Good Karma: OC Supervisors Now Acting to Save Wolf Dog

Karma, a wolf-dog hybrid at the center of a euthanasia controversy in Orange County.

Courtesy of Danna Cruzan

Karma, a wolf-dog hybrid at the center of a euthanasia controversy in Orange County.

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Update: Karma is now slated to be sent to the North Carolina sanctuary, after Judge Cramin changed his order Wednesday to allow the move instead having the dog euthanized.

Faced with a massive outpouring of public sympathy for a wolf-dog hybrid slated to be euthanized for killing a cat, Orange County supervisors reversed course Monday and will now seek to save the dog.

Last week, supervisors’ Chairman Todd Spitzer failed to convince his colleagues to push for Karma, a husky mix who is about 15 percent wolf, to be sent to a wolf sanctuary.  Such a move would mean challenging a court order requiring that she be killed.

But the public backlash – including 350,000 signatures to an online petition – prompted supervisors to hold a special meeting Monday specifically about Karma’s fate. And this time, with the help of Supervisor Michelle Steel, who was absent last week, Spitzer got the necessary votes.

An audience consisting of several animal rights activists erupted into applause after the decision.

“This is just a beautiful dog.  I mean it is just a beautiful, beautiful animal…we found a great home for it,” Spitzer said after the vote, which took place after a 30-minute discussion behind closed doors.

As three TV news cameras were rolling, Spitzer also thanked the advocates who worked to save Karma and the news media for covering the story.

Now Spitzer and other county officials will try to convince Orange County Superior Court Judge Corey Cramin to change his order, so Karma can be sent to the Full Moon Farm wolf dog sanctuary in North Carolina.

During the public comment that preceded the closed session, dog rescue operator Sharon Logan urged supervisors to give Karma “a second chance” at life and place her in a sanctuary.

“That’s where she deserves to be,” Logan told supervisors.

Supervisor Andrew Do, who opposed the decision to intervene, questioned before the vote why Monday’s meeting was even taking place, given that the sanctuary effort was rejected by most of the board, including himself, last week.

“What’s the basis for this meeting?” he asked.

County Counsel Leon Page replied that it was because his office received a notice that the family was seeking a hearing with Judge Cramin to change the order, and that the meeting was to get direction from the supervisors.

Joining Spitzer in the majority were supervisors Lisa Bartlett, who reversed her position from last week, and Michelle Steel.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson joined Do in opposition. Neither came back to the public session after the vote.

During last week’s meeting, Dr. Jennifer Hawkins, the county’s animal services director who recommended euthanasia, was asked repeatedly if she supports transferring Karma to a sanctuary. She responded that she stood by her decision to euthanize.

Hawkins said her decision wasn’t easy and that she took into consideration the “high prey drive” of the dog towards cats.  The concern was Karma might not make a distinction between a small animal and a young child, she said.

Given Hawkins’ stance, Nelson argued that there’s no basis to ask the judge to overturn his decision.

“To go beg [the judge] now to undo what was just done – what would be the basis for that?  And the answer is there isn’t one, other than we don’t like the decision. And that happens every day,” said Nelson.

Spitzer responded that there are lions and tigers in Orange County that would “rip you apart and eat you,” but are in captivity with strict protections.

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

  • disqus_JxA7Fvme5A

    It is apparent that for some animals, it has been their misfortune to have been under the care of Ms Hawkins. She comes across and someone who has become bitter in her attitude towards animals. To say that she doesn’t “like” the decision to send this dog to a shelter experienced in handling animals of this type comes across as very cold.
    Maybe it’s time she retires- or takes a look at another career- one that does not involve caring for any of these creatures.

  • Sharon Logan

    When all said and done Karma Won!

    Orange County Animal Care Statement

    “Ultimately, it was determined that euthanasia was necessary to ensure public safety.”

    Dr. Jennifer Hawkins

    I think Hawkins meant to say “Ultimately it was determined that killing is the easiest option to uphold our murderous agenda and disguise it as caring about public safety. OC Animal Care staff took a few minutes to weigh the shoddy evidence and alleged testimonies and takes the killing of all animals very lightly because it is easier to kill them all instead of dealing with any problems they could pose to us.”

  • Sharon Logan

    Karma Won!

    What is is that the Judge said today when he reversed his earlier ruling? Here it is

    I just re read the OC Article on karma and it says

    Cramin reversed course killing the dog, but upheld the vicious animal declaration Wednesday.

    “Despite the nomenclature of ‘vicious’ or ‘menacing’ dog, the court is actually addressing irresponsible pet ownership,” Cramin wrote in his ruling. “Karma is as much a victim as the people and pets who were harmed by Karma.”

    He added that the court acknowledged the losses of Karma’s victims.

    But “there is an apropos teaching – the court will ‘feed the good wolf’ and choose the path of truth and compassion and reject that of lies, false pride and ego,” he said.
    The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to spare the life of a so-called wolf-dog named Karma, who was set to be euthanized after being deemed vicious and dangerous by Animal Control officials. Christina Pascucci reports for the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015.

    The Board of Supervisors by a Vote of 3-2 have voted to spare the life of Karma and relocate her to a sanctuary in North Carolina, the Supervisors that voted to spare the life of Karma are:

    Todd Spitzer
    Lisa Bartlett
    Michelle Steel

    The Supervisors that voted to uphold the Court Order of Karma being destroyed and Hawkins recommendation of Euthanasia are:

    Andrew Do
    Shawn Nelson.

    Please remember those names when it is time for reelection of your county supervisors.

    Please also remember after voting against sparing Karma’s life Supervisors Do and Nelson did not return to their seats and chairs when Spitzer gave the update.

    What Supervisor Shawn Nelson Said

    “Why undo a ruling that has already been made?” – Shawn Nelson

    Lookin pretty dumb right now Nelson and Do!

