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Plan To Overhaul Troubled Stockton Animal Shelter Comes Under Fire

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STOCKTON (CBS13) – A recent police investigation into the Stockton Animal Shelter found laws broken by its own staff.

Now Stockton city officials are looking at making over the troubled department.

The proposal would combine the San Joaquin County Animal Control and Stockton City Animal Services. While a consultant hired by the city says it would improve services and bring down the high kill rate, not everyone is convinced.

“Taxpayer money is being used to break the law,” said Eileen McFall, an animal advocate.

McFall isn’t buying the proposal being sold as a way to keep more dogs and cats alive at the shelter.

“I’m not sure what problems they think this is going to alleviate,” said McFall.

The Animal Protection League (APL), hired as city consultants, says it’s come up with solutions that other shelters are already using successfully.

The already overwhelmed Stockton Police Department is currently overseeing the shelter. The APL is suggesting taking the police out of the equation and hiring a board to oversee operations.

It’s also proposing a team go door-to-door in Stockton to make sure pets are licensed. The hope is that’ll bring in $1 million alone.

“The police department doesn’t even respond to burglaries,” said McFall. “We’re going to be sending out city employees to go door-to-door all around Stockton, making people buy licenses for their pets, and that’s how we’re going to fund an animal shelter?”

The city desperately wants a change. Recently, the police department launched an investigation into the shelter’s practices, confirming laws were broken and animals were put down by mistake.

The APL says the goal is to become a service to the community and an affordable place to manage and adopt pets Instead of an agency trying to control pet owners.

“This city leadership has shown itself to be unable to exercise sound fiscal judgment regarding animal services, or anything else,” said McFall.

The Stockton city council is expected to talk about the proposal during the next city council meeting on Tuesday, but they’re not expected to vote on it.

If the council approves the proposal, the transition could happen by January.

The goal is to eventually build a new shelter that both San Joaquin County and the city of Stockton can use.

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