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SSJID sees rise in number of dogs in trouble in irrigation canals
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A sharp rise in the number of dogs being saved from canals by South San Joaquin Irrigation District ditch tenders has prompted a warning to canine owners throughout Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon who reside near irrigation canals.

SSJID communications coordinator Troylene Sayler noted that in some instances ditch tenders are pulling out as many as four to five times the number of dogs they did last year this time.

Animal control officers have indicated that the increase could be attributed to some people who, due to high unemployment or foreclosures decided to simply drive their family pets out to the country and dump them instead of turning them into a shelter whether it is a municipal operation or a no-kill shelter like Pets-n-Pals in Lathrop or the Delta Humane Society in Stockton near Arch Road.

Dog owners, especially those with farms or ranches in agricultural areas, are being advised to keep their pets penned or otherwise under close watch during irrigation season that runs through October.

More farmers irrigate when temperatures rise which means more water running swift and cold.

SSJID workers have reported cases where they have rescued more than one dog at a time struggling in the water. At the same time, Sayler reported there are a number of rescue efforts that have not been successful as a number of dogs have already lost their lives this irrigation season.

“It can be fairly risky for the district’s water staff to attempt a canine rescue,” Sayler said. “Most often it is simply a matter of good luck and timing. When an employee actually witnesses the dog(s) in the water, we advise our staff to engage in a rescue attempt only when absolutely necessary and only if more than one employee is present.”

Sayler noted the district understands many people allow their dogs to run the orchards and fields while they are working with them but added “losing sight for even just a minute or two can end in tragedy.”