Animal shelter gets facelift, vet, volunteer coordinator |

Animal shelter gets facelift, vet, volunteer coordinator

Sandi Hoover
Photos by Shannon LitZ Nevada AppealDick Buttner works on one of the exam rooms at the Carson City Animal Shelter on Friday afternoon. They are working to add electrical and plumbing to the room.

The Carson City Animal Shelter is in the midst of a makeover intended to streamline operations and better protect the health of animals in the city’s care.

Health and Human Services Director Marena Works, who oversees Animal Services, announced several changes last week as a result of receiving recommendations from the Humane Society of the United States.

“We worked with a work group to prioritize these,” Works said. “One thing we learned is that we had no place to examine or isolate incoming animals, and we have had serious issues with disease running rampant. We need to keep the population healthy.”

One thing that has helped is that a trailer has been moved to the Butti Way property to be used as offices, which has opened up the main building and allowed for remodeling projects, she said.

“The shelter has a lot of porous materials, and porous material breeds infection, so we’re replacing walls, flooring and ceiling tiles. That work is well under way,” she said.

Animal Services Manager Gail Radtke said the north half of the main building is being renovated.

“We’ll have an intake room for dogs and cats, like a miniveterinary area for vaccinations and rabies shots where we’ll be able to make assessments and provide basic medical,” Radtke said.

One entire room will be an isolation/quarantine area for stray cats which will have its own washer, dryer and dishwasher.

“It will be separated from the adoptable cat room because we know the adoptable cats are healthy. That room is also being remodeled so everything is washable – floors, ceilings, walls,” she said.

Part-time veterinarian

Other big news, Works said, is that the shelter has added two positions.

Veterinarian Katie Roberts, from the Lone Mountain Veterinary Clinic, has been contracted to work part time to examine animals, train staff and develop some city policy.

“She can assess the health of the animals, and Gail can call her if she needs professional advice,” Works said.

Roberts said she is look-

ing forward to working with the city.

“We need a better working environment to contain certain diseases. That shelter was built in the ’60s, and it wasn’t set up for today’s standards, so we’re trying to work with what we have right now. I’m calling it a facelift. Eventually, we should have a new facility, but that’s years away,” Roberts said.

“I’ve been coming out here to educate the staff about containing disease and teaching them why we do what we’re doing, and also, about cleansing and disinfecting so there is no cross-contamination.

“Some of our staff members are officers, and they know the laws and how to catch a dog running at large, but they might not understand some of the other things,” Roberts said.

At the present time, the shelter has six full-time and four part-time employees, including Roberts and Radtke.

Volunteer coordinator

Another employee, Tonya Ruffner, has been hired as a volunteer coordinator. She starts April 11, Works said.

About 20 regular volunteers were put on notice in January that the volunteer program had been temporarily suspended.

Works said the waiting period is almost over now that Ruffner is coming on board.

“She is well-trained in running animal services. She’ll get our policies and procedures up and running for the volunteers, and we expect by June to have our volunteer training in place,” Works said.

“Once the procedures are in place, we envision a more formal volunteer program. We’ll contact all our past volunteers and we’ll advertise. They will sign up, then go through a systematic training at the health department, and also special animal training. Then they’ll be scheduled, plus we’ll provide yearly competency (checks),” she said.

“We want to keep the volunteers and the animals safe, and keep infection down,” she said.

Radtke agreed.

“We would be glad to have every one of our volunteers back who were here before,” she said.