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Lost your dog? Find a lost or injured animal? Here are important contact numbers in Santa Fe and Santa Fe County:

In the city limits, Animal Services is at 955-2701. On weekends and holidays, call SFPD dispatch at 955-2700.
In the county, Animal Control is at 992-1626. On weekends and holidays, call Sheriff's dispatch at 428-3720.

Still unsure about what to do to find your lost pet? Read these tips put together by Scoop member Julie.

Want to be part of a growing number of people who help find animals? Join the e-mail alert list about lost/found animals. Organized by Scoop member Claudia Inoue, recipients are notified when there is an animal lost in the Santa Fe area. If you'd like to be a part of the list, e-mail lostdogalertsantafe@gmail.com. Read more about the database.

Suspect an animal might be suffering from abuse? Call the toll-free statewide hot line for reporting extreme cruelty to animals at 1-877-548-6263.

Have a favorite animal-related link? Let me know at scoop@sfnewmexican.com and I'll post it here.

Animal Protection of New Mexico

Animal Shelter Tips Blog

All Creatures Memorials

Baghdad pups

Best Friends Animal Sancturary

Bridging the Worlds Animal Sanctuary

Cat Spay of Santa Fe

City of Santa Fe Animal Services

Desert Paws - news from Cochiti Lake

Dew Paws

East Mountain Pet Alert


Espanola Valley Humane Society

Felines & Friends New Mexico

House Rabbit Society

Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary

Listening to Raven: Artist Beth Surdut

 

Luvin' Labradors Retriever Rescue New Mexico

New Mexico House Rabbit Society

New Mexico Independent Border Collie Rescue

New Mexico Mustang and Burro Association

Pet Loss Support Page

Santa Fe Border Collie Club

Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society

Santa Fe Dog Park blog

Save the Chimps

Shaking Wind Ranch

Southwest Llama Rescue

The Wildlife Center

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At Santa Fe Raptor Center, rehabilitating birds is a labor of love

By Staci Matlock/The New Mexican

Taking care of fluffy baby owls sounds fun, until you’re the one who has to get up at 3 a.m. each morning to cut dead mice into tiny pieces and keep the ravenous nocturnal creatures fed.

Still, Lori Paras and her cadre of volunteers ignore the exhausting, smelly, gross aspects of the work for the love of helping injured and orphaned owls, hawks and eagles at the Santa Fe Raptor Center return to the wild.

Sometimes Paras, the center’s only paid staff member, is amazed that the center she founded in 2004 is still going and growing. “You look back and think, ‘My gosh, this actually worked,’ ” Paras said recently from the center’s new home in El Rito, a mountain village near Abiquiú.

In November, volunteers helped Paras take apart the 12-foot-high, 100-foot-long, outdoor wooden cages and move the center from Eldorado to a 14-acre parcel of land in El Rito.

Paras said that, unlike some residents of the Eldorado subdivision south of Santa Fe, her new neighbors in El Rito have been welcoming. “They are very excited,” she said. “They stop by to find out what we’re doing.”

In the new location, Paras has been able to expand, adding more cages to accommodate the number of raptors the public and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ask her to foster each year.

Currently, she has 11 baby barn owls, five great horned owls, juvenile kestrel and marsh hawks, along with several adults, at the center. She expects more baby owls and hawks soon as juveniles fall or are blown out of nests by seasonal winds. The center also cares for a dozen raptors that can’t be released into the wild because of injuries or imprinting on humans; those birds foster babies and travel to schools and special events as part of the center’s education program.

In 2014, Paras and the volunteers raised 13 young Swainson’s hawks and 15 young kestrels and successfully released them back to the wild.

Paras said the center has taken care of a lot more Swainson’s hawks than usual in recent years. The hawks migrate from Argentina. “They would be fledglings and absolutely starving to death when we got them,” said Paras, who attributed the influx to drought and lack of food along the migration route. “With all this rain, I’m hoping they do better this year.”

