Monday, January 26, 2015

Killing at the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter is Sadly, Not "Taboo"

A "taboo" is defined as the custom prohibiting or forbidding the discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.  "Taboo" was a 2-year old Pit Bull, who was failed by the RC Animal Shelter. 

In a Daily Bulletin article Animal Shelter Director Veronica Fincher states, “All options are 
exhausted before an animal is euthanized, and the center engages in outreach to rescue 
organizations, support shelters and the public.”
See the full Daily Bulletin Article Here

Taboo- Screenshot taken on December 1, 2014. Eleven days later she would be killed by the shelter.

This is Taboo who came into the RC shelter October 17, 2014 surrendered by her owner. She is 
described as a Female Blue Pit Bull, 1-year 2 months old.  A note dated October 28, 2013 says the shelter had fined the owner for Failure to License & Vaccinate and a citation for a Potentially Dangerous/Vicious Animal. Taboo was running at large and had caused a person to fall and get hurt. She would have only been about 4 months old at that time, still a puppy and her behavior could have been misinterpreted by the individual; but the shelter was already labeling her.

Taboo's Kennel Card, from THAT Groups Public Records Request

Taboo was initially placed in isolation Kennel 51 where she cannot be walked by volunteers. The
shelter did not bother to change her negative name. No shelter dog should ever have a negative name, especially pit bulls that have such a hard time getting out alive.

October 21, 2014 RC Shelter notes: Taboo is scared, shaking and growling in the kennel. Remember this is a young, active dog that has been locked up for 4 days where she can sense fear and smell death:

October 25th Taboo’s initial exam says: BETTER TEMPERAMENT TODAY.  Attitude: GOOD.

Taboo remained in Kennel 51, isolation, for another 43 days. Not getting walked, not even getting to go outside to go to the bathroom. An evaluation was done with Taboo and another dog. Taboo was interested in greeting the dog and offered a play bow:

Then on  December 5th the Shelter conducted a full Evaluation. The notes stated:
“12/5/14 Did a full eval on Taboo. Re-dog tested with Jagger and Phillip. She was a bit tense with Jagger but showed no signs of aggression even when Jagger became excited and jumped on her twice. With Phillip she was more comfortable and even appeared to want to play. Her body posture remained soft the entire time with Phillip. During sensitivity handling she would spin around quickly but never attempted to put her mouth on the handler. It was almost as if she was just itchy and it was a reflex to spin around. She passed toe pinch, ear examination and tail pull. During muzzle hold her eyes remained soft and she would make brief eye contact but then softly turn away all 3 times. She became very playful during tag and play and never jumped up on the handler. She 
allowed removal of the rope toy and seemed more interested in playing with the hand. She 
did take possession of the squeaky stuffed toy and tried to avoid having it removed but never 
offered a growl. She did eventually allow the toy to be removed. She passed all aspects of food.”

                                                               These are very positive notes.

On December 8th she’s in Kennel 24 and finally on the adoption floor after 52 days in isolation.
Four days later, on December 12th, the shelter kills Taboo. They never reached out to any
rescues or demonstrated that they "exhausted" any other options.

Assistant City Manager Lori Sassoon told the Daily Bulletin animal center staffers are highly
qualified, trained experts who bring specific expertise in how to evaluate animal behavior.
See full Daily Bulletin Article Here

Taboo’s kill notes say she did technically pass dog aggression testing and full behavior, but
results were not stellar and it took a while. The highly qualified, trained expert then writes, some staff still describe her as a “weird dog”. This contradicts her full evaluation 5 days earlier. The shelter and city council failed this dog and many more.  We are going into year 3 and this shelter has not gotten any better. The volunteer hours are still down even with lots of embellishing (Discussed at the January 21, 2015 RC City Council Meeting, see link below to watch the full meeting). It’s obvious fundraising means more to the city council than the day to day quality of animal life in the shelter.

