ANIMAL WATCH-On Thursday, February 2, Valentin Herrera, 75, was walking with his small, 5-year-old Pomeranian, Radar, about a block from his home in Lincoln Heights -- a community officially designated as "Happy Valley." Suddenly two Pit Bulls from a nearby home escaped their yard and attacked his tiny pet, tearing it "like a piece of cloth," according to a neighbor. 

Eyewitnesses report that Radar was off-leash, walking a distance ahead of Mr. Herrera, who rushed to try to save his dog and himself became a victim of the Pit Bulls. They knocked or pulled him to the ground and were dragging him by his arm, according to KTLA-TV News. 

One neighbor stated that the owner of the dogs merely stood and watched, without trying to stop the attack. Finally someone came out and struggled with the animals to get them back into the yard. Neither dog was licensed, according to KABC-7. The Pit Bulls were transported to the North Central animal shelter by Los Angeles Animal Services' officer Angela Llerenas. They are being held under quarantine for ten days. 

A family member told me they were advised by Animal Services that a woman later claimed the dogs, but they have not been released. A hearing by Animal Services is set for early March. 

Mr. Herrera was placed in a medically induced coma in an attempt to reduce swelling of his brain, and he has not yet regained consciousness, his family says. 

His son, Luis, said his father had three surgeries, one to his head and one on each of his arms which were mauled by the dogs. He added that his father suffered from diabetes and two months ago had actually died from a heart attack; however, doctors were able to revive him. He described how painful it is for the family, after losing him once, to now be facing the possibility of repeating that same grief again so soon. 

Valentin Herrera came to Los Angeles from Jalisco, Mexico. He and his wife, Anita, have been married for 50 years. He was a steel worker and they have lived in their current home in Northeast Los Angeles since 1996. Luis described his father as a strong, loving man and said it is very difficult to see him struggling again for his life. 

A neighbor who has lived on the street since 2003 and frequently talked with Mr. Herrera when he was walking said he had not seen the Pit Bulls out before. However, he resolutely affirmed that he keeps his own dogs in his house for safety. He expressed concern because the house where the attack occurred is less than a block from the high school on the corner at North Broadway. 

Another Lincoln Heights resident, Stefanie Grizzelle, told CBS News  on February 4 that she recognized the two Pit Bulls that attacked Mr. Herrera as the same dogs that killed her small white Poodle-mix as her young children watched. She said they are starting therapy this week for the trauma. 

Pit Bull Attacks are Not Limited to Lincoln Heights: 

LA Animal Services' Employee Mauled by Pit Bull ...  

Last month we reported the savage attack on Priscilla Romero, an Animal Care Technician, by a Pit Bull in the same Los Angeles Animal Services' shelter where the dogs in the Lincoln Heights attack are being held. 

GM Barnette and City Officials Stay 'Notably Silent' as LAAS Pit Bull Attack.Victim Begins Long Road to Recovery

Approximately a total of 50 other dogs of this breed have completed their quarantine period after attacks and are being held at in Los Angeles Animal Services shelter. Ten had just completed this "hold" and are available for "rescuers" to remove them and place them in "forever" homes throughout Los Angeles or elsewhere. 

LA Animal Services: Pit Bull with a Violent History Attacks Potential Adopter  

On April 28, 2016, GM Brenda Barnette personally released a dangerous Pit Bull to a "rescue," which fostered it in a home just north of downtown LA. The dog attacked a potential adopter and was killed by a neighbor who stabbed it 19 times. 

Pit Bull Kills Puppy, Attacks Two Men on Ventura Boulevard; L.A. City…  

On February 16, 2014, in Studio City, Stephen Elliott and Howard Fox were walking with their six-month-old Yorkshire Terrier, Vargas, who was on leash and close to Stephen's feet, when a large Pit Bull bolted from a nearby shop, grabbed Vargas and killed him. As they struggled to save the pup, Howard, who was recovering from back surgery, was knocked to the ground and Stephen's finger was bitten off. The Pit Bull was released back to the owner. 

They called Councilman Paul Koretz, who heads the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee. Stephen said Koretz’ senior deputy, David Hersch, said his injury was his own fault for putting his hand down to save his dog and he would not spend more time on this because he had "an event to plan." 

Shortly after that a 29-year-old victim from the Ukraine, appeared before the LA Animal Services Commission to describe a horrible attack by an owned pit bull in the Hollywood area while he was jogging. Among other serious wounds, one of his testicles was bitten off by the dog. He said the dog could have killed him if he were not young and athletic. He described with gut-wrenching emotion the suffering and the emotional trauma that causes him to now be reclusive and fearful and the fact that he may never be able to have children. 

LA Animal Services Officer Injured by Dog Attack ...How Safe Are Residents?   

On August 29, 2014, Animal Control Officer Angela Llerenas (the officer who responded to the attack that injured Valentin Herrera and killed Radar), was seriously injured when she responded to a call that two very aggressive Pit Bulls had entered a backyard in Eagle Rock and attacked a Husky. Both dogs charged the officer as she arrived and found them entering another yard. She later identified them as American Bulldogs -- originally bred to catch and hold wild boars and described by Wikipedia as “capable of jumping in excess of seven feet vertical due to the dense muscle build of the breed.” 

Man Attacked by Pit Bull Mix in Eagle Rock, Hospitalized with Multiple Injuries

On October 13, 2016, a 20-year-old man soliciting donations for D.A.R.E. in front of a sandwich shop in the 2600 block of Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock was hospitalized with multiple facial injuries after being bitten by a pit bull mix. 