Unfortunately, Paras said, well-meaning humans often pick up fledglings when they shouldn’t, thinking the parent has abandoned them. But it isn’t unusual for babies to fall on the ground as they are learning to fly, she explained, and the adults even will feed their young on the ground, if need be, until their flight skills improve. Paras recommends people do not baby birds they find on the ground, unless they are injured.

When baby birds end up at the center, Paras and volunteers hand-feed them if they’re only a few days old. But the minute they are strong enough, she puts them with adult birds of the same species that foster the babies. She said her crew works hard to discourage the raptors, hawks and eagles from imprinting or relying on humans.

“You really want a tough, vicious bird that doesn’t want to relate to humans if they are going to survive in the wild,” she said. “If the birds don’t like you, you know you are doing things right.”

The center’s new home helps with human avoidance. The facility borders federal public land, and there are no other buildings in the immediate area. Trees shade part of the property, and there are some sagebrush flats with an irrigated field not too far away. Plenty of wild birds make noise in the forest nearby. The whole feel of the land, Paras said, is wild. “It is a nice place for birds to look out at.”

Paras, 52, was a Peace Corps volunteer, a teacher and a veterinary technician before she started the center. She learned the basics of wildlife rehabilitation while working for five years at The Wildlife Center near Española, a nonprofit facility that rehabilitates injured wildlife of all types. She said she continues to receive advice and help from Kathleen Ramsay, the veterinarian who started The Wildlife Center.

Paras’ last vacation was Thanksgiving. She works seven days a week, devoting many hours to the center, especially in the summer with all the babies coming in. She has a staunch group of volunteers, but they have to travel farther to help her now.

There’s always a foot to check, a bird to move, dirty laundry to wash, a cage to fix. “People romanticize what we do. Some of it is really nasty,” Paras said. “We have to slice up mice. We’re dealing with poop and guts all over.”

And there are the 3 a.m. feedings. Even when foster birds are caring for the little ones, Paras has to defrost the groceries before the fledglings can dig in.

But all the work pays off when volunteers get to release a raptor, like a golden eagle named James Dean, and watch it safely take flight into the wild.

Paras welcomes volunteers to help feed the baby birds. The babies eat twice as much as the adults do, which means the summer feed bill runs $4,200 a month or more, she said.

Paras orders mice, rats and quails to feed the birds. People bring her “live, mean rats,” as well. “These rats aren’t domestic. They fight back and bite the birds’ feet,” she said. “That’s what these birds may face when they return to the wild, so they need to know how to deal with it.”

In 2013, the center received $83,150 in donations and grants. The center spent $73,500, with more than $31,000 used for food. Half of the remainder went to rent, utilities and upkeep, according to the group’s last report filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Santa Fe Raptor Center welcomes donations. To help, people can buy a ticket to the center’s annual fundraiser, donate online or send a check. Tickets to the fundraiser, which will take place June 12 in the Farmers Market Pavilion at the Santa Fe Railyard, are $50 each and include dinner catered by Hotel Santa Fe, wine, live music and some of the center’s feathered ambassadors. To purchase tickets, call 920-9223.

To check out new feathered arrivals, visit the center’s Facebook page. More information about the center is also available at santaferaptorcenter.org.

To visit or volunteer, call Paras at 699-0455 — and forgive her if she’s grumpy when she talks to you. It’s probably been a long night.

Contact Staci Matlock at 986-3055 or smatlock@sfnewmexican.com. Follow her on Twitter @StaciMatlock.

Scoop bulletins

Scoop - We are the heart of Santa Fe's great animal-loving community.

Remember in order to become a member of Scoop, you must indicate whether you have an animal companion and what his or her name is. Those who don't have animal companions must simply say what animals mean to them. It's a simple rule, but it helps to eliminate spammers or those with certain agendas.

