So how is it, if so many animals are killed at Stockton Animal Services, that we’re able to rescue these sick dogs? If Stockton really kills on intake with the excuse that animals are sick, how come there are dogs with demodex there to rescue? Why weren’t they killed on intake? How is it that any animal is there more than its stray hold period?
Well, I’ll tell you…
About 80% of those animals that are killed on intake are turned in “over the counter.” That could mean that the owner really did surrender them. It could also mean a neighbor turned them in. It could mean that a family member turned in the animal without the owner’s knowledge. In a Los Angeles lawsuit, it was the mother of a foster, and the dogs that were killed actually belonged to a rescue. It could be the abusive partner of the animal’s owner, as animals are frequently the victims of domestic abuse. When pounds kill on intake, they not only break the law, but they also help abusers.
The person turning in the animal is not necessarily the owner. It could even be a stranger who found the dog or cat and thought they were doing the right thing bringing it to the “shelter” where the owner would have a chance to find it. The state requires a holding period for almost every animal precisely because animals turned in as owner-surrenders are sometimes turned in by people who aren’t actually the owners.
Stockton gives those turning in an animal over-the-counter a TIBO (turned in by owner) form. I don’t know if they give one to everyone turning in an animal. They know me, so I have forever missed my chance to see how the general public experiences the Stockton pound. But the form has several boxes that the person checks off, and one of those gives the pound the authority to kill that animal. It’s not phrased quite like that, but that’s the intention. It’s not legal, though, and this has been tested in court, as explained here: http://centralcaliforniapetsalive.org/OwnerSurrenderNote.html
The pound that is killing on intake has never had that practice upheld as lawful in court.
The upshot is that animals brought in as strays by Animal Control Officers have a better chance of getting out alive than those turned in over-the-counter, even if they do come in sick. They are unlikely to get any veterinary treatment if they come in sick (another violation of the law) but their chances are marginally better.
But every animal, and every pet owner, and every community deserves a real shelter, a place that follows the law and tries to save lives.