Pomona PD getting sued over noise pollution harming animals

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The Humane Society has been bothered by the noise coming from the Pomona PD's firing range, adjacent to the shelter, for quite some time now. And now, after quite a while of asking for change, are finally filing suit against the department to get them to make some change. Here is a link from the Daily Bulletin:

http://www.dailybulletin.com/general-news/20140927/pomona-police-shootin...

Pomona police shooting range noise generates Humane Society lawsuit

By Monica Rodriguez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

POSTED: 09/27/14, 11:49 PM PDT | 4 COMMENTS

POMONA >> Concerns about noise generated by the Pomona Police Department’s shooting range have led to lawyers for the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA to file a lawsuit seeking the court’s assistance to address the problem. In the suit, the Humane Society asks the courts to order the city to take a series of steps to reduce the amount of noise coming from the shooting range.

Attorneys for the Humane Society said in the suit monetary damages are not sufficient in the matter.

“The harm can only be stopped if the city is required to reduce the noise at the shooting range” and barred from engaging in certain activities, according to the suit filed by attorney Tiffany Scarborough on behalf of her client.

Attempts to reach attorneys for the Humane Society were unsuccessful.

The Pomona City Attorney’s office is reviewing the lawsuit, said City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman.

At this point, it’s too early to say if the matter can be resolved without having to go before a judge.

“The city will always welcome a reasonable solution,” Alvarez-Glasman said.

However, until a complete analysis of the Humane Society’s claim has been completed “it would be premature to identify alternatives and solutions,” he said. Humane Society lawyers are asking the court to impose a series of conditions on the city, such as barring the city from entering into agreements for use of the shooting range with agencies or entities, public or private; limiting the use of the shooting range to once a week or no more than four days per month; limiting the type of weapons discharged at the shooting range to handguns and rifles and barring weapons of larger calibers; limiting the use of an easement leading from the Humane Society property to the shooting range; and barring the city from using the Humane Society’s parking lot.

In the suit, lawyers for the Humane Society said the nonprofit has provided animal shelter and animal control services to Pomona for close to 65 years and has grown to offer services to a number of surrounding cities and parts of San Bernardino County.

About 15 years after the Humane Society began conducting business at 500 Humane Way, the city built a recreational facility for city employees on hillside property located behind the nonprofit.

The recreational facility included a pool, a clubhouse, a barbecue area and picnic tables and had a section blocked off that housed a small shooting area.

The recreation facility eventually closed but the city kept the shooting area that Pomona Police Department officers used sporadically, the lawsuit said. When the range was to be used, the department notified area residents and the Humane Society in advance.

With time, the shooting range facility grew and so did its use.

City officials in 1997 authorized local and state agencies to use the range for training and firearms qualification purposes, the lawsuit said.

In November 2011, the city authorized local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to use the shooting range in addition to allowing organizations to hold shooting competitions there, the suit said.

Police department personnel increased use of the range and began discharging weapons of higher caliber producing greater noise levels, the lawsuit said.

A 2013 meeting between city administrators and Humane Society representatives resulted in city administrators agreeing to take steps to reduce shooting range noise. Some changes were made, but noise level began to increase again reaching 2013 levels this spring, the document said.

The noise exceeds limits set in city regulations and has become the source of Humane Society employee complaints in addition to producing stress in the hundreds of animals that come to the facilities on a monthly basis, the suit said.

Seventy people ranging from administrators to kennel workers are employed at the facilities, the document said. Numerous volunteers also provide their services there.

Some people doing business at the Humane Society have complained about the noise and some have left without ever going inside the facilities, the suit said.

“The (Inland Valley Humane Society’s) employees can no longer be subjected to the harmful noise. The animals can no longer be subjected to the harmful noise, as it causes agitation and behavioral problems, making the animals less adoptable and the kennels more crowded,” the lawsuit said.

This, combined with members of the public leaving before they have used services such as spaying, neutering or adoption, interferes with the organization’s ability to carry out its work and meet its contractual obligations, the lawsuit said.

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