Tulare County Sued by Former Animal Control Employees

Tulare County Animal Control on Avenue 256
Tulare County Animal Control on Avenue 256

On November 10, two former Tulare County Animal Control employees, retired USMC Major Paul Grenseman and Julia Jimenez, filed suit in Tulare County Superior Court against five Tulare County employees, including Tim Lutz, Health and Human Resource Services fiscal operations manager. The plaintiffs are suing the county for discrimination, racial/ethnic and sexual harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and failure to prevent harassment as well retaliation for objecting to, speaking out against, and complaining of illegal discrimination and harassment.

Tulare County has 30 days from the time of being served to respond to the suit. The county was served the week of November 17.

On December 4, 2013, both Grenseman and Jimenez were “walked off the job” and told that they were under investigation and being put on administrative leave. Jimenez was subsequently fired on July 2, and Grenseman retired June 5 — two hours before he would have been fired. During their time on administrative leave, the county paid Grenseman and Jimenez approximately $60,000 combined to sit at home.

Jimenez’ and Grenseman’s case against the county starts a few months after Jimenez was hired to revamp Tulare County Animal Control’s image. In 2013, Animal Control took in 9,000 animals but only adopted out 700, which is well below a 10% survival rate. Within California, Tulare County Animal Control is considered a “kill shelter.” This is not news to the county, and it has tried different strategies to increase the adoption rate. Grenseman’s first boss felt strongly that the county ought to do something for these animals other than simply put them down. One of those strategies included hiring Michelle Shanley to help the county decrease the kill rate.

Shanley was in an uphill battle because county protocols had to be followed. The shelter can only keep an animal for six days before it is euthanized, a fate that befell many a Mooney Grove cat. But if the animal had a sniffle or cough, they could be euthanized immediately to halt the spread of disease throughout the facility. Once the dog or cat was tagged to be put down, the animal was injected with pentobarbital, their remains incinerated and then put in the garbage.

Shanley and her partner, who also worked for Animal Control, didn’t feel as though they had the support they needed to change the culture of killing, so they took another job in Fresno that did support their ideas. In March of 2013, Julia Jimenez was hired to replace Shanley, in what Jimenez considered her dream job. A panel of Tulare County supervisors–a panel including Grenseman–interviewed Jimenez and decided she was the right person for the job. The panel decided to set a first year goal of raising the adoption rate from 700 to 1,000 animals. Grenseman, Jimenez’ direct boss, said, “Julia was the best employee I’ve ever had in terms of dedication to her job and her passion to save the animals. She went above and beyond the call of duty and had the skills and abilities to lower the kill rates in Tulare County. She was well on her way of reaching the county’s goals.”

But Jimenez’ attempts to change the culture from euthanizing to adoption caused friction inside Animal Control. More adoptions meant more work. When the animal population increases, the enclosures need to be cleaned morning and night and not just once a day. More vaccinations and feedings need to be done, and the animals have to be handled more often because of the increase in off-site adoption clinics. There is also paperwork involved in an adoption that is not required when an animal is euthanized.

In retaliation to Jimenez’ efforts, coworkers allegedly created a hostile work environment, which towards the end, made Jimenez physically ill. Jimenez was suddenly being accused of shooting heroin, exposing her breasts and stealing from Petco during adoption events. Her coworkers allegedly made continual comments about her breasts, attempting to touch them. They allegedly created a fake Facebook page to send false messages to her acquaintances, and showed up at her house to bang on her door making threats of bodily injury. Two of her coworkers allegedly sent defamatory letters out to the community claiming that Jimenez was of unchaste character.

The initial complaint and many of the allegations leveled against Jimenez and Grenseman originate from a coworker who had motive to retaliate against Jimenez. The husband of this coworker was prosecuted and sentenced to a state prison for his role in committing arson. During the course of the arson, Jimenez’s husband, who is a Tulare County fire fighter, responded to the fire and was injured. The coworker’s husband was consequently arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced, and sent to jail. The coworker became aware of the fact that Jimenez was married to the firefighter who was injured and blames him for her husband’s arrest. The coworker herself was allegedly involved in the arson, by driving her husband to and from the scene of the fire. Jimenez alleges in the suit that the coworker coordinated a plan to harass her to the point of driving her from her employment.

