Column: “Smart Paws” – Red Alert at Contra Costa County Animal Services

July 16, 2014 16:14 pm · 19 comments


Hi Pet Loving Claycordians!

This edition of our column really serves as a sort of “red alert.” Contra Costa Animal Services is overflowing with pets that need homes NOW.

Unfortunately, a combination of strays and owner surrenders has left our shelters FULL. Do you know what happens when the shelter is full? That’s right, some don’t make it out. It is a heartbreaking reality. If you’ve lost a dog, go walk those kennels. Don’t wait!

Contra Costa Animal Services operates two shelters, one in Pinole and the other, in Martinez. Just this past Saturday CCASD accepted 34 cats and 23 dogs! Between the two shelters they have 276 cats, 203 dogs, 18 rabbits, 3 rats, 9 birds, 1 guinea pig and 1 hamster. This is a recipe for disaster for these animals. When the shelter is full, the timing gets shorter for these animals while the shelter works to free up space. It is even more noisy and chaotic in the kennels (as if it’s not noisy and chaotic enough). It is a stressful, scary situation for the animals being housed there. You can go to and search for all animals available at the shelters.

The shelter has some promotions this July:

  • FREE spay/neuter for all adopted pit bulls and pit bull mixes
  • FREE senior cats over 7 years old
  • ALL kittens are only $50

Can you adopt? Can you foster? If you can foster kittens, call the shelter directly at 925-335-8327. If you can foster a dog, please contact a local rescue. Visit the Smart Paws page for links to some local rescues who can help. Check out local rescues and look up their fostering guidelines and application. The satisfaction of fostering an animal and saving a life is something you just can’t put into words.

You can adopt dogs at either shelter (Martinez or Pinole). You’ll find cats at the shelters and at Pet Food Express in Walnut Creek, Petsmart in Concord and Rodies in Clayton. The Martinez shelter is located at 4800 Imhoff Place. You can call them at (925) 335-8300. Shelter hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Wednesday 10am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-3pm. If you are interested in a dog or cat you see online, please don’t wait. If you can’t go down right away, call them and let them know you are interested in a particular dog as they can add a note to the file. There are no guarantees of a happy outcome for pets at the shelter, but with your help, we can do more! We can share this information. We can adopt. We can foster. We can save lives and make a difference.

All dogs pictured above are available NOW at the Martinez shelter. From left to right; Francis, Tyson, Socceroo, Duncan and Carmella. Go to the Smart Paws Facebook page for links to all their Pet Harbor info page.

Horse n around July 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I love that you really try to save the lives of these pets. But when it comes to spay or neuter, the Vets, really IMO, charge WAY to much. I was quoted for a 2 yr. old lab from my vet in Lafeyette , $1300.00. Really? I love my vet but wow! And then they wonder why there is such an over population of dogs. We can’t all go to the County. The Vets need to make it more affordable.

Dorothy July 16, 2014 at 4:41 PM

There was story on the news this afternoon about an app that could do recognition of dogs that have been registered. Could be another way to find some that get away unnoticed.

anon July 16, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Lafayette vet is way high!
Good, they take in insects and fish. I’ll check tomorrow for my ladybug and guppy.

Momo July 16, 2014 at 5:47 PM

This really is no joke people. My friend is a volunteer there. Every cage is full with multiple animals. She has even taken a couple dogs that were scheduled to be put down and is paying to have them kenneled. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens. Every breed, every size, every age. Desperate for a new chance.

lg July 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

The over population of animals is strictly due to humans who don`t give a crap and don`t “fix” their animals! Vet bills are expensive, if you can`t afford don`t get an animal! Also, there are a lot of people who trap and fix cats and let them back into the wild and make sure that someone is there to feed them every day. There are “clinics” for just such animals. Vet and techs volunteer their time. Trying to make a difference. It`s not fair to the animals, they deserve at chance at life. Humans need to be responsible!!!!

iscoffy July 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM

The local shelters will often have a spay & neuter day that is much cheaper than pretty much any quote you will get from a vet. I got my cats fixed years ago in this fashion. CC seems to let you schedule your animal to be fixed– I have no idea what that costs (, and I haven’t contacted any of the resources on this page, but for what it’s worth:

Foxy lady July 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Hey horse n around:
Yeah $1300 seems too high but thats no excuse to not alter your pet. EVERYTHING is more expensive in Lafayette. Some folks are ok with that price, but you don’t have to be. Try a vet in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill or Concord. Why can’t you go to the county? Your BMW won’t make it there? Come on you are just looking for an excuse and you get no sympathy from me. If you can’t figure out a way to make it happen, you shouldn’t have the priveledge of owning a pet. The facts is the facts.

