Logan: OC Animal Care Wrong to Return Sheltered Cats Back Into Neighborhoods

Some of the cats that have been part of the Return To Field Program

As many are aware we are the plaintiffs in the ground breaking lawsuit Logan vs. OC Animal Care.

Logan vs OC Animal Care was the game changer that brought and ushered in much needed shelter reform to OC Animal Care.

Our team of attorneys obtained a complete overhaul in OC Animal Care’s intake policies,   an overhaul of OC Animal Care’s current euthanasia practices and the subsequent resignation of OC’s shelter director. 

Paw Protector’s main focus has, and will, continue to be leading the progress for shelter reform at OCAC , to impact real viable positive and true responsible sustainable live outcomes for the animals.

There is so much currently  going on at OCAC and none of it is good. In the short, ten months that Mike Kaviani, the new shelter director, has been in charge at OC Animal Care, Kaviani and OC Animal Care are already facing a lawsuit.

But what we are about to share with the general public is about as disgusting as it comes.

Currently we are getting reports from constituents in Orange County, shelter employees and shelter volunteers are voicing grave concerns about the policies and actions of the Orange County Animal Shelter.

The calls refer to abuses of a program designed to manage cat overpopulation, known as Return To Field, or RTF.

A controversial practice and approach at best, the failure to adhere to even minimum program standards renders RTF cruel, abusive, ineffective, and perhaps illegal. It is abandonment by OC Animal Care.

OC Animal Care has implemented a controversial program called Return To Field which is different from TNR-Trap Neuter Return. 

List of Return To Field including non feral cats at OC Animal Care being Return To Field

 

As animal advocates, our main goal is to prevent animal abuse and suffering.

Without community outreach and education, it is not only dangerous to the cats, but perpetuates the problem. It gives the impression to the general public that cats can take care of themselves, and it’s fine to dump them–after all, the Orange County animal shelter is doing it.

From the stats our attorneys  found on line from OC Animal Care the number of neonatal kittens alone this year, exceeds total cat adoptions in recent years, What are they going to do with them all, and most importantly where are the moms?

Right now if you go to OC Animal Care in all seven cat cottages, there are cages and cages of kittens, last weekend, we counted maybe 10 adult cats over 2 years old the rest were all kittens, and does the general public know why, because OC Animal Care is taking all the healthy adoptable adult cats and dumping them back into the community with the ideology that most people are good and the community will help take care of these cats.

We are here to inform and educate the general public on the difference between TNR and RTF and let the general public know that they have been misled of the situation by OC Animal Care.

OC is doing a massive dumping of healthy adoptable cats back into the community with the thought process that the community will help take care of these cats. The problem is OC Animal Care has not alerted or educated  the community that these healthy adoptable cats are being dumped in their neighborhoods, they are providing no follow up or after care for those cats, these cats are not feral.

To understand RTF, we should first describe Trap, Neuter, Return [TNR], or Trap, Neuter, Return and Maintain [TNRM]. The cats most likely to benefit from these programs are feral cats–unsocialized descendants of people’s abandoned and discarded pets. The New York rescue group Neighborhood Cats provides an excellent description of what feral cats are and are not:

While they live outside human homes and exhibit wild behavior, feral cats are not wildlife. The vast majority rely on some form of human-based food source for their sustenance, whether it’s a caretaker who feeds daily, a dumpster behind a supermarket or scraps left on fishing docks. Very few subsist on hunting alone.

They also point out that “feral” is a behavioral characteristic, not a biological one.

Other cats that may be “swept up” in RTF and TNR programs include pet cats that people have abandoned, kittens born outdoors but still young enough to be fully socialized to people, loosely owned outdoor cats that no one takes full responsibility for, lost cats, and owner surrendered cats. Currently, cats living outdoors without clear owners are collectively referred to as “community cats.”

From September 2018 through June 2019 Orange County Animal Care released more than 1,000 cats and kittens back into Orange County Communities , these cats and kittens were left to fend for themselves on our streets, in our parks, in fields and even at malls.

Some had never been socialized to humans, and quickly faded into the brush, or scooted behind trashcans to hide. Others, accustomed to friendly faces and food served in a bowl, were confused and alarmed by their fate.

A Cat that had his ears cut off by someone in the community and full of mites.

Then there were those for whom this was nothing new. They realized their shelter respite was over, and what that meant. They knew what hunger was, what thirst was, what danger was, and they knew that  could strike at any time. They knew because this wasn’t new: they had been abandoned before.

These 1,000 cats do not include those dumped or left behind by callous owners, only those deliberately abandoned by the Orange County Animal Shelter to pump up the shelter’s live release rate, and to make the new Shelter Director look good and to serve the debatable belief that there is no fate worse than death.

OC Animal Care is currently doing RTF every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, some days they are dumping back into the community 35 cats and kittens at a time.

