News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > Dec 2007
Animal Lovers Sue LA County Animal Control


The national No Kill Advocacy Center, Cathy Nguyen, a volunteer animal rescuer, and Rebecca Arvizu, a Los Angeles County taxpayer and animal rescuer, have jointly filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County, its Department of Animal Care and Control, and the Department�s Director, Marcia Mayeda. The lawsuit alleges unlawful and abusive treatment of animals at all six Los Angeles County animal shelters.

Among the allegations in the 29-page complaint filed today in Superior Court, the County Department of Animal Care and Control routinely:

Kills healthy and treatable animals before their state mandated holding period expires;

Misclassifies animals as "ill" or "injured" in order to kill them before their holding period expires even though the animals are not irremediably suffering as required by state law;

Kills lost animals without making reasonable attempts to find the animals� owners;

Fails to provide adequate veterinary care to impounded animals, resulting in animal deaths;

Fails to provide adequate nutrition, water, shelter and exercise to impounded animals and to treat the animals humanely and kindly;

Refuses to release animals to rescue groups that are willing to care for the animals until adoptive homes can be found and, instead, kills the animals.

In addition, the County Department of Animal Care and Control unlawfully retaliates against animal rescuers and volunteers who publicize its unlawful treatment of animals.

The lawsuit asks a Superior Court Judge to order Los Angeles County, its Department of Animal Care and Control, and Department Director Mayeda to comply with state laws that protect animals from arbitrary and inhumane treatment. The lawsuit is being handled by the Los Angeles law firm of Eisenberg, Raizman, Thurston, and Wong, LLP.

"The Los Angeles County animal shelter system is supposed to provide a reasonable safety net of care for lost and abandoned animals," said Nathan J. Winograd, Director of the No Kill Advocacy Center. "Instead, the system betrays the trust of the citizens of Los Angeles County by failing to treat the animals humanely and kindly."

"Los Angeles County and its Department of Animal Control fought the existing animal protection laws that safeguard shelter animals when those laws were pending in the legislature. They fought the laws after they became effective through a regulatory challenge. Now, it appears they have decided they are just going to ignore those laws," stated Winograd. "But Los Angeles County shelters are supposed to enforce laws related to animal welfare, not violate the laws themselves and then retaliate against rescue groups who want to save these animals and make their demands public. This is the worst form of hypocrisy and cannot be tolerated�especially since animals are not only suffering, they are needlessly being killed because of it."

"I have tried to work with the Department and Director Mayeda regarding the conditions at Los Angeles County shelters for many months to no avail," said plaintiff Cathy Nguyen, who works with rescue groups trying to save animals that Los Angeles County shelters are putting to death. "I cannot sit quietly and do nothing about this and have no choice at this point but to demand that they follow the law."

"As a taxpayer, I don�t want my taxes to pay for the killing of animals when there are rescue groups willing to save them at their own expense," said Los Angeles county taxpayer and plaintiff Rebecca Arvizu. "These shelters also do not reflect my values and those of my fellow citizens who love animals. Since they are supposed to be working for us, I want them caring for animals humanely. That�s the law and those are the values a majority of us hold dear."

The No Kill Advocacy Center is a national non-profit organization trying to end the systematic killing of animals in U.S. shelters. It has drafted model legislation, works with municipal and private shelters nationwide, and helps animal lovers throughout the United States reform their local shelters.

The lawsuit is based on violations of California laws, especially the 1998 Animal Shelter Law. The law sought to reform California shelters which were unnecessarily killing in the face of cost-effective lifesaving alternatives. It follows a successful lawsuit in Kern County where a Superior Court judge held the Kern County animal control shelter in violation of law and ordered that shelter to cease its legal violations.

For a copy of the press release, click here. (Please note: Images are disturbing.)

For a full media kit, which includes a copy of the 4-page Demand Letter the plaintiffs sent to Ms. Mayeda before filing their lawsuit, the 3-page letter protesting the Department�s retaliation, the 29-page Complaint, video footage, and high resolution images of animal suffering in Los Angeles County�s shelter system, click here. (Please note: Images are disturbing.)

Please help us pay for the legal costs. To donate by check or make a secure online donation, click here or go to

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