    • LFOldTimer

      I’m all for Karma the Dog. But I don’t think Nelson and Do look dumb at all. Both were just unwilling the cross the line and tamper with the judge’s original ruling. IMO it is not the place for a Supervisor to intervene in courtroom decisions. IMO the ones who look stupid are the 3 who questioned the judgment and decision making authority of licensed vet who they chose to appoint to lead OCAC. If they don’t trust her judgment why do they continue to retain her as the Chief of OCAC? Now IMO that’s stupid! And how many times have these same Supervisors advised ordinary human beings standing at the podium who had problems with court cases that turned sour which involved the County and asked for the Supervisors to intervene that it was not appropriate for the Board to intervene or interfere in courtroom decisions? Many times. Those humans were told to fix their own greivances. Yet the 3 Supervisors readily intervened in a courtroom decision for a dog. Certain protocols should not be breached for animals or humans. It creates a slippery slope that taints the judicial process. When exceptions are made for purposes of political expedience to garner future votes it is a dangerous precedent that puts all of us (and our system) in harm’s way. So while I am happy that Karma’s survives, I am more concerned about the integrity of our political and judicial systems and their survival. So I respect the courage exhibited by Nelson and Do to forfeit political popularity in favor of protecting the independence and integrity of our judicial system. I ask that you look at the big picture here and give credit where credit is due. Don’t be blinded by your emotionality over a dog. I love animals too. But I love living in a free society where politicians refuse to compromise the integrity of our judicial and political systems to accumulate a few votes even more.

      • R F

        It seems as if _you_ don’t really understand. It very much is the responsibility of our elected officials to pursue legal alternatives in the face of an unpopular decision. And I very much doubt that the judge was swayed by public opinion but was provided either updated or conflicting information to the testimony of Ms. Hawkins in making a new ruling, so the judicial process is not tainted, but validated (this is how it works, provide new evidence, get a different ruling). I haven’t received the transcripts, but my guess was the first ruling was based on this being the only option in the face of public safety, but the second was based on a reduction in the public safety risk and increase in viable options.

        And public facing politics is ALL about popularity, so I very much expect our elected officials to pursue popular options, as unpopular ones won’t get them reelected; even if they are the only or even best options.

        And I don’t even think you have a clue as to the dangerous precedence that is being proposed in this case and continues to sit on the table.

        After all, you seem to think that a case of a dog that directly attacks and maims different humans in a matter of days is the same as a case of a dog that is reported to have chased and killed a cat a number of years ago when it was a juvenile.

        And yes, I think that Ms. Hawkins should step down or be removed, as her primary responsibility is NOT “to protect the financial interests of the OC taxpayers”, but to protect the integrity of the department she directs. Only when confidence in that department declines does the financial interest of the taxpayer get hit.

        • LFOldTimer

          No. You’re wrong. it is not the job of elected officials to stick their nose into courtroom decisions. That’s the reason God created appellate courts. Next time you get pulled over by a county cop and wrongfully convicted of a traffic violation I want to see you stand before the Supervisors and publicly ask them to intervene in YOUR case. See what Spitzer, Bartlett and Steele tell you. ha. And don’t be surprised if they tell you to pound sand like they’ve told dozens of others over the years. Trust me, you won’t get the same courtesy of Karma the Dog!. ha. Those 3 Supervisors were playing the political expedience card. If you can’t see that you’re blind as a bat. My guess is that judge changed his decision because he felt politically pressured to do so. He’s probably one of those who eventually must face the voters. Btw, your guess holds no more value than mine. And you’re wrong again. Politics should not be all about popularity. We don’t live in a democracy. We live in a Constituional Republic. Otherwise in a group of 3 (2 wolves and a sheep) the wolves would always get their way of what’s on the menu for dinner. You must have missed that day of instruction in your grade school civics class. And you’re wrong about Karma’s history. Karma killed 2 cats and attacked a woman and her child. The woman had to throw water on Karma to defend herself and child. So get your facts straight. You shouldn’t have to provide inaccurate information to try to win this argument. In that case you automatically lose by default. Finally, if the Supervisors have to second guess and overrule their OCAC Director it is THEIR OBLIGATION to fire her for lack of good judgment. By not doing so it makes the 3 Supervisors (Spitzer, Bartlett, Steele) look stupid and incompetent. The Supervisors are at MUCH GREATER BLAME than Director Hawkins. It’s on THEM. Not HER. Hawkins isn’t the boss. THEY are!

  • Sharon Logan

    What is is that the Judge said today when he reversed his earlier ruling? Here it is

    I just re read the OC Article on karma and it says

    Cramin reversed course killing the dog, but upheld the vicious animal declaration Wednesday.

    “Despite the nomenclature of ‘vicious’ or ‘menacing’ dog, the court is actually addressing irresponsible pet ownership,” Cramin wrote in his ruling. “Karma is as much a victim as the people and pets who were harmed by Karma.”

    He added that the court acknowledged the losses of Karma’s victims.

    But “there is an apropos teaching – the court will ‘feed the good wolf’ and choose the path of truth and compassion and reject that of lies, false pride and ego,” he said.
    The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to spare the life of a so-called wolf-dog named Karma, who was set to be euthanized after being deemed vicious and dangerous by Animal Control officials. Christina Pascucci reports for the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015.

    The Board of Supervisors by a Vote of 3-2 have voted to spare the life of Karma and relocate her to a sanctuary in North Carolina, the Supervisors that voted to spare the life of Karma are:

    Todd Spitzer
    Lisa Bartlett
    Michelle Steel

    The Supervisors that voted to uphold the Court Order of Karma being destroyed and Hawkins recommendation of Euthanasia are:

    Andrew Do
    Shawn Nelson.

    Please remember those names when it is time for reelection of your county supervisors.

