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AUBURN, CALIF. -ย– The Placer County Animal Shelter is now the temporary home to a flock of livestock and exotic animals that were taken into protective custody after the death of their owner earlier this month. The deceased owner was something of a ‘Dr. Doolittle’ in Placer County.

The animals were cared for by Bill Allen, who kept them on a five-acre parcel in rural Lincoln. Since his death, they have been housed at the Animal Shelter in Auburn. The animals include: a horse, a donkey, two llamas, two goats named Mischief and Mary, a sheep named Barbarosa, two pot bellied pigs, three geese, a turkey, 10 chickens, a parrot, a cockatiel and a cat.


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‘We don’t usually receive that many exotic animals from one source,’ said Animal Control Manager Mike Winters. ‘Especially ones that have been this well cared for.’

Animal Services dispatch received a call from the County Coroner’s office on March 3, notifying them that the owner had passed away that day and there was apparently no one to care for the animals. Animal Control Officers (ACO) Ben Branaugh and Rick Stout traveled to the ranch to assess the situation. The animals were fed and watered and secured for the evening.

The next morning Branaugh and Stout were joined by fellow ACO Joe Spera, Winters, Animal Care Supervisor Cindy Leonard, Animal Care Technician Bob Payne and Senior Administrative Clerk Linda Webb. The crew then spent six hours rounding up the animals, loading them into trailers and transporting them to Auburn. The caravan made several trips between Lincoln and Auburn to ferry the menagerie to the Shelter.

At the Lincoln location, some of the animals were herded into a chute made of panels that are kept on each Animal Services truck. At the end of the chute was one of the two trailers used to move the animals to Auburn. Others were rounded up and safely placed in the trailers for transport from Lincoln to Auburn.

‘It was actually a lot of fun to gather the animals,’ said Leonard. ‘Even when I had to wrestle with the last goat who did not want to get in the trailer.’

Currently, the female llama shares a paddock with her pasture buddy, the male Barbados sheep. The male llama, which is the father of the female, is now being kept in a paddock adjacent to the donkey and the horse, who is an older animal and more of a pasture buddy than a riding animal.

During the roundup of the Lincoln animals, Animal Services staff learned that there was a domestic indoor cat at the house and conducted a room-by-room search which initially proved unsuccessful until staff turned over a sofa and found the cat hiding inside the springs.

A search for next of kin is being conducted to determine if any relative wishes to adopt any of the animals. If that search proves unsuccessful, ownership of the animals will transfer to the county after the legal waiting period has expired. At that point, the animals will have been assessed for temperament and given veterinary examinations. If the animals are suitable, they will then be placed for adoption.

‘We may have some difficulty finding homes for some of these animals,’ said Winters. ‘We know there are homes out there, so we want to get the word out that these animals may become available in a couple of weeks.’

Those interested in possibly adopting the animals are encouraged to visit the Animal Shelter and view them and, fill out an adoption application. The prospective adoptive families will be evaluated so that if any of the animals are put up for adoption, they go to the best suitable home.

The Placer County Animal Shelter is located at 11251 B Ave, in Auburn. The telephone number is (530) 886-5500. Shelter hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. for adoptions, and Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. for adoptions. The shelter is also open Saturdays from 10:30 to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. for adoptions.

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