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Animal Rights

Guns Taken Off Animal Services Officers: City Controller Wendy Greuel Sniffing Around For Improprieties

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Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 9:27 PM

click to enlarge JOE DUTY
  • Joe Duty
Updated at the bottom: Animal services chief Brenda Barnette responds, says this has nothing to do with Greuel's audit. First posted at 4:16 p.m.

It appears that L.A. city Animal Services officers were made to give up the weapons they use to put down threatening animals.

It isn't clear who took the guns this morning, however. The LAPD confirms to the Weekly that it took part in "raids" on the six L.A. city shelters but a spokeswoman says officers took no weapons.

Brenda Barnette, general manager of L.A. Animal Services, sent a memo to her troops telling them to give up their guns as part of a "weapons and ammunition audit." She wrote, according to the Daily News:

Please give the LAPD all handguns, rifles, shotguns and ammunition that are at your shelter.

City News Service noted that City Controller Wendy Greuel announced plans last month to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of the department, and that the department has taken some heat for recent animal thefts and alleged time-card doctoring among employees.

Today Greuel said it "had not been determined" if any of the Animal Services officers' guns are possibly stolen goods. She said in a statement sent to the media:

It's clear there are not appropriate internal controls over the use of weapons at the City's animal shelters. We need to get to the bottom of how many weapons there are, how these guns are being used and what protocols are in place to ensure public safety.

Our calls to Barnette, the only person in Animal Services authorized to speak to the press, apparently, have so far gone unreturned.

Another scandal for City Hall? Just what we need.

Update: Barnette called us back late Thursday. She says this has nothing to do with Greuel's planned audit. She said Greuel's audit was "separate" from this morning's move:

We went and got the guns from the shelter so we could do an inventory. We realized we didn't have a very good system for checking the guns in and out. So we asked the LAPD to help us. So they did.

Barnette said about 120 guns needed to be inventoried.

"You got that many guns you want to know where they are," she said. "We need some best-practices protocols."

The Animal Services honcho said calling what happened this morning "raids" would be an overstatement.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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