spcaLA in the News
Los Angeles Register | | Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
By Alyssa Duranty
Daily Breeze | Hawthorne | Saturday, August 16th, 2014
A trio of dogs awaits adoption at the spcaLA shelter in Hawthorne, which will now accept stray animals found within the city of Hawthorne. Until now, Hawthorne strays were taken to Carson LA Co. shelter.
Hawthorne >> For years, employees of the animal shelter in Hawthorne have been forced to turn away those trying to drop off lost and stray animals found in town.
The city, they explain, contracts with the county shelter in Carson for animal services, so the good Samaritans will have to drive there.
“People get upset when they’re here, because they think they’ve done a nice thing and they just want to drop a dog off,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of spcaLA, which operates the pet adoption center in Hawthorne and another in Long Beach.
In Carson, there’s often a long line at the shelter to drop off a found animal or look for one that’s gone missing. Some Hawthorne residents get so frustrated with the process, they tie up the found or unwanted dog or cat outside the spcaLA shelter in Hawthorne and drive off.
But that will change beginning Sept. 1.
The city of Hawthorne has announced it will contract with the nonprofit spcaLA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles) for animal sheltering at its location at 12910 S. Yukon Ave. Residents also will have the option of calling the Hawthorne Police Department’s Animal Control Department to pick up the animal from their home.
“Right now, people yell and scream (at us) or leave a dog tied up outside,” Bernstein said. “This change will hopefully correct that.”
The Hawthorne Police Department said the change is in the best interest of residents. The city has contracted with the Carson shelter for the past 15 years.
“Gone will be the days of citizens traveling all the way to the city of Carson to drop off strays that were located roaming the streets of Hawthorne,” the department said in a press release. “We believe that this convenient shelter location will encourage more citizens to take a proactive approach to caring for loose animals.”
The department said pet licensing and boarding service fees at the spcaLA facility will be comparable to those at the Carson shelter. Hawthorne residents must have proper animal licensing to pick up pets from any shelter.
The spcaLA shelter contracts with the cities of Culver City, West Hollywood and Lawndale, among others, Bernstein said, but has room to serve Hawthorne’s animals needs as well.
Although the number of dogs entering shelters nationwide is decreasing, the Carson shelter is still inundated with drop-offs during the summer.
The Carson shelter receives “a nice handful” of animals from Hawthorne every other week, said L.A. County Animal Care and Control Sgt. Justin Guzman.
How will the Hawthorne move impact operations at the Carson shelter, and will it lead to fewer animals being euthanized?
Nothing is certain at this point, shelter employees say.
“It’s going to alleviate some of the weight off of our shoulders,” Guzman said. “Maybe more people will stop by the Hawthorne shelter who wouldn’t have bothered driving down here because it’s a bit of a drive. That might make a big difference. Hopefully, it does.”
Bernstein recommended that pet owners microchip their animals and ensure they are wearing a visible ID tag.
“Most lost dogs are not found by someone with a microchip scanner. They’re found by people who will look for a tag,” she said.
Bernstein emphasized that anyone who finds a lost pet must take it to the shelter that serves the city where they found it.
“If you live in Gardena, and someone brings your dog here (in Hawthorne), you would go to Gardena and not find your dog,” she said.
By Carley Dryden
LOS ANGELES — In a metropolis that has known the Night Stalker, Skid Row Slasher and other mass murderers, a manhunt is underway for a new drive-by killer ... of peacocks.
And the middle-aged suspect seen in aviator-style sunglasses is no ordinary criminal. He drives a fancy, silver Mercedes-Benz.
The crimes have been taking place south of Los Angeles on the tony Palos Verdes Peninsula where peacocks — or peafowl, as they are also known — have taken up residence for decades.
Some residents love them for the beauty and bountiful feathers. Others hate them for their high-pitched wailing — some compare it to the screams of a woman — and the mess they leave behind. They wander streets, driveways and flutter between rooftops in a laid-back community of mostly older, ranch-style homes.
But one by one, peacocks have been turning up dead. In the past two years, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, which has law-enforcement powers, has found 52 dead or injured peafowl — some killed accidentally, but many due to slingshots, rifles or crossbows.
Then, finally, came a break. On July 9, a witness saw a man between 50 and 60 years old pull up in his Mercedes in the 27000 block of Eastvale Road. Without getting out of the driver's seat, the man fired a pellet gun at a peacock in a driveway, killing it.
Since a composite sketch was released based on the witness account, the suspect has apparently gone underground. No more murdered birds have turned up, says Lt. Cesar Perea, director of spcaLA's Animal Protection Services. Though peacocks roam free, he says, killing one is clearly a crime.
And a quiet has descended on the community, broken only occasionally by the cry of a peacock.
By Chris Woodyard
Someone is killing the peacocks in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
The boisterous and colorful birds have been a part of this upscale community near Los Angeles for more than a century. In recent years, the birds have become a source of contention among neighbors — but the conflict has taken a dark turn.
The string of peacock killings is now at 50 over the past two years or so — 20 in the past six months alone — by pellet guns, shotguns, arrows and poison.
Detective James Dondis of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Lt. Cesar Perea of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are investigating the attacks. "The violent manner in which some of the birds are being killed is a big concern," Dondis says. Investigators have some suspects, he says.
It's nearly impossible to avoid seeing — or hearing — the peacocks in Rolling Hills Estates, often perched in trees or on fences, or walking on driveways or lawns in this equestrian neighborhood. The birds seem to know the houses that are peafowl friendly — like Eunice Berman's. Two stroll in her backyard. One is on her roof. Another is lounging in a tree.
"Right now is probably the loudest season we have of them, because it's mating season, and they're calling around to each other," she says.
Berman says car alarms, gardeners, vacuum cleaners and earthquakes can set the birds off. She loves the peacocks but admits not everyone feels the same way. "They're slow crossing the street. They tend to be a little bit messy, and they eat vegetable gardens and certain plants," she says.
The mysterious killings has cast a pall over the neighborhood. "I can't even imagine one of my neighbors doing something like that," Berman says.
The investigators recently followed up with Debbie Taymour, a homeowner who contacted them after finding a severely injured bird in her backyard. The investigators would not disclose the nature of its injury, but it was consistent with those suffered by birds in the other attacks.
Taymour is relieved when she learns the peacock survived the attack. "They're just part of the neighborhood, and I feel if you don't like them, don't buy a house here. It's that simple. They're beautiful animals," she says.
Longtime residents acknowledge the neighborhood is changing. Homes with backyard barns and tall trees where peafowls roost are making way for pools and tennis courts.
Perea says investigators knock on a lot of doors and are tracking down every lead. "We're investigating it as a felony crime. Intentional cruelty on any animal can be prosecuted as a felony," he says.
Dondis says he's confident they'll find the person or persons responsible for the killings. "Somebody's going to brag about it," he says. "Somebody's going to do something."
By Gloria Hillard