BEEVILLE – If you ask city of Beeville Senior Animal Control Officer Lupe Valdez, he’ll tell you he and his crew are never surprised at the kinds of calls they get.
That was the case Monday when they were called out to Price Supply Inc. in the 1500 block of West Corpus Christi Street after a couple of owls started to attack employees in the company’s warehouse.
Valdez and his assistant, Ron White, arrived with the shelter’s kennel tech, Manuel Lopez, and a volunteer, Raquel Martinez, and they were quickly led to the warehouse in the rear of the building.
One of the owls, a large one, already had managed to fly out of the garage loading door of the warehouse.
The other owl, a smaller one, was still in the building, avoiding the employees.
After repeated efforts by Valdez and White to catch the owl in one of their nets, the bird finally got smart and flew out the large warehouse door to freedom.
“It’s always something,” Valdez said as his crew left the building to return to the City of Beeville Animal Shelter on Cook Road.
And what a weekend it had been for the crew.
Last Friday the shelter received a call about a large snake that had been discovered in the laundry room of a home on West Hefferman Street.
Valdez responded and found a huge blue indigo snake in the room.
He captured the reptile and took it back to the shelter where he got to know the snake better.
Valdez said he later released the snake outside of town. Also known as Texas indigo snakes, the reptiles not only are harmless, they also eat the dangerous western diamondback rattlesnakes that are common in most of the state.
In fact, just a couple of days after catching and releasing the indigo, a family in Beeville called to report that a diamondback had been spotted in their garage.
Valdez was back out on the street with his snake-catching equipment and ready for action.
He successfully captured the snake and took a photo of it as it rested in the bottom of a red, plastic bucket.
However, the end was not as pleasant for the rattler. Valdez said that snake had to be euthanized.
“It would have been very irresponsible to relocate it somewhere, risking the chance to come across someone or a pet,” Valdez said.
Sometimes animal shelter stories have happy endings. That was what happened Friday when a young family showed up at the shelter after being contacted by the staff.
They had brought in a cute little dog named Rosebear that had a rabies tag on a collar she was wearing.
Thanks to the tag the shelter staff was able to find the owners.
Mom, dad and their 3-year-old daughter showed up to take a look at the dog, and Rosebear immediately recognized them.
The family had not seen the dog in about a year, and their reunion brought smiles to everyone at the shelter that day.
Valdez said every pet owner should have a rabies tag on his or her pets at all times so that owners can be notified if the shelter finds their animals.
“I also want to start doing microchips here at the shelter,” he said. “Microchips are a great way for pet owners to be identified.”
The shelter would charge only the cost of the chip itself to keep the identification process affordable to everyone.
Microchips are inserted just under the skin of the pet, and they provide a permanent way for animal shelters to be able to identify an animal’s owner if it is lost and later found.
Valdez said he will approach the City Council soon to see about dealing with dog owners who go shopping and leave their pets in the vehicle while they are in the store.
“The temperature in a vehicle can go to 130 degrees in minutes,” Valdez said. That can be fatal to an animal before the pet owner even knows what has happened.
The officer wants to obtain approval from the council for an ordinance that would allow Municipal Court Judge Joe Salinas to fine persons who leave their animals in vehicles during the hot summer months.
Valdez said he would like to see a minimum fine of $300 for a violator and a maximum fine of $500.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.