) but it had never appeared on the agenda and now his motion was moot. He had intended, apparently, to save the Court the burden of rendering a decision over the life or death of the dog, Stu by instructing the City Attorney's Office to throw in the towel on a case it should not have opposed in the first place, in Quincey's opinion. Quincey wanted an explanation. Commissioner Riordan asked for an explanation. Commissioner Ponce demanded an explanation. Dov Lesel said, "I don't set the Board's agenda. Assistant General Manager Linda Barth disappeared into her chair back and remained silent. There would be no explanation.

At considerable length, Quincey went on to report to the Board and to the public, that he had reviewed the "whole" case file. The 30-year veteran Animal Control Officer reported that he had determined that the case should have been dismissed from the get go. Quincey reported that the bite was reported over a month after the incident and that it was a civil matter--that "there was no violation of the Municipal Code" by Mr. de la Rosa and therefore, there should have been no involvement by the Department of Animal Services. Following Quincey's statements, Commissioner Irene Ponce said, "you could hear a pin drop in here." The Board was stymied and the supporters of Stu, seated in the gallery, just smiled.

It was then that President Tariq Khero told Quincey that if he ever wanted an item placed on the agenda, that he need only send Khero an email. Riordan cautiously erupted.Vice President Kathy Riordan told the room that she had not had much (or any) success in having items placed on the agenda. She implied that not only was it difficult for her to have items placed on the agenda for consideration by the Board, that it was near impossible to achieve this over the obstruction by management.

In the end, through dogged persistence, the Board was able to force City Attorney Dov Lesel, to lay out exactly what the Board could do to settle Stu's case, save his life and return him to his home. Lesel came forth with all kinds of ideas for the Board. They could:

  1. Recommend whatever they wanted to City Council as a Board or as individuals. Lesel corrected himself (from his earlier statments that action was out of the City's hands) by saying that settlement of this case was actually in the hands of City Council.
  2. Make recommendations to the Council's Public Safety committee which oversees the Department of Animal Services.
  3. Direct the City Attorney to file a supplemental paper to the Court of Appeals which stated the Board's position that the Department had botched the case and denied Due Process of law (this is our favorite- Ed.)
  4. Schedule an "emergency meeting" of the Board to take whatever action it deemed appropriate.
All of these things are a far cry from Linda Barth's assertions to concerned callers that the Board can "do nothing." Throughout the heated discussion of this item, President Khero appeared to feign that Department management was innocent of any obstruction of the Board 's intentions. It is worth saying that along with the usual copies of the agenda and accompanying documents laid out at the back of the room, were several sets of full-color pictures of Tatiana Edwards's (the dog bite "victim") injuries to her right arm. Nobody seemed interested in them and they did not even bear any identifying information which might have informed the public as to what these pictures were and what they were doing spread out among the meeing literature.

Khero persuaded the Commissioners that no emergency meeting was necessary. Lesel and the Board forced Linda Barth to pledge that , in the event of an unfavorable decision for Stu by the Court, prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting, that the Department would take no action to kill Stu. She added that it was the General Manager who had made the gallant committment that Stu would not be "euthnanized" (read: KILLED) while any actions in the the Court of Appeals or the California Supreme Court were still possible.

So, we wait. We wait to see what, if any, action the Board will take to move City Council to end this fiasco. Will they appear as individuals during the Public Comment period at the next Council Meeting? Will they draft and approve a resolution decrying Stu's innocence and the Department's denial of Due Process of Law in this case? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, we await the opinion of the Court of Appeals. President Khero said , as though he knew, that the Court would surely not release their decision before the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting currently on the books for July 13.

By the way, where was the fifth Commissioner, Ruthanne Secunda? She was conspicuously absent. If the Board had tried to take action, Secunda's vote may have been crucial, since she has previously been sympathetic to the cause of Stu and has let it be known that she would like to see this nightmare end favorably for Stu.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Explain Stu's case to me, Jeff...


