To the editor: LTWC responds to its neighbors |

To the editor: LTWC responds to its neighbors

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has been in existence since 1978. Initially operating on a shoestring budget, our greatest goal has been to help wildlife. We have been able to survive, and in many ways flourish, including gaining reputation enough to rehabilitate baby bears. With donations, hard work and the help of an architect/engineer’s design, LTWC was able to build the perfect baby bear enclosure that keeps the cubs safe. We were thrilled to get the first-ever California Fish and Game permit to rehabilitate baby bears.

This year has been our first year to do this. It’s a sad end to a wonderful story that we now find ourselves tangled in a neighbor dispute.

We are very sorry at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care that Mr. McDougall is displeased. We are a needed service for wildlife in our community and have saved the lives of thousands of animals. We apparently a have not focused enough on addressing the needs of our neighbor.

Mr. McDougall is a nice man, we know that about him. Janet McDougall is a hardworking public servant and feels strongly about her opinions and recollections of our history. The grant referred to in Janet’s letter, unfortunately was not available to us. LTWC is located in a buildable zone. The grant Janet was working on with the Tahoe Conservancy was only obtainable for purchase of environmentally sensitive lots.

The county contacted us about an anonymous complaint and asked to visit our facility. Supervisor Dave Solaro’s office is assisting us in finding a solution to the problem. They have been very sensitive to both the neighbor and our needs.

We continue to pursue our location options and to operate our wildlife care center with the complete awareness by the governing agencies. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff has been kept apprised, and we thought we had the appropriate approvals. As a result of the complaint, we discovered more requirements were necessary. The county agreed to waive building permit fees in a March 2001 letter and has kept us informed of the possible need to amend our 1986 Special Use Permit.

Our funds go directly to animal care with very little left over. If we had enough money, we would have purchased the surrounding lots as a buffer zone. Mr. McDougall offered to sell us his lot before he built on it, but we could not afford the price he was asking.

For 23 years we’ve been rehabilitating and releasing wildlife in a safe environment. We hope we can continue to do so. We know Tahoe is growing up around us. LTWC wants to be a good neighbor.

Bob Rutherdale

President, Board of Directors

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, Inc.

South Lake Tahoe

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