Cathryn Rakich

Editor and Home Design and Pets Columnist

About This Author

Cathryn Rakich has been a writer and editor in the Sacramento area for 35 years, with articles in local, state and national publications. She is also active in the animal-welfare community, volunteering for local animal rescue groups. Her latest endeavor is as a ceramics artist.

Articles by this author

The Fix Is In

Public artwork at the Light Rail Station on Franklin Boulevard is no longer a death trap for birds.

Sculptor David Best made permanent modifications to his rusted steel archway in late February that will prevent birds, including pigeons and birds of prey, from entering the structure with no way out.

“This was an accident that birds were trapped in the sculpture and died,” Best says. “This was not intentional.”

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Advisory Void

Front Street Animal Shelter killed 1,132 animals in 2023. This year, more than 150 dogs and cats have lost their lives.
These numbers are important. Hayden’s Law, enacted in 1998 to move California toward a no-kill state, says “no adoptable animal should be euthanized if it can be adopted into a suitable home.” This includes animals who “could become adoptable with reasonable efforts.”

“Killing adoptable animals is easier than putting in the effort to save them,” says Julie Virga, a local animal advocate who campaigns against what she calls Front Street’s mismanagement. “This is a complete failure of leadership.”

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You’ve Got A Friend

Buggles, a pit bull mix with a tongue-forward smile, had skin infections across his face and body. Lilo faced death without immediate medical care. Markie’s new family received free dog food and preventive medicine after adopting the easygoing mutt.

All three stories reflect the work of Friends of Front Street Animal Shelter, a nonprofit established in 2001 to help animals at the city shelter. Last year, Friends brought in $750,000, mostly from individual donors.

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Death Trap

The call came into the Wildlife Care Association in early September. A great horned owl was caught in a metal art structure at the Franklin Light Rail Station near Consumnes River College. The large bird of prey had been trapped for at least 24 hours.

Chris Lay, a Wildlife Care volunteer with eight years of experience, was first to respond. “He was alive, but there was no way to get him out,” she says.

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Call Of Duty

It was a sweltering summer day in 2022 when county Animal Control Officer Jessica Solano responded to a call about a dog named Bowbii.

Bowbii, a 170-pound Caucasian shepherd living outside, was severely malnourished, immobile and covered with maggot-filled skin infections.

“It was the most challenging call I have ever done,” Solano says. “The dog needed urgent medical care and the owner had failed to provide that care.”

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