Fluctuating shelter population hits low…for now
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By Mickey Zeldes  February 28, 2014 12:00 am

It’s estimated there are more than 20,000 dogs, cats, rabbits and other smaller “pocket pets” in the Rohnert Park/ Cotati area. Regardless of the season, that doesn’t change all that much. So it’s interesting to note how the shelter population fluctuates throughout the year.

We always take a dip during the winter. No kittens this time of year and people are usually tucked into their homes with their pets during the cold weather and short days, which makes for fewer strays.

Our shelter hit a new low this year. That’s a good thing. Low, as in the fewest animals ever. We currently have just six cats up for adoption and five dogs, plus a handful of rabbits and a trio of guinea pigs. That’s it. Of course, we have a few more animals in our system – recent strays and owner-surrendered animals plus a few miscellaneous critters out in foster homes. But this is really a record low for our shelter population. To give you an idea of the contrast, in August we typically have about 25 dogs and more than 100 cats and kittens in our program.

It does make us wonder, though, about what might be going on. Maybe people are just being more responsible overall? We can only hope! Maybe our spay and neuter and free microchip and ID tag programs are working? We can only hope! We want to encourage you, though, to not hesitate to bring in lost pets if you find them, so we can quickly help them get reunited with their families.

We’re taking full advantage of this lull in intakes to shuffle animals around and empty rooms to do deep cleaning. It’s so satisfying to strip down a room and really, thoroughly clean it from top to bottom and then spray it with bleach so it’s completely disinfected. Then, we clean and sort through everything that was pulled out of the room before it goes back in. The sad part is that it doesn’t last long enough before the room gets used and messy again!

We’re also hoping to take advantage of this quieter time to put a fresh coat of paint in the animal rooms. Do you belong to an organization that takes on service projects? We could use groups like that to tackle a room (or two). I would think that only 4-6 people could get a room done in a day. Give the shelter a call at 584-1582 to discuss the details involved.

The other nice thing about being low like this is it allows us to reach out to other shelters that might be crowded and offer some help. We bring in animals we know there is demand for locally and help them find loving homes. There’s lots of satisfaction in being able to offer that kind of assistance.

We’re heading into kitten season, so we know this break will be short-lived. We’re going to enjoy it while it lasts, though.


Upcoming events

• Fix-it clinics: Free cat spay/neuter surgeries and low-cost dog altering for low-income residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.


• “No More Lost Pets” campaign: This program offers a free microchip and pet ID tag to all pets that live in Rohnert Park and Cotati. Help your pet find his way home if lost.


• Bunny Day: The second Saturday of each month (next one is March 8), from 1-5 p.m. at the shelter. Meet our adorable adoptable rabbits, have your care questions answered by our knowledgeable volunteers, bring your bunny for a free nail trim and shop our Bunny Boutique for fresh hay, fun toys and fabulous deals on supplies.


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.

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