Dog’s injury raises questions, possible changes at Lyon animal shelter |

Dog’s injury raises questions, possible changes at Lyon animal shelter

Dave Frank

Lyon County may make changes at its animal shelter after a complaint about a dog injured there last year.

The county Animal Control Advisory Board plans to make recommendations about the shelter to county commissioners this week.

Issues the board plans to address include the dog injured by three pit bulls at the shelter in December.

Melanie Binzel of the Virginia City Highlands said her 6-year-old male yellow Labrador, Maui, escaped from her house Dec. 23.

But she said the dog was injured when she picked him up the next day from the Lyon County animal shelter. The dog had a large wound on his front right leg and several bite marks. She said she later learned the dog had been put in a kennel with three pit bulls.

Binzel said she and her family had to nurse the dog back to health following $1,600 in veterinary care.

“It was very upsetting and devastating for us,” she said.

Binzel wants Lyon County to pay for the medical bills.

Storey County Chief Deputy Gerald Antinoro said a deputy brought Maui to the shelter after hours Dec. 23. Storey County does not have an animal shelter, but it does have access to two kennels at Lyon County’s 26-kennel shelter.

The deputy, Jason Saffle, put Maui in a kennel he says was empty, Antinoro said.

Saffle knows a dog can be injured if it is put in a kennel with unfamiliar dogs, he said.

“We would not allow that to happen,” he said.

But the deputy must have put Maui in a kennel with the three pit bulls, said Burt Matthews, Lyon County animal services interim supervisor. He said shelter staff moved Maui from the kennel with the three pit bulls when the shelter opened Dec. 24.

“There were three dogs in the kennel, then there were four dogs, simply put,” he said.

Lyon County’s insurance company is reviewing Binzels’ request for medical payments, said Lyon County Manager Dennis Stark.

The shelter is not responsible for the dog’s injuries, however, he said.

Willis Lamm, vice-chairman of the Lyon County Animal Control Advisory Board, said the shelter is likely responsible for the dog’s injuries.

“It’s really a stretch of the imagination that this deputy could not have seen three large dogs already in the kennel,” Lamm said.

This is one of several problems Lamm said the advisory board will talk about in their recommendations to Lyon County commissioners. He said the shelter should be open on weekends to give most people the chance to go to the shelter for pet adoptions. The shelter’s answering machine also should give people a number where they can reach someone after hours or redirect them to a dispatcher, he said.

“A responsible agency does not leave the public stranded when they have an emergency,” he said. “You just don’t do that.”

Stark said the shelter is well run, but it does need to consider how to better handle weekend hours and emergency calls. The county is always looking at ways to run the shelter better, he said.

“We think it’s run fairly well, but there’s a certain undercurrent that want to find fault with animal services,” he said.