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‘Past critical capacity’: Las Vegas shelter stuffed with over 1K animals in 12 days

Updated June 13, 2024 - 10:27 pm

A Las Vegas shelter advised that it had already taken in over 1,000 animals in the first 12 days of June.

According to The Animal Foundation, the shelter has taken in 1,132 animals from June 1-12, which has put them “past critical capacity” but not at record levels.

“Summer is busy,” communications manager Kelsey Pizzi said in a statement Thursday. “We are always operating at or above our capacity.”

As a result of the influx of animals, The Animal Foundation is using emergency pop-up kennels to temporarily house its new arrivals because its facilities are so full.

The group said that late Wednesday night alone it took in 39 dogs from one home, including one nursing mom and her four puppies, and an additional four pregnant dogs. The dogs, 35 of which are French Bulldogs, were brought to the shelter due to what it called an “illegal breeding operation.” These animals, the shelter notes, are currently unavailable for fostering or adoption while they are on legal holds amid the investigation by Clark County Animal Protection Services.

Henderson police said in a news release Thursday that at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, authorities responded to the 2000 block of Lincoln Road in Las Vegas in service of a search warrant.

Authorities said that an unrelated “puppy mill” was discovered and that two men, Roberto Gonzalez-Flietes and Yankiel Gonzalez, were arrested in connection with drug-related offenses.

While the majority of the animals that come into The Animal Foundation are stray pets, the shelter says that these are not what the public typically thinks of when they think of “stray” dogs.

“About 80 percent of our intakes regularly are what we call strays,” said Hilarie Grey, CEO of The Animal Foundation. “But for the most part, they really aren’t like dogs on the street or what you imagine in your head. They are people’s lost pets that have gotten out the door or are lost in their own neighborhoods.”

Grey asked the community that if they come across a lost dog, to please take the animal to a local veterinarian’s office to check for a microchip in an effort to help reunite the animal with its family.

“If a dog comes up to you, take them in and give them some water or shelter and help look for their owner. Take them to the vet to scan for a microchip; don’t just call animal control, don’t just bring them to the shelter. It’s better for the animal and for the community,” Grey said.

Jessica Gonzales-Evans was one of many people waiting outside the shelter on Thursday morning hoping to adopt or foster a dog.

“We love The Animal Foundation, we know that they do a lot of good for the community and they accept a lot of dogs,” Gonzales-Evans said. “It’s just surprising that there are so many and even more shocking to hear about the other dogs in the recent investigation. Hopefully, we find our future forever puppy.”

The shelter is hosting a foster event from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday as it looks to free up kennel space in its facilities.

The group is asking residents to consider fostering a medium or large dog for two to four weeks to give them a break from the “noisy” shelter.

Fostering the animals is free, and The Animal Foundation said it will provide everything that is needed.

The group also noted in the comments on its Facebook posts that all animals must be up to date on vaccines before they can leave for their foster home.

“Even a short time away from the shelter helps a dog decompress,” The Animal Foundation said. “It doesn’t cause any extra stress when they come back.”

For more information on fostering with The Animal Foundation, visit animalfoundation.com/volunteer/foster-pet.

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