In the old days, the City of Sacramento's animal shelter was a notoriously dark, even abusive institution. When we checked in with them a couple of years ago, new management was arriving on the scene with a determination to do better. Now, says Animal Care Services Manager Gina Knepp, "We have been doing so much out-of-the-box, crazy, innovative stuff at City that I don't know where to begin. We have turned this place around. We used to be pond scum and now we are not! As you can imagine, this makes me intensely happy."
Little things make a big difference in making the community more animal-friendly. Like the shelter's offer of a free microchip for every owner-redeemed stray. Or the Spay Day 2013 program, offering low-cost surgeries to the dogs and cats of low-income residents.
Like most shelters in California, Sacramento is inundated with Chihuahuas—which are actually much in demand elsewhere in the country. Creative solution: a partnership with the Idaho Humane Society and Wings of Rescue, which so far has flown 30 Chis to Boise, where they all found homes right away. A similar program has little dogs from Sacramento heading to Portland, Oregon each month. "They have a need, we have a supply," says Knepp. "Simple economics, lots of effort and dedication = lives saved. Life is good. That is our motto."
One of the dogs currently looking for a home is Rex here; he landed at the shelter in December with a spectacular cherry eye, as seen in his photo, which has now been surgically corrected. He's a happy young Staffordshire terrier, outgoing, confident, and very cute. He loves his walks and is hoping for a home with active people who include him in the fun.
photo: Rex, City of Sacramento Animal Care Services