Behind the scenes of the Stockton Animal Shelter


By Shaquoya Jones

Most people think the City and County Animal Shelter, located on S. Lincoln Street in Stockton, is still a place where animals go to die. It’s likened to a dungeon.

But in recent years, the number of animals euthanized has decreased significantly, according to the shelter’s director Phillip Zimmerman.

“That 2012 32 percent of the animals leaving alive to now 82 percent of the animals making it into homes or going to a rescue,” he said.

Two organizations— the Animal Protection League and San Francisco SPCA  — are under the Stockton Animals shelter’s roof. Instead of a place of doom, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

A series of unfortunate events and a bad reputation are now beginning to change.

Since the shelter began partnership with San Francisco SPCA, the goal is to become a shelter that’s efficient, having more resources than ever before to ensure animal health, while also getting them into homes.

There’s currently about 20 full-time and part-time veterinarian technicians that work in the back of the shelter.

Spaying and neutering 20-30 dogs and cats a day doing the best to get the animals out of the shelter to keep up with more that come in.

Along with the Spaying/neutering trailer there’s also a treatment room stocked with medication to treat animals that come in that have been hit by cars to treating various skin infections like Demodex or ringworm.

It’s a complex and growing system that will often times leave staff working well into the late hours of the day. When a dog or a cat in rough shape comes in they will most likely run into Marcy, the Nursing supervisor, who oversees the medical cases at the shelter. She’s worked in Stockton for almost 20 years has taught and also worked in a day practice.

With the help of the Live Release Coordinator animals are being shipped to Washington, Canada and New York.

Staff and volunteers are coming together to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of the animals.

While also holding adoption events every weekend rain or shine to putting them into foster so that they can have a second chance. There’s not much that they won’t do to do their very best to save the lives of the animals.

Some days at the shelter are bleak.

Walking down the halls cages full sometimes there’s five small dogs in one kennel.

With no room to house the constant influx of strays, owner surrenders along with other cases.

It can be rough for staff members but instead of focusing on the darker parts of the job its important to keep in mind the purpose of it all. With heads held high the Stockton Animal Shelter staff continue to do what they can to improve the care of the animals and to get more of them into homes.

“The public’s perception of the shelter has been that its sort of like a dungeon,” said Marcy Burks the Nursing Supervisor at the shelter.

Most people don’t know that there is an entire team of people dedicated to a cause and they are working together.

Since 2013 San Francisco stepped in with a plan and that plan was to help Stockton Animal Shelter grow into self sustaining shelter.

That meant evaluating the animals properly before they go into homes, spaying/neutering, micro-chipping and vaccinating. With all of those things in head they began to hire more and more staff to fulfill the jobs and there purpose.

Since the January 2016 alone there has been over 2,000 animals that have gone out to rescue and more that have been adopted.

Inside the shelter

Stockmarket adoption event

Editor’s Note: Shaquoya Jones is the Adoption Specialist at the Stockton Animal Shelter.