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Busy times for animal control

A cormorant was trapped in a tree, tangled in fishing line until firefighterS and animal control officers rescued it.

Petaluma Animal Shelter
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.

From a cormorant stuck high in a tree, tangled in fishing line, to a dog trapped with an opossum beneath a shed, it was a busy couple weeks for Petaluma's two animal control officers.

On Dec. 22, Officer Mark Scott teamed up with Petaluma firefighters to rescue a dark, sea-going bird called a cormorant that had become tangled high up in a tree near the Golden Eagle shopping center. According to Scott, the bird was dangling by one wing, which was caught in fishing wire, about 50-60 feet in the air.

By the time Scott arrived on scene, a crowd of about 50 people had gathered, and crows were circling and pecking at the ensnared bird.

Scott said he immediately called for help from the Fire Department.

Within a few minutes, firefighters arrived on scene. They set up a ladder truck to reach the bird, cut it free and placed it in a carrying container.

After they freed the bird, Scott rushed it to the animal shelter, where the remaining fishing line was removed from its wing. The bird was bleeding where the line had cut into its wing.

From there, the bird was rushed to a bird rescue center for further treatment but was expected to recover fully, Scott said.

Then, on Jan. 3, Scott found himself sawing into the floor of a shed to free a Boston terrier that had gotten trapped under the floorboards when he chased a wild animal — likely an opossum — under the shed.

“It sounded terrible,” Scott said of the racket that the dog and the wild animal made while trapped together under the shed.

“I'm still recovering from a heart attack,” joked a grateful Eugenia Davidson, who owns the terrier. She recalled hearing barking and growling coming from the shed shortly after realizing that the 4-year-old dog, Jordan, had gone missing.

“That's when I started panicking,” she said, adding that she was worried that the wild animal trapped beneath the shed would harm her dog. Davidson tried to free Jordan herself by digging out more space between the shed and the ground, but in doing so her shovel broke. That's when she called 911. Scott arrived and, seeing there was no other way to free the dog, asked if he could saw into the floor of the shed. With Davidson's permission, he did so and removed the dog, unharmed.

“He acted like nothing ever happened,” Davidson said of the dog's reaction to the incident.

Then, on Friday afternoon, Jan. 4, officers were called out to Highway 101, where two dogs, a terrier and a border collie mix, were reported to be cruising through the northbound lane between Lakeville Highway and East Washington Street. Traffic was snarled for about 15 minutes as a CHP officer directed traffic and animal control officers corralled the dogs.

The larger dog was caught relatively easily, said Officer Jason Pietsch, but the terrier slipped past, and attempted to leap the center divide.

“If he'd have gotten over, he would have gotten smushed,” Pietsch said. They finally managed to catch the terrier, and both dogs were returned to their owner on Gumwood Lane, who was very upset to learn what had happened, Pietsch said.

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