Contract operator takes over animal shelter

The new operations director of the local animal shelter began her first day on the job this week.

Susan Cronin, owner of Tails End Pet Retirement and Education, was awarded the contract earlier this year by county commissioners.

This week Cronin said she is moving quickly to make improvements at the facility, which she believes is too small to continue to handle the volume of animals it does.

“It’s been hectic and non-stop because it’s way too small. Right now we are running it as a humane society. Our vet and her staff have been in our clinic for the last two days and have spayed and neutered every animal before it went home so we have space for when animal control brings in more animals,” she said.

In order to ease the crowding, Cronin is now in search of a larger facility to house and care for the dozens of animals confined inside the aging shelter.

She said one location on the north end of town may just be what she is looking for.

“It’s a fantastic place on Blosser Ranch Road. Right now we are trying to figure out the financing and what not but it’s a start. The building itself is huge and quite historic. It can be easily set up for dogs and horses. We are hoping that we can work something out to be out of here as soon as possible,” she said.

When and if the building is secured, Cronin said the present facility will be maintained by the county’s animal control department, while the second facility will become a humane society.

“Animal control needs every inch of space here. When they get their cruelty and protective custody cases sometimes that could be a hundred animals at a time. That means there’s no room for the healthy strays or for the people that can’t keep them,” she said.

When Cronin was awarded a $225,000 annual contract by county commissioners back in January, she presented a one-year plan. Part of that includes reducing the current 60-percent euthanasia rate last year down to zero.

Reaching out to the community and education will be key in getting her message across.

“We are going to be doing programs in the community to educate the kids and adults on prevention. Our goal is to prevent the animals from coming in in the first place. We always have to remind the community about the importance of spaying and neutering. On our second full day here, our vet has done over 30,” she said.

Additionally, Cronin said a local business has stepped forward to provide assistance.

“Drafts Picks has offered their parking lot so we can do off-site adoptions as soon as we can get our equipment together. A lot of people don’t like coming up to a shelter to find a companion because some find it too depressing so we’ll bring it to them,” she said.

As a nonprofit organization Cronin said grants help to fund most of the operations but donations help to shore up any shortfalls in terms of finances.

“We are definitely in need of a camper or RV so we can do off-site emergencies. We work with Friends for Life and they adopted four dogs. They are right here in Pahrump and they are very well established. We also work with Symphony and I have seen their facility so hopefully they will be open in June. We’re hoping with the three of us working together, we will be able to reduce the animals,” she said.

As operations director, Cronin will lead just a handful of staff including a shelter manager, administrative assistant and front desk clerk along with kennel technicians and a veterinarian.

She was quick to mention the importance of volunteers and how they contribute to the day-to-day operations of the facility.

“The work that our volunteers do is just amazing. Everyone here is so committed and we could not do it without them,” she said.