After Grenseman was made aware of the workplace violations as written in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), he had a series of three meetings with Lutz, his superior. What disturbed Grenseman the most was the unnatural amount of venom directed at Jimenez by Lutz. There were things that Jimenez was doing that Lutz did not approve of, but they were so minor that they didn’t merit the anger or yelling. During one of the meetings, Grenseman reported that Lutz referred to Jimenez as “that Mexican woman” and declared that she will “never be promoted.” Lutz is being named in the suit for the racial/ethnic harassment.

‘A Toxic Work Environment’

According to attorney Marguerite Melo, “Whenever a county lawsuit comes up, everybody is having sex with everyone else.” A similar strain of behavior emerged when researching the Mooney Grove cat article in December of 2013. What started as a quaint story about a little old man feeding cats in the park took an unsavory turn of restraining orders, affairs, hunting parties and unjustified firings. I asked John Sarsfield, one of the lawyers on the case, why county employees are seemingly so out of control. He said that it starts at the top and that the county is not enforcing its own personnel policies.

According to the suit filed with Tulare County Superior Court, “Additionally, it became public knowledge among the workers at the animal shelter that Defendant xxxxxx had performed oral copulation on a fellow co-worker in the rear of a county-owned Animal Control vehicle following a “round up” of animals. These sexual activities taking place in county vehicles and at the animal shelter by some workers were often discussed during work hours at the animal shelter. Plaintiff Jimenez did not join or participate in these discussions and was uncomfortable in hearing these matters being discussed in such a common-place manner, adding to the hostile work environment.”

Ironically, the same co-worker who sent defamatory letters accusing Jimenez of unchaste character was herself giving blowjobs in the back of the animal control vehicle.

Grenseman an Honored Member of U.S. Military

Grenseman is an honored member of our United States military. He was on the ground floor of developing a system of warfare simulation that was used during Desert Storm. According to Grenseman, the invasion of Kuwait actually went better than the computer models projected, and the military credits this modeling system for Desert Storm’s huge success. Grenseman received a Navy commendation medal for his work. He was also awarded a meritorious service medal for his body of work in the military and received a letter of appreciation from President Bill Clinton. He gave our country 25 years of service then gave Tulare County 13 more years of service where he was regularly commended for his good work. On September 16, Cheryl Duerksen, the Director of HHSA, wrote a letter of recommendation for Grenseman saying, “In all matter related to his work, Mr. Grenseman brings a keen intellect, sound judgment, well-articulated ethical principles, and unwavering commitment to public service, Peers, staff and the community welcome his participation across events and consistently seek out his input, assistance and expertise.”
On December 4, 2013, two HHSA officers showed up at Tulare County Animal Control. They marched Grenseman into his office, told him to gather a few of his personal things, then in front of all his subordinates, on either side of him, marched him out to his car. According to the suit, “being ‘walked off’ is a procedure designed to humiliate an employee by publicly relieving them of their duties, and escorting them out of the worksite, for all to see the spectacle. On information and belief, the order to ‘walk off’ Plaintiff Grenseman was given by Defendant Lutz. There was no legitimate reason to exercise this procedure on Plaintiff Grenseman. Following the ‘walk off’, Plaintiff Grenseman was placed on administrative time off (ATO).”

Grenseman was told that he was being escorted off of the premise “to ensure the integrity of the investigation.” He would not find out why he was under investigation until several months later, and after many distressing encounters with county staff. When he did find out, according to Grenseman, he saw that the county didn’t have a shred of evidence against him and the bulk of allegations originate from a disgruntled employee whose husband is sitting in prison for arson.

Following the humiliation of the walk off, being under investigation and put on administrative leave, Grenseman suffered a heart attack a week later.

It is still unknown why the county felt that Grenseman posed such a threat that he needed to be escorted off of county property, especially in light of the fact that, just two months prior, he was considered a model employee. Jimenez, who was also “walked off,” had several letters of commendation about her work ethic and passion for animal–but her personal files were confiscated by the county when she was put on administrative leave. They have not been returned.

Grenseman and Jimenez are suing the county for loss of income, defamation and failure to enforce the Federal Employment and Housing Authority’s rules on sexual/racial/ethnic harassment. They are also suing for compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages. The court date is set for May 10, 2015 and assigned to Bret Hillman’s courtroom.

