Q&A: New Animal Control chief cares for Carson City’s lost pets
Pat Wiggins was recently promoted to supervisor with Carson City Animal Services.
He has been with the department for five years, and has worked in the animal care field for nine years, starting with the Nevada Humane Society as a humane officer.
Wiggins has lived in Dayton for 29 years.
The shelter is at 3770 Butti Way.
What duties fall upon your department?
We are responsible for all stray pets in Carson City. Our duties include law enforcement, rabies control board, adoption programs, school education programs and Sierra Vista Pet Cemetery.
If someone wants to adopt a pet, what should he or she expect when he or she comes into your office?
They should expect to see a wide range of pets. When they have picked a new family member, they will need to pay one of our local veterinarian offices to have the pet spayed or neutered. After the appointment has been set, we will deliver their new pet on that day.
If someone wants to surrender a pet, what should they expect?
We ask that they first call and talk with one of our staff members regarding their pet. Sometimes we are able to direct the pet owner to a rescue group or other agency that can help them find a home for their pet, instead of releasing them into a shelter environment. If it turns out that the pet needs to come to us, then you have to be a Carson City resident, and we charge a release fee of $20.
How do the majority of the animals under your care end up at the shelter?
Most of the pets here are strays that no one has come to reclaim. The pets come in to us two ways: We pick them up running loose, or concerned residents bring them to us.
How long will you keep an animal?
We don’t have a set time limit for the pets in our care. We evaluate each pet, and if they are nice then we hold them as long as it takes to find them a home. The longest stay was a lab mix who was with us for six months until he found a home.
What is your policy when it comes to euthanasia?
We have achieved a no-kill status with our cats. With help from Pet Network of Incline Village, we haven’t euthanized an adoptable cat in three years. Our adoption statistics for dogs range month to month, but are always above 90 percent. Our goal is to find homes for all our adoptable pets.
What’s the oddest creature your department has ever wrangled?
A 10-foot-long, 70-pound boa named Barney that was left behind after its owner was evicted. Barney was released to Sierra Safari Zoo.
If there was one thing you could improve upon in your department, what would that be?
Our public image. Every day we try to improve the negative attitude some people have regarding animal control.
How many animals come into your offices a year?
We shelter approximately 1,400 pets every year. We are equipped to handle dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, all pocket pets and any livestock.
Do you enjoy your work?
I love my job. Every day I have the opportunity to help someone or their pet. My favorite part of my job is the education program we offer to the elementary schools in Carson City. These kids are amazing. They care so much for pets.