As this saga come to what I hope will be a positive resolution for Stu and me, many people are still asking of me what the things were that the City did or did not do which resulted in Stu and me being deprived of Due Process and a fair hearing in this life and death decision process.
First let me explain what Due Process is. The Constitution of the United States and our California Constitution guarantee us certain inalienable rights.

1. We may not be deprived of life, liberty or property without Due Process of Law. That means that :
2. We must be properly notified of the accusations we face and notified of the time and place of a hearing or trial of the issues ;and
3. We must be given an opportunity to present evidence, witnesses in our defense and confront witnesses and cross-examine that witness who may offer testimony against us.
4. The matter must be heard by a neutral, disinterested and impartial trier of fact (judge). In this case, an Animal Control Officer acting as hearing examiner. For the appeal, a panel of Commissioners. We asked for all 5 but were given only 3—the most conservative three-3 lawyers.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Municipal Code is quite specific on how hearings for license revocation (for dogs) and dangerous animals shall be conducted.

The Initial Hearing and General Manager’s Decision:
So, in Stu’s case, what did they do right?


+/- Read more...


1. They notified me of the charges and the time and place of the hearing.
2. They allowed me to cross examine my accuser, but interrupted my questioning, prevented me from asking certain questions regarding the “victim’s” motivation for possibly being untruthful and ruled many of my questions as “irrelevant.”


What did they do wrong?
1. See (2) above.
2. Witnesses


a. The Department’s own Administrative Hearing Guide informs the public of the proper way to request that witnesses be called to appear. I followed it. They did not.


b. They received my written request for several department employees and one LAPD officer to be summoned to appear as witnesses but refused to summon them. Their explanation for this was that they didn’t have to summon any witnesses that the Department did not request.


3. They denied my request to have Stu (and Maeve, in her separate case) evaluated by Dr. Richard Polksy on shelter property. This prevented me from presented evidence which would have shown that Stu was not a dangerous animal and bit only in self-defense as reaction to :
a. Not being able to flee (she closed him into a room and approached him in a corner).
b. Having his wound irritated by the “victim.”


4. Helen Brakemeir. Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 53.18.5 provides that the Hearing Examiner make his report and recommendations from the hearing to the General Manager. Back then, it was Guerdon Stuckey who had just been asked for his resignation. The General Manager shall review the report and recommendations and either accept, reject or modify the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation. This recommendation was to revoke my license for Stu but not to declare him to be a “dangerous animal.” The G.M. may also return the case to the Hearing Examiner for further review modification, if necessary.


This didn’t happen the way the Municipal Code says it should have happened. Instead, somehow and for some reason (her friend, Capt. Karen Stepp despised me), Captain Helen Brakemeir, with no apparent authority, intercepted the Hearing Examiner’s report and wrote her own opinion which urged the G.M. to declare Stu to be “dangerous” and thus killed--even though she did not hear the testimony nor did she attend the hearing; nor was she a hearing examiner or in any other position of authority related to administrative hearings. Brakemeir’s memo states that she wrote the decision letter declaring Stu to be dangerous and placed in folder on the Department’s computer network for Stuckey to sign.

The Appeal before the Board of Animal Services Commissioners:
Grounds for Reversal of the General Manger’s decision.
At the appeal hearing held on March 8, 2006. My attorney (I did not have one at the original hearing) and I raised the issues above as grounds for reversal of the G.M. decision. At the time, we did not know about the Brakemeir memo and were very surprised that the G.M. was imposing a harsher penalty and a rejection of the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation. I did not learn of the Brakemeir memo, and the mystery was not solved, until I made a California Public Records Act request and the memo showed up in the pile of paper which I received from Ross Pool.


Debbie Knaan, The Biased Commissioner:


As my March 2006 appeal approached my attorney requested that all 5 Commissioners sit on the appeals Board (Khero, Riordan, Atake, Brown and Knaan). We felt that Atake and Riordan would pay closer attention to a decision which could end in the killing of an animal. We were denied this request as a “new” experimental appeal hearing calendar was being tried. This would involve only 3 Commissioners who would volunteer for evening appeal hearings held outside of regular Board meetings. We protested to no avail and were assigned Khero, Knaan, and Brown. Brown has been appointed to the Board only two months before.


