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Caught On Tape: Alleged L.A. Animal Shelter Abuses


Shelter surveillance cameras capture employees abusing a dog  Photo: CBS2.com

LOS ANGELES (CBS) ― Animal Shelters are supposed to care for lost pets. But we found some LA County workers caught on tape allegedly abusing dogs. CBS 2 Investigative Reporter David Goldstein obained the videos and has this exclusive report. 


These surveillance videos — obtained by CBS 2 News — show what some L.A. County animal shelter employees do when they think the public’s not watching. 

“How do you pull a defenseless dog through the facility like that, dragging it, and you have nothing to say at all.”We have the videos and obtained documents showing a hidden culture at the county shelters, where animals are allegedly euthanized and abused by employees, sometimes for kicks. 

“There were quite a few of them who high-fived each other when they got certified to put the animals to sleep, as if it was a major coup.” 

L.A. County’s Animal Care and Control claims to be one of the largest and progressive shelter systems in the nation. Their slogan is “care with compassion.” 

But our investigation found that is not always the case. 

Animal control officers are watched from dozens of surveillance cameras set up all around the six shelters across L.A. County, watching them when no one else may be watching. 

In a video from the backroom of the Downey shelter, an animal control officer is seen putting his foot on the dog he just brought in. While it’s fully restrained on what is called a catch pole, he pins the dog down, jabbing the pole in its throat. 

In this video from the Baldwin Park shelter last December, the officer drags the dog all the way down the long corridor, pulling it by a rope, as the animal spreads out on all fours. When he stops, the friendly dog wags its tail, only to be dragged along even further. 

The day before at Baldwin Park, a camera catches another officer doing the exact same thing — dragging a dog by a rope down a corridor. 

In March at Baldwin Park an officer is seen flinging a Chihuahua into the cage. The tiny dog is tossed in like a piece of meat. 

And finally in Baldwin Park in 2006, a dog is appears unsteady on its feet, having just come back from the vet with a hip injury. But that didn’t stop the officer, who has been identified as Felix Reyes, from first pulling the dog, then dragging it by a rope. 

As a family of five walks by, Reyes drags the dog across the compound. 

After a short time, the dog finally succumbs to the pressure and gets up, only to have Reyes captured by another camera, as he walks it along and yanks the injured dog across the threshold and into a cage. 

“Every animal has a story and they can’t talk,” said Cathy Nguyen. 

Nguyen is an animal lover and frequent critic of the shelter system, who has troubled by the videos. 

“The dog could be someone’s dog. They didn’t know. If this is how they treat my dog it wouldn’t be acceptable,” Nguyen said. 

It was almost sadistic? 

“Sadistic. Absolutely.” 

“Hey Felix, I’m David Goldstein with CBS 2 News.” 

I tried to question Reyes. 

“You were pulling that defenseless dog down through the whole place. What were you doing that for?” 

But he never said a word. 

“How do you keep quiet about that? How do you live with yourself at night? You’ve got nothing to say?” 

Critics of the shelter system say the videos bring to light the sometimes dark side of what goes on goes behind the cages — a culture that can breed cruelty, neglect and even torture. 

These investigative reports, obtained by CBS 2 News, document dogs that were intentionally or mistakenly euthanized, killed in the shelters after being put on hold for adoption or the return to their owners. 

“There were definitely people working there who didn’t even like animals.” 

This former shelter employee, who would only talk if we concealed their identity, says the euthanizing of animals was sometimes a sought after position. 

“They enjoyed putting the animals to sleep?” 

“Yes. Some of them volunteered. They wanted to be the ones doing that.” 

“What kind of person is that?” 

“Narcissistic. Lack of compassion. It wasn’t uncommon at all.” 

But the head of L.A. County’s shelter system says three instances is just a small amount. 

“We take in 90,000 animals a year, three incidents over the numbers of thousands of animals that have come in during that period of time I think is very minor.” Reporting – David Goldstein

Hmmm… 3 incidents that were found out about.  How many were not?  Who lets volunteers euthenize animals?  And what if it were your pet that someone Euthenized?

It is time that cruelty to animals was punished much more severely.  And it is also time that we stop euthenizing healthy animals !!

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Animal Abandonement, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment