Who would choose to kill a treatable dog when there was someone who wanted to save him? Pat Claerbout and the high-kill Stockton pound, that’s who.
On April 22, 2013, five months into the Memorandum of Understanding between Stockton and the San Francisco SPCA, a concerned member of the public brought a German shepherd with mange to Stockton Animal Services. The note does not report the conversation between the person who found the dog (the R/P) and the Animal Services staffer (ZB), but it’s likely the staff member told the R/P that the dog would be killed, because the R/P left with the dog, taking him to the vet and paying for it himself. When the veterinarian said he couldn’t board the dog for the duration of treatment for mange, the R/P brought the dog back to the pound.
He asked Stockton Animal Services to work with him to help the dog. He offered to pay. He also said he would like to possibly keep and treat the dog but he was concerned about his own dogs catching it and about his pregnant wife. No one bothered to tell him demodectic mange is not contagious. No one did anything to save this treatable dog. At every decision point, everyone at Stockton Animal Services took the path that leads to death.
From the notes on this dog’s record, it appears that no one at Stockton Animal Services took any of the following actions to save the dog:
1. No one told the owner that mange is not contagious. It would not have cost Animal Services anything to give a concerned member of the public the one piece of information that might have allayed his fears and helped him save a life.
2. No one called a rescue and told them that someone was offering to pay the cost of treatment if they would save the dog.
3. No one asked the San Francisco SPCA for its expert advice about how to save this dog, even though the purpose of the MOU is to improve outcomes for animals, the SF SPCA has a well-funded veterinary hospital, and the leader of the partnership from the SF SPCA end is their Director of Shelter Medicine, Dr. Kate Kuzminski. Then again, Kuzminski has a record of recommending killing with rescue available.
Stockton Animal Services probably could have saved that dog at no cost to the taxpayers. NONE of the actions above would have cost Stockton anything, and all could have been done even in Stockton’s current state of mismanagement, with barely any fosters or volunteers. Mange—even severe mange with secondary infections—is treatable, as shown by Speranza, Xena, Siousxie, Fiona, Angel, Luna, Wilbur, Charlie, Jack, Janet, Cindy and Sadie (all rescued by me or Pups Rescue with varying degrees of opposition by Stockton Animal Services). But you have to choose lifesaving over killing.
Furthermore, the note that an unnamed vet gave approval for killing a treatable dog before the end of his hold period tells me everything I need to know about the callousness and complete disregard for law and life of everyone in charge of that abysmal hellhole.
I personally have rescued dogs with severe demodex and secondary infections (one of them snoozes on the bed as I write this), and so has Pups Rescue. Generous people in and well beyond Stockton have fostered and/or adopted them, and we know that these dogs can be saved, deserve to be saved, and bring great joy and satisfaction to the people who save them.
But even with evidence of dogs with severe demodex rescued, treated, and adopted, and even with someone who wanted to save A196802, Stockton just chose killing.
Even if you don’t believe it is possible to save every healthy and treatable animal, it is inexcusable to choose to kill when there are such easy lifesaving alternatives available. Pat Claerbout, Animal Protection League, and the San Francisco SPCA need to go. Stockton needs a Compassionate Director and the No Kill Equation now.