On (or about) February 2, 2006 Deborah Knaan called me at my home. She was responding to my complaints that Stu was not being properly cared for at the pound (another story). After we discussed how that could or would be remedied, she said, “Tell me about the cases. And you have to tell the truth.” I found this to be unusual for a prospective “judge” to be interrogating me, but I knew she was a Deputy District Attorney and I was somewhat intimidated by what I viewed as her special authority. I told her everything I knew about both Stu’s and Maeve’s case.

Afterward, I called my attorney and he was shocked that she would engage in ex parte (without the other party) communication with a “defendant” prior to sitting on the appeal Board. Knaan also warned me, during the conversation, that the Board does not “always side with the animal.” In 2007, I discovered that Knaan had told both Marie Atake and Kathy Riordan that she thought I was a “liar and a creep.” She told them this before my appeal hearing and then participated in it. Ethically, and possibly legally, she should have disqualified herself if her feelings against me were so strong. My attorney should have disqualified her after she called me and interrogated me. Yes, she will be included in my lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles. Imagine you are arrested for …whatever. Before your trial, the judge calls you on the phone and asks for all the details about the case. Then he rules on your case. Whether he rules for or against you, both decisions would be tossed on appeal for judicial bias, or the appearance of that bias.


Knaan Runs the Appeal Hearing…Right into the Muck.


At the appeal hearing, Brakemeir appeared for the Department instead of the District Supervisor, Karen Stepp. I’ve always thought that Stepp would not hold up if she was accused of personal bias against me. Knaan took charge of the meeting, although technically, Khero as Vice President was supposed to run the thing. So there we were in front of 4 law degrees (City Attorney Dov Lesel included).

They took Maeve’s appeal hearing first and talked at length about my request for witnesses which was denied (this discussion and other documents is what caused the Judge in Maeve’s Superior Court Case to throw the case out).

After a short break, they started Stu’s appeal hearing. The “victim” was allowed to talk for awhile and even allowed to present new evidence. My attorney and I were constantly interrupted, by Knaan, and often precluded from finishing a point or topic. Because in depth discussion had already taken place in Maeve’s previous hearing, it was not repeated for Stu’s hearing. This is one of the things, discovered later, that caused Stu’s case in the Superior Court (different judge than Maeve’s) to suffer and which caused me to have to go on to the Court of Appeals, which added 2 years on to the already protracted process. If I were as experienced with legal procedure then as I am now, I would not have let this happen and world have forced the Board to allow us to repeat all of the discussion surrounding the requested, but denied, witnesses.


The Board's Appeal Decision.


On March 28, 2006, the Board rendered their decision at a regular Board Meeting held at a L.A. Library in the Valley. Can’t remember which. One might think that with two separate cases, they would take 2 votes and give 2 decisions. They didn’t. In one motion, they voted to uphold the General Manager’s decisions to revoke Maeve’s license and declare Stu to be dangerous (so he could be killed).
That ends the Department involvement as I headed on to Superior Court where I prevailed in Maeve’s case without an attorney—mostly due to a complete record which showed that 1) I had requested witnesses for my hearing and 2) that they were denied—a pretty clear cut case of denial of Due Process and that’s how the judge ruled. The lack of this evidence in Stu’s case is why we are where we are now.


I don’t know how the Court of Appeal will rule on Stu’s case. The record is spotty and the evidence of Due Process violations is not so obvious. However, the Brakemeir memo is there and I make a big deal about it in my briefs and in my oral argument. I can only hope that the justices look closely at this case, as I have asked them to do and make a decision which conforms to the one made for Maeve: that I am entitled to a new hearing on whether Stu should be declared a dangerous animal. Stay tuned.



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Groundswell of Disgust Grows Over Delgadillo's 4 Year Persecution of a Dog.


Will Carmen Trutanich put an end to misery for a man and his dog which Delgadillo's attorneys have perpetuated for 4 years?