    Please also remember after voting against sparing Karma’s life Supervisors Do and Nelson did not return to their seats and chairs when Spitzer gave the update.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    Just saw Todd Spitzer on TV doing a Oscar worthy performance pretending to choke back tears and breathlessly declaring that saving Karma sent shivers up his neck. Really, maybe he can give some one on one savior action for the hundreds of non-wolf dogs in the shelter whose only problem is that they are NOT a genetically illegal wolf dog and they never ate a cat. Count me unimpressed by this Spitzer manipulated media farce. Where is the logic? All Spitzer wants is to grab emotional low hanging fruit and be at the ready to bask in the camera light. No real substance…just fluff.

    • LFOldTimer

      Anyone who has watched Spitzer over the years clearly recognizes that this move is classic Spitzer. He desperately needed a distraction and a whitewash to the bad press that arose when he arrested the Jesus freak at a taco house. He searched for it and finally found it. And then he convinced 2 fellow supes to buy into his PR antics. Likely a power play of sorts .But it’s classic Spitizer from way back when. You can’t change the spots on a hound dog.

    • John Claxton

      I heard Todd offered to handcuff the dog and escort it back to NC!

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Ha – at gunpoint in case Karma tries to bite the hand that feeds him,

  • Jacki Livingston

    Let me see if I have this straight…they put all this time and energy into one dog, which admittedly should not be put to sleep. But when employees come to them to tell they of abuse of elderly patients in nursing homes, they cannot be bothered? They pony up 35 grand to shut up an employee trying to stop abuse of elderly, and spend something like 200 grand for all the expenses, but they cannot take five fricking minutes to deal with nursing homes dropping elderly HUMANS on their heads on concrete floors? These people are nuts…completely nuts.

  • John Claxton

    The Dr at OCAC recommends death because the dog killed a cat and she is concerned that the dog can’t differentiate between a cat and a human infant. What a crock this is. Unless your dog was raised with cats, most dogs will kill cats, or at least try to, even my soft, child loving Labrador retriever. This Dr. Is incompetent just like Tammy the troll that runs ACOC.

    • Kathleen Tahilramani

      I disagree – I have owned may dogs from large to small and none of them ever tried to kill a cat & I have never owned a cat in my life.You are making a vast generalization. And, calling the Dr. incompetent is really extreme because none of us with the exception of the vet knows the history of this dog.

      • cfm117

        I own three huskies and they all go after cats, squirrels, possums, etc daily. Same with my circle of friends who also have huskies. It’s the breed. Read up on the individual breeds behavior before you start stating opinion as fact.

        • Kathleen Tahilramani

          How about you take a moment and read my post again. I did not state any “facts”. I mentioned my experience and suggested that generalizations be avoided. Not all huskies are bothered by cats some hate cat’s some a little and some not at all. I also suggested that there is history with this wolf-dog that the Vet has access to that is troubling, Looks like I hit a little nerve with you – relax and chill and before you pop off with a curt post make sure you read and absorbed what the person stated.

          • John Claxton

            Kathleen, having worked at OCAC for a while, the staff and dr only knew of one case of killing a cat. That’s all they need to see or hear to “know” all about this dog. Even after the wolf sanctuary offered to take the dog the dr still recommended death. Why? Because it’s CYA instead of doing the right thing. Let this dog/wolf live it’s life in the sanctuary. They should be encouraging adoption not euthanasia.

          • Kathleen Tahilramani

            I don’t disagree. What I find annoying is that Spitzer manipulated this into a self-serving media event. He springs to life over Karma’s fate – what about the dogs in the shelter getting put to death for no reason other than they take up space, I am glad that there was a resolution to Karma’s plight but it could have been done without the Spitzer attention suck show.

  • Bob Brock

    Thank you to Supervisors Bartlett, Spitzer and Steel for a common sense solution that saved the life of one of God’s creatures.

  • Saskia Boisot

    Yes, Karma is one only dog, but her case provides a microcosm illustrating what goes on at the Orange County Animal Shelter under Dr. Hawkins’ reign, and highlights her complete disregard for animal life. Today alone, there is a long list of dogs set for euthanasia at this shelter for fabricated reasons, despite numerous empty kennels at the facility, including four large breed puppies aged 8 months to a year old. One of them, an 8 month old Belgian Malinois named Jax, is going to be killed for having what appears to be a treatable skin condition. Does this sound like legitimate a reason to kill a healthy young dog? Dr. Hawkins and her staff seem to think so…But this happens all the time, and I sincerely hope that people will take stock of this, and continue to carry the torch for all these other endangered souls. Obviously something resonated deeply with people in Karma’s case. Maybe it was the fact that she was taken from her family, and people imagined it happening to them…or maybe it was because Karma’s purported ancestry invoked a visceral reminder that despite domestication, animal behavior is still deeply rooted in nature.
    Supervisor Spitzer, I’m still waiting for someone in your office to get back to me on scheduling a time for us to get together to discuss the Oversight Committee that was discussed at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on September 1st. Numerous emails have been sent, so I’m hoping that someone gets back to me on this soon…

    • April Josephson

      Saskia, I have to disagree with your statement that this case illustrates complete disregard for animal life. You have not provided proof to back up your statement.

      Your assumption that because other dogs are euthanized at OCAC, that means the Karma case highlights that there is no regard for animal life by this administration, is completely illogical. Where are the facts that relate specifically to this case, which support your statement?

      Overall, the euthanasia rate is down. That is a fact. And yet, it also doesn’t prove or disprove anything about the Karma case.

      IMO, this decision was a demonstration of weighing competing considerations: the safety of human lives v. this animal’s life, and reaching a conclusion based on an analysis of the evidence presented at the administrative hearing. A superior court judge conducted a trial de novo and came to the same conclusion.

      There are other cases in which Dr. Hawkins has made the determination that the dog was not dangerous, after weighing the evidence. To jump to the conclusion that you have reached without direct proof to support your statement as it relates to the case at hand is fallacious. Using your logic, I could conclude just the opposite, using the Huntington Beach pit bull case as an illustration, and combining that information with the fact that far more dogs at OCAC have been treated and adopted out than have been euthanized.

