STOCKTON, CA - Policy changes were enforced at the Stockton Animal Shelter after a police investigation found that some procedures were not following the law.
Earlier this year, police began their investigation into the shelter after multiple complaints reported that the shelter's procedures did not give people the opportunity to adopt the animals, Officer Joe Silva said.
Shelter director Pat Claerbout came under fire after documents showed that the shelter euthanized 971 animals in one month. Several months later, other documents showed that 515 animals were euthanized between September and November 2011 on the very same day they were brought in.
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"The department found that some of the policies and procedures in effect at the shelter, although meeting the spirit of the law, have not always met the precise letter of the law," Silva said.
Two of the policy changes aim to balance the complaints filed against the shelter:
- To increase the number of adoptions at the shelter, (a) the shelter will now be open on Saturdays from Noon to 4 p.m. and (b) any animal brought to the shelter will be held for at least 72 hours unless a veterinarian determines the animal is too ill or too injured, an animal is not weaned and its mother is not impounded or the police have documented the animal as vicious or dangerous.
- The shelter's computer system will be upgraded so shelter staff can input and retrieve required information concerning animals brought to the shelter.
The City of Stockton plans to continue discussions with San Joaquin County and other organizations so that the shelter can work together with the other agencies.
Silva said there will be more changes at the shelter moving forward. The police department is also expected to suggest changes to city ordinances so the shelter can better comply with state laws.
"This will be an on-going endeavor," Silva said.
Police also investigated employees at the shelter, but did not reveal any details because city personnel information is confidential.