Two women in their mid-20s with the dog on a leash allegedly made a donation and indicated the dog was friendly and he could pet it. The woman "brought the dog over to my hand, she rubbed my hand twice and then the dog lunged at me," he said, adding that it bit him on his face, mouth and nose, the report said. 

Pit Bull Rehomed by Humane Society Kills Newborn Baby  

Sebastian Caban, 3-days old, was fatally bitten on the head by a family pit bull-mix while he laid in bed with his parents and the dog. The dog was a rescue. The San Diego Humane Society -- a private organization that has a partnership with San Diego Animal Services -- adopted the dog to the baby's parents 5-months  before. 

Who's Responsible for Dangerous Dog Attacks?

How sad it is that in less than one week two families in Lincoln Heights were robbed of their pets, their peace of mind and their happiness. Both heard the screams and saw their small canine family members drenched in blood -- senselessly killed by two large Pit Bulls to which neither of these tiny creatures was a threat. 

One attack involves young children, who should be laughing and playing, rather than dealing with a senseless, brutal tragedy and this abrupt loss of innocence. Will they ever again trust that they and their loved ones are safe? 

It is time for specific protection for people -- the adults and children who are innocent victims -- as well as for this breed of dog that is being exploited by those it should be able to trust. If it is true this aggression is the result of "training or abuse by bad owners," then adopters/purchasers must be required to be screened and obtain a permit before taking possession of a dog with this strength and drive. 

What benefit, financial or otherwise, is there to the leading humane groups -- including Best Friends Animal Society which occupies the LA City Mission Hills animal shelter cost-free -- for lobbying in opposition to any breed-specific-legislation to protect (not ban) Pit Bulls and the public? 

The compassionate who wail and moan over the possibility that dangerous and vicious dogs will be humanely euthanized need to accept that Pit Bulls are being inordinately abused, neglected, abandoned, tortured and brutally killed and are endangered by the blind disregard for the unpredictable reality of what can happen after they are "saved." But, even more endangered are the helpless, innocent pets, children and adults who become victims of attacks, including our own Valentin Herrera. 

Here are some websites with important statistics: 






On April 11, 2016, we reported that LAAS General Manager Brenda Barnette was conducting a survey of animal concerns in Los Angeles. You can send GM Barnette an e-mail at [email protected].


(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

ANIMAL WATCH-Priscilla Romero, Animal Care Technician for LA Animal Services, who was viciously mauled by a Pit Bull on January 14, is healing but the road to physical and emotional recovery will be long and painful, as she realistically acknowledges. She said she can't begin to estimate the future trauma this incident will have on her because she has never been seriously injured before.

Many things in Priscilla's life changed the instant Cielo, a gray-and-white female Pit Bull, lunged at her without warning, ripping the flesh on both her arms, tearing and tossing huge chunks of muscle from her left arm onto the floor of the kennel. She may never be able to return to work with shelter animals, a job she has loved for ten years. And it cannot yet be predicted what permanent physical restrictions will result. 

What will not change for Priscilla is the devotion and support of her coworkers at all LA animal shelters, and especially those at North Central, many of whom were involved in saving her life.

So, where does management of LA Animal Services and other City officials stand regarding this tragic event -- other than to remain notably silent? General Manager Brenda Barnette admitted to the Board of Animal Services Commissioners at their January 24 meeting that she had neither visited nor talked with Priscilla, leaving that to the kennel supervisor.   

There was little concern shown by the five Commissioners who legally head the Department as they continued their "no-kill" pursuit in the name of the Mayor. President David Zaft asked a few generic questions about the incident and alluded to the determination of where responsibility could be placed. Barnette did not announce any investigation of facts. 

She casually discussed providing refresher training for Animal Care Technicians -- rather than addressing the shelter's faulty equipment which failed to keep the dog separated; the absence of a "distress" button to signal an emergency; and the lack of available safety devices throughout the shelter. She also avoided mentioning any causal factors from the practice of keeping dogs that have bitten and are unsuitable for adoption. 

Commissioner Larry Gross tentatively inquired what previous training ACT had. Barnette was hard pressed to describe anything except that she thought they had training in the use of "barrier boards," which they can use to fend off an attacking dog. The Commissioners -- none of whom have any animal sheltering experience -- did not ask how the non-existent boards are supposed to be held while an employee is scooping poop or feeding an animal. 

When I asked several ACT at different shelters about this training later, they seemed surprised and said they can't remember having any formal training after they were hired. Only a few long-timers recalled years ago being taken by now-Assistant General Manager Louis Dedeaux to a protection-dog facility to familiarize them with avoidance techniques using trained attack dogs. The consensus was that they had learned shelter-safety practices by on-the-job experience and the guidance of their supervisors. 

Barnette was asked by the Commission whether the employees had been given any counseling after the incident. She said she believed someone was sent in to hold a session at the shelter. She didn't explain that it was the city's basic EAP service, rather than critical-incident counseling and debriefing. 

Barnette also assured the Commission that Pit Bulls with a bite history are sent to "rescues," rather than adopted out to the public. Apparently she didn't look at the records of the dog that attacked Priscilla Romero, or "Albert," the Pit Bull cited in last week's article, which attacked a young girl as her father contemplated taking him home as a family pet. Is it possible Brenda has not reviewed the numerous documented attacks by animals recently adopted from shelters? 

