Animal shelter helps community

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Even after a blossoming three years at Stockton’s animal shelter, Mayor Anthony Silva is still calling for reform.

Silva said he wants to “place a resolution on the next agenda supporting a new ‘Bill of Rights’ protecting local animals. Provides a minimum standard of care for dogs and cats sustaining injuries after our shelter closes on weekends or holidays,” in a public Facebook post in late Feb.

The animal shelter takes in about 11,600 animals per year.

Daily it takes in around 200 dogs and up to 100 cats.

“We’re all concerned about animals. There’s not anybody who works here that’s not concerned,” said Phillip Zimmerman, the animal services manager at the Stockton animal shelter. “But there’s that number I gave you … 11,600. We’re already full everyday. Now, we are thinking about possibly opening an intake 24 hours a day. That could create some unintended negative consequences that we may not want. So, while this has been suggested I think that it needs to definitely be taken a closer look at. The animal shelter needs to be involved and the SPCA needs to be involved in that because they are really what’s holding this place up here. And neither one of us have been involved in that conversation yet.”

Zimmerman has been at the shelter for about a year now and has seen it grow.

He said the San Francisco SPCA began aiding the shelter in 2012, and the shelter has been able to provide more quality care to Stockton’s animals since.

The shelter went from a 32 percent live release rate in 2012 to a current 82 percent rate.

“One of the things that’s been talked about is stray animals at night. I’m concerned about stray animals during the day and they’re all over this community. So we’re focusing on just at night, but what about during the day? What about those animals?” asked Zimmerman, “It’s a very divisive issue and we’re focusing on one aspect, where my responsibility is to focus on the entire population of animals in our community and we’re not. We’re focusing on nighttime, and I’m focusing on the daytime. We’re not even able to service all of those animals.”

Stockton is a large community that sees stray animals roaming on any given day. An animal shelter is vital to the animal’s survival.

“We do our best to rehome them. We spay and neuter them. So it’s more responsible. We microchip them. So I think that this place … has so many opportunity for animals. I know we get a lot of negativity but there’s so much positive stuff that happens here that people don’t hear about,” said Shaquoya Jones, a live-release assistant at the shelter.

The problem regarding service for animals while the shelter is closed has been voiced, but a solution has not.

“We need to work together as a community and involve all of the stakeholders from the city to the San Francisco SPCA to taxpayers to everybody. Not just a few key individuals,” said Zimmerman.