“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.” –Robert F. Kennedy
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been contacted by employees and rescues with stories of the callous cruelty, stubborn reliance on killing, and culture of intimidation that are the core features of Stockton Animal Services under Pat Claerbout. None have come forward. None have spoken up publicly. And Claerbout, if you only interact with her once in a while, or if you are not questioning her actions, can come across as a reasonable person. She’s gotten away with breaking the law as long as she has because she doesn’t appear to be someone who chooses to kill instead of to save animals, and of course, most people cannot fathom that someone who works in a “shelter” would choose to kill.
Stockton Police Department investigated the charges of unlawful killing, acknowledged that laws had been broken, and kept the outlaw in her position. More employees and rescues called me with concerns, but still, none has spoken out publicly.
Employees, rescues, veterinary community, every resident of Stockton and San Joaquin, everyone who has access to the evidence and is still silent: the longer you are silent, the more animals suffer and die. This dog, A193487, was impounded three months after the end of the police department investigation and supposed reforms, two months after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Stockton and the San Francisco SPCA. She was taken to a veterinarian, Dr. Song, who, as indicated by her record, diagnosed but did not treat her. Our public records request was for all treatment information, but there isn’t any for this dog. The record indicates Dr. Song diagnosed a leg broken in three places and a possible broken pelvis. There is no indication of pain medication, and the record indicates this dog was held in a kennel in the general population with no care whatsoever beyond a diagnosis, and then killed as soon as her stray hold was up.
Stockton and San Joaquin: this is your “shelter.” What are you going to do about it?