Animal shelter seeks to increase staff and facilitate volunteering

The Town of Turlock is making some changes to its Animal Sanctuary to ensure it meets the needs of the citizens of Turlock – those with two and four legs.

The Turlock Animal Shelter – part of the police department – is responsible for the education, protection and humane treatment of animals in the city to ensure a safe and healthy community and to promote the benefits of a responsible owner of animals.

There has been a drastic increase in the number of animals housed at the shelter, following the lifting of COVID restrictions.

“There is an increase in population; it’s not unique to us,’ said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden, who explained that shelters are filling up across the state as more people return to a work schedule in person after COVID.

As with every other industry in this post-COVID world, the shelter is in desperate need of more workers.

“Staffing has been a challenge,” Hedden said. “It’s not that we don’t have the allocated posts or the funding for the posts.”

In an effort to help attract part-time employees, Turlock City Council recently approved raising the hourly wages of part-time kennel attendants, police cadets and clerical positions at the shelter by $15. at $16 per hour at $18 per hour.

In February, new City Manager Reagan Wilson was quoted in a Journal interview as saying he would investigate the possibility of the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter taking over Turlock’s animal housing and closing the facility in town.

According to Hedden, neither the Stanislaus County Shelter nor any other animal shelters run by the nearby municipality are able to support housing Turlock animals. Hedden said the city is considering options to expand the Turlock accommodation facility, including adding container-like units, while exploring resource-sharing partnerships with area agencies.

“The idea worked together,” Hedden said.

Helping to defray the costs of an increase in population at the shelter recently received a $5,000 grant from California for All Animals through UC Davis. The city is also waiting to hear if it qualified for a $20,000 collaborative grant from the California Animal Welfare Funder.

Along with plans to attract employees and expand facilities, Hedden also facilitated the process of becoming a Turlock Animal Shelter volunteer. The police chief said background checks to help with the shelter are now a separate process from what other police department volunteers go through.

Community support for the animal sanctuary remains key to its success. In addition to volunteers who help walk the dogs, the shelter also accepts donations of food and other pet supplies.

“Dog food is the main donation we like to ask for,” said animal shelter supervisor Brittany Pinney. “No specific brand, but food for large and small dogs. Right now we have a lot of big dogs.

One of the shelter’s biggest business backers, Turlock Poker Room, also steps in to sponsor all adoption fees throughout August.

Animals for adoption are listed on the city’s website at:

All adoptions include a gift bag with treats and valuable animal care information. Most also include local veterinarian gift cards for additional services. A free health certificate is included for all adoptions from local veterinary offices.

Those interested in seeing an animal for adoption can make an appointment by calling 209-656-3140. The shelter is located at 801 S. Walnut Rd. and is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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Jennifer R. Strohm