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Animal shelter seeks to increase staffing, make volunteering easier
Turlock Poker Room sponsoring August adoption fees
Turlock Animal Shelter
Turlock Animal Shelter Supervisor Brittany Pinney holds up Chewy, a 4-year-old female Smooth-Coated Chihuahua, one of the many dogs available for adoption at the shelter (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

The City of Turlock is making a few changes at its animal shelter to ensure it is meeting the needs of Turlock’s citizenry — those on two and four legs.

The Turlock Animal Shelter — which is part of the police department — is tasked with providing education, protection, and the humane treatment of animals in the City in order to insure a safe and healthy community and to promote the benefits of responsible pet ownership.

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

“There’s an increase in population; that’s nothing unique to us,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden, who explained that shelters are filling up across the state as more people go back to an in-person work schedule following COVID.

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

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

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

In February, new City Manager Reagan Wilson was quoted in a Journal interview as saying he was going to investigate the possibility of having the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter take over housing animals from Turlock and shutting down the facility in town.

According to Hedden, neither the Stanislaus County shelter or any other neighboring municipality-ran animal shelters are in a position to take over housing Turlock animals. Hedden said the City is looking into options on expanding the Turlock shelter facility including adding container-style units, while at the same time exploring resource sharing partnerships with area agencies.

“The idea has been working together,” said Hedden.

Helping to defray costs of an increase in population at the shelter was a recently awarded a California for All Animals $5,000 grant through UC Davis. The City is also waiting to hear if it qualified for a $20,000 California Animal Welfare Funder’s Collaborative grant.

Along with plans for attracting employees and expansion of facilities, Hedden also made becoming a Turlock Animal Shelter volunteer an easier process. The police chief said the background check to help out at the shelter is now a separate process than what other police department volunteers undergo.

Community support of the animal shelter remains key for its success. Along with volunteers to help walk 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 large and small dog food. Right now, we have a lot of large dogs.”

One of the shelter’s biggest business supporters, Turlock Poker Room, is also stepping in to sponsor all adoption fees throughout the month of August.

Animals up for adoption are featured on the City’s website at:

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

Those interested in viewing 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 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.