      Whether you agree or disagree with this particular decision is one thing. Make that statement about your personal beliefs and I will support your right to disagree with the decision.

      To make the claims that you have been making and pursue the extreme measures that you have been taking in response to what amounts to your personal beliefs, is very disappointing. I find it difficult to watch people who supposedly care, operating with complete disregard for human lives in the name of the cause of animal welfare, without direct factual support for your position.

      It is my belief that the groundswell of support for Karma is largely based on misinformation that has been broadly disseminated in the name of the cause.

      All that being said, I am still an animal advocate and hope that there will be a positive outcome, with Karma being sent to NC.

  • CitizensForAnimalShelterOC

    It would be great for all of us in our Orange county community rallied to support Supervisor Spitzers efforts to save a living being, who does not pay taxes, who does not vote, who is capable of experiencing the same emotions as human beings (according to physicist Stephan Hawking) capable of giving unconditional love and asks for nothing in return. I only wish that he and his colleagues would extend the same effort to the thousands of little animals with beating hearts whose lives are being ended at the one and only old county shelter, only because their owners choose not to take care of them. I hope the Board of Supervisors now realize how important animals/pets are to most people. The experiences of Hurricane Katrina made it clear that the government had underestimated the strength of the bond between many people and their animals. The public outrage that followed the hurricane led to some lasting change for pets in disaster situations. Less than a year after Katrina, the Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 was created in a bipartisan effort. Was Gandhi correct when he stated:
    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

  • April Josephson

    Dr. Hawkins has done her job, and been very careful in doing so. LFOldTimer makes good points.

    As for paying for the move to NC, I saw a public speaker, who runs a local rescue group, volunteer to pay for the transport at the hearing yesterday. Chair Spitzer can confirm, and will be able to make contact with her, should the judge rule appropriately.

    The politics, but mostly the mob mentality that is being exhibited elsewhere by insinuating that there is someone In animal care at the county who is to blame for this situation is way off base.

    I have been involved in animal welfare for 20 years. It amazes me how people are so up in arms about one dog, but completely ignore the many others that need rescue everyday. I have followed this situation, and hope for the dog to be moved, but I cannot justify spending so much time, effort, and money on this dog, whose owners failed her, over all of the others. We need more resources across the board, and hope that the county government and public will all step up and work together to improve the big picture.

  • LFOldTimer

    Director Hawkins is caught between a rock and a hard place. There was a story about her Agency releasing a pit bull back to it’s owner without restriction after it bit somebody. Subsequently that same pit bull practically tore the arm off a pregnant woman while walking on the sidewalk in Huntington Beach. She was rushed to the ER where the docs had to induce labor to save the baby. Imagine the lawyers wetting their lips over that one? So it’s pretty obvious why Hawkins might be a bit paranoid over releasing Karma. If the situation goes bad the County will hang it on her. If the BoS vote to release Karma make them sign off on any future liability that may result from it’s behavior so they can’t blame Hawkins later. What’s fair is fair.

    • Greg Diamond

      Sure, fine. But what matters in this sort of situation is the presence of an alternative. Were it not for the North Carolina facility, or something similarly appropriate, then there may not have been a good alternative to euthanizing Karma. Now there is. I don’t understand Andrew Do’s position at all.

      • CitizensForAnimalShelterOC

        Supervisor Do was previously on the Garden Grove city council. Garden Grove has the 3RD largest amount of animals impounded at the county animal shelter. His current supervisorial district includes Garden Grove and the city of Westminster. Westminster contracts with a nonprofit for animal sheltering services and its shelter is clearly inadequate and overflowing with animals. He did nothing to help the situation when he was on the city council, so it does not surprise me that he does not help in this situation. His wife is also a judge, so perhaps he does not like bucking another judge.

      • LFOldTimer

        Andrew Do refuses to question the authority of a Judge or the professional judgement of the Director of Animal Services. Those folks are either appointed (or elected in some cases, re: judges) and are paid generous salaries to make big decisions. The BoS wouldn’t like some higher authority who works for the State or the Feds to question their decisions. Do is likely showing professional courtesy to those who should have the perogative to make independent decisions without interference from a few pols looking for some warm and fuzzy PR that may translate into votes. Again, none of them seemed to care about the thousands of dogs and cats put to death in recent years. So why care now? Not that difficult to figure out. So I certainly understand how Do might have arrived at his final position.

        • Greg Diamond

          This is not intrinsically a “big decision” (except to the extent that deciding to kill ANY former pet is “big.”) It has become “big” because of public outcry. It has become solvable because of the North Carolina facility. Both of those make a big difference.

          It’s now a decision between whether to piss off hundreds of thousands of people needlessly — even if their priorities when it comes to which animals die do not make sense — or to grant them the happy ending to the story that they want to see. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that — because it really is NOT a “big decision,” and that cuts both ways.

          • LFOldTimer

            You’re mincing words. I didn’t specifically say the fate of the dog was a “big decision’. I emphasized that elected Judges and appointed Directors who make big decisions (and small ones too) should not be overruled by whimsical politicians wishing to curry popular favor for votes. The BoS didn’t give a hoot when OCAC put thousands of animals to death in recent years. Now suddenly they care? Stop it. Does that describe my opinion more clearly for you? Why even have a Director of Animal Services and judges if the BoS can swoop in and overrule their decisions? We could save millions of taxdollars by just letting the BoS make all the decisions for the courts and animal services. This sort of reminds me of the BoS demanding M. Mark Kelly to resign when some recent county sentences for s*x crimes against children made M. Mark Kelly look like Attila the Hun. Yet the Supervisors were silent. Hmmm.

          • Greg Diamond

            I’ll say it again: when you have the introduction of (1) broad popular outcry and (2) a newly available satisfactory solution, circumstances have changed to make a previously unavailable solution possible.

            Under those conditions, there’s no good reason not to “give the people what they want” and no gigantic slippery slope to worry about, because popular outcry of this sort is pretty unusual and when it exists there is usually no good solution to the problem.

