Prior to this week, anyone who’s visited Tails End Animal Shelter would agree the scores of animals at the facility can create quite a chorus of yelping, barking and howling.
This week, however, the shelter fell nearly silent as the last of more than 70 animals at the shelter have been accepted by sanctuaries in Clark County, leaving only the dogs that are under court order to remain there.
The facility officially closed its doors on Tuesday.
Nye County Emergency Management Director Vance Payne is assuring the community that the remaining 52 animals at Tails End will be in good hands.
Payne said a contingency care plan is in place for the animals being held on behalf of the courts.
He noted that many of the remaining animals will eventually be transported to other facilities that will manage, care, and adopt them out.
“It’s a very tough situation and I really feel bad for Tails End Animal Shelter because they gave it their best but apparently it just absolutely wore them down,” he said.
Officials at Tails End Animal Shelter canceled their contract with Nye County in early June two months after county commissioners discontinued funding Nye County animal shelters, while altering Tails End’s $225,000 annual contract, to a month-to-month agreement.
Payne noted that as of today, the shelter will be closed to the general public, but animal control will continue to do their normal functions such as picking up animals running at large.
Lost animals will also be picked up and brought to the shelter as usual, with the mandatory three-day hold.
If the owners do not come forward to claim the animal, it will be transported to another facility for more appropriate adoption means.
Payne also said anyone who wants to look for a lost animal at the shelter will be accommodated, provided they make an appointment.
“All they have to do is call the number and set it up first,” he said. “Currently we have such limited resources, that’s the only way we could manage it.”
Tails End Director Susan Cronin said the facility experienced a large influx of animals since the community received news of the closure.
With a maximum capacity of 31 animals, Tails End was housing more than 90 at one time this year.
She noted last week that owners were bringing them in by the dozens, due partially to the weather.
“The animals were coming in in droves,” she said. “We got 30 cats two days in a row last week.”
Cronin also said the shelter was adopting out animals for local senior citizens free of charge.
Cronin said she’s working to raise money to open a location where pet owners can get routine services taken care of.
“If anyone can at least donate seed money and the use of a building, we can at least immediately start spaying and neutering animals as well as having a headquarters to raise money and we are looking for that right now,” she said. “We have been brainstorming to chart a course for the future.”
Cronin said aside from the 52 animals on hold at the shelter, there are a total of three kittens, seven cats and three dogs that have been cleared for immediate adoption.
Payne, meanwhile, said he’s not sure how long the facility’s regular business will remain disrupted, before it can be reopened.
He also said a local ordinance needs to be changed before anything can happen. Title 6 of the Nye County Code pertains to animal welfare, public health, safety, rabies control, quarantine, animal cruelty investigations, barking dogs, and animals-at-large.
“We absolutely have to change Title 6 to allow somebody a fair chance at running it,” he said. “The way it’s set up right now, if you wanted to open up a shelter, you wouldn’t be able to do to the way Title 6 is built. You would not be able to set your fees or do anything like that. And you can’t do it for free.”
Payne also wanted to dispel a rumor in town regarding an unnamed wealthy individual interested in running the facility.
“I checked with animal control regarding applications for a kennel permit with the planning department and there is nothing,” he said. “I cannot find a credible piece of information anywhere that says there’s a person coming in to build or run the animal shelter.”
Aside from the facility’s regular operations being interrupted, Payne also said the overall operations will continue as normal.
“Animal control operations will be unchanged by the shelter closure,” he said. “Running-at-large and abandoned animals will continue to be taken to the shelter for the mandated three-day hold. After three days, these animals will be sent to other facilities for proper care and adoption.”
Payne also gave thanks to Cronin and her staff for the work they’ve put in since taking over the operations roughly two years ago.
“The difficulty of running a municipal animal shelter has exhausted her and her staff,” Payne said. “We wish them good luck. Anyone with a lost or missing animal may request an appointment to visit the shelter by calling 775-751-6315.”
Payne also said the office is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All after-hours calls will go to voicemail, as an animal control officer will return the call when they return to duty.