Animal shelter funding options in sight

Potential funding options for the Nye County Animal Shelter emerged at the last Animal Advisory Committee meeting that brought officials in for another round of discussions on the future of the troubled sanctuary.

After a lengthy debate, members of the committee decided to send several recommendations to Nye County commissioners to generate revenue for the shelter that has to come up with short-term funding until the end of November.

The proposed options included asking the towns to share the cost of animals held in protective custody awaiting court decisions; amending the fee schedule to state that it applies only to a county-operated shelter; allowing a non-government entity operating the shelter to set their adoption fees; amending Title 6 to allow fines for violations, such as unlicensed dogs and dogs running at large.

“As far as options, everything is being looked at,” Animal Advisory Board Chairman Scott Shoemaker said in an email. “Short-term options include the towns sharing the cost for care of animals coming from their areas, fines, the option of the towns running their own shelters. Long-term things such as parcel assessment, sales tax and a non-government entity operating the shelter. Many of these are being looked at and (we are) assessing the legality and feasibility of such options.”

The proposed fines included $50 for no license and for dogs running at large. The second and third offenses would result in $75 and $100 respectively, officials said.

“The key in this whole thing is to try to (find) what’s the magic, what’s the thing that makes people want to comply,” Nye County Emergency Management Director Vance Payne said. “If you create these outrageous fines, I don’t believe that’s going to do it. What’s the purpose of the fine, the fine is to try to get an immediate solution to the problem.”

Nye County officials earlier distributed $7,588 out of contingency money to the shelter staff to act as the Animal Advisory Committee secretary to make the requested changes to Title 6. Members of the committee however decided to look at how they can keep the shelter open.

Shoemaker said he didn’t get a response from Attorney Marla Zlotek whether the county could charge unincorporated towns for the boarding of the animals awaiting court cases or set up contracts with the towns for caring for those animals.

The Nye County Animal Shelter currently has close to 70 dogs in protective custody, officials said.

“And the reason we are addressing this is because it’s a big drain on the county’s funds,” Shoemaker said.

Before the next Animal Advisory Committee meeting on Nov. 5, Shoemaker said he hopes to move forward with recommendations to Nye County commissioners to incorporate changes into Title 6 which would allow them to change fines and exact wording for the fee schedule change.