Clark County might give $2.4 million to help the Animal Foundation’s regional shelter that houses thousands of animals each year.
County commissioners heard a presentation Tuesday about the issue, which comes after the foundation requested the county to cover half the costs of a $13.2 million makeover of its Lied Shelter Building.
About 40,000 animals a year go through the building, which is also used by the county and the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. The funding, if the deal goes through, would go toward the costs of replacing the roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.
It’s not a done deal. County officials set aside the money to possibly spend on that purpose. However, the county wants the city of Las Vegas to share with the renovation expenses before signing off on a final agreement.
The meeting drew opponents, many of them critical of the Animal Foundation’s operation of the shelter. Some of them are hopeful the county will go with another provider when its contract with the Animal Foundation ends in 2015. The county doesn’t own the facility that needs renovation.
Commissioner Larry Brown said it’s important that a long-term solution for animals happen with community buy-in, not personal attacks on people who run the shelter.
Bryce Henderson, president of No Kill Las Vegas, presented a petition with more than 2,600 signatures that urges the county to replace the Animal Foundation.
Henderson, whose organization opposes the shelter’s current practice of euthanizing animals, said he supports the Nevada Humane Society providing animal shelter services to the county, as that organization has had success in operating a Washoe County shelter with a focus that avoids euthanizing animals.
“They’re actually the leaders in the whole country, and we’re very fortunate that they’re here in Nevada,” Henderson said.
Under its current contract with the Animal Foundation, the county isn’t required to pay for the renovation. But Animal Foundation officials say the spread of disease is more likely without renovations to the shelter, including its ventilation system.
Animal Foundation Executive Director Chris Robinson said she appreciates the county’s willingness to find a solution.
“It’s a community issue and we would like to be a partner in fixing it together,” she told commissioners.
Animal Foundation staff also defended their track record with pets, including a criticism that they would euthanize an animal with a chipped tooth. In some cases, if the tooth’s nerve is exposed, the animal needs expensive dental care the shelter cannot provide. In those cases, the shelter contacts rescue organizations to try and find sponsors.
Clark County has been using the foundation’s Lied shelter since 2006. The deal started as an effort to provide regional services.
The nonprofit part of the foundation’s campus, apart from the Lied Shelter, houses animals for adoption beyond the 72-hour period.
Contact Ben Botkin at email@example.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.