Taboo did not need to suffer a lonely, frightened life for almost 2 months and then killed. No
attempts or options were “exhausted” to save her.  This is why volunteers like THAT Group are
needed, who proved multiple times that they could help with behavioral training and getting dogs to
rescues before being needlessly killed.  Director Fincher who is not a caring, compassionate director, wants volunteers who will be the voice of the animals out. Her actions prove this and city council keeps ignoring the facts, the truth. They continue to mislead RC citizens so we must pull records and expose the heartbreaking truth that animals are indeed suffering under the regime of Director Veronica Fincher.

All of this information was presented to the City Council at the January 21, 2015 meeting. With the
exception of Councilman Bill Alexander, the Council has remained silent on the unnecessary killing of treatable and adoptable dogs. It doesn't have to be this way, and it is the public that needs to help lend a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, the animals.  Killing treatable animals should be taboo at the shelter, but they have demonstrated year after year that is not the case. RIP Taboo.

Visit our website to contact the RC City Council and ask them to get the shelter back to it's original no kill goal. You can also view videos of some of the other dogs that needlessly lost their lives at the Rancho Shelter. To view the January 21, 2015 Council Meeting, click on the link below and then click on Video on the Jan 21 2015 meeting. Comments regarding the Animal Center can be seen under Public Comments section of the meeting:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Shelter Math!

"Shelter Math" is a term that is used to describe the creative categories that many shelters, Humane Societies and other animal organizations use to help boost their Live Release Rate (how many animals came in alive and how many of those leave the shelter alive). Live Release Rate (LRR) should not be confused with a shelter's Adoption Rate, which is the number of animals that were actually adopted by an individual. LRR can include adoptions and animals sent to rescues, because these are the actual Live Outcomes for those animals. However, shelters with poor practices and policies can create clever columns and fancy reports that can hide their true LRR. Or to put it in even simpler terms, not being transparent as to which animals lived and which animals died.

Shelter Math is the go-to-formula that the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care and Adoption Center (RCAC) depends on, in order to deceive the public and City Officials into believing all "adoptable" animals are being saved. In their 2013 Annual Report (which was released by the Shelter in June 2014), a number of categories are used to show what the particular outcome was for a percentage of animals:

Pg. 2 of the RCAC 2013 Report

The categories listed in the Annual Report for the animal outcomes are: Adopted, Rescued, Returned to Owner (RTO), Foster Care and TNR. However, on other reports, RCAC also uses Transport and Transfer to other shelters (sometimes referred to as "Other Live Outcome"):

"Other Live Outcome" is seen on the 2013 mid-year report, and a significant jump from the previous year. 

This category is virtually unexplained, and the jump from the 2012-2013 number is also questionable, and not explained in the 2013 Annual Report. But the category that should win the most creative use for numbers in order to create a higher LRR goes to RCAC's "Foster Category"; so everybody, get ready to do your math!

According to the 2013 Annual Report, 837 dogs and cats were placed in foster care prior to adoption. The animals were later returned to the Animal Center for placement. Their final placement is included in the animal placement statistics. 
Page 3 of the RCAC 2013 Annual Report

The Director counts Dogs and Cats placed in Foster Care, as its own placement/outcome category on Page 2 of the report, listing it as 16%. But this is a floating category, because the Director has already stated that the animal's final placement is listed in another category.

One must look at the hard data regarding the income and outcome of every single animal that came in to RCAC in 2013. This means one must comb through 92 pages of data to do so. "Who has the heck has the time to do that you say?" THAT Group does, and we did! The City of Rancho Cucamonga Outcome Totals for 1/1/2013-12/31/2013 was posted to the City's website in February 2014, however, once discrepancies in RCAC's numbers were brought to the City Council's attention, the outcomes could no longer be found on the website (different from the Year End Statistics Report that is posted on the RCAC page). Feel free to check the link where the numbers were posted. Go ahead, we'll wait...