A standard "no kill," shell-game practice is that Pit Bulls deemed dangerous are released to "rescues," (whose only prerequisite is a 50l(c)3 tax status but no animal-handling experience.) The "rescues" may then place them with "fosters" (members of the public) with the intention of finding a "forever home," also with members of the public. The dogs are often transported to several states or counties to accomplish this. That was the case when Sammy, aka "Sodam," was personally released by GM Barnette in April to an out-of-state rescue. But, prior to transport, he viciously attacked a potential female adopter. 

According to current shelter records, approximately 50 Pit Bulls who have bitten or injured a human have been removed from quarantine at the shelter and are waiting in the back kennels of LA city shelters for Dangerous Dog hearings or "rescue." At least one has been there since April 2016. It is estimated that at least a dozen more are still completing the ten-day rabies-hold period required by County Health Dept. so they can add to the stockpile. 

These are dangerous animals into whose kennels unprotected LAAS shelter workers and volunteers will go daily to clean, comfort and provide food and water. Attacks on shelter employees and volunteers do not usually become known to the public, but lawsuits, settlements and the prolonged housing of these dogs are real costs borne by taxpayers. There is also the consideration of the inhumaneness of locking these high-drive animals in isolated cages for months or years, which is as unfair to the dogs as it is to staff and public. 

It doesn't appear that even this close call with death by a shelter worker will cause the Mayor, Councilman Paul Koretz (who chairs the Committee which makes LA's animal-related decisions,) or the Commission, to acknowledge that LA Animal Services’ staff, the public -- as well as the animals themselves -- are being deliberately placed in danger by the mythical, lucrative fund-raising illusion of GM Brenda Barnette and Best Friends Animal Society that the above methods (and others equally dubious, dangerous and inhumane) are achieving "no kill." 

A recent informal poll of LA Animal Services Commissioners showed that none of them owns or has owned a Pit Bull. If, after this highly predictable tragedy in the agency they head, they still want all animals -- regardless of history -- to be released from the shelters and "saved," I suggest they, Mayor Garcetti, Councilman Koretz, and GM Barnette, set the example by each taking home several of the Pit Bulls which just finished the required confinement after biting and are now, according to Brenda Barnette, ready to rejoin society.

(Here is the full story )


(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former City of LA employee and a contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

ANIMAL WATCH-California is one of the states with the highest percentage of surplus wild horses and burros; yet, little public or political attention has focused on this. Because of the projected wild-equine population increase, it is a humane issue that is becoming critical from both an ethical and financial standpoint and has gained heightened importance after a recent recommendation by the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for disposing of these animals. 

An estimated 67,027 wild horses and burros roam 31 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Western U.S. The agency’s recommended total sustainable population for this space is 26,715. This means the number of animals now exceeds the maximum appropriate level by more than 40,000; and, it is increasing at a rate of 15 to 18 percent annually. The BLM's historical finding is that both wild horse and burro herds double in size about every four years.

Additionally, in August 2016 the BLM reports that the number of off-range -- unadopted or unsold -- wild horses and burros maintained in holding facilities called Herd Management Areas (MHA's) from California to Illinois was over 45,000.

The federal Bureau of Land Management is mandated to manage, protect and control wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. This law also authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros, which have no significant natural predators, from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. 

Each year, an inventory is required of the number of wild horses and burros roaming BLM-managed lands. From this, the Appropriate Management Level (AML) is determined. This is the number of animals that can thrive in balance with other public land resources and uses. The AML for California is estimated at 2,200. However, the Golden State's wild equine population is now at 4,925 horses, plus an additional 3,391 burros, for a total of 8,316. 

In neighboring Nevada, an epic number of 34,531 wild horses and burros inhabit the federal rangelands -- nearly three times the AML 12,811 figure the BLM says the state can support. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced in April he will take legal action to force the federal government to fund the management of Nevada’s wild horse population at appropriate levels because of the impact on the state's economy.

The BLM has been rounding up and relocating wild horses and burros to its holding facilities so that privately owned cattle could graze on the land, critics contend. The cost of maintaining almost 46,000 horses in these overcrowded facilities reached $49 million in 2015. 

Director Neil Kornze says it can cost about $50,000 per animal to feed and care for wild horses sitting in corrals and pastures over their lifetime and that cost has doubled over the last seven years. He predicts that if the BLM cannot adopt out and/or transfer a significant number of the wild horses and burros being held to other government agencies upon request (such as, the Border Patrol), the cost of feeding and caring for them during their lifetime could rise to $1 billion. 

On September 9, in an effort to curb the increasing overpopulation West-wide, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, which suggests policy for the Bureau of Land Management, proposed a program that would either euthanize (which means shoot) or sell without limitation “all suitable animals in long and short term holding deemed unadoptable.” 

Cries of outrage by animal activists accused the government of squandering its very limited resources in rounding up and holding the animals instead of launching a wide-scale birth-control effort. 

A petition to the United States Congress claiming that not enough had been done to have the horses adopted was posted by Protect Mustangs  on September 12, declaring, “The public is outraged. Wild horses and burros are living symbols of freedom and the pioneering spirit of the American West.”

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group based in Colorado, stated the BLM should advance the use of fertility control vaccines that keep populations in check but allow horses and burros to remain free on the range. 