If you would like to urge City Attorney Elect Carmen Trutanich to take immediate action to stop this madness as soon as he takes office on July 1, write, call and fax him at:




Trutanich Mitchell, LLP
180 East Ocean Boulevard

Long Beach CA 90802-4079
Tel: 562) 216-4444
Fax: (562) 216-4445







Kinship Circle organizes and facilitates public support for animal welfare causes. KC's most recent
Action Alert regarding Stu's case can be viewed at Change.org or at KC's own blog.

Examiner.com has published a terrific article by Kate Woodviolet on the "Stu, the Dog" case. At our publishing time, 48 comments have been registered AGAINST actions of the City of Los Angeles--the most comments ever lodged in any of Woodviolet's articles on pet issues in Los Angeles. The recently updated piece appears in its entirety:

Playing political games with a dog's life

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-1779-LA-Pet-Rescue-Examiner~y2009m6d17-Playing-political-games-with-a-dogs-life

June 17, 12:10 PM
By Kate Woodviolet

UPDATED After sitting in what amounts to dog jail for almost four years, a dog named Stu could be put to death soon; or he could finally go home to an owner who's been fighting for his life since 2005.

Rescued from the streets in 2000 by Jeff de la Rosa, for five years Stu lived peacefully with de la Rosa and his two other dogs. In August of 2005 de la Rosa was called out of town by a family emergency. He left the dogs in the care of an assistant who knew them. Following an uncharacteristic scuffle between Stu and one of the other dogs during which Stu's ear was torn, the assistant, in an attempt to take Stu to the vet, approached the wounded dog and tried to put a harness on him, over his injured ear (pet care experts always recommend using extreme caution, even a muzzle, when dealing with injured pets, because often even a normally friendly pet can lash out when fearful and in pain). During her attempt to harness him, a frightened Stu bit the assistant twice on the arm.

De la Rosa offered to pay the assistant's medical bills and says she initially told him she "didn't want to get Stu in trouble." He says when she went to the hospital she told emergency room staff that she didn't know the dog who had bitten her. She didn't call the police or L.A. Animal Services.+/- Read more...

According to de la Rosa, three weeks after the incident, without warning, he was served with a lawsuit. Ten days later he came home to find Stu missing from a locked outdoor kennel, and the gate on his fence pried open from the outside. He received a call from Animal Services that Stu had been "found and brought in by an unidentified private citizen." When de la Rosa arrived to retrieve his dog, Animal Services staff told him they had just received a bite report, one month after the incident, and they refused to release Stu.

The assistant, by that time represented by a law firm specializing in wresting large dog-bite settlements from homeowners' insurance carriers, now claimed that Stu had "dragged her back and forth across the floor." De la Rosa says she was seeking six million dollars in damages.


Stu with former Animal Services Board Commissioner Marie Atake. Atake famously resigned in 2007, frustrated in her attempts to increase Department integrity and professionalism

Following LAAS policy, a hearing was held to determine whether Stu had a history of aggression and whether he was likely to bite again if released. While the Hearing Examiner found that Stu had caused an injury, he felt it was sufficient to revoke the dog's license, which would have given de la Rosa the opportunity to find a place for Stu outside City limits, or to move. It was a verdict that would have given Stu back his life.

But that's when Animal Services Departmental policy went off the rails. Although LAAS policy was, and is, that the Hearing Examiner's recommendations determine the outcome, a Department captain apparently unrelated to the matter, a Captain Helen Brakemeier, interceded, telling then-General Manager Guerdon Stuckey in a memo that, "After reviewing the [Hearing Examiner's] report and all of the exhibits, I disagree with [his] recommendation and think that the dog should be deemed dangerous." Nowhere in the memo does Brakemeier indicate that she has personally met or evaluated the dog, nor what if any authority she has to overrule the hearing officer's verdict. Nevertheless, Stuckey concurred with Brakemeier, allegedly without even reading the report. His decision to deem Stu a "dangerous dog" was a sentence of death.

