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Animal Control Adds Two New Officers
Escalon's newest animal control officers had the chance to do a release back into the wild recently, relocating a small adult fox that had been trapped by a couple in town who feared for the safety of their pet cats.

The male fox was caught on property that borders an orchard and was taken to an area near the Stanislaus River for release, none the worse for wear.

Recently hired part-time Animal Control Officers Melissa Booth and Carley Bozsik helped relocate the gray fox and are settling in to the routine at the shelter and handling calls around the community.

"This is the first fox we've ever had," said lead ACO Crystal Pascale. "It was a full grown fox, a small adult male."

Pascale said she has never had a fox caught during her tenure in the position, but said the people that rented the trap wanted to protect their own domestic animals while not harming the fox.

"They wanted to make sure it would get released safely," she explained. "They caught it on Jessica Circle."

Traps are available for rental for a $20 fee, which is refunded when the trap is returned. People will often rent them to trap feral cats or troublesome wild animals but the fox was a surprise, said Pascale.

Meanwhile, Booth and Bozsik are both excited to be a part of the Escalon team.

Bozsik, from Lake Don Pedro, has prior experience as a veterinary technician.

"I like the adoption events and seeing the animals go to good homes," she said of what she enjoys most about the work.

She also adopted a shelter dog shortly after arriving for her part-time post in Escalon. She likes the flexibility of the 20-hour per week post and said the Escalon job is much closer to home than a previous job in Sacramento. An animal lover, her home includes horses, dogs, cats and birds, with Minnie the shelter dog and Boots, a shelter cat, the most recent additions.

Booth, from Escalon, had volunteered for many years in animal services and also worked at a couple of different area kennels as a technician.

She said the shelter animals tug at her heart.

"We want people to adopt, to help give our animals a second chance," she said.

All animals that are adopted out through the Escalon shelter are spayed or neutered to help with population control.

Outside of work, Booth breeds and shows Boxers and French Bulldogs.

"They're loyal," she said of the animals. "They're always there for you."

As far as the fox, it was trapped on the property of Carl and Gelene Lang, who wanted to do their best to keep it from harm.

"We know he's God's little creature, he has a right to live," Gelene said, but added they also didn't want any of their three cats harmed.

She first noticed the fox one morning sniffing along the back edge of the yard, watching it jump over the fence. The next day she observed one of the family cats in the adjoining orchard, with the fox watching it from a few rows of trees away. When the fox gave chase, Gelene said she knew then she had to take action.

The trap was rented, the fox came for the tuna they used, and the relocation was under way.

The Langs also donated the money for the trap rental back to the city.