PLEASE remember we do not allow unsupported blog postings that are intended as attacks on any groups or individuals. This is a place for communication about animal-welfare issues and not one-sided agendas.

GOT NEWS? Send all your animal story ideas, pet-related events or interesting facts to bendavidswan@gmail.com and they will be published in Thursday's Scoop section of The New Mexican (depending on space. You are welcome to post items here as well!

Santafescoop.com is a community-networking site. If you wish to advertise a product or service please contact our advertising department at (505) 995-3846. Profiles that are overtly commercial can be removed.

We continue to be plagued by Spammers. Those interested in becoming members, please sign up, but also email scoop@sfnewmexican.com to assure acceptance. Sorry of the inconvenience.

Blog Posts

Instagram contest highlights Santa Fe Dsogs

Take photos of your dog in your favorite dog-friendly Santa Fe locales and win prizes!



@SimplySantaFeNM, a local Instagram photo sharing company, and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter are showcasing dog-friendly businesses and places in Santa Fe through an Instagram photo contest. The contest offers prize packages for the top 12 winners as well as prizes for at least the top three crowd favorites.



To participate, post photos of your pup (or a friend's) at your favorite…

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Posted by Ben Swan on May 25, 2015 at 2:42pm

Shelter offers reduced adoption fees

Winterlike weather and full kennels has prompted the Santa Fe animal shelter to offer reduced adoption fees on all adult animals.

The shelter’s Christmas in Spring special features $25 adoption fees on all adult animals, reduced adoption fees on other animals, and special gifts for all adopters.

“It’s hard to believe that spring is here when we’ve just had snow and rain,” said Dylan Moore, the shelter’s adoptions director. “But that just gives us a chance to offer a fun…

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Posted by Ben Swan on May 25, 2015 at 2:38pm

Local animal news in brief, May 7, 2015

Adoptable pets join youth symphony event

The Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association hosts its second Paws Pageant on Saturday, featuring adoptable animals, a host of vendors, free demonstrations, live music and a dog show

The event, dubbed The Dog Show For Every Dog, runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Santa Fe Railyard District. Several family-fun activities are planned, including “competitive” events to show off the beauty and talent of dogs. Categories…

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Posted by Ben Swan on May 6, 2015 at 1:47pm

Pepper's headed back to Santa Fe!

Some of you may remember Pepper - he's the dog who helped rally a community to rescue him when he spent more than six months roaming the arroyos and streets of Santa Fe. Thanks to Steve and Yvette Dobbie and their Pepper's Posse, Pepper was rescued and found a beautiful sanctuary in Northern California. Unfortunately that sanctuary is no more and Steve and Yvette are once again there for Pepper. Steve picked up Pepper - the last of the animals at the sanctuary - to bring him…

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Posted by Ben Swan on May 2, 2015 at 12:10pm

Local animal news in brief, April 24, 2015

Annual cleanup set for off-leash park

Dog lovers of Ortiz Park are gearing up for Saturday’s annual poop-the-scoop party and are banking on a big turnout.

The twice-yearly cleaning drives help make the park, located at the Frank Ortiz Park off Camino de las Crucitas in the city’s Solano neighborhood, a pleasant experience for everyone, said cleanup organizers. The spring cleanup is set for 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday. Utensils, including buckets, tables, chairs,…

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Posted by Ben Swan on April 24, 2015 at 9:36am

Caregivers Urgently Needed for Adoption Center

Due to new jobs, moves, etc. FELINES & FRIENDS is in urgent need of reliable volunteers to care for the cats at our

Adoption Center located within Petco in Santa Fe. Feed, clean litterboxes and play with the cats.

Several mornings and evenings available. Time commitment approximately 2 hours.

Between 8:30am and 10:30am

Between 5:30pm and 8:30pm

Please send an e-mail to askfelinesandfriends@yahoo.com if you are willing to help.  Kitten season has…

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Posted by Bobbi Heller on April 21, 2015 at 1:38pm

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