Why would the City remove this data? It can still be requested through a Public Records Request, if you know what to ask for and are willing to pay for the copies. Here is what this data looks like:

Now add 91 more pages and you have the income and outcome totals for all the animals that entered the RCAC in 2013. When looking at the individual outcomes for each animal, one can see what the final placement was for that specific animal. Were they Adopted, Rescued, TNR, RTO, Euthanized, Died or Missing? It was by going through this data line by line, that we were able to see the same animal being counted two, three, four and even five times as having multiple positive outcomes. This is why the 16% of dogs and cats placed in Foster Care in the Annual Report, is extremely misleading, because this category is being double-counted, in order to boost the live placement rate for the shelter. Several individual cats and dogs are counted multiple times in the Center’s Outcome Totals, and it is assumed it is because a single animal is sent to multiple foster homes before it reaches its final placement. When looking through the 92 pages of the Outcome Totals for 2013, 106 cats are counted multiple times, and 8 dogs are counted multiple times. This means that 723 individual animals were actually sent to foster, not 837 reported on Page 3 of the Annual Report. Yet the higher number is used to boost the overall live placement rate. In the annual report, the Director took the 837 ÷ 5356 (Total 2013 Intake) = 15.6%, which the Director rounded to 16% Dogs and Cats Placed in Foster Care.


By creating a separate outcome category for Foster, even though that is not the final placement for that animal, it serves to boost the live release rate. For example, on Page 35 of the Center’s Outcome Totals for 2013, two cats are given multiple positive outcomes. Cat #A664214 and #A664215 were both initially brought in as STRAY. They were then placed in the FOSTER category three separate times, making it look like eight individual cats had a positive outcome:

Fortunately, when you look at Page 46 of the Outcome Totals, both cats are listed as RESCUE. However, not only were these cats counted three times each in the Foster category, they were also counted in the Rescue category since that was their final placement. This means they are counted in the 16% Dogs and Cats Placed in Foster Care and the 9% Dogs and Cats Sent to Rescue categories:

Sadly, this strategy is used even if death is the ultimate outcome for that animal. An example of this can be seen on Page 41 of the Outcome Totals for 2013, when looking at the journey of three cats: #A667791, #A667790, and #A667792. Each cat is listed with two Intake Types: STRAY and FOSTER. This means the three cats were brought in as strays, but were then sent to foster, which is counted as another live placement outcome by the shelter and included in the 16% Foster Category, and ultimately in the final 84% Placement Total for the Animal Center. 

However, what was the actual final outcome for those three cats? Sadly, it was not in “loving homes” like it is stated on Page 2 of the Annual Report. When you look at Page 21 on the Outcome Totals, and the final Outcome Type, cat #A667792, is listed under DIED. 

On Page 23, cats #A667791 and #A667790 are listed under the EUTH category. Yet their deaths are only listed once, and having moved them to the Foster category and counting them multiple times still boosts the overall live release rate. Meaning their deaths technically does not count in the overall statistics. 

Stating that, “84% of Dogs and Cats were placed in loving homes” is completely inaccurate, because it has been demonstrated that a number of animals died or were euthanized, but they are hidden within the separate Foster Care category. 

Page 2 of the 2013 RCAC Annual Report

This category should not be counted as a final outcome, because that is not the case. The animals have a final placement and they are already counted in those categories. Therefore, by removing this category from the placement total: 84%-16%, the live placement rate would actually be 68%! In 2005, Nathan Winograd stated “No Kill” should be at 90%, but this number has since increased, with some facilities hitting 95-99% of all animals. This includes Open Admission shelters as well.

Multiple kittens were killed in 2013, because no foster could be found by the end of the day. There is no indication on the individual records for those kittens, that the shelter actually made attempts to contact the foster list. 

Staff obviously did not take these animals home either to care for overnight and bring back the following day to try again. Therefore, Nathan Winograd’s recommendations have not been taken to heart regarding foster care and saving every possible life. Shelter Director Veronica Fincher fired the "2011 Foster Parent of the Year" at the shelter, because this volunteer spoke out about conditions at the shelter. And then they have the audacity to continue to kill kittens by saying they don't have enough fosters. (

Yet the 6 Page 2013 Annual Report makes it sound as if everything is under control and every foster animal that comes to the Center is given care and makes it out alive. This continues to mislead the community in thinking the Center is truly “No Kill”. The Rancho Cucamonga City Council has been made aware of this on several occasions, and with the exception of Councilman Bill Alexander, they have done nothing to address the lies in the Annual Report and how the Director continues to move away from its original "No Kill" goal.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Pay No Attention to The Man Behind the Curtain"

Remember in the film, "The Wizard of Oz", when Dorothy and her lovable band of companions discover the truth behind the great and powerful Wizard?

