**UPDATE: Thank you for your generosity! Any additional funds raised over our goal will be used throughout the law suit on future fees and expenses as they are incurred. Witnesses are currently being gathered. If you have witnessed or experienced malpractice at these shelters please click here for instructions on how to to submit a complaint which is the first step required before legal action can proceed.**
The run of abuse, corruption, and neglect at San Bernardino City and County Animal Shelters has continued for too long. A group of animal advocates are pushing for reform and hiring an animal rights attorney in order to effect changes in illegal and inhumane policy and practice at the shelters.
This fundraiser is for the attorney's retainer and fees and funds are remitted to the attorney.
Please note the press release below is in relation to San Bernardino City shelter only but this campaign is also focused on San Bernardino County (Devore).
Thank you for joining us in this campaign for change.
The San Bernardino City Slaughterhouse
August 21 2013
Many of the unsuspecting citizens of San Bernardino are unaware of the horrors that have unfolded at San Bernardino City Animal shelter, Southern California, which is run with their hard earned dollars, as tax payers. The citizens of San Bernardino would shudder to learn of the animal abuse, neglect, and corruption which persists, in addition to the 74.6% euthanization rate and 37 animals euthanized on a typical day*.
On August 19, a small group of dedicated animal advocates attended the San Bernardino City Council meeting to raise some of these issues in person with the Council. This is because fervent efforts to raise these issues in writing had been fruitless, as Maria Sanchez, explained; “I’m sure you have all received my emails over the last few months. I haven’t gotten any responses, there hasn’t been any improvements and I really don’t know what else to do.”
The dire situation at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter was summarized by Mike Levitt in a compelling speech to the Council:
“We are not animal extremists, we are professionals. We are not the kind of people that throw red paint on people that wear fur. I’m really disappointed in each and every one of you for the non response to the emails. We have sat here for 4 hours listening to things like ice cream socials and chamber of commerce, but I’m here to ask you, what about the soul of San Bernardino, where is your moral and ethical compass? How can you read these emails and just be nonresponsive?
I want to explain something to you. In the world of rescue, it’s no longer a local community effort, because of social media, it’s a nationwide effort. Your shelter, your slaughterhouse, is an example to thousands of people across the country of how horrible shelters are. We all wish shelters were non kill and we understand the fact that there is an overpopulation of pets, but the fact remains that there are shelters that are held to a higher standard that work with rescues to do everything possible to get these dogs adopted, and that’s simply not the case at your shelter, and you should be embarrassed.
The shelter is run by lazy, complacent, and I’d even go so far as to say some of the individuals who are sociopathic. You have a crisis on your hands and I’m here to tell you that the rescue community is mobilizing, with very well established producers from LA, animal rights attorneys, investigative reporters, and people from other counties coming together to focus on your shelter; all eyes are on the shelter of San Bernardino City.
We want you willingly to take a look and say its time for reform at your shelter. We’re here to ask you to put these issues on the agenda so we can have more detailed discussions and please give us the opportunity to give suggestions.”
Miss Sanchez, who often frequents the shelter daily, provided a dossier of evidence of instances of malpractice at the shelter.
Animals are killed despite rescues notifying the shelter that they are committed to taking them.
An adoptable German Shepherd / Labrador mix puppy (ID# 449816), at just 3 months old, was euthanized on July 20, despite START rescue speaking directly with shelter supervisor Ryan Long multiple times to express their commitment to rescuing this pup prior to the time of euthanization (including the previous day).
Dogs are euthanized before their legal hold period has expired, for example, two pitbulls named Combat (ID#A446861) and Shakira (ID#A446862), labeled as aggressive, were euthanized on 29 May, 2 days prior to their legal hold period ending. This is despite a seemingly friendly disposition to both people and dogs captured on film by Miss Sanchez.
Another example is Bronx, (ID#A450802), a 1 year old Doberman / Pinscher who was euthanized within 10 minutes of owner surrender. The owner claimed that the dog was aggressive, however, this is in contrast to this videowhich shows a healthy, friendly, adoptable young dog. This is believed to be an illegal act as per California Food and Agricultural code section 31754 (a); this dog was legally entitled to the full holding period.
