SILVER SPRINGS - After just four months on the job, Lyon County's animal control supervisor has come in for both praise and criticism from the county's often-contentious animal community.
Ted Bolzle took over the animal shelter in Silver Springs on Jan. 5 after six protests over the hiring process.
Bolzle is originally from Alabama and served in the U.S. Navy as a master at arms and dog handler.
"They hired me for my experience in law enforcement, but even more for my experience in dog training and law enforcement," he said. "I love training dogs, and my wife and I have a little ranch in Fallon where we raise horses and ducks and everything else."
The 38-year-old left the service when he became disabled. He served in the Pershing County Sheriff's Office briefly before taking the animal control job.
He has received support from the man who worked very hard to change the way Lyon County sought applicants for the position.
Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project said he and Bolzle are working to restore the program, supplying pet food to elderly shut-ins after Wal-Mart stopped supplying the food.
"Through donations, and help from the spay and neuter program, we are still able to take care of homebound senior citizens," Bolzle said. "You can look up study after study and see that animals are vital to the mental and physical ability of senior citizens."
Bolzle was criticized by a volunteer who was dismissed early last week.
Katherine McLaughlin said a family emergency prevented her from fulfilling a commitment to the shelter, and she was let go.
On the one hand, McLaughlin said Bolzle gave indications he intended to put dogs down, and other said he rescued German shepherds for the drug dog program.
"I don't know what to think," she said. "I realize we have to surrender if we need the space and that biters are the first ones to go, but we worked to get those dogs out of there."
Bolzle said the shelter's goal is to put every adoptable animal into a good home.
"We had a lady drive in from Sacramento to adopt a dog," he said. "Our numbers are really good with placement, rescues and adoptions."
As for working with volunteers, Bolzle points out that the shelter's Web site at http://www.petfinder.org/shelters/NV07.html is maintained by volunteers.
"I would like to have more volunteers working with the animals versus volunteers answering the phone," he said. "We need people to take dogs for a walk, socialize the animals, and make them more adoptable."
As Lyon County increases in size, a new shelter is planned. Bolzle said staff are working on modifying the hours so the shelter better accommodates the community.
"If anyone wants to volunteer, I would appreciate them giving us a call," he said.
Blomquist described Bolzle's first few months with something he heard Gen. Norman Schwartzkoff tell Safari International attendees at their convention.
"When Schwartzkopf was a young colonel, he was put in charge of something and he asked what to do," Blomquist said. "He was told to take command and do the right thing. That's kind of what Ted has been doing."