Officials call for investigation of county animal shelters

DOWNEY – L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe has called for an investigation after allegations emerged last week of unsanitary conditions at the county animal shelter in Downey. 

Animal rights activists claim the Downey shelter -- located at 11258 S. Garfield Ave. and not to be confused with SEAACA -- is filthy, with dogs wallowing in their own feces. 

Marcia Mayeda, director of the animal control department, told the L.A. Times that “her agency is moving to remedy the conditions.”

“We’re taking this very, very seriously,” Mayeda told the newspaper. “The photographs we saw are not reflective of the care we want to provide to the animals.”

According to the Times, Mayeda “blamed the problems partly on short staffing. She said the agency will adjust schedules and try to recruit more volunteers and workers paid through a state workforce training program.”

The Patriot reported last week that animal rights advocates visited the Downey shelter and reported dirty kennels and sick animals.

“I have been to some of the very worst high-kill shelters in Southern California and the conditions at Downey shelter were by far the most abhorrent I’ve seen,” said Laura Jones, co-founder of All About the Animals, an animal rescue group. “I felt physically ill at the sight and smell of the poor animals being forced to lie on floors covered with feces. It was heartbreaking.”

L.A. County officials said $4 million is set aside for renovations at county animal shelters, and there is a longterm plan to eventually tear down and replace the Downey shelter.