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Odds improve for stray dogs, cats
New shelter helps increase Manteca adoptions
A woman checks out potential dogs for adoption at the Manteca Animal Shelter. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Stray dogs and cats picked up by animal control in Manteca are less likely to be euthanized today than two years ago.

That’s because the new $2.1 million animal shelter at Wetmore and South Main that opened 16 months ago has roughly double the space. That means unclaimed dogs and cats have a greater chance of being adopted since the city isn’t dealing with overcrowding.

“They (animal control staff) also works hard to get animals adopted,” noted Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion who oversees animal control operations.

The actual euthanized pets has dropped 1 percent from 2010 - the last full year the old animal shelter was in use - to 2012 when the new shelter finished its first complete year.

That percentage may appear small but at the same time the number of animals that the shelter either picked up or were turned in by owners that they had available for adoption went from 2,769 in 2010 to 3,182 last year.

That means over 400 more animals placed with rescue groups were successfully adopted or returned to their owners in the first full year the new shelter was open.

Obligacion noted micro chip implanted in pets have been invaluable in helping reuniting strays and their owners. The shelter personnel scan the chip - if one is in place - and are able to get all of the pertinent information they need to contact owners.

Even with the success Manteca is enjoying, there has been a steady upswing in the number of stray dogs and cats put to sleep. In 2002, there were 241 stray dogs euthanized compared to 234 in 2010 and 282 in 2012. Cats didn’t fare as well. They were 776 stray cats put to sleep in 2002, 911 in 2010, and 934 in 2012.

The $2.1 million animal shelter on the corner of South Main and Wetmore streets was built with growth fees collected on new housing. the new facility more than doubles the available space for animals plus provides exercise areas as well as two large animal adoption rooms with large windows. They are designed so that people considering adopting a dog or a cat can have time with the animals without them being stressed by other dogs or cats in the facility. There is also a grassy adoption area outside where potential owners can get to know a dog.

Everything about the building - from its location on busy South Main Street and its eye-catching architecture to how its interior is painted and designed - is aimed at encouraging adoptions.

The shelter has:

• Two separate dog rooms. Each has 13 individual kennels designed with a door that slides up in the middle of each run. That allows doubling the available space for up to 52 dogs if needed. The kennels have a system where urine and smaller fecal matter can be hosed into using the wand system after larger droppings are collected.

• There is a separate room where animals - when needed - can be put to sleep.

• There is an examine room for treating animals.

• There are two cat rooms of which one is for the isolation of sick cats.

• There is an outside holding pen for larger animals.

• There is an extensive exercise area outside for dogs.

The design employs all of the latest standards adopted by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

License fees

All dogs and cats must be licensed under city law.

There is a $50 annual licensing fee for unfixed dogs  as long as there is a valid rabies certificate. The discount for licensing your unfixed dog for three years is $100 upfront. Two year licenses for unfixed dogs are $75.

Should their dogs be impounded, the owner of an unlicensed unfixed dog would have to pay the license fee plus $20 late charges and any impound fees in order to get their animal back.

All animal services fees were raised in January 2010 to reflect actual costs after going a decade without adjustments.

The one-year license for dogs that are spayed or neutered went is $20 to cover city costs. Since paperwork accounts for much of the cost of issuing a license, the council adopted a two-year license for $30 and a three-year license for $40. Three years is the same length of time a rabies vaccine is good.