In a chart titled, Population Growth-Suppression Treatments, the BLM explains that the currently available fertility control vaccine (PZP) is limited to a one-year period of effectiveness (initially assumed to be 22 months) and must be hand-injected into a captured wild horse." If deployed via ground-darting, PZP has the same duration but is very difficult to deliver to an animal which avoids human contact and the sizes of the herds makes it difficult to locate or track individual animals. 

Kathrens told the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands earlier this year that. “Current management practices of round-up, removal and warehousing … cause compensatory reproduction – an increase in populations as a result of decreased competition for forage.” 

"In other words, there would not be a surge in wild horses if the BLM hadn’t removed most of them from their land in the first place," summarizes Inhabitat. 

Director Neil Kornze advised Congress in his 2017 budget request that the BLM is "overwhelmed" and sees no slowdown in population of these animals. BLM is requesting the establishment of a congressionally chartered foundation that would help fund and support efforts to adopt horses that have been rounded up.

Kornze told a House Appropriations subcommittee in March that the growing herds are causing environmental harm to vast swaths of rangeland. Among other things, he asked Congress to help by authorizing tax credits to "incentivize adoption" of wild horses (E&E Daily, March 4.) 

Skeptics pointed to the Washington Times article on October 24, 2015, confirming a report by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General that between 2009 and 2012, the BLM sold 1,794 federally protected wild horses to a Colorado rancher who admitted that most of the horses that he purchased through the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program went to slaughter. The Times also reports that taxpayers footed the $140,000 cost of delivery of the animals. 

On September 15, BLM spokesman Jason Lutterman issued a rapid response that the agency will NOT institute the controversial proposal by the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “The BLM will not euthanize or sell without limitation any healthy animals. We’re going to continue caring for and seeking good homes for the un-adopted animals in our off-range corrals and pastures.” 

To sell the animals “without limitation" essentially removes protocols established in a BLM 2013 policy aimed at ensuring they won’t be slaughtered and includes other provisions to assure that these protected animals are not resold or do not fall into the hands of abusers. 

BLM Director Kornze also asked Congress to help by authorizing tax credits to "incentivize adoption" of wild horses (E&E Daily, March 4.) 

However, The Verge points out, adoptions are only $125 apiece, and even purchasing all 45,000 equines for $5,625,000 would do little to offset the $49 million that the BLM spent on them just last year.

Now we have more facts, but resolution still seems to be at an impasse. How would Californians react to the possibility that -- without progress in management -- thousands of the Golden State's wild horses and burros could face euthanasia?


(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.  

ANIMAL WATCH-On September 9, 2016, important changes to Los Angeles Municipal Code Sec. 53.63 -- BARKING DOG NOISE were agendized for consideration by the City Council. But, with only ten council members present, it was rescheduled for September 20. 

If there is a dog in your home or in your community, or if you own or operate any business in Los Angeles, this could affect you at any time. We never know when our quality of life, and the welfare of our family, may be impacted by a new dog in our neighborhood that barks incessantly and/or seemingly without reason -- or is barking because of neglect or improper care. We also don't really know how much our own dog barks when no one is home! How do we want the impact measured by the City in the event of a dispute? 

There is another aspect of this law that can have a serious impact on business locations. Please review all the proposed changes and the existing clause that should be changed. There is still time to comment. 

BACKGROUND--In December 2011, LAMC Section 53.63 was amended by Council, as recommended by LA Animal Services, to define ‘excessive dog noise’ as “barking that is continuously audible for ten minutes or intermittently audible for 30 minutes within a three-hour period.” 

However, these parameters did not work well, according to General Manager Brenda Barnette’s letter and report on April 22, 2014. Over the next two years it became apparent that having to record exact minutes of barking over a period of time placed too onerous a burden on victims of barking dogs that unduly disturbed their lives, sleep and quality of life. She also claimed it limited the ability of the Department of Animal Services (DAS) to effectively address concerns and complaints that did not fall into these specific, limited patterns. 

Defendant dog owners at Commission appeals contended there was no way to ascertain whether such recordings were the result of intentional provocation from the complainer who may be standing on the other side of a wall with a recorder -- or from outside stimulation, such as a mail carrier making deliveries on the street. 

Also, with a timeframe as the sole determiner of violation, there was no way to address the possibility that the barking might have been due to of lack of proper care and attention by a negligent or uneducated owner. 

In April 2014, the Animal Services Commission approved the Department’s request for revision of this LAMC section to allow more discretion for hearing officers to consider factors other than strict time standards in recommending options, i.e., training, improved care and conditions, or changed housing options such as requiring that the dog(s) be kept indoors during certain hours. They expressed their belief this would also permit the Commission, upon appeal, to explore additional remedies if the initial recommendations by the General Manager/staff had not resolved the problem(s). 

Commission President David Zaft emphasized that dogs are rarely ordered to be removed from a home because of barking, since most owners -- rather than give up their pet -- will comply with conditions and restrictions to protect neighbors from excessive noise. But, occasionally, when there are obvious indicators that the owner is not acting responsibly in other aspects of caring for the animal and does not intend to make needed improvements, removal can allow the dog’s needs to be better served by rehoming it through the shelter or a rescue organization. 

The revision was approved by the PAW Committee on June 3 and adopted by Council on September 10, 2014, with the request that the City Attorney prepare the ordinance. It then disappeared for almost two years, until a new report and the ordinance were placed on the PAW agenda for August 26, 2016, (the motion expiration date) and fast-tracked to Council. 

