Man says dog died after being near fouled pond
A Virginia City man who hunted downstream from now-closed Cinnamon Pond in Mason Valley says his dog died a short time later.
Dennis Faulkner said Spoony, a 3-year-old chocolate Labrador, got sick the day after he returned from hunting in the 17,000-acre Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area.
Cinnamon Pond was closed last week by Nevada Division of Wildlife Director Terry Crawfoth due to potential health risks caused by the presence of improperly treated sewage effluent.
Faulkner said he had no idea that improperly treated effluent was being dumped into the ponds by the city of Yerington until he read about it in a newspaper.
“What really upsets me is that they were aware of two spills and left the area open for the first week of hunting season,” he said.
Faulkner said he doesn’t have any evidence that Spoony was poisoned by improperly treated effluent discharged into the ponds of the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, but that his dog was kept in a kennel when not hunting.
“She went right into kennel and the next day she was out of it,” he said. “She was sick for about two weeks. One day she would be sick and the next day she seemed like she was getting better. I wish I’d taken her to the vet right away, but she didn’t seem that sick. As soon as she died, I took her out and buried her.”
Faulkner said his map showed he was hunting at the pond just downstream from where, on Oct. 15, an inspector from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection allegedly found decomposed toilet paper, sanitary items and floating debris had again been discharged into the wildlife area.
Two previous inspections, one on July 3 and another on July 14, found the city’s wastewater treatment plant had inadequate aeration, a broken chlorinating system and was discharging waste into Cinnamon Pond.
“I’m really upset at having three spills there before they closed the damn thing,” Faulkner said. “The week before, they had the youth hunt out there, too.”
An order by the environmental protection department requires the city to complete engineering designs for an automatic treatment system by Nov. 28 and to make the system operational by Jan. 31.
An average of 183 hunters have used the area daily for the past two years between October and January.