Andrea Neyses, who photographs the San Bernardino City Shelter animals 3-4 times a week, also spoke up at the meeting about her concerns regarding the cleanliness and level of disease at the shelter. She stated; “The shelter is filthy. We have offered to clean the kennels, but the staff think they are clean. I don’t think it’s the staffs problem, I think it’s the supervision, the people that are running it, they’re not making them do it.”
Miss Neyses witnessed 4 terrier puppies thrust into a kennel which, just 3 hours prior, housed a puppy with deadly and contagious Parvovirus. The kennel had been hosed down only, when a thorough scrubbing with bleach was warranted in order to curtail the disease.
Miss Neyses also told that dogs needing veterinary attention and treatment are often neglected, for example, dogs with open wounds and flies and maggots infested, and dogs left covered in ticks.
In addition, in June, puppies with Demodex Mange, an uncomfortable skin condition, were left untreated for 5 days (when application of an inexpensive cream would have helped the symptoms), despite persistent encouragement from Andrea.
Lisa Michelle Corona also gave an emotional account of how the six month old puppy she adopted from San Bernardino City shelter on June 22 2013, who mysteriously went missing for 2 days whilst at the shelter, was diagnosed by a vet immediately upon leaving the shelter as having being sodomized by something “the size of a cucumber”. However the shelter records described the dog as “normal”. This case is now being investigated by Detective Luna of San Bernardino Police Department.
Malpractice at the shelter dates back to over three years ago. An ex shelter worker, who wishes to remain anonymous publicly, has shared how she witnessed:
- Small dogs hung from leashes
- Animals hit kicked and punched
- Animals killed under the guise of being sick, when they were actually healthy and adoptable (a practice which is believed to persist)
- Animals given a third of the required euthanization drugs, suffering a slow death
- Euthanization drugs being administered by a Vet Tech without a license for several years.
The ex shelter worker stated; ”Dogs with parvo and distemper were left in kennels to die for a lack of euth and tranq. Dogs were/are hidden in the back rooms on intake with no pics so they can PTS them on intake. When there are too many cats they lie and say they have a communicable disease and PTS them all before the 4 day hold.”
In her words, “One of my friends was a staff member that PTS animals. I was there many times 7 days a week some times 10 hour days. She told me and I verified and proved it that the RVT had no license and had not had a license for over 10 years! What that meant is that Euth. and Tranq. could not be ordered onsite or administered without a licensed RVT. So the vet that does the spay and neutering was ordering them but of course he couldn't account for all that extra and he was not onsite. So if a pit bull needed 3cc of Euth. The staff where told to give the animal only 1 cc and let the dog die a slow death on the floor.”
The ex shelter worker who has now spoken out about what she witnessed was fired three years ago when the state licensing board was eventually contacted. At least one member of staff who allegedly actively participated in this abuse and wrongdoing, Leslie Walker, is thought to be still working at the shelter today.The shelter manager at the time, Sue Hoak, who is alleged to be aware of the aforementioned practices, retired gracefully. Our understanding is that no action was taken against the alleged offenders. This is testament to the corruption that appears to allow endless atrocities to go without consequence at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter.
The Council has yet to make a commitment to add the issues raised to the agenda of a future meeting, however, during the meeting, James Penman, the City of San Bernardino Attorney, compared the shelter to “Auschwitz”.In addition, the City Manager agreed to “take a look at” the option of use of a contractor, possibly a not for profit, in overseeing the shelter, rather than the Police force which is the current arrangement.
The abuse, neglect, and corruption which persists at San Bernardino City Animal Shelter must stop. The City has turned a blind eye to these inhumane, illegal and immoral practices for too long.
[email protected] (Mayor’s Office)
*Source: California Local Rabies Control Activities Annual Report 2011.
Media enquiries to: [email protected]