From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

Jim Nakamura, of Chico,
California, whose prosecution for cat-feeding
was featured on page one of the March
1998 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE,
agreed on March 19 to a “diversion” in lieu
of contesting continued criminal prosection,
“on condition that he perform 40 hours of
work with the Chico Cat Coalition i n
Bidwell Park,” wrote his attorney, Larry
Weiss, of Santa Rosa. “Since Jim was one
of the founders of the Chico Cat Coalition,
and since feeding/trapping the cats in
Bidwell Park is all that he wanted to do
from the outset, we had no problem agreeing
to this disposition. Under the agreement
Jim is to participate in the program to trap
feral cats. That program specificially
includes feeding while the trapping is being
done. We’re very happy with the outcome,
and there is still no conviction in California
for the ‘crime’ of feeding cats.”

A disputed injury claim by
Charlotte Aylor-Diaz, of Manasquan,
New Jersey, a former volunteer at the
Associated Humane Societies shelter in
Tinton Falls, led to AHS executive director
Lee Bernstein barring all volunteers from
direct contact with animals in February; 15
volunteers and former volunteers including
Aylor-Diaz then issued a joint allegation to
media that their expulsion was to thwart
exposure of mismanagement, but investigations
in March and April by several newspapers,
including The New York Times found
no confirmation of anything wrong. People
For The Ethical Treatment of Animals,
located just a few hours’ drive south of the
four AHS shelters and Popcorn Park Zoo,
a facility for former exotic pets and rehabilitated
but unreleasable wildlife, asked public
officials to investigate the volunteers’
allegations, but apparently did not send a
staff investigator to see first if the claims
might have merit. Assistant AHS director
Roseann Trezza offered to reimburse airfare
if ANIMAL PEOPLE can at any time
do an unannounced inspection of the facilities,
and meanwhile faxed all of the shelter’s
recent IRS Form 990 filings and
intake/exit records, in which we found no
hint of irregularity.
Conflicts among volunteers,
local activists, and management o v e r
high killing rates at city-run shelters, long
smouldering in many locales, in late March
erupted simultaneously in Providence,
Toledo, and Augusta. The scripts followed
a pattern already familiar from New
York City to Los Angeles. In each city, as
perennially in New York and Los Angeles,
the volunteers accused the municipal management
of not keeping proper records,
killing animals too soon, and not keeping
hours that encourage prospective adoptors
to visit. A central conflict in each city is
that the animal control agency has a primary
mandate to keep potentially dangerous dogs
off the street, while volunteers are typically
passionate dog lovers who believe all dogs
are redeemable. A second conflict is that
civic employees rarely like to work
evenings and weekends, when adoption
prospects are best and volunteers are most
available. A hidden factor is that the more
adoptable animals in each community may
be going to private humane societies, less
associated in the public mind with
killing––and as pet overpopulation gradually
comes under control, shelter intakes
everywhere, but especially at animal control
facilities, tend to dwindle to the hardest
cases with the worst prospects, so that more
effort is required to achieve happy endings.
Orange County Animal Control
Department TV pet adoption spokesperson
Lieutenant Marie Hulett on March 26
sued the county for alleged gender discrimination
and sexual harassment dating back to
1989. Hulett also alleged that the shelter
kills animals without holding them a reasonable
length of time to facilitate adoption,
with the result that sometimes people
responding to her TV announcements found
that the animals they planned to adopt were
already dead. Jeff Collins of the O r a n g e
County Register reported that the various
officials named in the suit could not be
reached for comment.

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