SACRAMENTO, Calif (KTXL) — Animal advocates marched Sunday morning, protesting what they described as a downward spiral of care provided by the Front Street Animal Shelter.
“You could only have so many animals and after that, they have the right to say we’re not taking it. So what we see and what we work with, are the animals that are turned away. They are unaltered,” Hilary Bagley Franzoia, a former prosecutor and founder of the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit & Task Force explained.
Animal advocate Julie Virga tells FOX40 that Front Street was an open-admission shelter.
“Their annual intake of animals, historically, has been anywhere from 10 to 11,000 animals per year,” Virga said.
But protestors say that all changed with the coronavirus and a new director. According to them, August was when the shelter took in dogs, mostly by appointment.
“These animals have nowhere else to go,” said Elyse Mize, another animal advocate. “You can’t bring a healthy stray cat in at all.”
Philip Zimmerman, the shelter’s director tells FOX40 that they continue to intake sick, injured and dangerous, vicious animals.
However, they ask finders of lost dogs to help try and reunite them before bringing them to the shelter.
“If a healthy cat is found without identification, we advise finders to return the cat to where it was found, as it is more likely to be reunited with its owners,” Zimmerman said.
Mize claims 622 animals have been euthanized since January.
“We want our shelter to return to what it once was,” said Virga.
City Councilwoman Angelique Ahsby says she recently called for an audit of Front Street’s operations, enabling them to look closely at ways to improve services to the community.
Ashby tells FOX40 that, “Front Street Shelter has a long history of strong support from the community. It’s important they continue to be heard and valued as the shelter defines its future. I’m grateful to the many people who continue to care deeply about the important role Front Street plays across the greater Sacramento region.”