Nevada County People: Aug. 14, 2008 |

Nevada County People: Aug. 14, 2008

During Ken Norton’s 42 years as an animal control officer for the City of Grass Valley, he has rescued a horse from a swimming pool, removed a dead mountain lion from the road and responded to countless complaints of stray sheep and cattle on people’s properties in the middle of the night.

Norton, 63, retired this month as the supervising officer. He’s among a group of retirees who’ll be honored today at a special dinner hosted by the City of Grass Valley at Condon Park.

“I feel I’ve helped the animals over the years,” Norton said. “I trained employees how to do the job, and I hope they’ll continue everything the way I had it running.”

Norton, who has lived in Nevada County his whole life, said he accepted a position with Animal Control in July 1966 because he was searching for work and his friend’s father happened to be the pound master – the former title of Animal Control’s chief officer. Besides, Norton also is an inveterate animal lover who feeds about 20 squirrels on his front yard every day.

“As the supervisor, I was responsible for running the daily operations of the Grass Valley Animal Control,” Norton said. “I also went on road patrols to rescue animals every day.”

The Grass Valley Animal Shelter on Freeman Lane houses an average of 10 to 15 dogs and cats at any given time, Norton said.

“It’s amazing that he worked for 42 years” for the city, Police Chief John Foster said. “He was an exceptional supervisor because of his compassion and dedication to working with folks in the community to get an exceptional adoption rate for animals.

“Throughout his tenure, our adoption rate was one of the highest in the state,” Foster said.

As an individual, Norton is “just fun to be around,” Foster added. “Employees who worked under him enjoyed his leadership.”

Norton lives in Grass Valley with his wife, Michelle. They have two daughters, Roxanne and Lindsay, who reside in Grass Valley.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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