You Asked, We Got the Answer

Image of the front of the shelter building.

The Front Street Animal Shelter is located at 2127 Front Street. / City of Sacramento photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

“I was really hoping you might be able to find out why the Front Street Shelter remains closed to the public after more than three months. Have the shelter employees been laid off during the pandemic? I am also confused why the public is being asked to shelter found animals as opposed to turning them in to the agency where an owner is likely to check first.” —Kristie Ehrhardt

Front Street Animal Shelter Animal Care Services Manager Phillip Zimmerman responds:

The City of Sacramento closed all public counters effective March 18, including the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services (Front Street Animal Shelter). This change was made to keep our public members, volunteer, and staff members safe. Our staff that could perform their job duties remotely work from home and those such as Animal Care Attendants, Animal Service Officers, Veterinarians and medical support staff worked on modified schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Front Street Shelter has continued to respond and intake animals that are sick, injured, or dangerous and un-weaned puppies and kittens that do not have a mother.

Based upon recommendations from national animal welfare organizations such as the National Animal Care & Control Association, University of Davis Shelter Koret Medicine Program and many others, shelters were asked to limit intake to those animals that must enter the shelter, which are those listed above. Shelters were also encouraged to ask community members who found healthy stray animals to foster them with guidance from shelter staff on how to help reunite the animal and their owners. As with many shelters across the nation, we saw an overwhelming response from our community willing to foster animals, either through the shelter’s formal foster program or on their own. The animal return to owner rate at Front Street is 17% for both dogs and cats. Animal shelters are finding that animals have a better chance of finding their way back home if they stay in the neighborhoods where they were found. This is accomplished by using social media such as private Facebook groups and Nextdoor where community members assist in posting lost and found animals, filling out lost and found reports on our website. Our other two local shelters, Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation and the Sacramento SPCA implemented many of the same protocols.

All adoptions initially were suspended when the shelter closed on March 18. Since then we implemented electronic adoption contracts and online payment options and have processed 553 adoptions, we have also returned 195 animals to their owners. Effective July 2, the shelter implemented a scheduling system for intake of healthy stray animals that cannot be fostered by community members. Last week we opened our Pet Pantry for animal owners needing assistance with pet food. The Pet Pantry will be held every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Typically, there is an increase in animal intake around the 4th of July holiday, and in anticipation of this, the shelter had two Animal Service Officers available for emergency call-outs and staff to handle an influx of animals that cannot be placed into temporary foster care.

More information about the shelter can be found here.

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