Irvine Animal Advocates Detail Concerns Regarding Shelter in Report to City Council

More than 50 pages worth of comments and photos regarding the Irvine Animal Care Center (IACC) in CA were submitted to the Irvine City Council by concerned shelter pet advocates at its public meeting last month. The full report can be read here. (The first 2 pages are not related to the shelter.) I have pulled out a number of quotes as well as my own summaries to give readers a sampling of the concerns expressed by advocates.

Comments from Dr. Barbara Chlupek, rabbit rescuer:

  • After the new manager took over, a long time volunteer “was summarily ousted on false pretenses.”
  • “[T]he new manager suspended the volunteer program supposedly in order to “review” it. It has not yet been brought back.”
  • “Dr. Kosmin has been documented as proudly referring to himself as “Dr. Death”, since he enjoyed killing animals.”
  • irvine patty

    An 8 year old rabbit called Patty who had an adopter waiting was killed instead of being adopted.

  • An in-depth investigation is needed immediately because “[a]nimals are being abused and killed[.]”

Comments from “A coalition of concerned citizens, volunteers, current employees and ex-employees who care about the animals”:

  • “We have not heard back from the Mayor or any members of the City Council on issues regarding the IACC brought to your collective attention starting in July of 2014.”
  • “Current IACC management has not addressed issues and concerns brought forward during the last nine months and they have not presented any plan to fix issues going forward.”
  • “Christine Brown and Molly Brown should immediately be stopped from conducting all behavioral assessments of dogs as they tend to recommend euthanasia if the dog is large or exuberant.”
  • Request for transparency: “Intakes and outcomes of all animals regardless of intake be made available on the website monthly – all intakes and outcomes, nothing excluded.”
  • Two employees attempted to kill a cat named Cody for 2 hours and allowed him to suffer instead of seeking assistance from a veterinarian.

Comments from Ava Crittenden, former employee:

  • “Dr. Kosmin exhibited counter constructive unwillingness to hear my ideas when the zoonotic disease Toxoplasmosis appeared in the trailer. I recommended protocols for gowning and cleaning for kennel staff, along with testing of every cat to prevent the possible spread of the disease. Following my suggestion I was told in front of three other lead supervisors “sure, if we want to piss away our money.” […] The next day, on 10/22, two other cats tested positive for Toxoplasmosis.”
  • Quantities of Fatal Plus have gone missing on multiple occasions.
  • irvine azulAn employee killed a hummingbird, left the remains in a kennel and went home for the day. The same employee killed a kitten called Azul who “was left in the laundry/trash bin overnight, visible to volunteers.”
  • All weekly staff meetings have been cancelled.
  • Regarding management’s handling of the former employee’s missed work due to medical reasons: “I feel I am being bullied[.]”
  • “In the conversation regarding my medically excused absences for the August/September of 2014, [Denise Jakcsy] told me “steroids can make you gain weight, just so you know”.”
  • “I noticed a community bullying behavior that is not just specific to me and has created a hostile working environment for others. Several staff members express similar intimidation tactics and bullying and unfortunately several others have left.”
  • Questions submitted in June regarding use of the shelter’s new software system have never been addressed.
  • irvine laneA 14 week old kitten called Lane was killed in full view of other cats after testing positive once for FeLV/FIV. No re-test was performed. He was underdosed with Fatal Plus by a staff member and placed in a cage where he began seizing. He suffered for 90 minutes before finally being injected with a weight appropriate dose of Fatal Plus.

Comments from [unknown]:

  • The shelter manager scheduled a pregnant dog to be spayed despite available foster homes. The information was made public and the dog was removed from the surgery list after much public outcry.

irvine intake

  • “When Animal Service Officers brings in animals, they are placed into intake the kennels pictured above. These kennels used to be in a different location directly next to the parking lot, but they were moved a few months ago due to construction. The new location is just outside of the freezer where Cal Trans and the shelter store deceased animals. The previous location had drains for easy cleaning and sanitation. The new location does not have any drains so animals now sit in a kennel that has standing urine. It is also very difficult to clean because there is no division of the kennels at the base. When you clean one kennel it flows into the other kennel and has to be hosed about 40 feet to clear the area and not pool in front of the freezer. There are new signs for staff to squeegee the area and towel dry, but that is very difficult to do with concrete. These animals arrive scared to be in a new situation and are placed next to a smelly freezer of deceased animals while waiting in a wet kennel.”
  • “Until July 2014, Animal Service Officers would bring animals directly into the clinic unless it was after hours. In July 2014, intake protocols were changed where all new animals were to be placed in these kennels until clinic staff were able to intake them. This resulted in some animals being in these kennels for several hours in hot weather.”
  • IACC adopted out 2 of 5 owned cats whose owner had been hospitalized.  The facility was supposed to be holding all 5 cats for “safe keeping” as a public service.  The owner wanted all her cats back but was only able to reclaim 3 since IACC had sold the other 2.
  • Dr. Kosmin is botching dog neuters.
  • Dogs are being brought into IACC under the “3rd Chance” program from other shelters then being sent back for killing.
  • Cages sit empty while healthy/treatable animals are being killed.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me this report.)

7 thoughts on “Irvine Animal Advocates Detail Concerns Regarding Shelter in Report to City Council

    1. Absolutely.

      When I talk to people I know about animal shelters, I’m always careful to stress that although each shelter seems like a local entity, it’s all really a national system, in which the shelters in “progressive” California are run essentially the same way as the ones in Texas, the Midwest, NYC, etc. Because I think it’s natural for people to assume that if an area is (broadly speaking) more affluent or perceived as more progressive, it’s going to have a better animal shelter. But that’s really not true, and this horrific report — about an area where the median household income is well above the national average and the number of people in poverty is below the average — just reinforces the point.

  1. Appalled beyond belief that this is happening at the Irvine shelter.

    Seems to me that no one wants to tackle this “problem child” in the yuppie-dom world.

    For shame, that there are entities that are both too lazy to do their jobs and scrimp on costs, just to make a buck off the animals. I am reading more and more reports of contractors just cashing the checks, leaving the animals’ needs come last. That has got to stop.

    I sure wish someone could steer me in the direction to become some sort of “Inspector”; someone who travels all around the country inspecting shelters; seeing who is or who is not doing what they are being paid to do.

    Any suggestions give me a holler.

    The Animal Care Man

  2. I wonder if some kind of citizen oversight committee could be voted into place? I know too many oversight groups are bought by those who they are supposed to watch but it seems worth a shot if a local pol. could be influenced to back it.
    I really don’t know how else to deal with these awful places, unless there could be some way to buy into having a local group run them with oversight.

  3. They should fire these fucking bastards! They don’t give a damn about animals and don’t belong in a shelter! I’m so God Damn mad I could start by slapping each employee! In addition a can of wasp spray would immobilize them for quite a while!I’m sick to death of these ignorant fools being employed at shelters! They’re the ones who should be caged!

  4. I was denied an adoption from this shelter because I was up front and honest that my current kitty would go outdoors during the day. (We keep him in once it is dark.) He is a former barn cat who has moved to the suburbs and still has his country ways. At this shelter, they made me feel like I was an awful person because I was truthful. We fully intended to keep the new kitty strictly indoors. Shame on Irvine Animal Care Shelter! I believed you were a no kill shelter and truly cared about these precious animals

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