SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A life-saving partnership between two animal shelters has saved thousands of pets.

Now it’s about to end.

For the past five years, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has helped the Stockton Animal Shelter improve operations.

Five years ago the Stockton shelter was anything but a shelter. Most animals that entered were put down. That’s when the San Francisco SPCA stepped in.

Dr. Jennifer Scarlett is president of the SF SPCA. She describes the situation in Stockton as “terrible.”

“The euthanasia rate was about 75 percent, which was about 8000 animals a year!”

Now, after nearly 5 years of training, financial assistance and support, the Stockton death rate is down to 15%. That’s still high but much better.

The SPCA says the average rate in San Francisco is just 7%. They believe it’s time for the city of Stockton to take back operations.

“The city of Stockton has been great to work with. I think what we are grappling with is the cost of it and how they absorb the ongoing cost,” says Scarlett. “We’re happy to work with Stockton to make that transition as smooth as possible.”

That ongoing cost was $750,000 last year and Stockton estimates they’d need more than a million if they had to run the program themselves.

There is no disagreement that thousands of dogs and cats owe their lives to the improved shelter’s service.

The SF SPCA says they are not walking away from the Stockton animals, but rather taking lessons learned from this experience to use it to help additional animal shelters in other parts of the Central Valley.


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