RunDogRun July 17, 2014 at 5:02 AM

These are some especially good-
looking members of my species.
Hope they can all find the security
of a good home and the kindness
of a loving family.

jtkatec July 17, 2014 at 8:41 AM

If you can give me another house, I will adopt another four dogs!!

But at this point, poo patrol is a constant in my back yard, as is vacuuming inside. Love them, won’t want to be without them, but dang it!! Can’t they clean up after themselves!!!

Horse n around July 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Hey Foxy Lady. All I was saying was that my vet quoted me 1300. I did find a place cheaper and she is spayed. Please don’t start judging me over what I wrote. My point is that the vets IMO want to charge waaayyyy to much money for a spay and neuter. And I drive a Honda!

anon July 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

well the good thing about having birds is, besides their companionship, they can say there poo doesnt stink and they don’t have gas or bad breath and their coats don’t stink either. although to me the amazon sometimes has a small smell to them. and their diets arent mainly seeds and nuts it’s pellet based so they arent as messy. ‘BEEP’

PetHappy July 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

This is a great opportunity
to adopt a loving pet who
needs a good home. You
won’t regret all the wonderful
things a pet does for your
health and well being. Can’t
say enough goods things
about having someone
waiting and excited to see you
when you get home.

Horse n around July 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM

I love Blogs. It brings out the best in people. Huh Foxy Lady?

Just to add fuel to the fire July 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM

I will never get another pet spayed/neutered. Why? Because through the process of evolution, that one genetic pool survived through the eons to create that one dog and I’m supposed to play God and wipe out thousands of years, because of some human rule.

Nah, if they survived teens racing cars down residential roads, who am I to cut their nuts?

Lock and Load July 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

But the real issue here is whether or not any of these dog’s rights were violated??? The bleeding heart liberals demand to know!!!!!

Cat July 18, 2014 at 8:56 AM

@Just to add fuel to the fire……if you were to “cut their nuts” you would be deemed a responsible member of our community who is concerned about you pet’s welfare, health & the welfare of the other pets in our community & more specifically reducing the number who end up in our shelters, because their owners decided not to “cut their nuts”. Dumped litters of pups every day, 7 year old dogs with prostate cancer – owners can’t afford the vet bill, females with ovarian cancer, females who have sagging tummies and aren’t “attractive” to perspective adopters, oh & the majority that end up in there as strays – stray, because they are intact. The breeders don’t want their dogs back, because the shelter will fix them before they leave. The pet owner who didn’t want to “cut nuts off” doesn’t want their dog back because they have to pay extra to the County to fix their dog before they leave. So, I say play God & use the tools & knowledge God has provided us to improve the lives of our pets & reduce the numbers. Maybe in the future when your dog gets out, it will save you lots of $$, so you can afford to get your dog out of the shelter & not have to leave it there with the others all fighting for a chance at life.

ANNONeeemoose July 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

WELL SAID Cat! Bravo! When I see a dog has not been fixed, I do think differently about that person. It is irresponsible and disgusting. Take a walk through those kennels at the shelter. It is beyond heartbreaking. And most/many are intact! (NO!!! I’m not talking about responsible breeders who better their breed, show, are involved in their breed clubs, AKC and others. Plus they have wait lists, and sell only to approved homes, are spayed/neutered before selling unless show quality, with xrays or other genetic testing to assure health. NO those aren’t the irresponsible people I’m talking about).

PetHappy July 19, 2014 at 12:13 PM

One can certainly understand
the anti-spay sentiment among
some people, but there was a
stray unneutered male cat hanging
around our neighborhood fighting
with all the cats. One day he was
in the midst of a really ugly fight
and I walked over and picked
him us to stop the fight. He
“melted” in my arms. He
completely relaxed. He didn’t
really want to fight. I had him
neutered because I couldn’t
find the owner. You’re not
going to believe it, but he
actually thanked me for me!

Silva July 20, 2014 at 7:26 AM

PetHappy #18, That was really kind thing you did for him. Although I sure wouldn’t have picked up a cat in the middle of a fight. I know the instinct driven behavior isn’t the way they’d otherwise choose to live and behave. They are so much more content when they no longer have to answer the call.

If I had some way to support and care for any more abandoned domestic animals I really would. So sad. Thanks Claycord,com for getting the word out.

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