Animal lovers offer to ease plight of Loomis pet owner

By: Martha Garcia, Gold Country News Service
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The plight of a Loomis woman who has been told she must get rid of some of her rescue animals has drawn offers of help from strangers, thanks to stories published last week by the Auburn Journal and the Loomis News. Cindy Walden will appear before the Loomis Town Council at 7:30 tonight at the Loomis Depot to appeal an order by the town to get rid of one of her five dogs and remove 20 chickens and two pygmy goats. For 24 years, Walden has owned a .62-acre lot off Humphrey Road. Walden said that over the years she had been assured by town staff that her animal-keeping was acceptable because it was “grandfathered in.” “I was always told I could have goats and chickens, just no large-hoofed animals,” Walden said. She has nothing in writing to back up her claim. Walden’s aged pets include three small dogs, one of which was rescued from Hurricane Katrina, and chickens rescued from an abandoned egg-farming facility and animal shelters. Walden said her five dogs are difficult to adopt out because of their advanced age and medical conditions. The pygmy goats are considered to be large animals. To keep them, Walden would have to obtain a minor use permit, for which the town charges $1,400. Paul and Cynthia Komiskey, of Newcastle, have offered to take in the goats if Walden is unable to keep them. “We have 7 acres near Folsom Lake,” said Cynthia Komiskey. “These would be pasture goats.” Komiskey said the goats would have about three acres of pasture in which to roam and eat. At night, they would be locked up in their 16-by-20- foot barn. Komiskey said they have one pasture goat that lost its mate due to age. “It needs a companion or two,” she said. Walden, she said, “could come out and visit them anytime she wanted.” Carolyn Carter, of Colfax, said she couldn’t make it to tonight’s meeting in Loomis, but called to offer financial help if Walden decides to apply for a minor use permit. Carter said she’s not exactly an animal rescuer, but does love animals and has contacts with people who take animals in need of treatment to her. Dogs are high on Carter’s list of life’s valuable creatures. She and her husband have four dogs and two cats. And, she said, she’s training her neighbor’s young Labrador retriever so that she can take it to visit hospital patients and residents of convalescent homes. “Just like the old saying goes — dog spelled backwards is God — there must be a reason for that,” Carter said. Walden said she appreciates those who have reached out to her, especially to another woman who said she would open her home to an elderly dog. “That touches me,” Walden said, “because senior animals are harder to place.” Walden also encourages people to go to shelters to adopt senior animals, because “they’re euthanized in shelters every day.” “If it comes to where I need to place my animals, I will certainly be in touch with that person and let her know what my status is,” Walden said. Loomis News Staff Writer Joyia Emard contributed to this report.