            Is the public morally justified to care about this case when they don’t care about 1000s of similar ones every year? Very likely not. So what? There’s literally almost no harm in “giving into them” in such a low-stakes decision.

          • LFOldTimer

            But the Supervisors never seek available options for solutions to appease the mob when it does not provide personal political benefit. The examples are numerous. With Karma the dog they made a concerted effort to find a solution since it was politically expedient to do so. Most people love animals and it was an easy score. That’s what your missing here. The Supervisors are very selective do-gooders when personal benefit outweighs political disadvantage. Isn’t it strange that the Supervisors can never find solutions to the inherent corruption that plagues the County? Yet that would appease the mob as well. I’m surprised that you can’t connect those dots.

          • Greg Diamond

            I’m focusing on this case, not on a broader indictment of what the Supervisors do.

            This case is different in numerous ways:

            (1) Solving the problem (if you concede that killing Karma poses a problem) does not harm the County. Karma will be on the East Coast. The effect of doing the humane thing here, even if it is mostly symbolic and atypical of our actions, is that many people will feel good that Karma isn’t killed. Are those people just being stupid? It doesn’t really matter.

            (2) Killing Karma, though, will harm the County. More than 300,000 people will be pissed at OC for seemingly being so intent on killing Karma that it would not even relocate Karma to a place that WANTS him. This makes us look nuts.

            (3) This is very different from the Supes’ attitudes towards the much more significant problems of reducing corruption. There, they DO have personal reasons to act against the public will. I reject those reasons, but they have little to do with whether Karma should die. Yes, saving Karma makes Spitzer look good. Yes, that may make it harder to demand accountability from him on other issues. But it’s a stupid fight to have with him, because of the two factors cited above. He boxed out his critics. He wins. As you say, “it was an easy score.” But he did it. Congratulate him and Karma, then move on.

            (4) I’d love for Orange County to really be a place where 300,000+ people would write in on matters of civic corruption. It isn’t. Maybe that shouldn’t really make a difference, but in a democracy, it does.

            (5) There will come a time when some Supervisors will likely try to use the saving of Karma as a reason to overlook their poor records on fighting corruption and the like. THAT will be the time to slam them along the lines you suggest. But right now, it’s really just a question of whether the goofy-looking dog lives or dies. Try to respect that.

          • LFOldTimer

            Okay, so if I understand it correctly, you promote the Supervisors intervening at will and overruling the decisions of sitting judges (elected and appointed) and County Directors (appointed) who collect handsome salaries from the taxpayer to formulate independent decisions on matters big and small. IOW’s it’s fully justifiable and appropriate for the Supervisory Board to act as a de-facto appellate court and impose their will on court cases involving a dog on death row while they stood by and did nothing about the 1000’s of dogs and cats put to death in recent years at the hands of OCAC, in many cases, without good cause. At the same time the Board constantly advises public speakers with court problems that they are forbidden to intervene in court related matters on behalf of the public. lol. But Spitzer, et al, suddenly become heroes and heroines for intervening in hte judicial system and saving Karma’s life. Plus, throw in the fact that the Supervisory Board has been negligent and shown total disregard for the squalid and unsanitary and dilapitated 74 year old animal shelter in Orange (as evidenced by the 5 Grand Jury reports) but since 3 of them suddenly out of the blue became rescuers and saviors for one dog popularized in the news they walk on water. Sorry. I was raised on the seedy side of town and I know a con job when I see one. No accolades from me when I know this is sown from pure political expedience and self-benefit. It has nothing to do with Karma’s well-being. Actually, Nelson and Do are the courageous ones who remained opposed to stepping on the toes of a sitting judge or disrespecting the professional opinion of a licensed veterinarian with at least 10 years of higher education who the Board appointed to head OCAC and make the tough decisions. But I guess if I took a hit in the media for publicly cuffing (arresting) a man for something the police later determined not to be an arrestable offense (they released the man), I would seek ways to redeem myself too. Btw, did your blog site ever do a story on that incident? If so, I must have missed it. If not, why not? This is the end of my discussion with you. You can have your customary final word. Have a splendid day.

          • Greg Diamond

            No, you don’t understand correctly.

            I never said that they could “overrule” the decision of the judge. To the best of my knowledge, the judge can still uphold his previous position and (barring an appeal) we’d all have to accept it. But, with both parties now in agreement and the public safety ensured, this would seem unlikely.

            The reason that they can intervene here, as opposed to the grievances that are usually presented to them in Public Comments, is that (1) the County IS A PARTY to the case at hand and (2) they certainly CAN overrule a subordinate official. In this case, that overruling comes in the face of two new circumstances: (1) massive international public interest in the issue (which affects OC’s reputation and tourism, if you want to be crass about it) and (2) the presence of an undeniably viable solution — the North Carolina facility.

            Crediting Spitzer with having intervened is not calling him a hero. (That’s HIS job.) I’m happy to give him his due — but his “due” is frankly not that much. (And, when he claims otherwise, I’ll be happy to say that that more loudly.) I’m not disputing that he probably acted due to political advantage — although I can’t see into his soul so that’s just my hunch — but in any event that is only a problem when the end being sought is not good. Here, in the grand scheme of the deaths of county-held animals for lack of owners, intrinsically it’s just not THAT big of a deal either way. I would call it a “good” because many people seem to feel strongly about THIS case — rationally or not — and, all else being equal, representing their views is a “good.”

            If your talking about Spitzer’s “citizen’s arrest” there towards the end, I didn’t pay close attention to the story. (I have lots of work to do and have throttled back on blogging.) But if what he did is wrong, then there’s a remedy out there — a civil suit for false imprisonment — and I’m content to see that play out.

