Carson City top area for dogs and cats | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City top area for dogs and cats

John Barrette
jbarrette@nevadaappeal.com

Laying claim to best in nation status for Carson City and Washoe County if you’re a dog or cat, Nevada Humane Society’s leader credits residents along with his organization.

Kevin Ryan, CEO of the Reno-based society who operates shelters in Reno and here on a $5 million annual budget, made his claim while speaking Tuesday to a luncheon meeting of the city’s Rotary Club.

“I’ve never been in a place where people care more about their animals,” said Ryan, praising residents of Northern Nevada who provide a highest in nation acceptance of animals at a 22 per thousand rate. He cited other places in comparison, saying records there are five or 10 per thousand residents.

Not only did he praise the people, he also credits Carson City’s mayor and supervisors for bringing in the society last year to handle animal services and run the aging shelter here. He said the same services are available in both communities served by his organization, and he described some of them.

Among them: Seniors for Seniors, which pairs dogs six or older with people of 55 and up; GI Dogs, which pairs canines with veterans who have post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) or other combat-related disabilities, then trains the animals as service dogs: and the normal adoption program which features “ridiculous promotions” to interest folks in strays that need homes.

A cornerstone of the society are a “no kill” approach that euthanizes animals rarely and which, he said, in Carson City has produced a 97 percent live release rate. He also cited aggressive efforts to microchip animals for ease of return to homes and equally aggressive efforts to find the owner even if there is no microchip yet implanted.

“All these programs are here,” Ryan told Rotarians, and he looked ahead to the time when the city builds a new shelter. “It’s time to move to something a little bit bigger.”

He said originally city government was looking to build and be ready with a new facility by the end of 2015, but “I don’t think were going to hit that.” An original round of bids came in higher than anticipated, so the project was being re-bid after some trimming of the proposed facility’s architectural plans. The project is expected to cost $3.9 million, mostly in city funds with $200,000 from private donations.

Ryan said the current shelter is not only old and small, but “it looks kinda more like doggie jail” than the new one, which he said is going to “be more aesthetically pleasing” as a place for adoptions. But more exciting for him, he said, is it will include a clinic. He said many animals need medical attention before adoption. He also said for some reason Carson City has more animals injured in traffic than Washoe County.

Ryan said the 97 percent live release rate since the society took over for city government is astounding, but pressure may change the equation.

He said, for example, it’s the time of year “when the winds blow and the fences fall,” bringing animals onto the streets, adding “about this time kittens start falling from the sky in buckets.” However, the no-kill policy remains and the goal is homes for more than 90 percent.