Veterinary Tech students at Orem’s Broadview University may smell like wet dog now, but they don’t mind as their actions Saturday may help Jim Dix of the Reptile Rescue Service find shelter for over 500 reptiles to be displaced by the Mountain View Corridor highway project in West Valley. Broadview’s SCNAVTA club hosted it’s annual dog wash, with all donations going to Dix and his rescue. The only exception were the funds brought in by the bake sale, which will go toward the SCNAVTA club activities, most of which are also service-oriented.
Over 500 reptiles, and the man who cares for them, search for a new home
James Dix is one of the last of 45 people who need to vacate their homes between 3500 South and 4500 South at about 5700 West to make way for the new highway project. Dix and Utah Department of Transportation have negotiated, unsuccessfully, for over a year to find a new location for the animal sanctuary. Now they are getting down to the wire, and the sanctuary is in trouble.
One reason that so many animals (not only turtles, snakes, and lizards, but spiders, coyotes, and others.) depend on Dix is that he is one of few licensed to care for them. While Dix does adopt out many reptiles, making appearances at events like the upcoming Wasatch Reptile Expo (this year to be held on the 8th and 9th of October at the Utah Fair Grounds), there are few people in the state allowed to own the venomous animals he is called upon to take.
“There is no shelter in the valley that can hold these snakes,” the 52-year-old plumber and self-taught zookeeper told The Salt Lake Tribune . “Without us, these animals would be destroyed.”
Some find scaly neighbors a scary idea
“We’ve worked with Jim for years and given him turtles, iguanas, snakes,” said Gene Baierschmidt, executive director of the Murray-based Humane Society of Utah. “He provides an invaluable service to the animal community.”
But despite this service, it is these animals, especially the potentially dangerous ones, that have made it difficult for Dix to find a shelter for his cold-blooded charges. In addition to seeking suggestions for possible location, Dix asks the public, “we need people who will donate services, construction materials, anything that will help.”
And Broadview Vet Tech students did their part yesterday, among the suds and slurpy kisses.
Dog wash was a success
Students treated dogs to a bath, nail trim and basic groom, wellness check with a supervising Veterinarian and their humans to a dot dog lunch, all for a donation of just $10. They earned almost $600, all of which will be directly donated to the Reptile Rescue Service. The Dog Wash ran from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. There were also some more exotic visitors to the SCNAVTA event. A green and red parrot greeted people at the slushie stand by the door, occasionally enjoying a reprieve from the heat with a shower from a cup. And something other than your average Fido showed up to get a bath… an adorable potbelly piglet named “Wilbur.” Wilbur got the spa treatment just like the dogs, but probably got more attention. What a wet and wild way to spend Pig Week!