Well this post has been inspired by this scene. Like the Wizard, the Rancho Cucamonga City Manager, John Gillison, wants the public to be distracted by smoke and mirrors, and to never question authority.  But in reality, he is hiding the truth, and even when the curtain is pulled back and he has been exposed, he still tries to con everyone. 

The release of the San Bernardino Grand Jury Report and Mr. Gillison's zeal to send it anyone and everyone who makes a valid concern or inquiry regarding the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Center (RCAC) demonstrates that the man behind the curtain is alive and well. And all of this while many animals continue to be killed under the guise of being "unadoptable".

On June 28th, 2013, the San Bernardino County Grand Jury, released its report regarding the operations of the RCAC. It is still featured on the shelter's homepage.   (Link to the full report: 

City Manager John Gillison and the RCAC were quick to point out what they call “high praise” by the Grand Jury. Two months later, it still remains in the RCAC and City Homepage. On their website homepage, the RCAC states, “it’s findings should provide closure for the public that the Center continues to be well run and faithful to the original goals the of the City when it started in 2006.” However, public records requests have shown a very different story of what is going on at the RCAC under the current leadership. It is odd that the Grand Jury managed to not see what has transpired over the last 19 months. 

Or maybe it is not so odd. The first indication that shows this was a completely one-sided investigation, is the thanking of the City Manager of Rancho Cucamonga, John Gillison, for his assistance.

Here is why this is a BIG problem. Mr. Gillison, as City Manager, is responsible for overseeing operations in the City, which includes the RCAC. Mr. Gillison also had the final say in hiring the current RCAC Director, Veronica Fincher, who he fully supports in every decision she has made at RCAC since taking over in December 2011. This included cutting programs, allowing the killing of more animals in 2012, as well as firing longtime volunteers and an employee (in good standing), after they spoke out regarding conditions at the RCAC. 

Now, does anyone honestly believe that a fair perspective was given by Mr. Gillison to the Grand Jury regarding the operations at the RCAC? Concerned volunteers had been reaching out to Mr. Gillison and the RC City Council since June 2012 to address the increased and unfair killing of healthy animals. Apparently, this was another aspect that the Grand Jury felt they didn't need to look into. Mr. Gillison likely assured them there was no need to, because according to him, everything was fine.  

The shelter also had advance notice about visits by the Grand Jury, as indicated by the Caretaker notes that were written by the RCAC Care Supervisor. According to the Grand Jury's own guidelines, everything done is supposed to remain confidential until the final report is submitted in the month of July. In the notes it says, “The Grand Jury will be "surprise visiting" us again”. 

These notes are dated February 11th, 2013, two days before the Grand Jury stated they made their first visit to the shelter! Say what?! This "first"visit was during the shelter’s Open House event on February 13th, from 6-8 p.m (after the shelter's normal operating hours). Does anyone really believe this was a coincidence, and that the Grand Jury was presented with a fair and unbiased view of the operations of the shelter during this overly staged event? Well, how about their second visit, On March 8th, which was a guided tour given by Director Fincher herself, before the shelter was even open to the public! Do you really think she would be critical of her own operations? The third visit, on April 2nd, was led by one of the field officers, and it was noted in the report that the rabbits were placed in a pen in the front lobby to exercise; meaning this visit had to have happened yet again, before opening hours. So it doesn't seem like there was any insight into the real operations during public hours. Of course everything is going to look great.  

