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SNEAK-PEEK: Go inside the county’s new animal shelter

Updated June 1, 2022 - 1:24 pm

The new state-of-the-art 19,000-square-foot animal shelter located at 1580 East Siri Lane is scheduled to open by mid-June.

The $4.1-million dollar project was awarded to Henderson-based B&H Construction in October of 2020 and will replace the old shelter on Siri Lane in Pahrump.

“We take in dogs, cats, goats – anything that is loose,” said County Commissioner Frank Carbone.

Commissioner Carbone and William Allen, director of facility operations, took the Pahrump Valley Times on a tour last week, ahead of the shelter’s opening. Cameras weren’t allowed, but officials explained how the new facility would operate.

The new shelter includes a total of 73 runs for dogs. Climate-control and air-exchange systems protect the animals from heat, cold or airborne disease. The cinder-block walls of the kennels serve to reduce noise.

“It’s going to be noisy in here, but the cinder block helps reduce (the cacophony of) barking,” Carbone said.

Animals will be fed from the front side of the run. The fencing on the doors are 1-inch heavy gauge to reduce injury, and they are secured by dual-sided lock mechanisms.

The interior partition between the front of the run and the back are operated by cables with an improved design, so that dogs cannot get tangled up in cables. Animals have free run of both sides except during active cleaning time.

Separate isolation areas for cats and dogs are equipped with hepa filters and negative air pressure, so the air comes in through the outside, and goes right back out, preventing diseases from spreading to animals.

When a dog comes in through intake, they receive multiple vaccinations.

“Parvo and Bordetella act very quickly,” Carbone said.

Carbone and Allen worked with the Humane Society and other animal foundations to make certain the Nye County Animal Shelter was set up correctly. They toured facilities to learn best practices.

“We incorporated a lot of changes relative to the old shelter—standards recommended by the Humane Society,” Allen said. “Larger kennel doors with no-touch chains, to improve functionality. Kennels made from a certain kind of material, with drains, and a minimum number of air changes per hour.”

They also had team meetings with additional animal shelters and incorporated ideas into the new Nye County facility.

“We’ve made it as nice as we could,” said Carbone. “There will be no working in 117 degrees.”

An emergency generator was added to power the facility in the event of a power outage.

“We ran into a few things with the site itself which resulted in a few change orders which cost a little bit more,” Allen said. The flood of July 2021 prompted engineers to recommend a retaining wall, as the site is on a slope.

Storage rooms can accommodate supplies at the new shelter. Spacious food-prep rooms include deep, triple-basin sinks and plenty of hot water. There’s also a utility room with two 80-gallon water heaters, valve boxes to control water flow to the sewer system, a special room to clean cat bowls and pans and a room for the washers and dryers.

“All of the flooring will be sealed concrete—easier to keep clean and sanitary,” Carbone said. “Animals are fed twice per day.”

There’s also a nursery for newborn animals.

“Mamma will have puppies, and we’ll have cages and pens for them. This is the maternity room,” Carbone said. “They need privacy for at least a week or so. Then once they’re ready to be weaned off Mom, we slowly introduce food. It’s a slow process which cannot be rushed.”

There is a surgery area with three exam rooms, an evaluation area and recovery rooms. Surgery is equipped with inlets for anesthetizing equipment, so when an animal is put under, all the residual gas goes outside. The operating room will be set up with two to three beds, and another table for tools and autoclave. The vet and technician will have ample room to move about.

The veterinarian clinic area has been designed with pet owner waiting areas and the exam rooms.

“If there is a doctor who decides to be here, we’ll work some kind of deal where, in exchange for a low rate on using the building, they’ll perform all of our spaying and neutering in addition to any kind of doctoring that needs to be done,” Carbone said.

The clinic area is adjacent to the lobby and adoption area. After approved applicants select a potential pet from photos on-site or online, a shelter handler will display the animal behind glass for its potential owner, who may proceed to a private room for interaction with the animal without the handler.

There, they can interact with the animal.

Beyond the adoption area is a boutique area, where an organization can establish a retail operation.

There is office space to work on documentation, photography and other essential animal activities such as checking for chips, tags, unique characteristics.

There is a spacious training/conference room, a small break room, and a small office with no windows for the manager. A larger office area with windows has been built for the other employees.

Outside the shelter, there is a corral area which is quadruple the size of that at the old shelter. The corral will house animals brought in by Animal Control such as domestic horses, ostriches and other large birds, goats, and pigs.

“We do get pigs brought into the animal shelter — quite a few actually,” Carbone said.

“We’re in the process of recruiting,” says Carbone. “We have a Zoom meeting today with one of the people who applied for management. So far, out of the three teams who have reviewed this person, we think we have the one we want.”

This manager will help with hiring the additional five full-time employees, as approved by the Nye County commissioners.

Other workers at the shelter

There will be other workers at the shelter, too. In addition to the six full-time county employees, work will be performed by inmates who qualify for a work-release program, or individuals sentenced to community service.

A heightened security system been incorporated at the new animal shelter.

“It won’t be like it was over at the old shelter, where some of them got themselves in trouble because somebody got drugs in there, and the inmates got drugs,” said Carbone. “We won’t have people wandering around.”

Badges are required to access certain areas. Cameras monitor the hallways.

“If you don’t have the credentials to pass beyond the lobby, you won’t get anywhere,” Carbone said. “It’s not a prison, but it’s secure. We went through a lot to make that happen.”

The new shelter employees will be hired with a focus on their temperament to also supervise inmates and service hours volunteers.

If you would like to apply to volunteer, go to www.nyecountynv.gov and download the Volunteer Application.

Nye County Animal Shelter services for pet owners

Pet owner services at the shelter will be driven by whether or not a veterinarian contracts with the county. “We hope to offer low- or no-cost services in the future.” At this point, responsible pet ownership, which includes spaying and neutering, needs to be performed by local veterinarians at the pet owner’s expense. Regardless, the shelter will have a dedicated website where they will post all the animals at intake. From there, those posts go out to multiple social media outlets. If your pet goes missing, you will want to check online.

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