Animal Services Commissioner Kathy Riordan told me, "That's the first time I'd ever seen a General Manager increase the penalty [for an animal]." Within days, Stuckey was fired as General Manager by Mayor Villaraigosa, ironically, according to the L.A. Times, for failing to reduce shelter killing. De la Rosa says he was never informed about the role Brakemeier had played in condemning Stu. Her seemingly irregular participation in the process of determining the dog's fate came to light only after de la Rosa requested all documents related to the case in the wake of the unexpected LAAS verdict that Stu was too dangerous to live.

Since then Stu has been held by the City, or in City-designated facilities, and de la Rosa has been fighting to save his dog's life. Respected dog behaviorists, including Dr. Richard Polsky, who in 1987 helped formulate the City standards for assessing dangerous dogs; and Bobby Dorofshar of New Leash on Life, who has also worked with the City and been a member of the Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee, have stated that Stu is not aggressive toward humans. Their opinions are based on behavioral evaluations, assessments of his behavior prior to the incident, and an understanding of the ways the victim's actions towards Stu when he was injured may have unintentionally provoked the bites. In Dorofshar's case, he has voluntarily housed Stu at his own facility and has had the opportunity to get to know Stu over many months.

Nevertheless, Animal Services and the City Attorney's office have refused to budge, continuing to insist that the now-elderly Stu must die. Arguments in the Court of Appeals are scheduled for June 18th.


Stu, on the day he was impounded by L.A. Animal Services

Ironically, de la Rosa's fight to ensure humane treatment for his dog while in custody, and to save Stu's life, may have made his battle tougher. Allegations of a pattern of retaliatory behavior on the part of Animal Services management towards critics have surfaced repeatedly in the humane/rescue community over the years. In the days prior to the forced resignation of the most recent General Manager, Ed Boks, the City Council rebuked him publicly for blogging against his critics, including de la Rosa, on City time.

Even the Animal Services Commission, which was instituted as a supervisory body to the Animal Services Department, has fought for mercy for Stu. Commissioner Archie Quincey, who boasts a thirty-year career in L.A. County animal control, authored a motion that directs the City Attorney to drop his opposition to de la Rosa's appeal. Quincey wants the case returned to the Superior Court and wants that court to set aside Stu’s sentence based on evidence that the dog was denied due process. However, in subsequent meetings Commissioner Quincey's motion has not appeared on the agenda. Then, without warning or explanation, the June 8th meeting, the last scheduled before Stu’s Appeals Court arguments, was cancelled.

This points out another puzzling aspect of this story: the fact that even though the Animal Services Commission has a supervisory role over the Animal Services Department, it's unclear who determines the agenda for Commission meetings. Although nominally the Board President sets the agenda, in the minutes for the April 14th meeting, after Commissioner Quincey introduced his motion to free Stu, it was Department Assistant General Manager Linda Barth, not Board President Tariq Khero, who tells the Commission that, "the item is already agendized for the next meeting." Reached for comment, Barth stated that the Board President sets the agenda. She said the matter was subsequently discussed in closed session, but it was unclear if she meant specifically Commissioner Quincey's motion or Stu's case in general. She referred further questions to the City Attorney's office. A call to Deputy City Attorney Todd Leung, who has spearheaded the City's case against Stu, was not returned. Nor was a call to Board President Tariq Khero, and a call and email to incoming City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who takes office July 1st.

[June 18th: Interestingly, although Assistant General Manager Linda Barth referred all further inquiries to the City Attorney's office, when I called the City Attorney's office today they were referring calls back to L.A. Animal Services.]

The next Commission meeting is scheduled for June 22. When asked if the motion would be discussed, Commissioner Quincey said, "If it's not on the agenda, I'm going to raise hell." He said, "I think it's gone too far. I have a lot of Animal Control experience. I saw the pictures [of the human victim's injuries], there were a couple of small puncture wounds -- and the dog was injured when it happened. On that one bite Stu gets the ultimate penalty? That's like getting the electric chair for a misdemeanor!"

