We really can’t say enough about the men and women who serve our community as Animal Control Officers. These individuals are dedicated to caring for lost and homeless pets, educating the public, and advocating for all the voiceless animals who live within their jurisdiction. This year, the Lodi Animal Services Foundation will be doing a few spotlight pieces on the Animal Control Officers of our city. Learn about their journeys and how we as a community can support and honor their efforts to provide safe harbor for lost and abandoned pets.

Officer Jordan Kranich

Our next spotlight this week shines on an officer who will be celebrating his 5th year with the department this December, Officer Jordan Kranich.

Officer Kranich spent 10 years in the veterinary field working as a Veterinary Technician. He was passionate about the work, but one thing was always difficult to be confronted with.

“I love working with animals of all types and enjoyed seeing the happiness on peoples faces when their beloved pet was leaving the hospital healthy. The only thing I struggled with was when a pet came in with old injuries, very sick, and neglected. Eight out of ten times the response was, ‘This just happened,’ and it was hard to not want to show my discouragement. When the opportunity came my way to become an Animal Services Officer, I had to jump on it. I am glad to say that now I can be a voice for those animals who could not speak for themselves. I can continue to educate owners, be there to help fix bad situations sooner, and hold accountable those who willfully neglect animals.”

“My favorite thing about this job is educating the public about the husbandry and health of animals. I enjoy going to the schools to educate the kids on how to take care of their pets.”

Officer Kranich has been with the shelter for almost 5 years now and has been a part of a lot of positive changes and exciting new developments in the department.

“I want the public to know that the shelter has come a long way from what it was. All the animals that can be treated and trained will get adopted and have full medicals done as well temperament evaluations before their adoptions. We try everything in our power to get our animals out of the shelter and into good homes. I can safely say that we are a very low kill shelter with only severely sick, injured, or highly aggressive animals being humanely euthanized.”

“My goal is to continue to grow and work closely with the public to make the Lodi Animal Services Shelter the place to go to get your new best friend!”

Speaking of new best friends, often there are certain animals that come through the shelter that make an impact on individual staff members and they become a special project or mission. Last month, Officer Kranich came across just such a case.

“Chief was hit by a car a month ago and was bleeding heavily from his leg. I rushed him to the vet and luckily for him, there was no break in the leg. He did have nerve damage though. After getting Chief back to the shelter, he was not all that friendly with me. It was concerning. I was able to finally spend some one-on-one time with him after he settled. Now, Chief has become my new best friend and is my new project.”

Chief still is not able to use his leg and it is beginning to become problematic. Officer Kranich and the rest of the control officers are starting to look for surgical options to improve Chief’s life and adopt-ability.

Just like all our wonderful animal services officers, Officer Kranich continues to be dedicated to all the animals of our city in every way he can. Thank you, Officer Kranich.  We appreciate your service and congratulations on your soon-to-be 5-year anniversary!

If you are interested in helping Chief, or are thinking about giving him a good home, please contact the shelter office at (209) 333-6741

Officer Jennifer Bender

Officer Bender has spent over 20 years with the department. Her devotion to every animal that pass through the shelter is so evident. All animals in the Lodi Animal Services’ care benefit from having Officer Bender as their advocate.

“I became an officer to serve and protect all animals and our community. I knew at an early age I would find a career where I worked and saved animals. Growing up, I was always rescuing sick and injured animals. Just as my parents! I was involved in 4-H, horse showing, dog showing and just about anything else involving animals.”

“My favorite things about this job are seeing animals being reunited with their owners, helping sick and injured animals recover, and of course, watching animals get adopted into new homes.”

Animal control officers, like Officer Bender, are sometimes the first to show a stray pet what it is to be properly cared for. The animal shelter plays a vital role in the community by being that central, safe harbor for animals who need them.
As supervisor, Officer Bender leads the charge!

“I would like the community to know the shelter goes above and beyond to locate the owners of the animals we pick up. Our goal is not to bring the animals to the shelter if we don’t have to. Myself and the other officers all make sure the shelter animals are properly taken care of. We take pride in how the shelter is operated, in that all the animals are safe, have enrichment, and are interacted with. We also use every resource available to ensure the animals are adopted or transferred to a rescue if not claimed by their owner.”

The Lodi public also plays an integral part in keeping these furry (and sometimes not!) faces out there. Social media is a wonderful tool that allows citizens to circulate photos and stories of recently found animals, or, the many pets who have gone unclaimed and are now waiting for their FUR-ever homes. Liking, commenting, and sharing these shelter posts give these animals the exposure they need to find those permanent and loving homes they deserve!

Our community has been amazing in regards to helping the stray animals in the shelter. The social media posts, shares, and positive comments have done a great job in getting the animals the needed exposure to help find their owners, and/or adopted. I want to thank the community.”

In spite of all its difficulties, this past year was great for adoptions and lower animal intake numbers. A low average number of animals in the shelter meant some extra time was able to be spent on shelter improvements and new programs! Officer Bender has been devoting time to developing a new Volunteer and Foster program which is no small undertaking! This is exciting news for the shelter pets! Often there are special case animals who would so benefit from going to a home environment to decompress and learn to be a family pet. These programs will pave the way for many excellent possibilities!

“As our department starts to return back to normal operations from the Covid-19 closure, we are looking forward to having our community back for in-person visits. This year will be exiting for the shelter and the shelter animals because a whole new volunteer and foster program will be put into place. We look forward to continuing to make positive changes within the shelter organization and our community.”

We are all eager to meet the possibilities on the horizon! As the Lodi Animal Services Foundation, we work arm-in-arm with Lodi Animal Services officers to give these animals the best chance they can have. We see the care and dedication Officer Bender and her staff have on a daily basis. We are proud to be working alongside them.

Thank you, Officer Bender, for your 22 years of commitment to these animals and the community. We appreciate you!

Officer Katie Kooyman

Our first spotlight this week shines on the newest animal control officer to join the department, Officer Katie Kooyman. Officer Kooyman has been working for the Lodi Animal Shelter as a kennel tech since 2013 and has become more involved and committed to the entire department as a whole throughout the years.

“I have always had an extreme passion for animals and the law enforcement sector. When the Animal Control Officer position became available, I felt confident in my experience and was excited to apply!”

Officer Kooyman began her officer career just a few months ago and her passion shines through. As she kicks off her career, she’s focused on the difference she can make in the lives of the animals in our city. “What I enjoy most about this job is being able to help stray animals that cannot fend for themselves and provide safe shelter and medical care.” Officer Kooyman is also looking forward to working with the community to reunite lost pets with their owners. A great way for the community to participate is, “… if they do find an abandoned animal, post a picture on social media and take them to the nearest vet for a quick scan for a microchip.”

“Licensing your pet is also so important. Not only is there a significant fine involved when not licensed, but when an animal goes missing, that license can identify the owner right away. I always tell citizens to please keep their license information updated so we can reunite them with their lost pet quickly.”

In the upcoming months and years, Officer Kooyman would love to see the Lodi Animal Services volunteer program expand. Being a kennel tech for so many years she saw numerous animals come through the shelter and how volunteers could make all the difference in their lives and adopt-ability. “Ideally, our volunteers would be able to spend an ample amount of time with each animal; leash training, going for walks, and going on actual outings. This would better prepare animals for adoption as well as build their confidence outside the shelter environment.”

Being an animal control officer has many challenges, rewards, celebrations and heartbreaks. Like any front-line worker, they see some of the very best and some of the very worst. We know that Officer Kooyman is up to the task and we look forward to seeing her progress through her career.

Welcome Officer Kooyman and we appreciated your service!