Carson City’s animal shelter has a new leader.
Arthur Westbrook, dog manager at the Nevada Humane Society shelter in Reno for the last five years, is now the shelter director in Carson City.
Westbrook is working three days in Carson City while the society looks for his replacement in Reno.
Westbrook worked for a few weeks alongside Judi Adams, the former director, who had to leave due to health issues.
Westbrook has worked in animal sheltering since 2002 when he joined the Humane Society of El Paso in Texas.
“I started at the bottom, cleaning out kennels. Then for two years I was the kennel manager, then I was the operations manager,” he said.
He visited the Reno shelter to learn how it was able to achieve its live release rate of 94 percent, meaning the majority of animals were either adopted or retrieved by owners and the remainder died either due to injury, sickness or were euthanized because they were dangerous.
“In El Paso we had a 25 percent rate and were euthanizing 30,000 animals a year,” said Westbrook.
Reno staff was as impressed with Westbrook as he was with their shelter and they offered him a job, but he returned to El Paso, where he grew up, with hopes of applying what he had learned in Reno.
Eventually, Westbrook took the Nevada Humane Society up on its offer and moved to Reno.
Now, he’d like to apply what he’s learned to the Carson City shelter.
Westbrook plans to expand the shelter’s offsite adoption program in which available animals are taken to local pet stores and other venues for adoption events.
“We’re in desperate need of volunteers, in desperate need of foster homes,” who take in puppies and kittens and injured or older dogs, all of whom have a hard time handling the stress of a shelter, said Westbrook.
Volunteers can fill out an application at the Nevada Humane Society web site, nevadahumanesociety.org, and then attend an orientation.
The shelter is now starting its surgery clinic and will do in-house spay and neutering and other procedures before opening for services to the public soon.
The shelter has room for 60 dogs and 40 cats, but has yet to be at capacity, said Westbrook.
Right now, for example, it has 32 dogs and 19 cats, which is typical, although that number will likely soon rise when cats and dogs have litters in the summer, he said.
The shelter did 815 adoptions last year and has a live release rate of 95 percent, which includes adoptions and owners retrieving stray animals.
The shelter at 549 Airport Road is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for animal licenses and to reclaim lost pets.
For adoptions, the shelter is open Monday through Friday and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.