When asked what he thought would be a just outcome, Quincey said, "I think Stu should go home."


If you would like to register your opinion on Stu's fate, you can contact the City Attorney's office at: (213) 978-8100

(end of repost)

If you would like to urge Carmen Trutanich to take immediate action to stop this madness as soon as he takes office on July 1, write, call and fax him at:



Trutanich Mitchell, LLP
180 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach
CA
USA
90802-4079

(Tel: 562) 216-4444
Fax: (562) 216-4445


Friday, June 19, 2009

City Attorney Todd Leung Goes to Court...to try to kill a dog. But... Preview.

This story is on the burner and simmering.

fool Pictures, Images and Photos

There is a lot to report and we want to do it right. The hearing for Stu --his last in the California Court system--was both exciting and down right embarrassing. We do not know how the justices will rule. If Mr. Leung's "performance" has any effect on them, whatsoever, then Stu should be walking down North Figueroa in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned. This is not to be missed.

If you are not subscribed to our blog by email, please do so now. Over there...on the left.

SKG

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Open Letter to the Animal Services Board of Commisioners

Tariq Khero
Kathleen Riordan
Archie J. Quincey
Irene Ponce
Ruthanne Secunda
Board of Commissioners
Department of Animal Services
City of Los Angeles
221 N Figueroa St. , 5th floor
Los Agneles CA 90012

RE: LA Superior Court Case no. BS104936/Court of Appeals Case B202071

Dear Commissioners,

As you may know, I requested a continuance/postponement of my oral argument in the Court of Appeals. which is scheduled for Thursday 6/18. It was my hope that the additional time might assist us all in coming to a reasonable solution.

Today, I received word that the Court denied my request. I also received a copy of the letter from Mr. Leung to the Court, vigorously opposing my request. I attach it for your info. As usual, Mr. Leung's writing is full of venom and loaded accusations. He asserts that I have no interest in settlement. I think that you know that is far from the truth. I have asked several times to have discussions. Just like the Corwins had...for hours....and hours.....two appeal hearings. A hearing which went on so long, that you had no time to discuss Stu's case.




What the City Attorney's office has proposed is an impossible situation which comes with the following realities:

1. Some unknown approved "facility" which will step up and take on the legacy of Stu. I spoke to Bobby Dorafshar yesterday and his feeling is that there is no such "facility" that would accept what the City is proposing. If you have not read the contract which Bobby had to sign, it is a very unfair and constraining agreement. Is is Bobby's opinion, and I agree, that there is no organization who will agree to do what the City is proposing. If any of you have suggestions, i would ask you to make them now.

2. For me to find an organization to take in Stu would require a lot of research ,networking and time. More time than Stu has. Mr Leung's proposal states that this all must be finalized and approved by Council prior to the Court's decision which could be announced in 3 days or 3 months. Nobody knows.

3. I must "bear the expense" of this facility's care for Stu. Truthfully, this fight has tapped me out I have nothing to offer anyone, which makes it less likely that a group will appear out of thin air.

4. Although I asked for clarification of the terms of the proposal over a month ago, Mr. Leung only sent them on June 8th. Then he made a bold statement to the Court that I have had the terms for "over a month." This is your lawyer. He works for you. Ironically, he works for me, too and the rest of the people in the City. Ross Pool also works for you. It is not the other way around.

All of these terms in Mr. Leung's proposal force me to agree that :

1. Stu is a dangerous dog. We and all the experts know that this is not true. If my hearings had been fair and if the proper file had been submitted to the Courts, Maeve, Stu and I would be out for our evening walk right now.

2. That Stu and I received a fair hearing and a fair appeal in your Department.

3. That I am incapable of properly caring for Stu. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am more than capable. In fact, the absolute best place for Stu is with me, at home. Anywhere else his future is uncertain. Some organizations may decide to forego veterinary costs should he develop a health
problem--aside from the severe dental disease he already has. Who is going to spend money to prolong a 10 year old mutt's life? Only me.

