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Shelter operator wants input on kennels

Susan Cronin, who will take over the Pahrump Animal Shelter April 1, wanted input into a bill that would redefine people who own over 10 pets as “pet fanciers” instead of requiring them to obtain a commercial kennel permit.

Nye County Animal Advisory Board Chairman Scott Shoemaker was puzzled at the request to continue the public hearing on the bill for 30 days. He said his board has discussed the proposal for the last six months; the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission also reviewed it.

The bill sets up a multi-pet permit.Tier I would be for keeping six to 10 dogs and cats, Tier II would be for persons owning more than 10 if they are kept for personal pleasure and not for commercial purposes.

Cronin, who was awarded a $225,000 annual contract in January to run the shelter, said she only became aware of the bill by accident, while looking at legal notices in the newspaper. She has concerns over the definitions.

“We want to make sure the way the bill is written does not conflict with our mission to reduce the animal population in Nye County, particularly in Pahrump and in Amargosa. The reason being, we can’t handle with the resources we have now, the amount of animals that are already here and we need to make sure that animal control has the proper tools and people and the definitions are clearer as to people bringing in animals, breeding animals, definitions, there’s a thin line between a fancier and a boarder,” Cronin told commissioners.

Cronin said a lot of pet owners have no idea why rules are created for welfare of the animals.

“I would like to visit with the committee and I guess the attorney going through the verbiage in the regulations so that there’s a clear understanding on what’s expected when someone moves here, just for the business of breeding or being able to keep more animals,” she said.

Cronin said she doesn’t want more animals winding up at the shelter, particularly if the local human population increases.

Commissioner Frank Carbone made the motion to continue the public hearing to get more communication between the contractor running the animal shelter and the advisory board.

Two county employees at the animal shelter will be reassigned to other jobs in the county, Nye County Human Resources Director Danelle Shamrell confirmed this week.

“She won’t be firing anybody. They won’t work for her. She could potentially hire anybody she wants,” Shamrell said.

Cronin told the Pahrump Valley Times she expects to hire five workers, including herself. Workers will have to go through an ASPCA accredited training program partly because of the liability, she said. Present shelter employees can apply for those jobs.

“One person there we’ve already hired for the transition and she’s a big asset. Most of the others we can’t afford their pay scale,” Cronin said.

“We have a volunteer animal control handler and she’s going to be heading up the dog walking committee so the animals can actually get out. So we’re just working on all different programs, we will be out in the community,” Cronin said. “What we want to do is a poster contest for school children in the community grades three through six, it’s Be Kind To Animals Week May 5th through 11th and we want a poster contest on what being kind to animals means to you,” she said.

Nye County Emergency Services Director Vance Payne, whose department has overseen the Pahrump Animal Shelter, was excited about the proposed changes, including the additional paid workers. He said it’s an example of how in some cases the private sector can do the job better than county government.

“I have high hopes that this whole thing, the net gain out of this is a reduced budgetary constraint as well as significantly increased services to the people of Pahrump because right out of the chute they’re going to be open a lot more,” Payne said. “They’ve got better resources. That and the added advantage in the future they’re going to be able to bring programs Pahrump has never seen before because they’re a 501(c)3, they have access to grants municipal governments don’t have access to.”

In her proposal to the county — she was the only bidder for the contract — Cronin outlined a goal of reducing a 60 percent euthanasia rate of animals coming into the shelter to zero percent of adoptable animals. She wants to run the animal shelter as a humane society and improve the community image of the shelter. Cronin also wants to have a steering committee prepare for a new facility encompassing all animal welfare issues, with room enough for large animals as well.

In her objectives outlined in her bid, Cronin said she wants to create a standard of care for handling animals; make changes to the quality of life of animals in the shelter; involve community and corporate resources; identify reasons why animals are brought into the shelter and work closely with animal control to reduce that number; work closely with veterinarian services to reduce the waiting time animals can be released after adoption and institute a care program for injured animals.

Cronin is planning off-site adoptions. The address of the shelter will remain the same, but under Cronin’s proposal, her organization, Tails End, will have an office on Basin Street next to All Creatures Animal Hospital.

Shoemaker said he wants to set up a meeting with Cronin to review Title 6, the Nye County Animal Control Ordinance.

The Nye County Animal Advisory Board meets the third Thursday of the month, their next meeting is at 6 p.m., March 20 at the Emergency Services Building at 1510 Siri Lane.

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