Archive for the ‘Pets & Animals’ Category

Guest Commentary: Dawn of a new day for the Antioch animal shelter

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017


Antioch animals deserved better and now we at Antioch Animals Deserve Better are delighted to say things really are getting better at Antioch Animal Services!  It is the product of determination, tough decisions, and a lot of hard work.  And while there is more to do, progress at the shelter is significant, real, and continues in the right direction!

We would like to extend our enormous appreciation to Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for their expert guidance and willingness to step in to help Antioch, as well as coordinating with Maddie’s Fund for much needed funds to help the Shelter (thanks to you too, Maddie’s).

We would also like to express our gratitude to the Antioch City Council and the Mayor for their support of the Shelter and partnership with ARF.  And let us not forget the Shelter staff, volunteers, and rescue groups who stepped up to embrace change and are helping the animals through it all.

We want to especially thank and acknowledge Antioch’s new Police Chief Tammany Brooks for taking a real interest in the Shelter, educating himself about Animal Sheltering, and taking a no nonsense, open, and honest approach. The community sees your true leadership in many areas and it is making a difference.

And lastly, we want to thank all of you who supported the cause for the animals and positive change at the shelter.  Please see the recent GoFundMe update below from the incredible attorney whose generous pro bono work helped us. We have donated 100% of the funds to ARF towards their work at the Antioch Shelter.

Many positive changes are taking hold and good things are happening.

Kim Charef


Antioch Animals Deserve Better


Posted on Antioch Animals Deserve Better Facebook page 10-17-17 by Nancy Powell, Esq.


ARF was brought in by the City of Antioch last fall and they have worked, guided and contributed mightily toward improving the Antioch Animal Shelter. It was through the pressure put on the Antioch City Council and the Council’s knowledge that folks like you demanded change that ARF got involved, so you can take credit with ARF for making things happen.

The Shelter is now working under different key individuals, is working to get a vet tech and a veterinarian to work there, has revised how often and when veterinary care is sought for the animals, has improved procedures and at the very basic level is a cleaner, nicer place to be stuck if you are an animal. ARF is continuing to work and guide the Shelter on issues that still need attention.

We demanded changes and the City got ARF involved. We were poised to go back into litigation mode if we did not see progress.

We believe that the funds that were donated to the GoFundMe campaign are no longer needed for litigation and should go to ARF to be used to further their great efforts in improving the Shelter. Therefore, the full amount collected in the GoFundMe campaign of $1,745 is being sent to ARF for this purpose. As long as the City continues to follow the guidance provided by ARF, things can only get better. If anything changes, we will update you.

Thank you for your support. It made a huge difference for the animals and the community.

Nancy V. Powell, Esq.

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Hot Rods 4 Paws Car Show benefit for pets, Saturday, Oct. 21 at Petco in Brentwood

Monday, October 16th, 2017

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Antioch Council approves on split vote hiring Animal Services Manager using funds from ARF for first year

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Returns two police management staff back to full-time police work

By Allen Payton

At their August 8 meeting, amid some organized opposition and cat calls from the audience, the Antioch City Council voted 4-1 to approve the hiring of a new, full-time Animal Services Manager for the Antioch shelter using funds from Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) for the first year. Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe was the only council member to vote no.

Police Chief Tammany Brooks provided background on the need for the position.

The Animal Shelter Manager will be “equivalent of a captain. He or she will answer directly to me….and will be well versed in animal operations,” he said. “This person will be a full-time manager of the animal shelter.”

“Currently we have an animal shelter supervisor…who has taken on the tasks of multiple people,” Brooks explained. “But, I believe we need management oversight above the supervisor…from a long-term standpoint, to bring stability and structure to the animal shelter.”

“Accept the funding from ARF through Maddie’s Fund for one year,” he recommended to the council. “The position will be filled right around January. That will leave $80,000 to $90,000 for the city to come up with for the 2018-19 fiscal year.”

Thorpe asked, “when we accept these types of gifts there are there stipulations? Can we only use it for a management position?”