Clearly this cat is not feral, but she was scheduled to be released and Return To Field

 

OC Animal Care has so far has attempted to release a a senior cat  with no teeth and stomatitis back as a Return To Field, the cat was in a bin to to be released but a shelter worker and shelter volunteer intervened and said the cat will die if returned to field,OC Animal Care also tried to release a momma cat that just had kittens that was sick with a URI and could barely walk or keep her head up, she was in the bin to be Returned to Field and a shelter volunteer and shelter worker spoke up, they were told to take the momma cat out of the bin and if the cat could walk and keep her head up, she would be returned to field. A shelter volunteer took that cat home.

A momma cat at OC Animal Care that had a URI was sickly and could not hold her head up, She was in the bin to be released and Return To Field. A Shelter Volunteer Intervened.

 

We urge the general public to attend this meeting and please speak up.

Email from Tammy Osborn who is an employee at OC Animal Care.

From: Tammy.Osborn@occr.ocgov.com

To: 

Cc: Jessica.Novillo@occr.ocgov.com, Michael.Kaviani@occr.ocgov.com, Kristine.Watson@occr.ocgov.com, Juana.Alejandre@occr.ocgov.com

Sent: 7/5/2019 10:12:27 AM Pacific Standard Time

Subject: Your are invited! Community Cat Program presentation

Dear Cat Partners,

 Want to learn all about community cats? There’s a program happening right here at OC Animal Care!  Best Friends Animal Society is the nation’s leader in community cat programs (also known as CCP’s). It’s estimated that at least 30 percent of cats who enter our nation’s animal shelters each year don’t make it out alive, and CCP programs are starting to change the tide of that grim outlook for these outdoor felines.

Meet with Best Friends Animal Society staff experts Destiny Haney (Community Cat Program Manager) and Kaylee Hawkins (Senior Manager of Pacific Region) to learn about the state of our nation and state’s shelter pets, what lifesaving trends are happening in our nation’s shelters (relating to cats), and how OC Animal Care’s data demonstrates its need for a CCP-type program. Additionally, learn more about what goes into creating and maintaining a successful CCP, hear in-depth results from a sample of CCPs, and discussion around common misconceptions and concerns relating to CCP programs.

OC Animal Care will be hosting this presentation and you are welcome to attend.

 RSVP at THIS LINK by Friday, July 12. Space is first-come, first-serve via RSVP!  Questions? Email pacific@bestfriends.org

 Tammy Osborn

Adoption Partner Supervisor

OC Animal Care

1630 Victory Rd, Tustin

(714) 796-6425

What Mike Kaviani doesn’t mention is the shelter is currently at 220% capacity.

And as OC Animal Care has been doing for the last 20 years, this new shelter director is also still attempting to mislead the general public by creating false statistics regarding the live release rates of dogs, In December of 2018, Kaviani posted a 98% percent release rate for the dogs, now six months later, he is claiming a 95% percent live release rate for the dogs. Both live release rates are false. 

According to one of our attorneys:

What OC Animal Care is currently trying to implement is nothing short of abandonment, and if there are abandonment laws against the general public, those laws should also apply to OC Animal Care.

There are most certainly abandonment laws in CA.

It’s also a misdemeanor in California to abandon pets. One law simply says that it’s illegal to purposefully abandon an animal (Cal. Penal Code § 597s). A more general statute criminalizes leaving animals without proper care and attention in any building, enclosure, lot, street, or other public place (Cal. Penal Code § 597.1). In this case, there’s no requirement that the abandonment or neglect be purposeful.

Cal. Penal Code § 597s. Abandonment of domestic animals.

(a) Every person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.

CAL. PENAL CODE § 597.1. Failure to care for animals; misdemeanor; powers and duties of local officers and veterinarians; hearings; liability for costs; forfeiture.

(1) Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

 So what happens when an animal shelter is doing the abandoning in this case OC Animal Care.

This is what we need the general public to do: if you see volunteers driving in your neighborhoods, communities, near schools, fields or malls, and they stop open their cars and you see cat kennels or grey bins, and you witness these volunteers dumping cats back into the communities, please videotape and photograph these actions.

We have established a hot line the community can call and report these actions to. You can also pick up the stray cats and return or take them back to OC Animal Care.

Our hotline number is 714-454-0813.

Unfortunately, OCAC has lost their focus on animal welfare and under Mike Kaviani is focused solely on the live release rates and save rates so OC Animal Care and Mike Kaviani can look better than they really are.

This is not what sheltering is supposed to be about.

Sharon Logan has fought for close to a decade for shelter reform at OC Animal Care. She and her attorneys successfully sued the county animal shelter as the Plaintiff in the ground breaking lawsuit, Logan vs. OC Animal Care. 

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

 

For a different view on this issue, consider: 

Wolf: Return-to-Field is Better for Cats, Shelters, and Communities