HOW THE ORDINANCE WOULD CHANGE--The proposed definition of ‘excessive noise’, in the Ordinance to be considered on September 20, 2016, adds reasonable and pertinent factors that the Department may consider other than strict periods of time of prolonged barking: 

For purposes of this section, the term “excessive noise” shall mean noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive, or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood, within reasonable proximity to the property where the dog or dogs are kept. Factors that the Department may use to determine whether the barking is excessive may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

(i)    the nature, frequency and volume of the noise;

(ii)  the tone and repetitiveness;

(iii) the time of day or night;

(iv) the distance from the complaining or affected party or parties;

(v)  the number of neighbors affected by or complaining about the noise;

(vi) any other relevant evidence demonstrating that the barking is unduly disruptive; and

(vii) whether the dog is being provoked. 

Several letters of opposition in CF14-0681, claim this wording is too vague: 

“Eliminating a clear definition of excessive noise and replacing it with something entirely subjective and essentially unprovable will only result in more dogs being removed from their homes.” 

A letter of support from A. Bold states: 

Please approve the proposed changes to LAMC 53.63. I am a victim of nuisance barking and have had a great deal of experience with Animal Services and LAMC 53.63. 

When it comes to nuisance barking, only Animal Services can help. Not the police and not community groups. The courts will only help if there is an Animal Services Order. So it all comes down to Animal Services and LAMC 53.63. 

LAMC 53.63 currently in place is unjust because it allows only two very specific scenarios to be nuisance barking. This is completely unrealistic when it comes to any noise nuisance.

Current LAMC 53.63 is also very onerous to prove and, I allege, is therefore discriminatory. 

THE BUSINESS IMPACT: DID KORETZ OVERLOOK (OR PLAN) THIS?--In 2013, LA’s Chief Zoning Administrator Linn Wyatt issued a Zoning Administrator’s Interpretation (ZAI), exempting “pet shops” from the requirements for dog “kennels,” if they offer four or more adult shelter or rescued dogs for sale. 

The Planning Dept. said this was requested by LAAS GM Brenda Barnette to enhance Koretz’ ban on the sale of commercially bred puppies in pet stores. 

Historically, pet shops are in commercial (C-2) zones and only offer puppies under four months of age, which exude small amounts of easily disposable waste and do not bark. This ZAI presumed that "adult shelter or rescued dogs" do not bark as offensively as adult dogs in commercial boarding or training facilities -- which can operate only in proper zoning, or under a Conditional Use Permit. 

After four months of age, pups are considered adults (dogs). If more than three adult dogs are maintained on any premise in the city of LA, they are automatically regulated as kennels by LAMC Section 12.03 of the Zoning Code and prohibited unless in ‘M' (light manufacturing) zones -- and at least 500 feet from residences.

On May 27, 2015, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell ruled that the, “City of Los Angeles Zoning Administrator’s Interpretation … exceeded the Zoning Administrator’s authority and is thus an abuse of discretion.” 

Koretz has subsequently sought to have the Planning Dept. change the kennel code to allow unlimited adult rescued/shelter dogs in ANY C-2 zoned "kennel/pet shop" in any area --including those which adjoin residential communities. 

Proposed revised LAMC Sec. 53.63 – BARKING NOISE, retains the following wording

"The provisions of this section shall NOT apply to any commercial animal establishment permitted by zoning law." (Emphasis added.) 

An industry expert opined, “This means that this change in zoning would deregulate an entire aspect of the animal industry in the city, leaving affected business owners, or residents within 500 feet with no recourse for the overreaching negative impact of ‘excessive noise’ from such operations and no way to file complaints, as provided for other city residents or businesses.” 

How can the City effectively address the disruptive impact of barking dogs on the surrounding community -- whether measuring only the exact length the noise is made or weighing a multitude of factors -- while exempting every commercial animal operation?

Shouldn’t this be changed/clarified while Sec. 53.63 is being revised? Or, is it part of Koretz’ plan? 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?--Chronic or static barking that repeatedly interferes with living and sleep patterns of animals or humans is a serious health and safety threat. 

Should the City focus on the exact number of minutes or hours a dog barks as the measure of a nuisance or consider the total disruptive impact on neighbors and other stakeholders in the community? 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.                                                        

ANIMAL WATCH-On May 24, Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced a motion instructing LA Animal Services to make recommendations to “further control the coyote population in the City’s residential neighborhoods.” He seemed to be commendably addressing demands of his constituents, horrified by coyotes killing beloved companion cats and dogs, alarming mothers with children, and lounging menacingly in front yards.  

However, his recent submission to the Council File makes us wonder if -- and why -- the Councilman is back-pedaling about the severity of coyote dangers in Los Angeles and possibly making a joke of it. Could the strong advocacy claims that contend coyotes were here first and just want peaceful coexistence have influenced the former LAPD officer’s bravado? This may have some 15th District voters rethinking their choice for Council in the upcoming election. 

At the August 3 meeting of the Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare (PAW) Committee, chaired by Councilman Paul Koretz, Buscaino had the opportunity to submit credible local and national scientific research (reference to which has also been placed in the file by concerned residents) providing options for encouraging coyotes to move away from busy central locations and densely populated areas of the city and to assure education regarding rabies in the event of an attack on a human or pet -- something LA. Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette seems unwilling to do. 