            As (so far as I can tell) this DOESN’T actually involve “overturning” a judge’s ruling, I don’t give much credit to Do and Nelson. The Supervisor for whom I have the most respect in this case — and it’s pretty much been true in every BOS conflict I’ve noticed this year — is Lisa Bartlett. She changed her mind and vote due to changed circumstances, risking the possibility that people will accuse her of a flip-flop. That willingness to do the right thing regardless of a potential future political hit against her is impressive.

            Be well, whoever you are.

          • LFOldTimer

            “If your talking about Spitzer’s “citizen’s arrest” there towards the end, I didn’t pay close attention to the story.”
            Ha. So when did you stop paying attention to scandalous stories about elected Republican County officials? ha. From what I’ve observed you’re usually on those stories like white on rice. Please elaborate. The fact is that the Supervisors INTERFERED with the judge’s ruling. They INTERFERED in judicial affairs. And there are many cases that have involved County practices when the public have asked the Supervisors to intervene in the courts on their behalf. The regular BoS meeting public commenters come to mind: The Seglans and Mr. Klubnikan. Both parties felt that they got hosed by the courts and asked the Supervisors for help. The Supervisors told them REPEATEDLY that the Board is forbidden to intervene in courtroom rulings. That it is out of their jurisdiction. Yet they intervened on behalf of a dog!! ha. So there are gaping holes in your argument here. Maybe it’s best to let me have the last word rather than digging a deeper hole.

          • Greg Diamond

            As soon as you write something that doesn’t beg for refutation, you can have the last word.

            I didn’t pay close attention to the Spitzer story for lack of time. Based on my work load, I sometimes have more free time or less. That came at a busy period. It also just didn’t seem that interesting. But if you want to write about it, we’re always open to having new writers.

            Of course, any new writers should be rational enough to know that “I didn’t pay much attention to the story” does not invite the inference that I have “stop[ed] paying attention to scandalous stories about elected Republican County officials” altogether. That’s just weird. I’m just one guy, uncompensated for this work. No way can I cover everyone who might deserve it. Not even the VOC can do that. (The Register could, but won’t.)

            Your confusion may derive from a misunderstanding
            of the posture of the case. Someone sued the County, seeking a remedy. The County defended itself against the suit. Then, the County — the victorious party in the suit — changed its position and now wants to impose a different remedy. That’s just fine.

            You seem to think that the Judge ordered that the County MUST kill the dog, and that they’re now defying the order. What happened, as I recall, was a ruling saying that the petitioners could not force the county NOT to kill the dog. The ruling DIDN’T say that the Head of Animal Control couldn’t change her mind or that the BOS couldn’t overrule her decision. If that’s correct, that’s not “interference.”

            I don’t recall the specifics of those cases you mention, but I don’t think that they have the same posture as what I describe above. (I could be wrong; it’s been a while since I’ve heard them all speak.) But if the County was the prevailing defendant in those cases, then I’d agree that *so long as no one else would be disadvantaged* by the County reversing course, the persons expressing grievances can ask the county to do so as a matter of grace or mercy. (It wouldn’t be “intervening” in a ruling either.)

            Again, that’s not my (vague) recollection of what’s going on there — especially if I remember correctly that that was at base a dispute between two other parties, such that the County really *would* be wrong to try to intervene in a private matter.

          • Greg Diamond

            And the judge has accepted the North Carolina sanctuary plan, suggesting that no affront was taken. Now if you want to go stark insane, read the reader comments on the ABC7 story.

            Frankly, giving in on this probably saved OC a lot of money, as we’d otherwise have been broadly vilified. (And for the wrong thing!)

          • LFOldTimer

            The Spitzer taco restaurant confrontation story broke on Sept 3. That next week you wrote 4 blogs. A lengthy one on Sept 5 about Lucille Kring. Another on Sept 7 about the Washington Monthly. A very lengthy one about the Anaheim Districting Meeting again on Sept 7. And yet another long on about Anaheim and LULAC on Sept 8. So that week after the Spitzer story broke you appeared to have lots of free time for blog writing. So the Chairman of the Board handcuffing a proselytizer at a taco shop and restricting his freedom of movement – and when the police arrive the proselytizer is released with no criminal charges and your secondary response to why you didn’t write about it is “It also just didn’t seem that interesting”? 🙂 Ok. That’s it. I’ve had enough. No more. This is my final back and forth with you on this topic. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

          • Greg Diamond

            The Washington Monthly article was trifling. The other three were ones that I was especially well positioned to write based on my experience in Anaheim. That is part of what I consider to be “my work.” Covering a story that others will cover as well or better isn’t; we are not trying to produce a “newspaper of record” there. We mostly try to cover what we think will add value.

            As I recall, when the Spitzer arrest first broke, it was a “Supervisor makes citizen’s arrest on criminal” story. I didn’t find that intetesting in part because I did not know how to evaluate its legitimacy. It wasn’t until days later that I read the rest of the story that put its legitimacy in doubt.

            That was interesting, but required more analysis from a legal perspective than I was able to provide given other time-sensitive stories (along with other work.) So I didn’t put my time into it — just like I didn’t cover this story about Karma the wolf-dog.

            But don’t let that stop you from your helpful anonymous criticism. I get the sense that you won’t be satisfied unless I’m slamming Spitzer, no matter what. Sorry, I’ll slam him only when I think that he is wrong.

    • R F

      Ms. Hawkins created her own “rock” and “hard place” when she choose to use her “professional opinion” in the course of suggesting this action (which has been refuted by a number of others who’s professional opinions appear to be much better than hers).

      A story about a dog with a very recent human attack that subsequently attacked a human again not only indicates that this dog has a history that should be of concern, but that the owner is completely incapable of properly controlling this dog. But does this also apply to the case of the subject of this discussion?

      One thing that I can definitely state about dogs is: all dogs will bite. It is a survival instinct (pack protection, individual safety, general survival) that is present at birth. This instinct varies among dogs from it takes a “great deal of threat to the animal’s survival” to “just look at it funny”. This behavior, though, is adjusted by environment: it can be cultivated to be more aggressive or more passive by the influence of its owners, even if the owner is unaware of this cultivation.