The Valley Voice did not solicit comment from the county for this article. A follow-up article will appear after the county has responded to the allegations. The Valley Voice will not name the four other defendants in this suit until the county responds.

25 thoughts on “Tulare County Sued by Former Animal Control Employees

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  1. This article is not surprising to me at all. It makes me sick how corrupt Tulare County really is. So much information has been coming out about the county, such as the sheriffs dept and the DA’s office.

    It appears these employees, Jimenez and Grenseman, are exemplary and what a loss it was when they were unjustly fired to the people of Tulare County. This horrible “supervisor” and (blow job queen) co worker that harassed these employees Jimenez and Grenseman, should be arrested just like her husband was for arson.

    It seem as though the plaintiffs were a positive influence to the shelter and this is what is needed to save these poor little animals and give them a chance to be adopted out instead of killing them so quickly.

    The (blow job queen) needs to think of the animals within the shelter instead of the next blow job she gonna give.

    Someone needs to clean out the bad apples in all the Tulare county offices such as the shelter, the sheriffs dept and the district attorneys office. Unfortunately after the clean out, all the office would be closed due to lack of staff because it seems we have more corrupt Tulare county employees then we have honest employees.

    I have to give a lot of praise to the law office of Melo and Sarsfield because they seem to be starting the well needed cleaning out Tulare County crook employees and seem to be for the better of Tulare County in general. I did a little investigating myself and found this law firm just won another law suit against the Sheriffs Dept in Tulare County regarding discrimination and harassment allegations which were deemed to be true. The interim sheriff needs to be “let go” as well. He is so corrupt and to many people are to far up his butt to see.

    The animal shelter has a big fight to fight if their going against this law firm. The shelter deserves everything their going to get! These two plaintiffs are doing the right thing coming for. I applaud them and stand behind them fully. Good for you Jimenez and Grenseman!

    • You need to get your facts right before you comment on a one sided article. The county was justified in firing these two. If only they had done it sooner the Animal Control shelter would be better off

  2. It sounds like Lutz and his HHSA gang were running a puppy Auschwitz and brothel. No doubt they will all get raises this year from Phil and the boys.

  3. The shelter is better off without these two. I know that for a FACT!! Julia would rather go shopping than call animal rescues. Yes, Paul is a decorated Veteran but that negates the fact that he played favorites and was a crappy boss. Get your facts right before you Judge people!!!

  4. This is without a doubt a smear article considering the source I think Catherine Doe is the one in fact giving blowjobs In cars because anybody with half a brain knows Julia Jimenez would drive the county vehicle and go and get drink hell look at the interview online for the candy cane parade of her she is tipsy as shit, also it is know fact in that Julia Jimenez is a old whore who tries to act young and get attention buy showing her tits to everyone

    • The source was a legal brief prepared on behalf of the plaintiffs by their attorneys, and will be a public document once filed.

      • Exactly, it was prepared by Julia and Pauls attorney. If anything they owe the county money for not doing their jobs like they were hired to do. The only victim here is the animals that died because Julia decided to shopping and Paul just wanted to make Julia happy. I hope the county countersues theses Idiots.

  5. This is bush league reporting It is sad and pathetic that clearly this article is out to make two people look good in the court of public opinion. The is without a doubt a article written by Juila or Pauls family or friends to make them look like heros. the valley voice has become the Inquirer of news reporting

    • The article strictly reports the contents of a brief prepared by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, and it is not the author’s intention to paint the plaintiffs in any kind of light at all. In fact, they were unknown to the author before the article was written. When the county responds, the Valley Voice will report on that–and will leave its readers to their own opinions.

          • “BJ Queen” did not appear in the article. This is unbiased reporting. As you must be aware, the plaintiffs will look less than rosy when the county responds. The Valley Voice will cover this, too.

  6. Are any of us shocked by some of these bizarre reports? These rumors have been swirling for years. It looks as if Lutz is embroiled in a snow balling sex scandal leaving many to ask, just who is in charge.

  7. As for myself, and no one has to agree with me, but the Valley Voice is the only source of the most honest journalism I continue to read. The Valley Voice reports the news and leaves it up to the readers to do their own research. I have never read an article where they have based their personal opinion. This is true journalism. The Valley Voice does not select, reject, or supports allegations, rumors, or accusations, it simply reports them. To the Valley Voice, you just keep doing what you do best, REPORT THE NEWS, you’re doing a great job. I would love to see a weekly subcription.