Further proof that the shelter had advanced warning, and that the City had nothing to worry about? Councilman Sam Spagnolo mentioned the shelter was undergoing a Grand Jury investigation. He did so in April 2013, two months before the report was released:

Taken from Daily Bulletin article, April 19th, 2013

Based on all of this evidence, the shelter and the staff were under strict orders to keep up appearances for the Grand Jury visits. The Grand Jury Report itself lists the following "allegations" that were filled against the RCAC:

The City Manager and the RCAC management are stating that the Grand Jury did an "extensive review". However, by the Grand Jury’s own admission above, they did not conduct a through investigation,  and stated that there were allegations that fell out of their purview. Yet they do not elaborate on what those were. 

There is also no mention of interviews with staff and volunteers being conducted. This is in stark contrast to a complaint filed against the Indio Animal Shelter to the Riverside County Grand Jury, which was published only a month before the RCAC report. Their report was extensive and they clearly stated their methodology: (To see the full report:

The Riverside Grand Jury conducted sworn testimony from a number of individuals, including volunteers, and also did extensive work into looking at shelter law, records and reports. If you look at the Grand Jury report for the RCAC, you will not find a Methodology section. This should be of serious concern that this Grand Jury did not feel it was necessary to include this information, or talk to individuals that would be able to provide proof and insight into the claims that were made. So if items didn't fall under the Grand Jury's "purview", then it must not exist? If you look at other claims made in the report that cover other agencies, a methodology is listed and interviews were conducted in other matters. So why not for RCAC? Maybe this is a question that Mr. Gillison could provide insight on? However, something tells us that he wouldn't be too forthcoming with that information. 

The RCAC is blatantly stating on their website, “there is NO evidence to substantiate the complaints filed against the Center.” When you don’t look at all of the facts, and talk to individuals who did see and experience these things, of course you are going to say there is no evidence. But there was a plethora of evidence to the "allegations" stated in the report:

1. Dogs confined to crates for long periods of time without exercise. 

The practice of housing dogs in crates had started in 2010-2011 under the current Animal Care Supervisor, and these would sometimes be permanent locations for the dogs, until kennel space would open on the adoption floor (public accessed area). However, in 2012, Director Fincher and her leadership team cut down on the number of rescues, and also stopped the practice of pairing dogs in kennels. Animals continued to pile up since many other efforts to showcase animals for adoption had been cut. Volunteers raised numerous concerns via email regarding the keeping of dogs in crates for such long periods of time, and then killing them for "behavioral reasons". In 2012, dogs were being housed in travel-sized crates from 2 weeks up to two months. Many didn't make it to the adoption floor. 

Photo taken November 2012 

The kennel card above is of Pam, just one tragic example of the dogs that were housed in a crate and never put on the adoption floor. To see her story, you can view her video: 

She was housed for 8 weeks in the CRATE (this was also listed on the RCAC website for Kennel No.) Dogs were only let out twice a day for 5-10 minutes in a yard to use the bathroom and then put back in the crate after the staff cleaned it. So if a dog was let out at 6 p.m. to relieve itself before the shelter closed, and then put back 10 minutes later, it would remain in the crate until 9 or 10 a.m. the next day. That is nearly 15 hours that 40-60 pound, large dogs, were kept in a travel crate, unable to turn around! If volunteers were not there to walk them, which was the case for several of these dogs, how could the Grand Jury consider getting out for a 10 minute potty break twice a day, adequate exercise? 

And how could the Grand Jury overlook how little many of the dogs were actually walked in a given week? This photo was taken during the Week of 3/4/13, the same week that the Grand Jury made their second visit to the shelter. This visit occurred on March 8th, 2013, meaning they should have seen that some dogs hadn't been out for 4 days. That must have just slipped the Director's mind as she led them on their guided tour. 
Walk Chart for Week of 3/4/13-3/10/13
What can be seen here are several dogs that did not even get out of their kennel once for an entire week. Some actually went two weeks without getting outside to see the sun, go for walk, or get any human contact. We don't think too many people would agree this can be considered adequate exercise. Without being walked by volunteers, the dogs are also forced to relieve themselves in their kennel, day after day, after day. We would assume the shelter staff didn't point out the lack of dog walking to the Grand Jury, and they didn't bother to conduct interviews with current volunteers that could have corroborated this evidence. 

