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This Get-Together Is Only Natural

September 20, 1997|FRANK MESSINA

Rarely a week passes that the Mission Viejo Animal Shelter doesn't hear from some frazzled homeowner over a too-close encounter with wildlife, but this phone call was unusual.

"Some couple called us to say that they had a buck deer and a doe in their front yard, and the doe was about ready to give birth," shelter director John Gonzales said. "We told them, 'For heaven sakes, just leave them alone.' By the time we got there, the deer probably had decided they needed more privacy and were gone."

Mankind meets wild critter almost every day in some parts of Orange County, and to make the confrontation a little more civilized, the Mission Viejo shelter is hosting the Pet and Wildlife Faire today.

The event is expected to attract about 1,000 visitors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. About 20 animal organizations from around the county will be represented at the shelter, at 28095 Hillcrest, off Marguerite Parkway between Avery and Crown Valley parkways.

"It's a public education and humane awareness event," Gonzales said. "We let people know about what services we offer, but we also open the door for other animal agencies."

Some groups show up to give their animal of choice a public relations boost.

"Possums are so misunderstood," said Leslie Hall, vice president of the Orange County-based Opossum Society of America. "We're out there to spread the word that if you see possums in your back yard, don't hurt them."

Information: (714) 470-3045.

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