Rescue shelters filled with pets

By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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Phones are ringing and ringing at Placer County animal-rescue organizations with requests to take in animals, but shelters are full.
The slumping economy and increased housing foreclosures seem to be the root causes of many abandoning their pets. Suzy Bayne, founder of Angels Rescuing Kritters in Weimar, can take in 50 dogs and cats but has no vacancies.
“I get about two calls a day from people who have to move and need a place for the animals to stay,” Bayne said. “I just placed a horse and six sheep.”
The horse and sheep were going to be displaced because the owners, who lived on five acres off Mount Vernon Road, had to give up their property and had no means to take the animals with them.
There was a happy ending for the sheep and the horse, Dell, a 23-year-old Arabian, when the new property owner decided to keep the animals.
“Dell was beautiful with a long white mane,” Bayne said. “I cared for the animals myself until the property was sold this week. We take a lot of animals so the shelter does not get burdened with them.”
Bayne is referring to the Placer County Animal Shelter on Avenue B, headed by Mike Winters, animal services manager. Perhaps because of the increasing number of abandoned pets taken in by local rescue groups, Placer County Animal Shelter took in 400 fewer animals in 2008 than the previous year, Winters said. The shelter took in a total for 3,014 dogs and cats last year.
“We’ve taken in about three percent less animals so far this year,” Winters said. “It seems like we’re getting 100 less animals each year.”
While Winters’ figures show a decrease, that has not been the case with county rescue groups such as the Grace Foundation in Placerville, which gets six to eight calls daily to take in horses, but they have no more room, Bayne said.
Folks who are abandoning their animals prefer calling a rescue group, Bayne said.
“People call us because they would rather give them to us, rather than take them to a shelter,” Bayne said. “If they can call us, it takes a burden off them.”
Bayne hopes that her campaign that calls on residents to spay and neuter their dogs and cats will help make a difference.
The county shelter relies heavily on local rescue groups to take up the slack and sent them 743 dogs and cats last year. Some 195 dogs and cats were shipped to rescue groups out of the county, while 548 were sent to Placer rescue groups, Winters said. Due to the increased costs to care for animals, more older pets are showing up at the shelter.
“We’re seeing a lot of older family dogs that they’ve decided they can’t care for,” Winters said. “We’re seeing more of shepherd mixes and smaller dogs like Yorkies and beagles.”

Placer County Animal Shelter 2008
Animals sheltered – 3,014
Animals sent to local groups – 548
Animals sent out of county – 195
Note: Animals are dogs and cats.

Some local animal rescue groups:
Auburn Area Animal Rescue – 530-887-5577
Angels Rescuing Kritters – 530-637-4635
A New Hope Animal Foundation – (916) 652-4164
NorCal Aussie Rescue – (530) 268-1600