      So the “history of aggression” on Karma is a report of a now 4 year old dog chasing and killing a cat in 2012, or when it was about a year old. But apparently there are no further reports of this kind of aggression. So was this instinct adjusted by it’s owners and environment to make it more passive? This dog certainly had 3 more years to show it’s aggression to humans (both young and old), so far from the same level of aggression from the Pit Bull in the comment. And far from a level of aggression suggesting that it is actually a public danger. And this opinion is shared by a number of animal behaviorists that have commented on this story.

      So Ms. Hawkins professional opinion on animal behavior seems to be lacking. As she advocates for the destruction of what appears to be an otherwise healthy animal with no appearance of mental issues and opportunity for a full life in a number of safe locations puts to question her professional opinion as a veterinarian.

      • LFOldTimer

        Hawkins is paid to follow the procedures that are based upon guidelines that have been set forth by years and years of enacted laws enforced by the County. When she varies from that practice and things go sour – she is held responsible. The Supervisors said NOTHING about reevaluating the laws or County guidelines that precipitated Hawkin’s decision. Hawkins job, first and foremost, is to protect the financial interests of the OC taxpayers. No doubt that played a HUGE role in her final decision. Once Karma is released and if things turn ugly it will be on the hands of the County Supervisors, not Hawkins. And yes, the Huntington Beach case does apply here. OCAC released a pit bull with a prior bite history and placing no restrictions on it that practically tore the arm off an innocent pregnant woman forcing the ER docs to induce early labor. Do you think the County holds no liability for that situation? Hawkins was severly critiized for that. OCAC cannot control owners. But OCAC can control aggressive dogs. And Hawkins is paid a very healthy 6-fgure salary to make those decisions. After the Huntington Beach incident why would Hawkins lean right back into a left uppercut? Hawkins is not a PETA employee. If the Supervisors do not trust her professinal judgment THEN FIRE HER! But don’t second guess a woman that you appointed to head OCAC! Finally, you and I don’t know Karma’s full history. We only know what we read in the newspaper. Hawkins knows Karma’s full hsitory and behavior patterns. And based ON THE GUIDELINES that’s the method she used to formulate her final decision. I love animals as much as the next person. But someone needs to speak out in Hawkin’s defense here. The Supervisors casted her as their clown in their little political circus. How disrespectful! Again, if the Supervisors question her professional judgment as the Chief of OCAC – THEN FIRE HER. But don’t berate her professional judgment and then allow her to retain her job as the County’s top dog catcher. It makes the 3 Supervisors look incredibly stupid and incompetent for retaining an OCAC Director who apparently has pathetic judgment and terrible decision making abilities.

        • Greg Diamond

          That seems highly overblown. She was making a “defensive decision” here. That was fine. But it’s within the province of the Supes to say “no, we don’t need that defensive of a decision here, we want to examine alternatives.” It’s not insulting. And it turned out that there WAS an alternative. So they wanted to take it. So what’s the problem with that?

    • octaxpayer

      It does not matter what the BOS signs they never have in the past has any accountability and will place blame to whoever they can.

      • Jacki Livingston

        Well, apparently, for the first time, Karma can actually turn around and bite them in the a**. Ba-dum-dum…thank you…I will be here all week…

  • LFOldTimer

    Over the years they’ve killed thousands of animals at the OC shelter. No one said a word. Now that they’ve put a face and name on a dog that is on death row all the politicians come out of the woodwork for the PR. I recall when the deer got hung up on the fence in Anaheim Hills and the OCAC officers slit it’s throat when there was a vet on the scene who offered to humanely euthanize it with the appropriate drugs that she possessed. The OCAC cops were terminated and the pols (ie. Mr. Spitzer) came to their defense. Naturally there was a public safety union in the mix. Dog or deer – all animals should be treated humanely. Time to pick a side and stick to it.

    • Annie Nanimoss

      Well said.

    • octaxpayer

      Mr. Spitzer only thinks of himself as all the BOS and whats best to enhance political careers. They are the most useless people around.

    • Jacki Livingston

      What a shame Toddykins wasn’t there. I hear he could have cuffed it and then shot it with the gun he drives around with…

  • Paul Lucas

    “Spitzer responded that there are lions and tigers in Orange County that would “rip you apart and eat you,” but are in captivity with strict protections.”

    WTF?

    • Paul. Agreed. The context for that statement at the hearing was to respond that a dog declared vicious needs to always be destroyed despite an appropriate rescue placement with safeguards like a completely enclosed kennel. You may not know but in my district off Santiago Canyon Road are housed Bengal Tigers, Lions and other large cats. Those enclosures are regulated and inspected as well.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Yes and there is a zoo in Santa Ana. All well and good. My question is who will pay for the cost to transport this animal to North Carolina ?. What was the total staff time cost expended on this issue? I suspect, it has been very costly and it’s not over yet. At least Mr. Spitzer you are safe around Karma, if he get’s out of hand you can pull out your gun and handcuffs, remember to get a second set for his back legs. It’s a good thing dog’s don’t use knives to eat!!! Yeah, Lions, Tigers and Bears ….so what. Better yet, order a custom cuff for his tail so he does not smack you on our behalf.

      • Paul Lucas

        Todd Im FROM that district. I worked at that zoo during high school

    • Jacki Livingston

      Apparently, he is more afraid of strangers in a public restaurant.

  • octaxpayer

    He made it sound as if the BOS has more authority than a judge or courts. I’m all for saving animals, but nothing would have been done on the BOS side with out the out cry of people. Its political showmanship.

    • We do. It’s called co-equal branches of government.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Please clarify……what is a co-equal branch of government. Are you saying you are “equal” to a Superior Court Judge”? We already know the BOS has no respect for their head Vet’s judgment in this matter so I guess you are more than co-equal to that poor person who became a Vet. after years of rigorous training to advise lay people like you.

