The Lodi Animal Shelter has been named the best shelter in San Joaquin County, according to a recent countywide study. In 2012, the shelter had the lowest euthanasia rates and highest adoption rates of any other shelter in the county.
"It's a really great feeling knowing all our hard work, all of us working together, means something," said Jennifer Bender, Animal Services supervisor for the Lodi Police Department.
The Lodi shelter is all-purpose, explained Bender. That means shelter employees pick up dogs and cats on calls from residents, intake each one into the kennels, run the animals through health and behavioral screenings, and care for them as long as possible.
"Our main focus is to get these animals adopted out into their forever homes," Bender said.
State law requires each animal to stay at the shelter for 72 hours. They are adoptable on the fifth day after intake, if the dog or cat is healthy and behaves well.
But there's no limit on how long the animal can stay.
"We do not set a time. It's on a case-by-case basis," said Bender. "Some dogs have been here for a couple of months."
Springtime means a lot of pregnant cats and new kittens, while fall tends to bring in more dogs and puppies.
When the shelter gets too full, Bender and her employees put out calls to their helpers. That includes purebred rescue groups in the area, other nonprofit shelters and People Assisting the Lodi Shelter, an association that fosters animals and helps find them homes.
PALS was co- founded in 2004 by Daunis Bradshaw to pay for medical care for shelter animals. Through donations, they pay for vaccinations, microchipping and special surgeries for shelter cats and dogs, PALS director and co-founder Nancy Alumbaugh said.
"It's so nice when all the organizations can work together to help us out with overcrowding," Bender said.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.