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Investigation Finds Laws Broken At High-Kill Animal Shelter

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Maria Medina Maria Medina
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STOCKTON (CBS13) – A months-long investigation into the Stockton Animal Shelter finds laws were broken, but the Stockton Police Department says it’s standing by the shelter’s leader.

The police investigation may be over, but some vow the fight is just beginning.

What was allegedly going on behind the animal shelter walls has left many people sick and angry. Thousands of dogs and cats were killed by mistake or in violation of state law, and the blame was put on the woman in charge.

“I really don’t think that Pat Claerbout should be working with animals,” said Eileen McFall, at California Pets Alive.

This animal advocate’s mission is to shed light on the illegal practices at the Stockton Animal Shelter.

“I want Stockton to follow the law,” said McFall.

McFall accomplished that. One of her complaints launched the police department’s investigation into the shelter and its leader, Claerbout.

“I was really encouraged,” said McFall.

However, that investigation didn’t turn out the way McFall had predicted.

The Stockton Police “Department found that some of the policies and procedures…although meeting the spirit of the law, have not always met the precise letter of the law.”

The department says no laws were broken with malicious intent.

“I am frustrated. I am extremely angry, but I’m not surprised,” said McFall.

At least one rescue group says Claerbout and her staff would kill dogs and cats, despite promising they could adopt them.

Claerbout faced the same accusations at her last job as the Sacramento County Animal Shelter director.

In a video obtained exclusively by CBS13, Claerbout is seen holding down a dog as it gets a deadly shot. It was a dog scheduled for adoption the next day.

“At this point, I mean, we stand behind (Claerbout),” said Officer Joe Silva.

McFall says she won’t stop fighting until Claerbout is gone.

“Stockton has reaffirmed its commitment to an incompetent criminal employee and a high-kill shelter,” said McFall.

Although the investigation found laws were broken at the shelter, the police department refused to say whether Claerbout or other employees face any disciplinary action, because it’s a personnel matter.

Police say they’ve made changes at the shelter, including opening on Saturdays so more pets can be adopted, holding animals for 72 hours before they can be put down, and upgrading the shelter’s computer system to better track animals.

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