“One of the recommendations of the Grand Jury report is that we hire an executive director,” Brooks responded. “I will take out the police oversight which will take out about $75,000.”

“This money is earmarked specifically for an animal shelter manager,” he added.

In response to a question by Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, Brooks said the surgery suite will be open at the end of September, of this year.

Before the council took their vote, members of the public spoke, most in opposition to the chief’s recommendation, due to their concerns with ARF.

Long-time Antioch animal advocate, Barbara Sobalvarro said, “it is hard to wrap my arms around. When we formed 38 years ago, Friends of Animal Services would have loved what you’re doing, tonight.”

“If we have a possibility of working with people who are giving their time to volunteer their time to the animals…and have the kind of shelter all of us would love…and have it for less money…I’m asking you to not rush this,” she explained.

“This is about ARF. This is their second partnership with Antioch,” Sobalvarro stated. “The first time they left nine months after they started. This is the second manager position we will have. Please, this has been too sudden…something that seems too be good to be true probably is. All that glitters is not gold. But the hearts of our volunteers are golden.”

Thorpe then asked, “if we accept their funds, are we then on the line to fund this position, moving forward?”

Brooks responded, “ARF…will fund this position for 12 months. $75,000 of…what is currently being spent in the Antioch Animal Services will go toward that position. So the city will be on the line for between $71,000 and $103,000 after the funds are realized. “So, I’m curious,” Thorpe said, “How will that impact the budget? Is that something we anticipated?”

“The amount of funding you’re talking about would take you into the 2020 budget,” City Manager Ron Bernal explained.

“OK. Thank you,” said Thorpe. “So, we would budget for that budget cycle.”

Tiscareno was next to comment stating, “I appreciate everyone’s beliefs. But, we do have to make a decision for the future of the shelter. We do utilitize two police officer positions.”

“A lieutenant and a captain,” Brooks interjected.

“That oversee this position, that can do the work of the police,” Tiscareno continued. “That encourages me at this point. I want to see the police department do what they’re supposed to do. That’s what we’ve heard criticism of over the years. We can have a full function operation. I understand where the volunteers are coming from. But I believe we need to bring this into a business type atmosphere.”

“I’m going to speak in favor of this resolution,” he concluded.

Ogorchock asked, “is there going to be any saving?”

“Yes,” Brooks responded. “So, we have to contract out…for spay and neuter. When we have our own DVM (veterinarian) in place…that will save money. And we can contract out the service to others in…East County and generating a little revenue to the city, and reducing the animal population.”

“I appreciate the passion on both sides. This is going to be a working manager. Not just someone sitting behind a desk.

Brooks then offered additional explanation.

“If you were going to look at similar animal shelters in other cities…two cities that would be somewhat comparable is Berkeley and Hayward. Both of them have a manager,” he said. ‘You’re talking about a $1 million a year company and we don’t have a manager. We need someone who is well versed in animal operations.”

Ogorchock responded by saying, “I want to see more people in there working with the animals. There could be the savings where it could be no cost to the budget.”

“We’re kind of missing the policy and procedure piece, and someone to oversee the budget, how much we’re spending here…here’s a policy we’re missing here, or a procedural piece,” said Councilwoman Monica Wilson. “Is that the case with this person?”

Brooks responded with, “These are things an animal services manager will be doing instead of me.”

Thorpe said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met Monika (Helgemo, the animal services supervisor).” He asked how this would impact her position.

Brooks explained that she is a supervisor who was given the management responsibilities when the manager left.

“That’s when we brought in the oversight of the police department,” he stated. “This will free up Monika to do things our volunteers are talking about. So, this position assumes some of the responsibility that the police officers were.”

Mayor Sean Wright concluded the council discussion by stating, “six months is a long time. Six months ago is when we looked at the opportunity to work together. I’m excited to hear. I took a tour of the animal shelter a couple months ago. I think you’ve answered all of our questions, tonight.”

As Tiscareno read his motion, members of the public made cat-calls from the audience. Ogorchock seconded the motion and it passed 4-1. As Wright read the results of the vote, a woman yelled “Thank you, Thorpe.”

