By Dr. Julie Damron
Stockton Record September 26, 2009
Pet overpopulation is a huge issue in our area, with approximately 10,000 dogs and cats euthanized annually at our local Stockton city/county animal shelter. Most, at least 80%, of these animals are healthy and would make wonderful pets.
We are fortunate to have several groups in Stockton and Lodi who are striving to decrease this number by finding permanent homes for as many animals as possible. One group, Stockton Animal Shelter Friends (SASF) works directly with our local animal shelter to not only adopt both dogs and cats; but also helps with the animals medical needs as well as spay/neuter surgeries. There website is www.stocktonpets.org.
What can you do to help with the pet overpopulation tragedy in our community?
Please spay and neuter all of your pets. Many people are unable to find homes for all of the puppies and kittens their pets produce. Even when good homes are found, circumstances change, and many of these animals end up at the shelter. Having your canine and/or feline companion spayed or neutered is also better for the health of your pet. I have written a previous article on this topic.
You can also help to trap and spay/neuter the feral or porch cats in your neighborhood. These are the wild and tame cats that people feed; but no one person claims direct ownership to provide medical care. Some veterinary clinics in our community offer reduced surgical fees for feral cats. Our local animal shelter also has a free spay/neuter program for people that financially qualify. This program is funded primarily by donations and grants, as well as shelter fees; the surgery days are almost entirely run by volunteers. I am there every other Sunday morning doing spays and neuters. Please contact Jennifer McCollum at (209) 937-5001 for more information.
Adopt a dog or cat from our local shelter or from one of the many rescue agencies in our area. Our Stockton city/county shelter features many loving dogs and cats who need good homes. Please see the website www.stocktongov.com/animals/.
Volunteers are desperately needed; please give your time to local agencies such as SASF. This group and others are always looking for people to help take care of the animals. SASF has a facility at 7475 Murry drive Suite 19, which houses cats and offers adoptions. People are needed to help keep this operation running. Foster homes are needed for both dogs and cats. These animals may be recovering from illness, injured, and poorly socialized. Volunteers are also needed to help at dog adoptions; as well as assistants to groom, walk, and train the canines. Drivers are needed to transport animals to and from adoption events, receiving medical care, etc. Please contact Steve Komure at http://www.stocktonpets.org/help/volunteer.html or call (209) 956-3647 for more information.
Please donate pet items such as towels, food, cat litter, dog toys, cat toys, food dishes, pet beds, and leashes. Household supplies are also in demand such as laundry detergent, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Financial assistance is always welcome to help pay for medical needs. There are many needs that donations can be allocated to such as spay/neuter, medical treatment, and for specific animals that need money raised for major surgeries or special care. Please see the SASF website for further information www.stocktonpets.org, or call (209) 956-3647.
Please contact other pet rescue groups in our area as well such as Animal Friends Connection, Delta Humane Society, Abandoned Cat Team, and Pets and Pals. All of these associations contribute to the welfare of homeless pets in our community.