However, the crated dogs would have been gone by the time the Grand Jury came in to do their "investigation". The San Bernardino County Humane Society had been "called" in October 2012, after a video was posted of the crated dogs. By the end of November (which, according to records requests, was one of the highest months for killing), the crates were gone, many of the dogs housed in them killed. However, the Humane Society never filed an official report, and all that was stated in a call to them was that as long as the shelter was holding the dogs the mandatory 3-day hold, they could dowhatever they wanted to the animals after this period. Instead of reaching out to rescues and letting volunteers help the crated dogs, the shelter management made the decision to kill instead of save.  

2. Staff Discharging Fire Arms on the Grounds of RCAC in violation of City Code Ordinance 9.04.010

A staff member that was privy to this information and had photographic evidence, was never brought in  by the Grand Jury for questioning. Why? Turns out, this employee had been fired after speaking out at a January 16th, 2013 City Council Meeting, regarding the coercion and corruption occurring at the RCAC. This employee had been in good standing with the shelter for nearly 6 years. Of course the shelter claimed other reasons, but like with the fired volunteers, there had been no problems preceding this decision. The discharged fire arm in question? A tranquilizer gun that was used to target a political sign. A number of volunteers had supported Marc Steinorth in the 2012 City Council elections, while the shelter was in support of Chuck Buquet (husband of a volunteer and big donor at the RCAC who is an avid supporter of the current Director). 

According to the Rancho Cucamonga City Employee Handbook, absolutely no political material will be allowed in the workplace. After the RC election ended, and Marc Steinorth won against Buquet, there was a political sign of his sitting in the Field Officer's office. In fact, when one of the volunteers was being fired on November 11th, 2012 (five days after the election), she saw the sign in the office, as she was being led into the Director's Office to be dismissed. So not only would the Director have seen the sign, but HR Director Chris Paxton was also at the dismissal, and had to walk by the office and see the sign as well. The sign remained there until Thursday, November 15th, when Councilman Steinorth made his first visit to the shelter with the Shelter Director, Veronica Fincher and City Manager John Gillison. Other volunteers saw it this day and took photos of it still in the Field Office. It was filled with small holes, like it had been used for target practice. 

The Grand Jury claims they did not have enough evidence to substantiate this claim; and indeed they would not, since they did not even interview the individual who had the information to testify it was there and what he was told by the officers that shot it. There was also no reprimand for the Director or other staff that allowed this sign to remain on City property for almost a week, in direct violation of the employee handbook, which was written by the City. It seems they can break their own rules as they see fit. 

3. Funds raised at charity events were not used exclusively for the benefit of the animals by RCAC.

There is no specific 501(c)3 for the RC Animal Center. All donated funds are given to the RC Community & Arts Foundation (, which is a larger foundation that any City entity can pull from. Donations must be earmarked to the specific department, or else they go into the general fund. This can easily be overlooked if donors do not put in their check note, that they want it to go to RCAC and to specify what they want the funds used for. Once again, very misleading. The City voted to take over the Animal Shelter in 2005, and started in 2006 officially. Why has it been nearly 8 years and they do not have their own non-profit? The report does not indicate that records requests were made to substantiate the use of the funds through raw data. Could it be they only took information provided to them by the City Manager and/or the shelter Director?

4. Claims of higher rate of adoption than was actually experienced.

The shelter continues to state an over 80% adoption rate, regardless of intake. Yet, evidence of creative accounting is seen in a number of poorly run shelters across the country. Here are some of the RCAC statistics.

Adoptions as a percentage of intake for January to September of 2012 was 47% for dogs and 31% for cats for an average of 39% adoptions.  That's a significant difference from 80%+ and an obvious lie.  To get to their fictitious 80%+ figure they have to do some very creative accounting and then re-name the category "live outcomes". That category includes a whole lot of things that occurred in spite of, not because of, shelter staff and management.  For example, there were some animals taken by rescue groups, but there are considerably fewer rescues who are able to take dogs from RCAC than there were even a year ago (down 35%). Live outcomes also include animals sent to foster homes, but if you look at the number returning from fosters, it's pretty much even.

