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Animal shelter owner responds to complaint

A privately owned animal rescue was shut down March 24 after a complaint from a local resident prompted a visit from Nye County Animal Control.

The complaint was two sick dogs that were adopted from the All The Same Wild and Tame facility at 6091 Gills Way. The business operates as a rescue and boarding facility on the south end of town. The boarding facility was not impacted by the action.

According to a statement by Nye County Emergency Management, officers found 22 sick dogs which required medical attention at the rescue. Emergency Services Director Vance Payne said the animals were reportedly infested with intestinal parasites.

Facility owner Mary K. Miller was directed by animal control to cease the rescue operations and correct the problem within 10 business days, when officials return for a re-inspection on April 7.

Miller transported 17 of the 22 animals to a veterinarian for examination, where the results appeared to be positive.

“I have since learned they have not been sick and most will come home with health certificates,” she said. “The other ones are still in their area and not presenting symptoms of any kind of illness.”

Miller brings in animals from shelters who do not have a no-kill policy established.

Miller and her staff take care of the animals until they find a permanent home, a process which can take several years in some cases.

“I really love it here, because I love animals. I just love them,” said Stephanie Philipp, who has worked at the site for more than a year.

Gary Dewhirst said he worked at the facility when it was under the direction of the previous owners several years ago and wanted to stay when Miller took over ownership.

“The place is being kept just as well as it always was,” he said. “I stayed here because of that, and of course the animals.”

Payne made sure to mention the problems were directed only towards the rescue portion of the facility. He noted the importance of separating healthy, vaccinated animals from ones whose condition of health is unclear.

“Anybody that deals with animals in a rescue situation, or even our own municipal animal shelter, you have animals coming in and the last I checked, none of them are tattooed with their most recent vaccine, so you don’t know what you are getting,” Payne said.

This week, Miller said it is common practice for her facility to isolate newly rescued pets from those that were brought in by their owners for boarding or grooming. She noted that all of the corrections have been completed.

“There were two puppies that were deemed sick,” she said. “When I rescue animals from a shelter, I put the new ones in a different quarantined area just in case they come down with some of the things that you see in shelters, like kennel cough, fleas and parasites. We take every precautionary measure that we can, so that all of the animals that we’ve rescued are ready to be adopted out, don’t get sick.”

A tour of the site on Tuesday revealed a clean, enclosed, three-acre secure facility with six to seven staff members who must disinfect the soles of their footwear when entering and exiting the separated boarding and rescue areas.

The site also has areas that are climate controlled.

Since January, the facility has adopted out 91 animals.

Miller said she does understand the reason why animal control officers visited the facility after receiving information about the sick dogs, and the fact that animal shelters and rescues have been in the news as of late.

“I’m a lover of all animals, so I certainly don’t fault animal control.”

Payne said there are one of three ways animal control officers respond to calls and complaints.

“Nye County Animal Control is complaint-driven and while driving by, if an animal control officer sees blatant violations of the animal control ordinance, which may endanger an animal, they are required to intervene,” he said. “We also perform scheduled annual inspections to verify compliance for an existing permit, or follow-up on a citizen’s concern or complaint. These can be verbal or written.”

Payne said pet owners who bring in animals for boarding, should feel confident their animal will be safe during their stay at the facility.

“It violates all standard business practices to allow unknown vaccinated animals in a rescue situation to be placed in the same area as the ones whose owners are paying for their services and have all of their pet’s vaccines,” he said. That’s why I needed to separate the boarding facility from the rescue facility because All The Same Wild and Tame, operates as a rescue and a boarding facility.”

The facility cares for dogs, cats and just about anything in between.

Miller welcomes daily visitors to tour the facility from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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