Last month, a couple whose dog had been impounded by the Stockton pound in CA spoke to the city council about their experience. Their microchipped, neutered, vaccinated dog had escaped through a gate accidentally left open in their yard. When the owners, both newly unemployed, tried to reclaim their pet, the Stockton pound demanded $180. The owners couldn’t come up with the entire fee so offered a partial payment and a promise to pay the balance in installments. The pound refused, leaving the crying owners no other option but to beg for their beloved family member’s life. Stockton killed their pet.
As might be expected, this is not an isolated incident at the Stockton pound:
A review of 2013 documents found instances in which seven dogs belonging to five people were euthanized because the owners could not immediately afford to pay impound fees.
The Stockton pound is no stranger to controversy. Mayor Anthony Silva put together a citizen commission to examine allegations of wrongdoing at the facility one year ago. The group has been trying to present its findings since January but have yet to be allowed to speak at a city meeting.
Now local advocates have teamed up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and filed suit against the Stockton pound. Using a year’s worth of pound documents obtained via public records requests, the plaintiffs in the suit allege:
- Stockton killed more than 1500 cats and dogs during their legally mandated holding periods.
- The pound kills owned pets without making meaningful efforts to return the animals to their owners. One case involved a dog who was killed because the owners couldn’t speak English.
- Pets who are medically hopeless and suffering are forced to linger in their cages for days before being euthanized.
ALDF attorney Jenni James says no money is being sought in the suit:
“Our request is very simple,” James said. “We’re asking the court to demand that the city of Stockton follow its own laws, and for the city of Stockton to acknowledge that the laws it passed apply to the shelter.”
The pound’s director went the predictable route in response to the lawsuit:
The city of Stockton said it cannot comment on the lawsuit and neither can the Animal Services director — but she did say the shelter does the best it can for the animals.
“People who come here see the impact and how many dogs come into the shelter,” Animal Services Supervisor Pat Claerbout said. “It’s extremely limited, and we can’t keep every animal.”
We’re doing the best we can. We can’t keep them all. Ergo, the law doesn’t apply to us and if your broke ass can’t come up with the ransom to bail your pet out of our kill factory, sux being you.
(Thanks Clarice and Eileen for the links.)