5. Off-site animal adoptions, dog training classes and other programs have been reduced or discontinued.

Really? Really?! Here is a list of Programs that have been cut or reduced at RC Animal Center in 2012-2013, under the current Director. Again, if the Grand Jury had bothered to conduct interviews, this could have been made clear to them:

Pit Bull /Large Dog Training Classes- Organized and ran by volunteers (the ones that were dismissed), training 10 dogs under the guidance of the staff Animal Handler. These actually began in 2010, and were set up by a former RCAC staff member. The classes continued with the help of funding provided by the Best Friends Pit Bull Grant awarded in 2011 to the shelter.
·                        Session #1: 2/6/11-3/13/11
·                        Session #2: 5/29/11-7/10/11
·                        Session #3: 7/24/11-/8/28/11
·                        Session#4: 9/18/11-10/23/11
·                        Session#5: 11/17/11-11/29/11
      The Director did not allow training classes to be run, until after it was brought up by a volunteer in July 2012, who was than dismissed later for doing so! The shelter, to save face, held a 4-day training session with Ufuria between Oct-Nov 2012. No training classes for the dogs have been held since.

No Dog Left Behind- This event was started by a volunteer in 2011 as a way to help get every dog walked at the shelter in a single day. They were regularly held the second Saturday of every month. In 2012, these events were becoming harder to do with the uncooperative management, and by the end of 2012, it became a two-day event because there were not enough dog walking volunteers to get all the dogs out. The shelter held one in February 2013, and then had nothing until August 2013. The only reason this event was even scheduled again in August, was because it was addressed earlier by the dismissed volunteers during public comments in a City Council meeting.  Yet the Grand Jury report says that they were still occurring at the time of their visits! This is clearly untrue, and a lie told by the shelter. If they had interviewed volunteers, they would have had evidence of this event having been suspended.

Off-Site Adoption/Outreach Events- These are events that were specifically organized and run by the volunteers (now dismissed) and they were in addition to the events that the RCAC hold. They cost no money to the shelter, and volunteers used their own transportation, crates, and other supplies.
·                        3/5/11-Juice It Up! in Rancho Cucamonga
·                        5/21-5/22/11- Best Friends Super Adoption Event in Los Angeles
·                        9/10/11- Neighborhood Pit Bull Day in Rancho Cucamonga
·                       10/30/11- Victoria Gardens Cultural Center
·                       11/6/11- My Delight Cupcakery in Ontario

For the year of 2012, there were no off-site events that were been able to be set-up or run by the volunteers. “Field Trips” with dogs were also allowed in 2011, where dogs could be taken off shelter property to places like Victoria Gardens, Bass Pro Shop, etc, in order to get video, photos and market the animals. These field trips are no longer allowed due to “liability” (stated in email from Director Veronica Fincher), even though there had never been a problem. 

The only off-sites that occur currently are run by paid staff, which was already being done well before Director Fincher started, and what the Grand Jury report must be referring to when they say they haven't been cut.

Bake Sales- Started on 9/2/10 by volunteers to raise funds to pay for training classes for the dogs.  During the 2010-2011 years, bake sales were held at Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital and volunteer orientations. There have been no bake sales for 2012.  A volunteer was actually cited in her dismissal (two years after the event happened) for trying to take a shelter dog to one of the bake sales in order to showcase it for adoption!

KONG Kennel Enrichment- Kong toys and a freezer were purchased with the Best Friends grant money in June 2011 to help start an enrichment program for the single dogs in the kennels to help ease kennel stress. But in late 2011, there were not enough volunteers to keep the Kongs cleaned and distributed and the efforts stopped and have not been brought up again by the shelter. (Emails provide further documentation of this). There is currently no regular kennel enrichment for single dogs in 2012-2013, even though most kennels now only house one dog.

