A prime Los Angeles Animal Providers staffer who oversees town’s dog-walking program stated this week that he regrets current feedback he made about putting canines and has by no means harmed animals.
Juan Rivera, director of volunteer packages, instructed staff at a current assembly that he’s scared of huge canines, however small ones could be managed as a result of he can strike them, in accordance with a former volunteer who stated he was made conscious of Rivera’s feedback.
When requested this week in regards to the remarks attributed to him, Rivera expressed remorse.
“I might by no means harm an animal and have by no means mistreated one in my life. Whereas my remark was solely about self-defense, I remorse my phrase alternative and perceive they gave the fallacious impression,” Rivera instructed The Instances.
Rivera began working at Animal Providers in April, in accordance with a LinkedIn profile that was taken down shortly after The Instances requested the mayor’s workplace in regards to the profile and Rivera’s lack of expertise with animals.
Rivera is a musician and has expertise within the arts, training and healthcare, in accordance with the profile.
The division largely depends on volunteers to train canines and perform a wide selection of different work at animal shelters. The Instances reported final month that some canines aren’t walked for weeks or months at a time and that Animal Providers is dealing with a extreme staffing scarcity.
Media scrutiny of the shelters has exacerbated tensions between Animal Providers employees and a few volunteers, who can face dismissal in the event that they publicly disparage the division.
Rivera’s feedback in regards to the canines have been made public by Claudio Kusnier, who volunteered for 3 years on the West Valley shelter till his termination this week. Kusnier known as in to a gathering of the Board of Animal Providers Fee someday after his termination and relayed Rivera’s remarks.
Kusnier instructed The Instances he was terminated by Rivera for causes that he disputes and known as himself a “whistleblower.”
Harrison Wollman, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, stated the mayor has “zero tolerance for any habits that’s violent towards animals, and his employees is working with Los Angeles Animal Providers management to make sure the state of affairs is correctly addressed.”
Wollman stated Annette Ramirez, Animal Providers’ interim basic supervisor, was conscious of Rivera’s feedback earlier than they have been made public at this week’s board assembly.
“She instantly notified a supervisor for additional investigation,” Wollman stated.
When requested if Rivera confronted any self-discipline for his remarks, Animal Providers spokeswoman Agnes Sibal stated the division doesn’t touch upon personnel investigations. She additionally declined to touch upon Kusnier, calling it a personnel problem.
Councilmember Paul Koretz is scheduled to carry a second listening to on circumstances on the metropolis’s animal shelters as quickly as subsequent week. Ramirez stated on the first emergency assembly known as by Koretz that the division has ample employees to run 4 shelters however operates six.
The dearth of employees and an inflow of animals is stressing the division’s system of counting on volunteers to stroll and train canines, employees and volunteers say.
As head of volunteer packages, Rivera should be certain that volunteers are skilled to deal with massive canines and to securely get them out of their kennels, Kusnier instructed the Instances.
“How can he carry out these duties if he’s scared of huge canines?” Kusnier requested.
Susan Berin, who volunteers on the metropolis’s West Valley animal shelter, stated Friday that “it’s very demoralizing” to see volunteers being suspended or terminated, as a result of it means there are fewer folks to stroll canines.
She declined to weigh in on Rivera’s feedback however stated division employees have protections that may maintain them from shedding their jobs, however volunteers don’t have related safeguards.
“Who’s on our aspect?” Berin requested.
Rivera instructed The Instances that he works at Animal Providers “due to my love for animals and my need to assist convey them a greater life, and I’ll proceed to do the whole lot in my energy to make sure our volunteers are treating our animals with compassion.”
He helped manage a pet adoption at Dodger Stadium and requested for 100 volunteers to come back for the daylong occasion, in accordance with an electronic mail despatched to the volunteers. Ramirez instructed this week instructed Animal Providers commissioners that it was the division’s most profitable cell occasion of the type, with 62 canines adopted.