Conditions Improve for Stockton Animals After Animal Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit

Posted on June 9, 2015

Increased Adoption Rates, Decreased Killings, Increased Medical Care and Spay/Neuter

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF

dog-cc-lori.e.burleson-article-image-500pxSTOCKTON — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund and Stockton resident, Emily Ballus, have settled their lawsuit against the city of Stockton, California and Stockton Animal Services for violation of local and state laws. ALDF, Ms. Ballus, and others sued the city and shelter in March, 2014 citing an ongoing pattern of abuse and neglect within the shelter, and violations of the 1998 Hayden Act––a state law that mandates that shelters provide proper veterinary care by a licensed veterinarian along with adequate food, water, and exercise. The plaintiffs also charged the shelter with violating the California Public Records Act, which requires full disclosure of public records.

Improvements in the Stockton shelter’s practices became evident in the months immediately following the lawsuit’s filing. Overall adoptions in the first three quarters of 2014 increased 93% over the previous year’s figures. Spay-neuter procedures, which were the primary barrier to placement of the shelter’s adoptable animals, also increased 61%. And unintended animal deaths while in kennel decreased by 68%—276 fewer animals—partially as a result of the hiring of a shelter veterinarian and staff to provide medical care. Perhaps most encouragingly, multiple improvements including those stated above contributed to 2,487 fewer euthanized animals at the shelter during that timeframe—a decrease of 56% in just one year.

These statistics and others reflect the most significant improvements in the Stockton shelter’s history. In addition, ALDF was able to prevent the City of Stockton from amending its municipal code to default to the minimum 72-hour holding period for strays, and instead negotiated a bright-line, 5-day holding period, which is now the law in Stockton. “ALDF is pleased to see the city of Stockton, California and Stockton Animal Services make so many improvements,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “their rapid turnaround is still a work in progress, though, and more remains to be done to meet the full standards animals deserve under the Hayden Law.”

Copies of the complaint are available by request.

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7 thoughts on “Conditions Improve for Stockton Animals After Animal Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit

  1. Linda Webb says:

    Wonderful!! Good job!!

  2. Carrie says:

    Thank you for all you do to help our pets!

  3. Stormy says:

    Improved? Oh no it has NOT! Not at all! They took a dog on Saturday. By Monday they had already castrated him, chipped him, gave shots, and named him. There was no WAITING period for the rightful owners to come get him. And Sunday they are closed. The place should be shut down!

  4. Steve says:

    Stockton Municipal Code requires an arriving animal to be held for a minimum of six business days, not including the day of impoundment. California’s Hayden Act mandates the kind and humane treatment of shelter animals and that shelters provide proper veterinary care by a licensed veterinarian.

    My puppy (6 months) is a purebred well groomed all white husky show dog, wearing a brand new body harness (should of been a hint that it was a wanted dog) was taken in saturday afternoon (pound open for less than 4 hours) sunday closed… Monday open from 12-5

    I went in monday at 1145 and waited at the door hoping my dog was there, even tho the website said no, there front desk said no, there binders said no…. But i kept asking, Some woman said o he is in the back where you can’t go we are castrating him now… I said he better not be, You better stop it before it happens. her reply is we are doing you a favor you should be thanking us…

    by law I get 6 business days, not including the day it was brought in, I wasn’t even given one,

    they started castration before business day 1 even started…..

    They couldn’t even say sorry, or even show a hint of compassion, they still charged me 100 dollars for an illegal procedure… that ruined my dog.

    My dog has burns, scars, and came back to me covered in shit,

    Id like to talk to ALDF or a Lawyer who is knowledgeable in my rights and actions i can take

  5. Turi Kozel says:

    Thank you for making things happen!

  6. maite says:

    Does anyone respond to inquires?
    I have tried several times to connect with a
    staff member and I keep getting more numbers that only lead me to more numbers.
    I would like to address a subject that WILL
    require an investigation. Documentation is available and it is similar to your most recent case in Stockton.
    I am a newspaper columnist, my phone number is 707-448-4464.
    Thanks for your time.

  7. Mary Bakea says:

    Thank uuuuuuu..!!!♡♡♡♡♡

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