        • David Zenger

          I saw that idiotic statement and just decided to let it go. But it is very, very revealing.

          • Kathleen Tahilramani

            Yeah, I could not resist…….

      • octaxpayer

        Right I have seen other local or county officials end up in jail for going against Judge or Court order.

    • David Zenger

      Exactly. Another emotional performance complete with media spotlight to ensure publicity.

      How much time was wasted on this grandstanding show – a problem that could have been solved out of the limelight with a phone call or two?

  • David Zenger

    I wonder who notified the media and got those TV cameras there.

    • Greg Diamond

      Someone who recognizes a good story, I would presume.

      • David Zenger

        More likely someone who wants to be the star of a good story.

        • Greg Diamond

          That’s a subset of the broader category. But: so what? You would rather see the dog die (as it would have done without the popular outcry) than to see Supervisor Spitzer get credit for a success that he DID, in fact, help bring about? That seems bizarre to me.

          Spitzer has earned a “victory” here. It’s more of a victory for the sentiment of 100,000s of people than it is for Karma. If he thinks that it’s truly THAT important to proving his worth as a public official, he’s probably going to end up with Alpo on his face — but it is what it is: a small victory for the popular will. Accept it with grace.

          • David Zenger

            The dog would not have died. The dog could and should have been relocated without fanfare.

            There is no “victory.”

            I will accept what I feel like accepting.

          • Jacki Livingston

            Accept what with grace? That a politician who used his political clout and personal relationships with two judges to make an employee of the County go away for a few dozen grand? A man who spent his entire time in office ignoring the FACT that hundreds of elderly and disabled HUMAN BEINGS were being embezzled from and abused by substandard nursing homes, while employees of the County were assisting them in criminal fraud and abuse, despite repeated attempts from employees to show him the evidence that he point blank refused to see? Then, after he sweeps this crime under the rug with a hush hush forced deal, which he could be DISBARRED FOR, he ignores the violating of the scam agreement reached, and faces no penalty for it, because of said relationship with the judges involved (they all should and could be disbarred). But because Todd Spitzer petted a wittle doggie and smiled for a camera, we should give him a win? When will he pose with the people being abused in the nursing homes, Greg? When will the people win? I give him no credit.

  • Lions, Tigers and Bears and now wolf-dogs, oh my!

    • Kathleen Tahilramani

      Who will pay to have this animal transported to North Carolina?
      Will there by any cost to the county or taxpayers?

    • Kathleen Tahilramani

      Mr. Spitzer, I will consider this whole issue a contrived media stunt until and unless you dig into your personal pocketbook and pay yourself to have this dog sent to North Carolina. And, while you are at it the huge staff time expense devoted to this needs to come out of your pocket as well – or maybe the advocates could pay that part of the bill. It is sickening that more attention is being given to a wolf hybrid than people including children who camp out homeless in the civic center. Yes, I know there have been baby steps on that issue due to pressure – but nothing like the sensationalism of Karma the dog. By the way — who called the press?

      • Greg Diamond

        I doubt that Supervisor Spitzer would object too strenuously to being thrown into the bre’r patch of personally funding Karma’s transportation to North Carolina. It would just make a good story better for him.

        I agree that the welfare of a cat-killing wolf-dog is not more important than that of your average OC Motel Kid. But still, I think that it’s reasonable to give some deference to popular opinion when it seeks mercy. If anything, that expression of mercy makes calling for future mercies of the sort you seek more likely to be obtained.

        Politicians do enough rotten and unsentimental things from time to time that I just can’t fault Spitzer here — even if he is motivated partly (or maybe even fully, though I doubt it) by the recognition that this makes him look great. I just wish that other politicians would stop doing things that make them look horrible.

        • David Zenger

          “…even if he is motivated partly (or maybe even fully, though I doubt it) by the recognition that this makes him look great.”

          Ha. You sure don’t know Todd. For him EVERYTHING is motivated by the media attention he can milk it for. This not hyperbole. Every Republican in OC knows it.

          This whole little drama was a cooked up stew of baloney. There was absolutely no need for any of this to be public. That dog could have been shuffled off to Buffalo and the story would have had a happy ending with no grandstanding by anybody.

          • Greg Diamond

            Zenger, you’re just wrong there. If it not had become public, neither the outpouring of public support — no matter WHAT you think of it — nor the right solution would have come forward. Karma would not have been “shuffled off to Buffalo,” he would have been put wherever they put the euthanized dogs.

            Even accepting (as he would presumably dispute) that Spitzer was “grandstanding,” this is one of those “low-real-stakes” cases where grandstanding WORKS. And just as Karma’s death would have gone unnoticed without the grandstanding, the “feel-good” story of his living on is simply no great waste.

            The problem, as I suspect you’d agree, is that so many others — humans and pets alike — in need of help are allowed to fall through the cracks. THAT is the counter-narrative to promote.

          • David Zenger

            Peddle your BS elsewhere. The solution to this problem could have been handled by the County without any spectacle.

            Thousands of dogs are euthanized in the OC shelter (“wherever they put euthanized dogs”) every year without a peep from you or Todd Spitzer.

            I know words from you almost come cheaper by the thirty dozen, but even so, my advice to you is to quit wasting them.

          • Greg Diamond

            This IS “elsewhere.”

            Once the Director had made the decision to euthanize, it would not have played out as you suggest. Could and should, perhaps. NOT “would.” I don’t understand how you deny this.

            “Where they put the dogs” referred to “post-mortem.” I presume that they’re either buried or burned.

            I hope that this was terse enough for you.

        • Kathleen Tahilramani

          I think it would be nice if Supervisor Spitzer would answer the questions about the cost of this situation. He is so ready, fire , aim ready to retort but it seems like he is not interested in answering the pesky questions. Spitzer has done a number of rotten things so this sudden interest in a dog/wolf garners him little credit from me – not that he cares about the gen pop.