None of these are true. You cannot wait for the Court's opinion. I am confident they will deny me. This is no time for politics and the whims of higher ups. You were entrusted to care for these animals and Stu is one of them. Please care for him.

So I ask you. I beg you. Please ensure that you meet on Monday and that you take meaningful and conclusive action to right this wrong and send Stu home. Believe it or not, you do have the power to send him home. You know the truth. You know he was treated unfairly. If you'd like to have a new hearing, let's do that; BUT PLEASE, DO NOT DO NOTHING; and DO NOT allow a pissed off City Attorney to take his wrath for me out on an innocent animal. This matter is as simple at this:

* Stu is not dangerous.
* The department screwed up.
* The lawyers screwed up.
* Judge Chalfant saw that this is true.
* Judge Yaffe did not have all of the facts. Neither does the Court of Appeals.
* The right thing to do is to amend your motion and overturn Mr. Stuckey's decision.
* Courts have this power. YOU HAVE THIS POWER. Mr. Leung will tell you that you don't. Why not ask the Attorney General's Office? They would be happy to give their opinion.

Rather than make me show you where it says that you can do this. SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS YOU CANNOT. The Corwins still have their dog which has attacked 7 times. If I were white and rich, would I have Stu home already...?

This City Attorney's department will undergo major changes in a few days. Please let Stu benefit from what Mr. Trutanich is calling "public integrity enforcement" The last person who used that word --integrity--in this case was Marie Atake. There is no General Manager. There is a lame duck City attorney with some underlings who despise me. You are the Department. Please do the right thing.

Please do not be manipulated into making a decsion, or failing to act which will result either Stu's death or eternity behind bars...without comfort, love and the securtiy of his dad.

Thank you,
Jeff de la Rosa

Ed Boks's New Job--MOVIE CRITIC

From the Desk of Ed Boks (at his condo, which if for sale...isn't it?):


Ed's hyping a good film. An important film. Ed has lots of time to go to the movies while he's raking in the last few $8000 pay checks. That's right...we're STILL paying him--even though it is common knowledge that he is not working, will not be back and is sitting at home...or at the Playboy Mansion. You wish, Ed.

We'll wait for the last word, I guess. Here's one of them.

"This past weekend I saw an important film entitled "Food, Inc."

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA."

While this film is certainly an important film, we don't need to hear about it from Ed Boks. Do we?
We don't really want to hear anything from you , Ed. We just want you to go away. Quietly

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Birthday Letter to the Board of Commissioners


Email addresses for your convenience:
"Tariq Khero" <tariqkhero@gmail.com>,
"Kathy Riordan" <ninekitties@aol.com>,
"Archie Quincey" <ajq1trq2@aol.com> ,
"Irene Ponce" <ireneponce@earthlink.net>,
"Ruthanne Secunda" <secundar@unitedtalent.com>,


Jeffrey de la Rosa
1880 Morton Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90026


June 7, 2009

RE: Cancellation of the June 8, 2009 Board Meeting.



Board of Animal Services Commissioners
City of Los Angeles
221 N. Figueroa St. 5th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90026


Dear Commissioners,


Today is my birthday and rather than “celebrating,” I am spending it on the issue which matters most to me. I have turned 49 today, but I was 40 years old when I rescued Stu from a place known to LAPD as “The Jungle” , a cul-de-sac in the Crenshaw area where officers will not respond because so many have been killed there. For the film, Training Day, The Jungle was, for the first time, used as a filming location. We, the film crew, moved in for 3 weeks of night shooting. Our security within the location was provided by members of the Bloods. LAPD provided security at the perimeter. On my first night there, I met Stu. He was running loose and was skinny and flea infested but he still gave a warm welcome to a crew of 300 with whom he socialized for 20 nights of shooting. When we left, I took him with me because he had no home and needed to be rescued. Before I knew of the Board’s existence, I use to spend birthdays the same way you do. I would like to return to some semblance of my previous life and am writing, again, to ask for your help in achieving that goal.

I can’t seem to find a Commissioner who knows why your June 8 meeting was canceled—for you. If you do not schedule and cancel your own meetings, who does—and why?


