STOCKTON — A local organization has been tapped to take over the duties of caring for Stockton’s sick and homeless animals.
The Stockton City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the Animal Protection League to provide veterinary and shelter services for three years.
According to Tuesday night’s agenda, the Stockton-based organization will receive more than $1.3 million for its first year of service to the city.
“I’m glad we found money in the budget to fund this,” Mayor Michael Tubbs said. “I don’t want to see another meeting like we had (last year) where tons of people were here concerned about their animals.”
Tubbs was referring to the May 23, 2017, City Council meeting in which residents crowded council chambers to show support for the Stockton Animal Shelter and urge leaders to find a replacement for the departing San Francisco branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The SF SPCA first contracted with the city to provide veterinary and shelter services in 2012. Last year, the organization announced it did not intend to renew its most recent contract — a two-year agreement that ends on June 30, 2018.
City staff reached out to several similar organizations to pick up where the SF SPCA would leave off but received no interest.
Earlier this year, the APL came forward expressing interest in taking over for the departing organization, staff said.
According to staff, the APL has supported the Stockton Animal Shelter since 1984, assisting in adoption procedures and transferring animals in and out of California.
The APL will continue the same services the SF SPCA provided, as well as retain the employees currently employed at the shelter, staff said.
There will be 19.5 full-time employees at the shelter, staff said, including two veterinarians, six veterinary technicians, three on-call veterinary technicians, a live-release coordinator, a live release assistant and a foster coordinator.
Council members were thrilled the APL came forward to take over duties at the shelter.
“Animals are an important part of the framework of the community,” Vice Mayor Elbert Holman said. “They help with the quality of life in a lot of areas of the community. To have a substandard program to look out for their best interests is unacceptable.”
Councilwoman Christina Fugazi said no one seated at the dais wanted to relive an uncertain future for the shelter.
“People love their pets. They are like family to a lot of people,” she said. “I hope we can find homes for all our animals there and give them the best care they deserve.”
Along with an initial $1.31 million during the contract’s first year, the APL will also receive a one-time $100,000 start-up payment. The annual cost to APL will increase by 5 percent each year, according to staff.
For more information about the APL, go to apl209.org.