The city of Lodi’s animal shelter was busy this year, as nearly 1,400 stray cats and dogs were brought in by residents and nearly 300 were caught by animal control officers.
Jennifer Bender, the city’s Animal Services Department director, presented shelter statistics to the Animal Advisory Commission at its Jan. 13 meeting. In all, 927, dogs and 818 cats had been either captured by animal control officers or brought to the city’s animal shelter by residents, located at 1345 W. Kettleman Lane, last year.
There were 2,476 calls for officer assistance, resulting in 227 stray dogs and 47 stray cats being caught by officers.
Many people, however, took it upon themselves to bring the animals to the shelter.
Bender said 661 stray dogs were brought to the shelter in 2013, along with 731 stray cats.
People Assisting the Lodi Animal Shelter, commonly known as PALS, placed eight dogs and 91 cats from their organization into the shelter.
Bender said 314 dogs and 157 cats were adopted either through PALS or the Lodi shelter.
In addition to strays, the shelter received 30 cats and 30 dogs dropped off by owners who could not care for them any longer.
“This doesn’t happen often because our shelter is so small and we need to have room for the strays to come in,” Bender said. “Shelters are state-mandated to take in strays, but not to take in owner releases.”
There were other animals euthanized due to space or an inability for animal services to treat them.
Bender said 25 adoptable dogs and 110 treatable dogs were euthanized last year. There were 129 dogs euthanized that could not be rehabilitated, she said.
In all, 248, dogs were euthanized in 2013, or 28 percent of the dogs the shelter held.
Similarly, 23 adoptable cats were euthanized, as were 159 treatable ones. Some 301 cats that could not be rehabilitated were euthanized, along with 96 ferals.
That means 558 cats, or 71 percent of the cats the shelter housed last year, were euthanized.
The euthanization rate for dogs is up from 24 percent of the shelter’s population in 2012, yet the number of cats euthanized is down from 80 percent in 2012.
Some 228 dogs and 730 cats were euthanized at the shelter in 2012.
Nine dogs were euthanized at the request of their owners, as were 10 cats, Bender said.
She explained that adoptable animals are those that have no medical or behavior problems and are euthanized because of space issues. Treatable animals are those that have medical or behavior problems. Non-rehabilitated animals are those that have major medical or behavioral issues which do not pass staff evaluation.
She added that not all treatable animals are euthanized, and animal services tries its best to give them treatments, as well as administer behavior training to many of them before the decision is made to euthanize.
Bender said the increase in the number of dogs coming to the shelter is due to bite cases.
“(The increase in) dogs coming in is due to us quarantining the bite cases at the shelter instead of at the owner’s home,” she said. “Owners are now not wanting to keep their dogs once they have bitten.”
In addition, Bender said that when some families or owners lose their home, they can’t afford to keep their dogs and leave them with the shelter.
Conversely, she said fewer cats are coming into the shelter because more owners are spaying and neutering their animals before they have litters.
While hundreds of cats and dogs were brought into the shelter last year, several were transferred to other organizations like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Sacramento, or purebred rescue groups.
According to Bender’s statistics, 92 dogs and 25 cats were transferred to other non-profit organizations for adoption.
In addition, 235, dogs were reclaimed by their owners after they had been impounded at the shelter. Some 25 cats were picked up by their owners throughout the year.
Statistics were roughly the same as in 2012, as 935 dogs were either brought to the shelter by residents or caught by animal control officers. There were about 917 cats in the shelter that year.
There were also more calls for service that year at 2,601.
About 333 dogs and 185 cats were adopted from the shelter in 2012, while 136 dogs and 29 cats were transferred to other non-profits for adoption.
Not only does the city’s animal shelter accept animals and adopt them out, but they also provide spay, neuter and rabies vouchers to low-income residents.
The vouchers are available through a federally funded community development block grant awarded to the city.
There are feral vouchers residents can use for wild cats on Lodi’s Eastside, and vouchers for those who want to spay and neuter their own “friendly” indoor/outdoor cats. There are also vouchers for residents who want to neuter their pit bulls or pit bull mixes.
Residents must present two forms of identification at the shelter to fill out voucher forms. They can then take the vouchers to one of seven participating veterinarians in Lodi.
Bender said 238 vouchers were given out for feral cats, and 221 were given out for non-ferals in 2013. There were 58 vouchers given to neuter pit bulls and mixes as well.
Voucher statistics are slightly lower from 2012, when 242 were given for feral cats and 315 were given for friendly cats. There were 54 vouchers given for pitbulls and mixes.
For more information about the vouchers, visit www.lodi.gov/animalservices/spay_neuter.html.
You can view the city’s animal shelter statistics from 2011 through 2103 at www.lodi.gov/animalservices/statistics.html.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.