At the April 14, 2009 meeting of your Board, Commissioner Archie J. Quincey introduced the following motion:

“I would like to make a motion that the Commission overturn Mr. Stuckey’s decision on the Stu case based on an unfair hearing. Errors were made in the records of Stu; and the evidence must be considered in the case. The two small pieces of Maeve’s record are material to Stu’s case and should be included therein.

I therefore move that the Board direct the City Attorney to withdraw opposition to the appeal.

I further move that the City Attorney send a letter to the Court of Appeals asking them to send
the case back to Superior Court and direct the court to issue a Writ of Mandate for Stu’s decision to be set aside based on due process considerations".

Yet, the motion has not been placed on any agenda and has not been acted on by your Board. Six weeks later, at the May 26, 2009 meeting of your Board, Commissioner Irene Ponce requested that the motion be placed on the very next agenda for a vote by the Board. That vote would have taken place on June 8, 2009. At the last minute on Friday June 5, 2009 this meeting was cancelled without explanation. We are not fooled, Commissioners. We suspect that you did not cancel this meeting. So why was it cancelled and by whom?

For too long, this Board has been controlled by a dishonest and corrupt General Manager. Ed Boks was forced to resign because he betrayed the trust of the City, its citizens and its animals. Two prominent lawsuits, on two coasts, showed that he was not only inept, but that he abused his position and power by discriminating against an employee based on race in New York City; and that he wrongfully terminated a female employee/volunteer who sued for sexual harassment. This last case cost the taxpayers of Los Angeles a $130,000 settlement which was recently approved by City Council.

Now, even as Ed Boks slowly backs out the door and continues to collect a huge salary paid from my taxes, you are allowing the mismanagement and interference with your Board to continue. I will not stand by silently and allow this to happen.

While I appreciate the recent efforts this Board has made to correct is lax and unlawful practice of failing to hold meetings, the cancellation of the June 8, 2009 meeting of your Board is a despicable act. I am well aware that your Board desires to have jurisdiction of this case returned to you so that a fair and just decision can be made which will result in Stu being allowed to return to his loving home after 4 years of horrible imprisonment. I am aware that your Board was to address and act on Stu's case at the meeting scheduled for June 8, 2009. We in the animal community are not stupid; and we see, very clearly, what is happening and how your Board is being manipulated in order to prolong and continue the persecution of this poor dog Stu and me.

I believe that Mr. Boks, various City Attorneys, Asst. General Manager Linda Barth, and Ross Pool are actively blocking an equitable and fair settlement of this issue. This is wrong. You have proposed settlement but are now permitting that negotiations on settlement to be obstructed by those who seek to continue to corrupt the work of the Board.

I believe that these people caused the cancellation of this meeting in order to silence the Board and keep them from taking action on Stu's case.

This has to stop. Now.

I am appalled that your Board allows itself to be manipulated by the very “staff” and Department which is, by law, under your control.

Please adhere to the law, search your consciences, back-up your words and immediately schedule a Special Meeting to take place without delay and well prior to the June 18, 2009 hearing in the Court of Appeals regarding Stu's appeal.

There is no need for another closed session. You have all of the information you need; and the City Attorney, who will soon have a new boss, has had ample opportunity to further his agenda by persuading and strong-arming you to refrain from doing the right thing. Please, instead of doing the work of the City Attorney, do the work of the animals and the people of the City of Los Angeles and take your position on the Board of Commissioners as an assignment of the public trust. You need only amend your motion and/or pass Commissioner Quincey’s motion to put this matter to rest. For you convenience, I attach a written motion. This is what all Board actions should look like, according Los Angeles [Administrative] Code Section 503 (c).

You must end this horrible tragic miscarriage of justice now with meaningful, definitive and unquestionably clear and bold action.



Sincerely,

Jeffrey de la Rosa (and Stu)




Enc. 4/14/09 Motion by Council member Dennis Zine

CC: everyone





Stu-Thanksgiving 2008

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