Carson City Animal Services became a classroom Thursday when 13 students from Silver Springs Christian Academy toured the shelter.
Animal Control Officer Pat Wiggins taught them about handling stray or scared animals.
"The animal may not be as smart or intelligent as you are," said Wiggins. "You need to know how to handle it.
"Look at the animal's body language. If its ears are laid back or the tail is tucked between its legs, it's afraid, and that's when bites occur. Leave the animal alone, stay away. Don't go anywhere near it."
Wiggins then showed the students the "come-along" tool used to help capture the animal.
"This is used to capture aggressive animals. It keeps us a few feet away from them. The end has a loop made of a cable, that is slipped around the animal's neck. We can tighten the cable and then lead the animal into the back of the van."
Wiggins also showed the cylinder used to capture snakes, which drew a few shivers from the students.
"We're learning responsibility of pet ownership," said 16-year-old Etha Burns, who has five cats and one dog.
"My mom works at Carson Tahoe Veterinary Hospital and everything they talked about I kinda knew already," said 13-year-old Karrie Lynn Porter. "But it's very interesting."
"It seems cruel, but it's interesting also," said 13-year-old classmate Terra VandeBrake. "They've got these cute, tiny kittens in there."
"The kids are learning how to use this information as responsible pet owners and consider the consequences if they don't properly care for an animal," said Barbara Burns, instructor for the lower learning center at the academy.
"This site was selected for an education field trip. They are learning the reality of what happens to animals when not cared for. It's really touched their hearts."
"It's also kind of depressing," said Terra.
The education program has been in place for several months at Animal Services. It is also available in the School to Career program, in which a student visits a business for one week learning its operations. At Animal Services, it includes in-office, in-kennel and ride-alongs in the van.
"Animal Services has been providing education and resources to the community for years," said Ken Arnold, deputy director of Carson City Environmental Health Department.
"This is more of a formal program and wider spread, to allow the opportunity for Tracy and the crew to do what they do best, and have been doing for years. We see the program growing according to the public's needs."
"We are available to go to schools, businesses and meeting places, to present to children and adults," said Edgar. "We're here to help educate the community."
Officers are providing presentations to not only schools but to adult groups.
"We don't just adopt out pets, we also regulate," said Tracy Edgar, animal services office manager.
"We work with the sheriff's department by taking possession of animals in certain circumstances like domestic cases or animal cruelty. We not only handle dogs and cats but livestock, also."
For information on the education program, call Carson City Animal Services at 887-2171. The program is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For more information
Call Carson City Animal Services at 887-2171. The program is available during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.