The plaintiffs say the "shelter has a duty to help, not harm, homeless dogs and cats."
The Animal Legal Defense Fund along with three people from Stockton filed the lawsuit against the City of Stockton.
The suit is not asking for money, only that the animal shelter follow the law.
The shelter is required to hold strays for at least 6 days before euthanization.
But Animal Legal Defense Fund Attorney Jenni James says the shelter's records show a different story over a one year period.
"Early euthansias are happening, 1,500 animals were euthanized before the expiration of the Stockton shelter's minimum holding period," says James.
James says 80 percent of the animals are behind locked doors where the public never sees them.
"Only about 20 percent of the animals are truly being given a meaningful chance of adoption," says James.
The City of Stockton is not commenting on the lawsuit.
The Stockton City Council has voted to reduce the salaries of the mayor and city council by 30 percent. The discussion about the salary cut during Tuesday night's city council meeting was a heated one.
A national museum to highlight Filipino history in America is planned to open in October in Stockton. At one time more Filipinos lived here than anywhere else in the nation.
The San Joaquin County Grand Jury has just released a report pointing to a long history of official neglect in South Stockton. Capital Public Radio's Rich Ibarra reports change will cost money.
The residential construction industry in Stockton is hoping for a recovery in home building. Builders say lower development fees must come first.
Getting a parking ticket is neither fun nor cheap. In Stockton a parking citation can cost $43. But now, as Capital Public Radio's Rich Ibarra reports, a downtown business group is trying to make the area more "customer friendly".