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South Valley Journal

Checking in with Stone Ridge Veterinary, Riverton's impromptu animal shelter

Sep 09, 2019 01:05PM ● By Mariden Williams

Stone Ridge Veterinary is a family-owned Riverton business, and does extensive work with animal rescues and rehab programs to keep their shelter no-kill. (Dylan Crider)

By Mariden Williams | [email protected]

It's now been a little over two years since Riverton officials voted to split away from Salt Lake County Animal Services in the face of dramatically mounting cost increases in July 2017. Now it appears the saga of developing in-house animal control has settled into a comfortable happily-ever-after. Between new city employees trained in animal control and a partnership with a local veterinary clinic, things seem to be going very well.

“It’s been really good. I mean, we just renewed the contract for another year, so both parties must be happy with it," said Marnie Ann Cannon, owner of Stone Ridge Veterinary, which provides shelter space for animals impounded by the city. “We’ve been able to keep the shelter no-kill, meaning that the only pets euthanized are for medical reasons that aren’t treatable, or they’ve been euthanized for severe aggression. Everybody else has either managed to be adopted or sent to a rescue or has been reunited with their owners. We're happy about that.”

The animal control equation had two main factors: first, catching the animals, and second, housing them until they can be claimed. The Riverton City Council’s solution to animal apprehension was straightforward: hire two additional city code enforcement officers — who ordinarily handle such problems as inappropriately placed signs, weeds, and other general community complaints — furnished them with a truck, and cross-trained them in animal control. 

Housing the impounded animals is where Stone Ridge comes in. Riverton does not have a dedicated animal shelter of its own, and rather than build an all-new shelter or ask another city for shelter space, Riverton officials decided to instead increase Stone Ridge's animal boarding capacity and contract with them instead.

“I think it's been beneficial to everybody,” Cannon said. “I think the city has saved a bunch of money. I think the pets have benefited because they're in a no kill environment. And they're getting really good care." 


An iguana found a permanent home with the owner of a reptile rescue. (Pxhere)

  

On average, animal control brings Stone Ridge 15-20 animals each month, generally in batches of around three animals each. Pets with owners are normally claimed within a day or so. Those who need to be adopted out take a little longer. Stone Ridge has a five-day wait period for owners to retrieve their animal friends before they are put up for adoption, and on average, rescue pets leave the shelter after about twelve days. Either because they get adopted, or sent to a rescue where they can stay safely indefinitely. 

There's a fair amount of variation between species too; dogs get adopted a lot more quickly than cats, for example. But it's not just cats and dogs. Over the last year and a half, animal control has brought Stone Ridge many other types of creatures. 

“We've had two iguanas, we just had a duck, we've had some pheasants, we've had some rare weird chickens, we had a ferret, and we've had quite a few rabbits. We had quite a few goats and some sheep, and then mainly dogs and cats. The two iguanas have to be the most exotic,” Cannon said. 

The first iguana came to Stone Ridge shortly after shelter duties began in 2018, and the second arrived just last month. Iguanas are often known for being grumpy and unfriendly, but both of these were apparently very well behaved and left the shelter quickly. The first returned to the arms of its relieved original keeper after receiving a microchip, and the second found a new home as a reptile rescue owner’s personal pet.