Instead, Councilman Buscaino, who earns almost $200,000 a year plus other generous monetary perks, submitted a Wonkblog chart, citing its sources as: “CDC reports, CDC WONDER database, Wikipedia, Florida Museum of Natural History.” On it, cartoonish caricatures represent statistics on animal-caused human fatalities in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013 (other than by coyotes).

The assortment of “killers” includes cow faces and explains, “…cows killed about twenty people a year in the mid-2000s. That makes cows about 20 times as lethal as sharks.” 

It also shows dog faces (all resembling Pit Bulls) and says they have killed 28 people during the same period.

Is this supposed to make Angelenos feel more comfortable that coyotes have, thus far, merely eaten their pets? Is this is where the Councilman gains his wisdom for managing city challenges? 

LA Animal Services’ General Manager Brenda Barnette also demonstrated her failure to take the Councilman’s motion seriously by reporting to the Animal Services Commission on August 9 with a smile and a chuckle that Councilman Buscaino agreed other animals were more deadly than coyotes but is still worried about leaving his dog in his back yard. 

Buscaino has the opportunity and obligation to demand the public be informed on the realities of the increasing boldness and danger of coyote attacks, which are now including humans across the country, and insist that the romanticized fairy tale of living with wildlife also provides full disclosure of the health and safety aspects. 

Montebello Closes Park after Three Coyote Attacks on Humans 

Attacks on three people within eight miles of downtown Los Angeles caused Montebello officials to close down Grant Rea Park on August 9, 2016, until the errant coyote(s) could be located. Andrew Hughan, information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the LA Times, “People are not food for coyotes.”  

Two victims were forced to seek treatment for possible exposure to rabies. The first attack, a teenage girl, occurred July 22. A coyote came up and bit her on the leg while she was sitting alone in the park, and then made off with her shoe, Hughan said.

The girl’s mother told CBSLA her daughter was given a rabies shot, antibiotics and will forever be scarred. “She has a claw. She has three teeth marks on the top of her foot and bottom. So he latched her,” Marie Ruvalcava explained. 

The second attack was August 6, about a block from the park. A man lying on his back working underneath a car in his driveway was bitten on the leg and threw a wrench to scare the coyote away. He had eight puncture wounds and was taken to the hospital for wound care and post-exposure rabies treatment. 

A homeless man was later attacked while searching through trash cans in the park. He sustained 19 puncture wounds on his legs, according to reports. He was also treated for rabies, although authorities did not know if the coyotes were infected.  

“The most ‘unbelievable’ case is the third one, because the man was standing and making lots of noise,” Officer Hughan told the Times, (This contradicts the widely held theory that “hazing” -- waving your arms and making noise -- is the ultimate deterrent to an approaching coyote.) 

Wildlife officers reportedly shot and killed five coyotes at the park and sent them for testing. They also will help educate the public in prevention techniques. 

Coyote Who Bit Father Protecting his Children Tests Positive for Rabies 

On August 1, 2016, a coyote that bit a father’s leg as he protected his two daughters from attack in Lincoln Borough, PA, tested positive for rabies, Allegheny County confirmed. The man has started rabies treatment. 

The victim told Pittsburgh Action News 4, "the coyote's teeth went through denim jeans, into skin." 

Coyote that Bit Person in Roswell Tests Positive for Rabies 

A rabid coyote that bit a person on July 11, 2016, has been captured in Roswell, GA, and euthanized. It tested positive for rabies, according to the North Fulton News. (The victim’s identity was protected.) 

Coyote attacks NJ man walking dog; 2nd attack in county in month 

A coyote attacked a New Jersey man walking his dog on a Norwood road and then ran away —this was the second attack in Bergen County in April 2015, according to WABC.  Officials weren’t sure if the coyote had rabies, but the victim was given rabies treatment (which consists of 3 to 5 shots.)  He and his dog are both recovering. 

Earlier in April, a coyote that tested positive for rabies attacked a 77-year-old Bergen County man and his dog in Saddle Brook. He was treated for leg injuries and given rabies post-exposure vaccine.  

His dog, a Labrador retriever named Jack, needed 30 stitches to close his wounds and was quarantined for six months because his rabies shot was not current. 

Rhode Island Woman Bitten by Coyote Proven Positive for Rabies 

A woman was treated for possible rabies exposure after she was bitten by a coyote at a Warwick apartment complex.  

Patti Elderkin told NBC 10 News on August 9, 2016, that the coyote approached her and her two Pug dogs, and bit her right leg, causing her to fall. The coyote then bit her other leg while she was on the ground. 

She said she received four shots at the ER that night, including starting the rabies series, and had to go back for more. 

Police shot and killed a coyote at the complex that tested positive for rabies and believe it is the one that bit Elderkin, but Health Department authorities said there's no 100 percent certainty. 

Another resident told NBC10  he was in his car Monday morning at the same apartment complex when a coyote approached the front of his car and bit the bumper, commenting that the coyote had no fear of him or the car. 

Jogger in San Diego Bitten by Coyote Receives Rabies Shots 

On December 1, 2015, a female jogger was bitten by a coyote in the Kensington area of San Diego. "All of a sudden, I feel something bite my leg," Janet Snook told 10News, "I look down, and you know, it's a coyote." 

She said she turned to run backwards and face the coyote, while she screamed, yelled and waved her arms, and made as much noise as possible but the coyote would stop briefly and then kept running toward her. 

Snook drove herself to an urgent care facility for wound treatment and post-exposure rabies shots. "Even if it's a mild kind of abrasion, you still can have micro tears in the skin," she said. 

