Replace Brenda Barnette with a more effective General Manager of LA Animal Serveices

****Please call the office of Mayor Garcetti (213) 978-0600 and insist he immediately fire Brenda Barnette, General Manager of LA Animal Services***.

This petition will once again be re-sent in September so we are calling for more signatures at this time.  

The current General Manager, of LA Animal Services, Brenda Barnette, has made a series of shockingly bad decisions during her short time as General Manager of LAAS, and no good ones to speak of.  Kill rates are up dramatically since she took over.  Quality of animal care is down.  Ms. Barnette behaves unprofessionally.  Ms Barnette has made many bad decisions including putting all 6 shelter captains on PAID leave, though no rules were broken.  Audit results showed missing money and potential revenue overlooked.  She has shown unwise favoritism to one rescue, even paying their utility bills.  She wanted to terminate the graveyard shift until councilmember Koretz had to step in to stop her.  She eliminated the rescue liasons, and the Volunteer Coordinator positions. She violates the constitutional rights of volunteers and rescues. The entire department is suffering under her reign.

Dear Mayor:
Congratulations on being elected mayor of this great city!  We, the undersigned, request that you replace the current General Manager of LA Animal Services, with someone willing and able to do the job properly.

The current General Manager, of LA Animal Services, Brenda Barnette, has made a series of shockingly bad decisions during her short time as General Manager of LAAS, and no good ones to speak of. 

The kill rates are up significantly, since Ms. Barnette took the position as General Managers.Under her watch, euthanasia rates are up across the board. The following stats are found on the department's own website. Underage Kittens killed4862 (2008-2009) vs. 6771 (2011-2012 .  Dogs killed:  7681 (08-09) vs.  9056 (2011-2012)

Ms Barnette put all 6 shelter captains on PAID leave (at a cost of $426,000) for several months because they ate pizza purchased with money from the petty cash fund that came from profit from the vending machines. No rule was actually broken, as they were allowed to use this petty cash how they wanted. Ms. Barnette didnt know that.  All 6 captains were of course, found innocent of any wrongdoing.

Audit results showed missing money, potential revenue overlooked, and policy and ethics breakdowns across the agency. At least $125,000 is missing and up to $1.3 million in potential revenue from was overlooked. Dennis Zine said issues at the Dept of Animal Services were ongoing "over a long period of time".

It is believed that Ms. Barnette had the main role in requiring that many cages at the Northeast Valley Shelter remain permanenly unused, so they would be available in the event of a natural disaster, after she gifted the shelter to Best Friends for $1/month. The department is even paying the utilities for Best Friends to use the shelter. Other rescues were not given the chance to bid on the brand new shelter (which the department realized they could not afford to staff after building the 17 million dollar facility). Other rescues must pay pull fees for their animals, but Best Friends is not required to. Ms. Barnette has blurred the line between Best Friends and LAAS, with this special treatment, monetary gifts, and waiving of fees. Her daughter is employed at Best Friends.

Ms. Barnette wanted to terminate the graveyard shift, with no cost savings and no protection of animals at night. A skeleton crew of workers work overnight to clean cages, impound animals that arrive at night, ensure the animals are safe from fights in multiple dog cages, and could evacuate the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency. Ms Barnette had decided to move those workers to the day shift, leaving the animals unsupervised at night, with no cost savings, as well as hire security guards to stand guard outside the buildings, with an increased cost. Councilmember Koretz, of The Personell and Animal Welfare Committee had to step in and call a meeting about this issue, essentially having to micromanage Ms Barnette. He reports having had many complaints from the public about her.

Ms. Barnette repeatedly responds unprofessionally to the public. Many people have brought forth good ideas for improvement at LAAS, and Ms Barnette ignores their suggestions, and replys with personal attacks, instead of addressing the shelter related suggestion or question at hand. Recently, at the town-hall meeting, Ms. Barnette had an angry outburst, and stormed up the aisle, shoving chairs aside. It was witnessed by many, and likely by Councilmember Zine, also on the PAWS committee, who attended.

Many volunteers have been told not to return and to stop volunteering, because of free speech made on their own time. Ms Barnette has even written letters on the letterhead of Mayor Vilaraigosa telling volunteers they will be fired if they don't censor their speech made on their own time.

Eliminating the New Hope Coordinator positions, and the Volunteer Coordinator positions shocked the rescue community, since each shelter had only one rescuer liaison to start. That Coordinator facilitated the business for all New Hope Partners (rescue organizations), who pull about 1/3 of all animals that are saved. Ms. Barnette eliminated that position, making it harder for rescues to pull animals, and giving more duties to the already overloaded supervisors. She also eliminated the volunteer coordinators, leaving the shelters with no centrally organized volunteer program.

The animals of this city who wind up in our shelters are experiencing a qualilty of care that according to Councilmember Alarcon "borders on abusive". Sadly, many will not make it out alive. We need an innovative leader of LA Animals Services who will not only not make so many bad decisions, but who will instill new programs to help increase education, increase owner retention of pets, lower kill rates, increase volunteer programs, and improve staff relations with volunteers and rescues.

I urge you to please consult with the PAWS committe, as I believe that they have become aware of Ms. Barnette's many failures and received repeated complaints from the public.

This letter cannot begin to address all of the problems at LA Animal Services. Those of us who care deeply about animals and volunteer our time as rescuers every day of our lives, plead with you to stand up and take notice of the problems at LAAS, and take the first, very important step, of opening up the search for a replacement for Ms. Barnette.  

Thank you,





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