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Keeping tabs on Ripon’s strays

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Keeping tabs on Ripon’s strays

Ripon Community Service Officers Christina Caro and Elizabeth Forks cradle two of the cats they have housed at the Ripon Animal Control Shelter on Doak Boulevard in Ripon.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED August 9, 2014 12:53 a.m.

The Ripon Animal Shelter is devoted to the caring of lost pets from throughout the community and is seen as a special place when it comes to dropping off unwanted canines where many of them are accepted by traveling rescue operations.

The police department’s two community service officers Christina Caro and Liz Forks are presently overseeing the operation on an on-call basis Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This past week the “air conditioned” pound had only one dog and several cats in the building. There are rescue services that usually come out of the Bay Area that will accept the unwanted pets – both dogs and cats.

Forks acknowledged that the mid-summer months are a slow time for their feline population in the pound and there are often few to adopt.

Caro said there are less animals that have to be put down when their times in the shelter runs out without them being adopted. For dogs there is an average of maybe three a month. The cats on the other hand see many more being euthanized when no one comes to claim or to adopt them. The majority of those are feral cats that are cremated at the facility with some 80 having to be put away – 90 percent of those were feral felines.

Former animal control officer, Alex Queen and her daughter, volunteer their time to care for the animals on the weekends. There are two members of the cleanup crew that also come into the facility to keep it in shape. As for additional volunteers, Caro said they take a long period of time to train for the position with many of them choosing to leave early on. 

Volunteers have been sought out on Facebook and on Pet Finders as well as being posted on Around Ripon in search of citizens willing to put in up to 20 hours a week for the good of the animals. Volunteers spend much of their time socializing with the dogs and the cats.

The city is currently going through background checks for an open position for the animal control office and a new hire is expected to be announced in the near future. Ripon is known for often returning pets they can identify to their owners shortly after they are picked up running loose on the streets. 

It is not unusual for the Ripon facility to take charge of an injured owl or red fox coming from the nearby riparian forest and place them under their wing or to transport them to a rescue agency south of Modesto.

The facility has 18 kennels and 24 cat cages with Ripon having a relatively good adoption rate, Caro said. 

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