Space at Nye County’s animal shelter, Tails End, has reached a “critical mass” according to operations director Susan Cronin.
On Monday, Cronin said the shelter is well over-capacity and she needs to find loving, responsible homes for several dozen dogs and cats at once.
The shelter provides care for all lost and impounded animals until the owners can reclaim them.
The fact that many of the animals are now on a “holding status,” has created a major dilemma.
“Right now we have 39 dogs either in protective custody or in quarantine, which means they can be here up to a year at least. They are not going anywhere and they’re all being held on different matters before the courts. We have to care for them whether they are vicious or nice. The biggest problem is there are only 30 dog runs and this facility has never been upgraded since it was built,” she said.
Though space at the shelter has normally been less than adequate over the years, Cronin said last month’s action by animal control officials tipped the scales.
On August 25, Nye County authorities served a search warrant at the home of local attorney, Nancy Lord and confiscated about three dozen animals allegedly considered a nuisance to nearby residents.
Cronin said the incident challenges the shelter and doesn’t include the animals the shelter takes in daily.
“We have a three-business-day hold on strays, so they have to come in obviously. Some of them are five-day holds if there is an owner, we give them five days to track their pet down,” she said.
As a result, Cronin and shelter volunteers have resorted to what she calls getting “extremely creative.”
“At our expense, we built extra outside dog runs to accommodate all of the extra dogs. We also have to be extremely cautious as we are continually repairing the runs. This is just regular fencing. It’s not kennel fencing, so it’s not that strong. If we have a dog that is aggressive and heavy, he can go right through it. We are constantly repairing,” she said.
Cronin also said even the interior color of the facility was taken into consideration for the sake of the animals.
“We are all about the welfare of the animals so we used a heat-reflective paint on the outside. Everything was recently repainted and that made the animals far more comfortable instantly. It was like 15 degrees cooler inside the runs,” she said.
Cronin said a larger facility on her “wish list” would alleviate most of the problems associated with the lack of sufficient space at the shelter.
“In our agreement with the county, we have one year to have our own off-site facility, which is what we want. We have been working almost 24/7 for a very long time since we got here,” she said.
Additionally, the director said shelter officials have been looking at grants as a possible way to generate funds.
“The grant process is not until the 2015 season, but in the meantime, we are looking for land and we definitely need at least two acres with any kind of building, but it needs utilities. Ideally, it would have be two to 10 acres. There are so many empty buildings here in town, we could put one to immediate use,” she said.
Shelter General Manager Tonya Brum said if the situation gets any worse, officials there will be forced to perform what they want to avoid at all costs.
“Worst case scenario is if the dogs start to have behavioral problems, then they do have to be humanely euthanized because they become unadoptable. We are working through the Internet to get information online to Facebook. We take pictures of all of the different animals including the peacocks, turkeys and gerbils and put them online,” she said.
Brum also noted that not all adoptions are final because at times it takes several days to learn whether the animal and owner are truly compatible.
“The best choice is the appropriate home because not all homes and animals are a good match. When someone is looking to adopt, we really watch the interaction with the animals so we can see how the animal responds to them. Sometimes people will recognize themselves that it’s not a good match and they will also recognize when it’s an excellent match. The goal is to find a match because we don’t want the animals to have to return here,” she said.
Cronin, meanwhile, said she is planning an event at the HUBB Bar and Saloon this weekend.
“On Saturday we will be at the HUBB on Bell Vista during their annual tack &swap meet. We’re going to showcase many of our pets available for immediate adoption. We will also hold a shot clinic and for the first time, issue dog licenses,” she said.
The HUBB is located at 3720 W. Bell Vista Road, on the far northwest end of town.
Adoptions will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the shot clinic is available from 1:30 p.m.to 3 p.m.