    • I don’t understand people. They want to complain but not help fix the problem. Tulare county Animal Control follows the same protocol as does the SPCA. You don’t like animals being euthanized then volunteer to foster or help contact rescues. Animal overpopulation is a problem that the public has a problem addressing. As far as this article, it’s a bunch of garbage. Julia Jimenez and Paul Grensmen are trying to take more money from Tulare County. They were paid to sit on their rear ends but ultimately were let go because they didn’t do their jobs. Don’t pat them anymore money!!!

  8. While it would appear this case is Blow Job-Gate, there is a connected case regarding a William Fabricius involved. Grenseman was involved in testifying in that animal shelter case and he was definitely frightened with being called to testify. From a lawyer standpoint he was a possible risk to the county as he was wiggins out and might give up the fact that the county and recently charged Judge Saucedo directed a flagrant attack on Fabricius. Shortly after he was wiggling out in the sham hearings provided to Fabricius, Grenseman was fired. The entire Fabricius matter is well documented as the complete travesty that it is — county was paying the “judges” in that case and was caught doing it. I and several others witnessed that fake hearing process which is public record.

  9. Also, with regard to the third paragraph from the bottom as follows:

    “It is still unknown why the county felt that Grenseman posed such a threat that he needed to be escorted off of county property, especially in light of the fact that, just two months prior, he was considered a model employee.”

    Well there’s an explanation for why he was “such a threat”. See post #18 at the following Topix blog:
    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/visalia-ca/TQK1S7VE820FGC1FB

    Quoted below, to whit:

    “#18 Nov 26, 2013
    How insidious can you get. The flagrant attack on Mr. Fabricius’ ranch and subsequent attempts to cover it up with a fake judge just didn’t work this time. This time in front of even more witnesses. What County Counsel and operatives at the superior court did to Mr. Fabricius through Animal Control was Stygian. Over twenty dogs murdered and puppies confiscated as “vicious”. Really?

    County Counsel and certain superior court judges are involved in targeting people outside their family law cases for Standing up to the case-fixing in Tulare County. Rather reminiscent of the Fox v. County of Tulare case, wouldn’t you say?
    ( http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/c… )

    Then there’s the Pierce v. Arreola case and mind-boggling examples of the court and County Counsel’s manipulation there.

    Tulare County Superior Court has already been described by a Harvard Law Professor as corrupt:

    “The record of the trial court’s negligence, legal incompetence and, indeed, blatant partiality… is simply shocking. There is strong evidence of the judge’s ignorance of the law or the role of a court in family law actions. So serious was the miscarriage of justice that the judge sitting on the case was removed and replaced…. In a word, the case is a sad narrative of a wealthy spouse working with a corrupt court to simply gang up on the spouse and spend her out of court.” (Bassett on California Community Property Law, 2012 ed., p.
    1186-1187; emphasis added.)

    How much more is it going to take before the public starts sitting up and realizing what’s in front of everyone. Tulare County Superior Court, through County Counsel, is fixing cases before the court and attacking those who threaten to whistleblow on it.

    Well County Counsel just got caught AGAIN. Manipulation in the Fox v. Rogers case, Fabricius v. Fabricius case, the Pierce v. Arreola case, and many, many others — the list just keeps on piling up.

    Animal Control guy was so nervous outside that hearing he actually asked me if I needed to pee. He needed to pee and it was obvious. You guys are busted!”

    Apparently the County was running some kind of fraudulent “Animals for Cash” “ROUNDUP” against William Fabricius, when certain of its Animal Control officers was panicking outside a subsequent hearing on that issue — had to get rid of him most likely.

    Makes one wonder if the authority for the “roundup” was as ephemeral as what Wendy Jones discovered in her case.
    http://www.ourvalleyvoice.com/2015/01/15/trouble-tulare-county-animal-control/

    In my own assessment, Paul was likely fired to assist the County in covering up the fact that Tulare County Animal Shelter is in the habit of nabbing animals from folks without proper authority and for some kind of mill scheme.