The Department of Fish and Wildlife told 10News it considered the coyote a public threat and planned to remove it from the area. 

And, lest we forget, the most common victims in the news of coyote attacks are pets we love and cherish. 

Brookside killing of pet dog prompts coexistence questions.” 

A poignant Tulsa World article on August 5, 2016, about the growing presence of coyotes in central Tulsa was subtitled, “Brookside killing of pet dog prompts coexistence questions.” It describes Sean Phillips witnessing a coyote kill a small dog. 

It’s a scene not often witnessed but not unusual in cities across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles…I heard a commotion and this little dog ran into view,”  (Sean) Phillips said. “It was little, black and white, maybe a Maltese or something like that, and a full-grown coyote came up from behind and grabbed it and shook it. That killed it. It was still and it didn’t yelp anymore, and the coyote trotted off across the road to the river.” 

“[When] the animals adapt to areas closer to the center of town, questions and controversy arise about how close is too close,” Tulsa World asks. 


It is important to emphasize that attacks on humans -- until now -- have been extremely rare; however, predators, including coyotes, have not been as pervasive in urban communities. Although they have historically lived quietly on the outskirts of cities and in natural habitat areas and adjoining parklands, with occasional treks into inhabited areas, “coexistence” has not included daytime strolls down busy streets or hunting expeditions in the yards of highly populated areas. There is no question that “urban coyotes” have lost their fear of humans, but their aggressive behavior may also be attributed to illness, including rabies, experts say. 

“Human rabies encephalitis acquired from dogs and other terrestrial mammals remains 100% fatal,” writes Mary Warrell, faculty member of F-1000 Neurological Disorders. “The unvaccinated patient who recovered from rabies encephalitis in the USA was bitten by a bat. The distinct group of bat rabies viruses in the Americas have proved less pathogenic than dog viruses.” 


Rabies is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus and can enter the body at any break in the victim’s skin, usually a bite by an infected animal, or through the mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes or nose and travel to the brain. 

The rabies virus infection leads to acute viral encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) and ultimately, death. 

In humans, symptoms usually develop after three to eight weeks. In some cases, symptoms have appeared as early as nine days and as long as seven years after exposure. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an unknown animal, wash the wound (or mucous membrane) immediately with soap and water and remove any clothing that may be contaminated with saliva. Contact your doctor or go to a local emergency room. Rabies can be prevented in humans with the administration of a post-exposure rabies treatment, or prophylaxis, as soon as possible following an exposure. 


A search of the LA Animal Services’ website showed only ONE mention of rabies in conjunction with getting a vaccination to license your dog. 

The Wildlife Section and “Encounters with Coyotes” brochure also does not mention dangers of rabies. In fact, after stating, “Do not attempt to pet or otherwise make physical contact with wildlife. Coyotes are wild animals and should be treated as such,” it shows a photo of an Animal Control Officer holding a young coyote against his/her chest with a bare hand! Which message is the stronger? 

The report provided to the PAW committee by LA Animal Services contains no “plan” to protect residents or their pets from coyotes. It is merely a re-hash of information that has been collected by various Wildlife Officers over the past several decades. During that span, the problems of unimpeded, rapidly increasing urban coyotes has escalated. That fact is being denied by GM Brenda Barnette. 

Her Plan does not mention the interaction of coyotes with the homeless and their citywide encampments, where food is stored in tents and disposed of at the most convenient location. It does not include education and outreach to the communities of low-income immigrants in the central city who walk with young children and small dogs in areas where the smell of freshly cooking meat by street vendors permeates the air and open trash cans overflow. 

The tired documents presented as a Coyote Management Plan -- and not seriously questioned by the PAW committee -- are merely the history and guide to how this problem has grown and how city government has enabled it. Without serious intent to diminish the sources of the problem, it is obvious the PAW committee, and now possibly Councilman Buscaino, are merely kicking the can down the road. 

NOTE: Rabies is often transmitted by other mammals, such as coyotes, being bitten by infected bats. The increase in rabid bats in Los Angeles County indicated in this chart should be considered in any study of wildlife policy for this area.                                                                     

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

ANIMAL WATCH-The exploding coyote presence in Los Angeles -- and obvious lack of concern by LA Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette and other City officials -- has apparently caused some individuals to take things into their own hands. 

Two recent criminal acts may indicate that public patience is wearing thin and desperation is setting in. Is it possible that mounting anger over inaction regarding marauding coyotes is also symbolic of a seething rebellion against the greater issue of Los Angeles’ pompous, detached and inept local government, which acts without facts and worries more about the political and financial favor of advocacy groups than the safety of the electorate (and their pets)? 

The coyotes’ increasing boldness toward humans and the killing of furry or feathered family members has been treated by City Hall as just another irrelevant and ignorable quality-of-life issue until a recent motion by San Pedro Councilman Joe Buscaino instructed the Department of Animal Services to report with a plan to reduce the number of coyotes in Harbor communities -- a priority for constituents in his densely populated district. It’s also critical to uscaino’s upcoming re-election campaign -- and a wake-up call to other LA politicians. 

On July 1, the LA Times reported, “Mystery Shooter Kills Coyote in Silver Lake,” explaining that a Silver Lake resident found the dead coyote lying in front of his parked car in June and a gunshot was later determined as the cause of death. LAPD, the Animal Cruelty Task Force, plus the Department of Animal Services are all looking into the shooting. 

