New animal shelter to be no-kill shelter

A no-kill policy and stewardship by the Nevada Humane Society are coming to Carson City Animal Services, City Manager Nick Marano said Tuesday.

Marano announced city government has reached a “conceptual agreement” with the state humane society for a public/private relationship to lead animal services, which will include adoptions, shelter operation and regulation services. The no-kill policy is defined as no euthanizing of animals at shelters except for those lacking quality of life or considered dangerous. No-kill shelters save at least 90 percent of arriving animals.

“The city is excited about having this partnership with the humane society,” said Marano, predicting benefits for the community. He said though the partnership framework remains conceptual, the humane society knows the city’s animal services budget and will operate within or under budget. That yearly figure currently is about $700,000. Marano expressed confidence the city will get its money’s worth.

Animal services staff may apply for posts with the humane society, which would require them to leave city government if accepted for humane society employment, or choose to stay with the city and move into other roles commensurate with their qualifications and experience, Marano said.

He asserted the plan will enable city government to provide expanded levels of service and the news release announcing the change indicated the state humane society has been involved in the no-kill mission since 2006, which has saved nearly 70,000 animals’ lives.

Marano late last month let the animal services manager go and said then he intended to take animal services in a new direction, details of which were disclosed Tuesday. Cindy Hannah, whose salary had been more than $60,000 a year, was with the city’s Health and Human Services Department more than three years but had headed animal services under that department just since Dec. 2, 2013.

City government and private sector donors plan to finance construction of a new animal shelter for an estimated $3.9 million. The current recommended allocation is for $3.7 million from city coffers, $200,000 from private sources, figures Marano has called firm. Determinations about animal shelter designs and the cost, though, still are pending final approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Lisa Schuette, retired teacher and head of the Carson Animal Services Initiative (CASI) that is raising donations for the animal shelter, said recent fund raising events netted upwards of $10,000 and the organization is closing in on the $200,000 target. She acknowledged the CASI movement earlier had talked of raising more funds, but noted that would take longer and building a new animal shelter is overdue.

“It has been an incredibly busy week,” she said, ticking off fund raising at the major Bark, Wine & Dine event, for which 210 tickets were sold, a silent auction, and four other events, The ticketed event alone raised about $9,000, she said, and the organization’s efforts over the past two years have brought in more than $115,000. She said grants and other financial prospects are also being pursued.

“We are actually pursuing money any way that we can,” she said.

Originally there was talk of city government providing half and CASI the other half in the effort to provide $4 million for a new shelter, but she is happy city government intends to carry a larger load because raising so much from the private sector would take much longer.

“Initially, that was what we said,” she acknowledged. “Thankfully it’s not looking like it will have to be” a $2 million fund raising effort that would take years and delay construction.

“Thankfully,” she added, “it has morphed into moving quickly, or more quickly.”

She also addressed critics of the almost $4 million cost, saying animal shelters are “specialized,” somewhat like veterinary or even regular hospitals, because sanitary conditions and healthy environments are necessary. She also said an inviting place is needed so animal adoption opportunities are enhanced.

“There is extra money tied to that,” she said of both the health and adoption aspects. She decried a loosely-conceived analogy she has heard. “The comparison to the Taj Mahal just makes me crazy.”


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