Yolo County Sheriff-Coroner – Animal Services Section
December 13, 2007
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer & Davis High School Intern Chris Lester
Looking for a furry friend to keep you company? Or maybe you need assistance in dealing with a vicious animal. For help, look no further than the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department Animal Services Section. Located on 2640 East Gibson Road in Woodland, Animal Services Officers are on hand twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, to aid the citizens of Yolo County. Animal Services is responsible for operating the Yolo County Animal Shelter and providing animal control services to the cities, unincorporated areas of the county, and to the University of California, Davis properties in Yolo County.
Animal Services staff consists of one manager, two supervisors, nine field officers, four clerical staff members, two animal care technicians, four animal care attendants, and up to sixteen extra help members who work part time. In addition, twenty hours a week, the Animal Shelter contracts with University of California at Davis Shelter Medicine Program veterinarians to work in the shelter to ensure the animals are healthy and to provide spays or neuters for shelter animals. Animal Services also provides low-cost rabies vaccines year round at the shelter.
Adhering to the Sheriff’s Department motto, “Service Without Limitations,” Animal Services officers provide a multitude of services to Yolo County residents. Officers receive over 800 calls a month from residents regarding noisy animals, loose livestock, unwanted creatures, or diseased or dangerous animals. Apart from dealing with unruly or aggressive animals, Animal Services officers also pick up and transport to shelter or emergency veterinary care stray animals and rescue animals in distress. Despite the difficulties of their job, Officers do their best to please everyone.
“You walk a fine line between animal safety, public safety, officer safety, and making it all mesh together in a way that is beneficial to all,” notes Chief Animal Services Officer Vicky Fletcher.
Primarily, Animal Services tries to focus on the stray, abandoned, or cruelly treated animals in Yolo County. Providing shelter for these animals makes the community safer and provides an outlet for animals that might otherwise have been euthanized to have a second chance at a loving home. However, this often proves difficult because of the vast number of animals the shelter takes in. In 2006/07 alone the shelter took in over 9,490 stray animals – a huge number for a shelter that only has 150 cat cages and 102 dog cages.
Fortunately, Animal Services has devised a program that allows them to rehabilitate animals for adoption and deal with the excess number of animals that the shelter takes in every month. The Animal Foster Care Program is focused on at-risk animals that have adoption potential. Volunteer foster parents provide temporary homes for animals that are not ready for adoption because of illness, injury, age, or other circumstances. The foster parents nurture and play with the animals until they are healthy enough to return to the shelter for adoption. In this way, animals are prepared for adoption by socializing with their foster parents until they are healthy, encouraging animals to be friendly and social.
“We are grateful to our many foster parents who comfort and train at-risk animals allowing them to ultimately find safe and caring homes,” said Vicky Fletcher. “Anyone wishing to volunteer for the foster program can contact Animal Care Technician Barbara Swain at the shelter at (530) 668-5287 or (916) 375-6492.”