  10. Also, with regard to the third paragraph from the bottom as follows:
    “It is still unknown why the county felt that Grenseman posed such a threat that he needed to be escorted off of county property, especially in light of the fact that, just two months prior, he was considered a model employee.”
    Well there’s an explanation for why he was “such a threat”. See post #18 at the following Topix blog:
    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/visalia-ca/TQK1S7VE820FGC1FB
    Quoted below, to whit:
    “#18 Nov 26, 2013
    How insidious can you get. The flagrant attack on Mr. Fabricius’ ranch and subsequent attempts to cover it up with a fake judge just didn’t work this time. This time in front of even more witnesses. What County Counsel and operatives at the superior court did to Mr. Fabricius through Animal Control was Stygian. Over twenty dogs murdered and puppies confiscated as “vicious”. Really?
    County Counsel and certain superior court judges are involved in targeting people outside their family law cases for Standing up to the case-fixing in Tulare County. Rather reminiscent of the Fox v. County of Tulare case, wouldn’t you say?
    ( http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/c… )
    Then there’s the Pierce v. Arreola case and mind-boggling examples of the court and County Counsel’s manipulation there.
    Tulare County Superior Court has already been described by a Harvard Law Professor as corrupt:
    “The record of the trial court’s negligence, legal incompetence and, indeed, blatant partiality… is simply shocking. There is strong evidence of the judge’s ignorance of the law or the role of a court in family law actions. So serious was the miscarriage of justice that the judge sitting on the case was removed and replaced…. In a word, the case is a sad narrative of a wealthy spouse working with a corrupt court to simply gang up on the spouse and spend her out of court.” (Bassett on California Community Property Law, 2012 ed., p.
    1186-1187; emphasis added.)
    How much more is it going to take before the public starts sitting up and realizing what’s in front of everyone. Tulare County Superior Court, through County Counsel, is fixing cases before the court and attacking those who threaten to whistleblow on it.
    Well County Counsel just got caught AGAIN. Manipulation in the Fox v. Rogers case, Fabricius v. Fabricius case, the Pierce v. Arreola case, and many, many others — the list just keeps on piling up.
    Animal Control guy was so nervous outside that hearing he actually asked me if I needed to pee. He needed to pee and it was obvious. You guys are busted!”
    Apparently the County was running some kind of fraudulent “Animals for Cash” “ROUNDUP” against William Fabricius, when certain of its Animal Control officers was panicking outside a subsequent hearing on that issue — had to get rid of him most likely.
    Makes one wonder if the authority for the “roundup” was as ephemeral as what Wendy Jones discovered in her case.
    http://www.ourvalleyvoice.com/2015/01/15/trouble-tulare-county-animal-control/
    In my own assessment, Paul was likely fired to assist the County in covering up the fact that Tulare County Animal Shelter is in the habit of nabbing animals from folks without proper authority and for some kind of mill scheme.

  11. It is very sad, that the true victims are the animals and they are paying the price. Julia Jimenez is very guilty of all she is accused of. Using the county vehicles to commit adultery and bar hop and operate the vehicle well intoxicated. I saw many pictures. Also she would steal from Petco, I saw many of the items including bags of dog food, beds, collars and etc…. She would also take naked pictures of herself and send to married men and stalk men and their wives. By no means is she the victim!!! She is very guilty and U.S. Looking for an easy payout. She is a scam artist, home wrecker and theif. Well said by a previous comment , ” Julia is an old lady whore”. Hope justice is served

  12. I think the ones who comment negatively and in my opinion very ugly about the people in this article are either the ones behind the work abuse or are people of a lower class who would rather speak in an uneducated and distasteful manner.im sure the reporter did alot of research making this statement. My advice to those with ugly responses, get an education and learn to be classy and not attention whores.

  13. If you want to give advice, give it to the “so called victim”. And the only attention whore is the whore herself, Julia. The facts are is that she is a thief and a liar. The so called “fake” Facebook just spoke the truth about her. She will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. Sleep with married men, steal, lie and so on. The filthy pictures of her and her body parts show her true character. It’s sad that she is trying to get money and playing the victim for something she IS guilty for. Either way justice will prevail and the truth always comes out. So get YOUR facts straight, because there is proof to this matter.

  14. It is clear to me that the “anonymous” poster on this thread is commenting with resentment towards Jimenez. I cannot speak on behalf of Julia but as a former employee of Grenseman, I can honestly say he was the best boss that I had. Additionally, he was fair, honest, and did his job with integrity.

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