New animal rescue group hopes to build shelter in Lyon County |

New animal rescue group hopes to build shelter in Lyon County

Rhonda Costa
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

You could say that Debbie Larson has big plans for small creatures.

The Kukuis Alii Animal Rescue and Shelter has been established as a nonprofit organization, but it’s far from being the rescue and resource center the group envisions. What began about two months ago by word of mouth has flourished into the demand for much more than anticipated.

“We have long-range goals,” said Larson, founder and director. “But from the needs of the community and a delay in funding through a grant, we find ourselves in need of a lot of things right now. Things like cat food, cat litter and volunteers and foster homes to care for the animals.”

The name Kukuis Alii is an acronym: Keep Us, Killing Us Is Senseless All Life Is Important

The biggest part of the project is the need for about $16 million to build the shelter. A point Larson makes is that anyone who donates property ” 10 acres would be ideal ” can use it as a tax write off. The same goes if they simply lease an existing building to them.

“We have a lot of needs beginning with volunteers, but the animals need our help the most,” Larson said. “We need property, funds, a grant writer, architect, foster homes. And all the money donated is tax deductible.”

The vision for Kukuis Alii is to have a learning center for children and adults to be educated about animals, training before the animals are adopted so they’re not abused, a pet cemetery, park, animal behaviorist and more.

Citing a huge feral cat problem in Lyon County, Kukuis Alii members would like to add a trap and release program to their vision.

“Feral cats are not just a Lyon County issue,” Larson said. “Our mission is long, and $16 million is a lot of money. But it can be done. We all need to work as a team to solve the problem, but it’s our task to solve.”

In the meantime, her husband, veterinarian Danny Larson of Dayton Riverside Veterinary Hospital, has allowed some of his office space to be used to house some of the cats and kittens brought to Kukuis Alii. In about two months, the group has adopted out 25 cats and two dogs, with 15 cats and kittens still available for adoption.

“When the animals are brought in they’re isolated, tested and vaccinated,” Debbie Larson said. “We’ve been pretty productive even though we all have full-time jobs.

We have been inundated with calls and we’re in a desperate situation right now.”

Larson said they also need people who are willing to be board members, and help build their Web site.

“Maybe a high school kid taking photography can help us get pictures on the Web site of the available animals, and we need a shed to store items. But most importantly, we need a stable place for us to be so we can start operating.”

Larson sees the educational center as a positive place for the community, which will focus on educating children, and use the animals as therapy for children who have been abused or neglected.

“We could also use a barn for abused or neglected livestock,” Larson said. “Which is why we need so much space.”

Kukuis Alii has established an account at Wells Fargo for donations ” Account No. 3393920479. Members and volunteers include: Debbie and Dr. Danny Larson, Ray Medeiros, Chuck and Nancy Sanicola, Joe and Sue Modarelli, Pat Burnham, Kelly Brown, Charlene Mundt and Robyn Wilson. They are also linked to and, and some animals are listed for adoption on Craig’s List.

“The emphasis on our shelter is making it a community place to educate people and train animals,” Debbie Larson said. “Because they’re all important to us.”

– Contact Rhonda Costa at or 881-1223.