More Debate After The Council Meeting

Following the meeting, a discussion outside of the council chambers ensued between shelter volunteers and Mayor Wright.

“A new manager is not the answer,” said one woman who chose to not be identified. “We need more players not another coach. We need people in there actually who will love the animals and be kind to them.”

The no-kill rate has gone from 76% to 98% in recent months, one woman shared.

“Antioch is the first no-kill shelter in Contra Costa County,” another woman stated.

“All they’re going to do is kill more animals,” said yet another unidentified volunteer. “In four days. ARF has what is called a pathway. It takes time. An animal only goes up for adoption for 14 days then they kill them.”

“They don’t have the staffing,” was one volunteer’s complaint. “ARF is not providing a vet or a registered vet tech regularly since beginning of May.”

One suggestion made by a volunteer unhappy with the council’s decision was that “Petaluma is willing to take over our shelter.”

Wright responded to the four women, saying “This position has not been hired We can change our mind. I’ll talk to Petaluma.”

“It can’t run without volunteers,” said one of the women. “They’re ready to walk.”

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Reduced adoption fees in August at Antioch Animal Services

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Adopt a pet, today for just $25 at Antioch Animal Services at 300 L Street, corner of W. 2nd Street next to the Antioch Police Facility in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown or call (925) 779-6989. Visit them online at They’re open Mon-Thurs and Sat 10-5.

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Animal welfare checks result in removal of 75 animals from Antioch homes, this week

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

46 cats from one residence; 29 animals including cats, dogs, ducks, rabbits, doves and a rooster from another – all need  homes

By Acting Sgt. Shawn Morin #5227, Field Services Bureau

On Monday, July 17, 2017 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Contra Costa Fire Department requested Antioch Police Officers to respond to a residence in the 1800 block of Terrace Drive. Upon arrival, Officers learned there were approximately 50 cats inside the house. Animal Control Officers responded to assess the situation. The residents and Animal Control Officers worked together and collected a total of 46 cats. Animal Control Officers have gone back to the residence three more times, in an effort to trap the four cats left in the area.

On Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 3:29 p.m., Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to a residence in the 900 block of Barnsley Court for a welfare check on animals inside the house. Officers ultimately discovered there were numerous cats, dogs, ducks, rabbits, doves, and a rooster in the home. Animal Control Officers responded to assess the situation. The residents and Animal Control Officers worked together and collected 27 of the animals. Animal Control Officers followed up on Friday and trapped two more cats with approximately 12 more in the home.

Both incidents are still under investigation and the animals are currently housed at the Antioch Animal Shelter located at 300 L Street. Animal Control Officers are working with local rescues to find homes for all the animals. Anyone who would like to foster, adopt or rescue and animal is encouraged to contact Antioch Animal Services at 925-779-6989 or the Animal Services Supervisor via e-mail at

The business hours for the Antioch Animal Services is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10am-5pm and Friday from 10am-2pm. The shelter is closed for business on Sunday and Monday.

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Get your pet a free microchip at May Madness Chippalooza!, this Sunday in Antioch

Friday, May 19th, 2017

“To chip or not to chip? That shouldn’t even be a question!”

One in five missing pets are reunited with their owners via traditional methods – tags, fliers, shelter reports or knocking on doors. Just over 50% of dogs that are missing and are microchipped go home, because their owners got them chipped and kept their information current.

We think it’s hip to chip and are offering the first 100 dogs to our May Madness Chippalooza a free microchip – thanks to your donations. It will be $10 for a chip thereafter. Only requirements are that they don’t have an existing microchip and are healthy. 

So, be hip, come get a chip for your furry friend at Bridgehead Cafe, 2415 East 18th on , Antioch.  May 21st at 2pm, ends 4pm.

Please be prepared for the hot weather.

For more information visit

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Bring your dog and celebrate Summer Love Woof Stock at the Antioch Marina, Saturday, May 20th

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

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Lots to see and do at the Contra Costa County Fair, Thurs-Sun, May 18-21

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

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