Critter Chronicles Newsletter - December 2006

    Cover - December 2006

    December 2006 Volume 2, Issue 2

    Inside this issue:

    Holiday Hazards! Pet Proof Your Home

    rabbit and cat photo

    With the holiday season fast approaching, we turn our thoughts to entertaining friends and family in our homes. The holiday season is a great time of year for people to come together to share meals, host parties, and enjoy each other's company. Some traditions over the holidays, however, can be harmful to our furry companions. While you celebrate the holiday season, please keep in mind the following tips to ensure the safety of your pets:

    • Certain plants such as Mistletoe berries, and the leaves, stem and flowers of the Poinsettia can be dangerous to pets if ingested. Be sure to keep these plants well out of the reach of animals in your home, or opt to use artificial versions.
    • Foods and drinks such as alcoholic beverages, seeds and pits from many fruits, chocolate, macadamia nuts, walnuts, coffee, tea, onions and other foods an be harmful to pets. For more information on other poisonous foods, drinks, and plants visit dog photo
    • Never feed pets leftovers from the dinner table. Items such as chicken bones can easily shatter and choke cats and dogs.
    • When cooking dinner for your guests, be sure to move pet birds away from the kitchen area. Fumes released from non-stick cookware and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly.
    • Decorations such as tinsel, glass ornaments, and garlands can easily attract pets, but are dangerous choking hazards. Electric decorations such as stringed lights can give your pets a shock should they chew on the chords. Keep decorations out of reach.
    • The unusual commotion of the holiday season can be stressful on animals as well as all of us! Put your pets in a quiet room or area of the house when guests are visiting. Make sure your pet's identification is updated, in case they stray or get lost.

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    OCAC Call Center: New improvements to get you through the call-center maze

    Tired of wading through confusing recordings and carpal-tunnel-inducing button pushing just to speak to a real live person? We've all experienced the frustrations of navigating a maze of recorded instructions. No matter how simple your question, we're left to press numbers, and wait. The entire process seems impersonal and ultimately sets a poor standard for customer service.

    Soktha Penh photo

    Soktha Penh is ready to handle
    your pet-related concerns.

    Each day, OC Animal Care (OCAC) receives more than 900 calls about stray and injured animals, urban wildlife, licensing, adoptions, lost pets and much more. In our effort to continually provide exceptional customer services, and reduce customer wait times, we at OCAC recently revamped our call center operations. Before the switch, OCAC Call Center wait times averaged from 10-30 minutes. Now, customers can speak directly to an OCAC representative who will answer their questions or transfer the call to an OCAC department better able to pro-vide the needed information. And the process is complete in just a few short minutes!

    ACS call center photo

    Our employees go above and
    beyond to answer your calls!

    In order to make the changes necessary to ensure shorter wait times and efficient customer service, OCAC has installed a business call management system (BCMS). The BCMS organizes incoming calls, distributes calls to customer service representatives and tracks daily call volumes. The system is structured in a way that enables OCAC staff to immediately respond to all calls coming into the Call Center.

    With representatives personally answering calls Monday-Friday (8 a.m.- 5 p.m.), OCAC has become a more efficient point of contact for information about Orange County's animal-related services. One call to OCAC connects customers with a staff member who will go above and beyond to provide information about specific animals, animal control, and animal care as well as numbers for other agencies that can provide additional help and information.

    To contact the OCAC call center, please call 714-935-6848. It is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    We're Here for You

    Animal Care Center
    714-935-7158 After Hours Pick-up

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    Rabies Prevention… safety is key!

    On October 14, 2006 OC Animal Care (OCAC) was contacted about a stray bat exposure: found near the entrance of a Sears department store. Eleven individuals had watched the bat Bat photo behaving strangely; biting at the air and flopping on the ground seeming unable to fly. One gentleman used his pen to pick up the bat and hold it inches from his face, not thinking about the chance of being exposed to rabies.

    Animal Control responded to the call immediately. The bat was confiscated and tested for rabies. The results came back positive and each of the 11 individuals had to be contacted about their possible exposure to the deadly disease.

    Rabies is caused by the Lyssavirus found in the saliva of infected animals. It is transmitted to other warm blooded animals, including humans, by a bite, scratch, contact with saliva, or possible contamination of an open wound. Once transmitted, it infects the central nervous system and brain. Early symptoms include fever, headache, and bodily discomfort. Then, as the disease progresses, the infected person develops neurological symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitability, hallucinations, hyper salivation, and difficulty swallowing.

    While rabies ranks as one of the most common zoonotic diseases in the United States and the world, few of us consider the kinds of situations that can lead to rabies exposure.

    Bat photo

    When most of us think of a rabid animal, we often paint a picture of a wild-eyed dog, foaming at the mouth. This situation, however, is very rare. The last reported case of rabies that was connected to a domestic dog occurred in LA County in 2004- and that dog brought the disease from El Salvador. The most commonly reported cases of rabies in California have been found in wildlife, particularly bats.

    In the United States, human fatalities associated with rabies occur in people who fail to seek medical assistance, usually because they are unaware of their exposure. Bat bites are very small and hard to detect, and in some instances bats can find their way into our homes, easily exposing us and our pets to rabies.

    Although rabies is 100% fatal if left untreated, it is completely preventable. The decline in cases of domestic animals is largely attributed to animal control programs, as well as the increase of low-cost vaccines available for pets.

