Animal control & rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1996:

Expanding from eight students to 31 in
just three years, the Burlington County
(Pennsylvania) veterinary technician program has
added an internship at the Burlington County animal
shelter. The internship gives aspiring shelter
vet techs experience with hard-to-handle, starved
and abused animals. Formerly, current intern
Kathleen Westphal recently told Louise Harbach
of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “All the animals
we’d see were well-behaved and had been well
cared for. The worst we’d see were some pets who
hadn’t been groomed properly.”
The Vernon A. Tait All-Animal
Adoption Preservation and Rescue Fund Inc.
plans to hit the road soon in Connecticut with a 24-
foot mobile neutering clinic, staffed by John A.
Caltabiano, DVM, and funded by the $500,000
first installment of an unexplained bequest from
Tait, who drowned in a 1992 accident at age 71.

A mobile vet for 16 years, Caltabiano formerly
funded All-Animal Adoption himself, at $2,000 a
month, but wasn’t able to do what he intends to do
now: drive to each town in the state, set up, and
stay there until every cat there who needs fixing is
fixed, free.
A long-anticipated dog park, costing
$70,000 to build and landscape, opened in
Redondo Beach, California, on November 17,
attracting more than 1,000 dogs at $1.00 apiece.
Responding to tougher leash laws, dog owners
across the country have been demanding and often
getting special dog parks for several years, including
several others in the Los Angeles area, but the
Redondo Beach park is reportedly the biggest
yet––temporarily. The Los Angeles City Council
recently approved plans for a 10-acre dog park in
the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area. First-generation
dog parks were typically little more than
fenced lots, but municipal planners are discovering
that an attractive dog park is not only popular with
the public, but also a potentially significant source
of revenue for animal control programs, including
from people who don’t get around to buying dog
licenses but will cheerfully shell out a buck or two
for an hour’s run with Rover.
Police cars in Racine, Wisconsin, are
now equipped with catch-poles and leashes, and
police officers are being trained to use them,
reports Wisconsin SPCA president Cindy Schultz,
as result of headlines, citizen complaints, and
negotiations that followed the police shooting on
August 9 of an injured Labrador/Irish setter mix.
The problem, humane investigators determined,
was that while police often encounter situations
where dogs are involved, they don’t always have
time to wait for an animal control officer backup,
and formerly didn’t have either the equipment or
the training to safely handle an aggressive dog
The Texas Office of the Attorney
General on November 21 charged in a civil suit
that Texas Exotic Feline Foundation founder and
sanctuary operator Gene Reitnauer, 46, illegally
diverted at least $75,000 in donated funds to her
personal use. Reitnauer opened the facility, considered
one of the best big cat sanctuaries in the
U.S., in 1988. Echoing private civil actions filed
earlier in the week by TEFF’s two top donors,
David Cook and Lou Dorfman of Dallas, the
Office of the Attorney General accused Reitnauer
of paying $26,000 in sanctuary funds to her former
husband––which Reitnauer explains as a grant to
support his field research concerning the exotic cat
species of Belize––and of using $50,000 to build a
swimming pool. The sanctuary was immediately
placed in receivership. Friends of Reitenauer
including American SPCA director of exotic animal
programs Kathi Travers were skeptical of the
charges and quick to praise Reitnauer’s care of the
animals in her custody. Reitnauer herself reportedly
attributed the case to the aftermath of a bitter
marital breakup. Agreed Travers, “She’s an animal
person. She’s not a thief. This all boils down
to her husband leaving.” Still fresh in memory is
that four years ago the Office of the Attorney
General issued similar allegations, eventually
dropped and substantially disproven, against the
world-reputed Primarily Primates sanctuary.
Friends of Laughing Brook on
November 11 lost their bid to save the Laughing
Brook wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center
on the former estate of children’s book author
Thornton Burgess. The Massachusetts Aububon
Society, which bought the land in 1978, considered
the wildlife facilities too costly to maintain,
and moved to close them earlier this year.

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