Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paws for Thought: Sacramento shelter can be a model for Yolo

Home at last! Hazel was at Animal Care Services on Front Street in Sacramento for more than three months before Darlene Hartway-Young and her daughters adopted her in August. Hazel now enjoys daily walks and indoor time with her new forever family. Courtesy photo

From page A4 | September 18, 2012 |

Remember when you could walk into a shelter and take a pet home with no questions asked? Animal sheltering has come a long way since then, but there’s more work to be done. So what makes a truly good animal shelter — one that is a humane, caring place where all adoptable animals can find a good home?

A short drive across the causeway to Front Street to the city of Sacramento’s Animal Care Services can help us answer this question.

According to Gina Knepp, manager of the Front Street animal shelter, it’s fundamentally about compassion, commitment and communication.

Compassion for the animals and sensitivity to staff are essential. Understanding the challenges, listening to concerns and acting upon suggestions boost staff and volunteer morale and improve animal care. Ambience matters, too. Local artists Jen Foss and Joey Stumpe are donating time and talents to create an appealing mural in the reception building.

Commitment is essential. Professional training for staff and building camaraderie go hand in hand. Knepp and Chief Animal Control Officer Daniel Torres regularly roll up their sleeves to help staff unload pet food, scrub kennels and organize storage areas. They also check all shelter animals seven days a week. Knepp and Torres are fully committed to increasing adoption rates to 90 percent or better and they are making progress. Comparing August 2011 and August 2012 adoptions shows an increase to 95 percent for dogs and 60 percent for cats.

Communication matters. Knepp regularly keeps in touch with the media so citizens know about upcoming events and the good work that the Front Street Shelter is doing. Offsite adoption events, low-cost vaccination clinics, Titanic’s Pet Food Pantry all help improved the status of the animals. Partnerships with other animal rescue groups reduces euthanasia. This summer Oregon Humane Society and Family Dogs New Life Shelter in Oregon were added to Animal Care Services’ rescue list.

Knepp also knows that recruiting and training volunteers is a huge and very important job. For that reason, Janice Wagaman, a certified volunteer administrator, was hired in August. Wagaman was Volunteer Coordinator of the Year in 2011 and earned the National Service Impact Award in 2012. In addition to working with volunteers and fundraising, Wagaman helps with website content and design, grant proposal management and newsletter publication. With Wagaman joining the Front Street team, even more improvements are on the way.

Knepp recognizes money is important but she knows it’s not the most important factor in increasing adoptions and saving lives. In spite of losing $1 million from the animal shelter budget and more than 12 staff members, adoptions have increased steadily. Compassion, commitment and communication really do make a difference.

Happy Tails: On June 1, Cinnamon arrived in the adoption building at the city of Sacramento’s Animal Care Services, where she waited. She went to off-site adoption events and was “Pet of the Week” on Fox 40’s Morning Show. Still, Cinnamon waited. Then on Aug. 25, Darlene Hartway-Young and her daughters walked into the shelter and fell in love with Cinnamon, who is now known as Hazel. Animal Care Services’ commitment to its animals definitely paid off for this sweet canine companion.

How to help: Attend the Davis City Council meeting on Sept. 25 to support the Yolo County Animal Services study and its recommendations for improving our county’s shelter.

— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare. Contact her at [email protected] This column appears monthly.



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5



    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6



    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8





    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8







    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6