Playgroups- Started on 6/20/2011 under the Best Friends grant. Playgroups included all sizes/breeds of dogs (not just pits), and were run solely by volunteers and under the guidance of Animal Handler, Taun Brooks. The Vet and Animal Care Supervisor did not want the playgroups initially, and made their concerns known to the Grant Manager from Best Friends, who was overseeing the project. Volunteers were running the groups 4 days a week in 2011, but they were reduced in 2012 due to the number of crated dogs needing to be put in the yard for their 10 minute potty break. Volunteers asked to help staff with crated dogs, in order to have more playgroup time for the dogs. This was denied by Director Fincher (documented in emails). Now in 2012-2013, small dog groups are run once to twice a week.

Playgroups for big dogs are only held one day a week, and had been run by paid staff. Only 5-6 dogs are in at a time, versus upwards of 10-12 at a time and getting close to 20-30 out in one week in 2011 and early 2012.

Videos- Started in April 2011. Videos created by volunteers and posted with the help of a staff member. Over 155 videos had been posted of dogs, cats, and bunnies for adoption. Dana Keithly and Vicky Reust, two of the dismissed volunteers, were responsible for filming most of these videos. Since November 2012, less than a dozen videos have been uploaded to the RCAC website that showcase the animals for adoption. 

Promotions- Several promotions had been done in 2010 and 2011. We reached out to news stations and media to promote:
·                    2010- The Spice (Girl) Pits
·                    2010- The Village (People) Pits
·                    2010- Pit Idol
·                    2010- Homecoming
·                    2011- Pitcademy Awards
·                    2011/early 2012- Top 20 Promotion (for dogs that had been at shelter the longest, included reduced          adoption fees).

The goal was to have new promotions for 2012 and include all animals and staff as well as volunteer input. Currently, only the Center does promotions, volunteers have not been allowed to create or market new promotions.  Promotions only include reducing the price of adoptions or offering two-for-ones, which was already being done on a regular basis in 2011.  Most promotions now are only included as a flyer on the shelter website/Facebook page or in the shelter lobby.  The shelter once got City employees involved to sponsor an animal in 2013, but it was not ongoing.

Yappy Hour- Started by staff member Taun Brooks and volunteers in 2011 under the name “Pit Mixers”, these events have volunteers bring animals out in front of the Center to promote the dogs. In 2012, these are once a month events, but are currently not being promoted City-wide, only on the RCAC website. Yappy Hours stopped being held in August 2012.

Volunteers Workshops- Volunteers were key in getting meetings in 2010 with then Assistant City Manager John Gillison, and continuing throughout 2011. The City Council also addressed the need for workshops to improve communication between the Center and Volunteers.
·                     4/27/11- City Council Special Meeting on Animal Center
·                     6/28/11- Staff/Volunteer Workshop
·                    11/8/11- Staff/Volunteer Workshop

For 2012-2013, no workshops have taken place that allow volunteers to address concerns/issues with the shelter. 

In the report, there is also no mention made in the to the fact that four longtime volunteers, some that had been there 6 years, were dismissed from the shelter, never allowed to volunteer there again. They were let go after speaking out against many of the conditions that have been addressed here, as well as attending a City Council meeting to ask for help with the shelter concerns. The shelter Director must have a lot to hide to dismiss volunteers for exercising their First Amendment rights, and to then keep these volunteers out for good. And the fact that the Grand Jury did not address this, or even talked to these individuals, is extremely suspicious. 

Grand Jury Report still listed under Latest News for the City Homepage
The City Manager continues to cite the Grand Jury report as evidence that there is nothing wrong with the shelter, and that their operations are transparent, even though many of the issues listed in this post have been brought to the council's attention for the last 8 months. And if this was such a glowing report, why did City Council say they were “unconvinced” by it? At the July 3rd City Council Meeting, Councilman Bill Alexander explained, “In my estimation, regardless of what the Grand Jury report doesn’t say, I think the shelter to some degree is broken. It needs repair...I hope it can be repaired. I’m disappointed, and I’ve been involved with Grand Jury investigations before. I’m sorry it seemed to take a very brief and short look at this”. To see the complete Daily Bulletin article:

In the end, it is Toto, the dog, who pulls back the curtain and uncovers the Wizard's smoke and mirrors act. He exposes the truth. The jig is up. A fitting end. We wish we could say the same could be said for the RCAC and their constant attempts to pull the wool over the public's eyes.