The Times states, “…some neighbors believed the killing was just the latest example of resident’s frustration with coyotes in Silver Lake,” which they describe as increasingly bold. 

“We’ve had them on our front lawn, 10 feet from the front of the house,” said one Silver Lake resident, lamenting that many cats have been taken and she worries about her toddler and five-week-old infant. 

Her husband added, “I love coyotes, but I love my dog more.” This expressed the attitude of most Angelenos, who enjoy living peacefully with wildlife, as long as it is reciprocal. 

In what appears to be an unrelated incident on May 24, LA Animal Services’ GM Brenda Barnette issued a media alert entitled, “WANTED injured coyote & illegal trapper,” announcing information about a coyote “whose leg was stuck in an illegal leg hold trap” in the Valley. Animal Control Officers (ACOs) responded immediately, the release stated but, “…unfortunately the coyote had disappeared.”  

On May 27, there was a second call that the trap was found, “along with one of the legs of the coyote still locked in the trap.” Barnette advised that, “ACOs are continuing patrols for both the distressed coyote and the illegal trapper.” Although the injured coyote was purported to have subsequently been seen in the North Hills area, no word of its capture followed. 

Los Angeles abhors the suffering of any domestic or wild animal. However, caustic comments on news coverage of the trapping compared LA Animal Services’ slow -- or nonexistent -- response to dog attacks or to coyotes killing pets and threatening humans, to the concern (and sudden availability of staff) for the trapped coyote.

An obsequious report by Animal Services on Wednesday, June 29, assured coyote advocates and Paul Koretz’ Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee that LAAS, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Park Service all agree that the coyote population has not grown, but the same coyotes are being reported by multiple people on social media. 

Interestingly, the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has posted prominently on its website, Coyote Attacks: an Increasing Suburban Problem  (White Paper from the Hopland Research and Extension Center, University of California.) 

And, LA County Department of Public Health reports that coyote attacks on humans increased from two in 2011 to 15 in 2015, according to the Daily Breeze. Locally, a child and an adult male were bitten in Elysian Park last year in separate incidents. 

Reports from all over Los Angeles indicate alarm not just for the numbers of sightings but also because of the comfort-level evident when predators closely related to wolves are lounging on front lawns. 

A San Pedro resident told the Daily Breeze that, when he left for work before dawn in June, there were five coyotes spread across his yard. He added, “I’ve never seen anything like that in the past.” 

In January 2016, the National Park Service announced that a young female coyote, discovered with at least five pups living in the Echo Park area on September 23, 2015, was found drowned in MacArthur Park lake. 

“In the short time C-146 was tracked via a GPS collar, her travels displayed unusual behavior for a species that is territorial, the NPS report stated. “Since captured near the LA River in Northeast LA, she traveled as far south as downtown Los Angeles via the LA River, throughout Elysian Park, and into the Westlake neighborhood where she met her fate in MacArthur Park.” 

“They’re not coming from anywhere, they’re just here,” Niamh Quinn, advisor at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the Daily Breeze, “They’re now established in urban communities and they’re reproducing successfully.” 

Dr. Quinn also clarified that declining food and water in the hills is NOT the reason for the coyotes’ increasingly aggressive behavior. It is the ease of raiding garbage cans in yards rather than exerting the energy to hunt and catch dinner. 

A Westlake/Echo Park unofficial coyote-watch networker advised this week that a coyote with a cat in its mouth was reported on Park View St. near Temple. A man walking a Chihuahua on Glendale Blvd. near the 101 Fwy. bridge reported that, “a coyote came out from under a car, grabbed the pup and ran up the hill with it.” And, another animal rescuer said she saw two coyotes near Hoover and Sanborn, each with a cat. 

In response to Buscaino’s motion, LA Animal Services posted a Report Back on the Coyote Management Program on June 24, recommending that Council “Receive and File.” Barnette states that the Department does not plan to trap or otherwise remove any wildlife and that “coyotes cause few problems that can’t be resolved with better coexistence training and compliance on the part of the city’s residents.”

So far, her plan has not produced a noticeably positive result. 

Buscaino advised in a prepared statement, “I will continue to gauge the situation and the public comment and respond appropriately.” At the end of the one-hour discussion, Koretz stated, “I’m not sure we’ve completely exhausted this subject. We’ll have a further hearing to see if anything can be added to the program.” Is either sincere? 

It is insulting to residents who have lived peacefully with wildlife for decades for City Hall officials to accept Brenda Barnette’s pathetic, condescending explanation that there is no increasing coyote problem -- just a social-media illusion. 

There is no problem with coyotes being predators and acting on their natural survival instinct to kill and eat the most available prey. However, that cannot continue to be pets -- beloved family members. And Angelenos cannot live under the threat that children (or even adults) may be next. 

Where is the compassion for the innocent cats and dogs who experience unfathomable terror when snatched from their owner or yard in a coyote’s jaws and suffer horrific deaths being crushed or torn apart alive by its teeth? Has even one humane organization publicly mourned them or decried their deaths? 

While there is still time, and before the coyote population becomes overwhelming, City Hall must consult with experienced experts on the most humane way to drive coyotes away from heavily populate areas and back to a natural habitat, and then implement a plan. 

If not, escalating fear and desperation may cause more law-abiding residents to take the law into their own hands to protect those they love -- and voters will not forget. 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams. 


Above graph appeared in LACurbed.com

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