    Prevention and education are the keys to keeping you and your family safe from the disease. Listed below are ways to prevent exposure

    • Vaccinate your pets. Dogs are required to be vaccinated for rabies at 4 months of age. Cats can be vaccinated as early as 8 weeks, and it is recommended that cats receive updated vaccines because as free-roaming animals, they are more likely to come into contact with wildlife. The first rabies vaccine is effective for 1 year, and then animals should be re-vaccinated every 3 years.
    • Teach your children to respect wildlife, and to always keep a safe distance. Do not feed or provide harborage to wildlife on your property.
    • Report any bite from a domestic or wild animal to Orange County OC Animal Care: (714) 935-6106.

    Report dead, sick or nesting bats immediately to Orange County OC Animal Care (714) 935-6848. For more information on rabies control and prevention, visit

    Never Attempt to Handle a Bat!

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    Sabrina Name: Sabrina
    Sex: Female
    Age: 10 years
    Breed: German Shepherd
    Darcy Name: Darcy
    ID#: A0776614
    Sex: Spayed, Female
    Age: 3 years
    Breed: Pit Bull mix
    Monroe Name: Monroe
    ID#: A0790787
    Sex: Male
    Age: 3 years
    Breed: DSH Rabbit
    Hamilton Name: Hamilton
    ID#: A0792525
    Sex: Male
    Age: 1 year
    Breed: DSH Rabbit
    Salem Name: Salem
    ID#: A0774514
    Sex: Neutered, Male
    Age: 2 years
    Breed: DSH
    Hobby Name: Hobby
    ID#: A0774502
    Sex: Neutered, Male
    Age: 3 years
    Breed: Persian mix

    Orange County OC Animal Care makes every effort to promote all of the wonderful animals we have avail-able for adoption. At the time of publication, these animals were in need of lifelong homes.

    All adopted animals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped prior to leaving the shelter. If you are interested in adopting a pet, please visit us online at, or simply come down to the shelter!

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    The 2nd Annual Adopt-a-Valentine Shelter Event

    Each year OC Animal Care (OCAC) performs over 5,000 spay/neuter surgeries. The overall impact is saving the lives of animals, as well as helping reduce pet overpopulation.

    Spay Day USA logo graphicIn recognition of the American Humane Association's Spay Day USA, OCAC will be hosting its 2nd annual Adopt a Valentine event on Saturday, February 10th, 2006. Adopt a Valentine is FREE to attend and will be held at the Orange County Animal Care Center, (561 The City Drive South), located in Orange, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

    Spay Day USA is a day to shine a national spotlight on spay/neuter as the simple, humane solution to the tragedy of pet overpopulation. OCAC is proud to host Adopt a Valentine in honor of Spay Day and will take the opportunity to further educate the public on the benefits of spay/neuter and promote all of its adoptable animals.

    It has been proven that spayed/neutered animals live longer, healthier lives and altered animals are better, more affectionate companions. Altering your pet is a small price to pay for your pet's health and the prevention of more unwanted animals, which is why the Animal Assistance League will provide FREE SPAY/NEUTER vouchers to Adopt a Valentine attendees who own unaltered pets!

    At last year's Adopt a Valentine event, OCAC placed over 30 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and other critters into lifelong homes! Plans are already underway and this year OCAC anticipates an even bigger success. Put your best paw forward and be a part of all the fun and excitement! For more information on this event, please call (714) 935-6848.

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    Mobile Adoption & Shelter Events for December-February

    Adopt a Bunny month poster graphic

    OC Animal Care is always looking for ways to promote adoptable animals and bring them into the public eye. One way that we do this is through our participation in local community events. Each week we prepare animals at our shelter to go out into the public and potentially find a new home. Mobile adoptions are a great way to promote animals, provide information to the public, and inform our local communities of the services we provide. Here is a list of the upcoming mobile events that OCAC will be participating in:

    • December is Adopt a Bunny month! Throughout the entire month of December OCAC will be offering reduced fees for rabbit adoptions. For more information please call (714) 935-6848
    • Saturday, December 2nd, 2006: Ralph's Grocery Store Mobile Adoption (10 a.m.- 2 p.m.) Fountain Valley, CA.
    • Monday, December 25th, 2006: OCAC will be closed in observance of the Christmas holiday. The Care Center will be open the following business day.
    • Monday, January 1st, 2007: OCAC will be closed in observance of the New Year's holiday. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!
    • Saturday, February 10th, 2007, in honor of Spay Day USA, OCAC presents Adopt a Valentine! You never know what Cupid has in store for you at the Care Center! Come adopt your newfound love, the shelter is open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (561 The City Drive, Orange, CA 92868).

    OCAC is always looking to participate in new events. If you have an upcoming community event that you would like us to be a part of, please send your information to Rachel Gorman, Public Education Officer, 561 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868, or call her at (714) 935-6301.

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    Celebrating Success

    Orange County OC Animal Care takes great pride in promoting the successes we have in adopting our animals to lifelong homes. We often receive updates from visitors that tell us heart warming stories of how they were either reunited with their lost pet, or had found the perfect companion to take home. Here is a story regarding a rabbit named Buster, who had found a special place to call home.

    Parize Family with Buster photo

    Dear Animal Care Center,

    In March of 2006 we lost our beloved bunny to old age. My three girls were heartbroken as was I. Since we had rescued our sweet bunny from the streets, we knew that our next bunny would be one that needed rescuing too.

    We went online to your website and found the bunny we thought we would want to adopt. When we arrived at the shelter, however, Buster (as we now call him) caught our attention! There was an immediate connection and we knew we had to have him.

    We all love him very much and enjoy watching him hop around the yard, or cuddle in our laps while we brush him.

    Thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to make Buster a part of our family! Sincerely,

    The Parize Family Garden Grove, CA

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