Carson City Manager: Animal Services policies "need to change" after controversial euthanization

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Updated: 8/08/2013 8:49 am
CARSON CITY, Nev. (KRNV & -- A Carson City woman's dog was recovered by animal services and put down because she couldn't afford to pay the fees to reclaim it within 72 hours. People across northern Nevada, and all around the world, are speaking out against the decision that they're calling inhumane.

News 4 spoke with two women who nearly lost their dogs the same way who want to see Carson City Animal Services change its policies. City officials said that change will happen very soon.

"They treat people so immorally and inhumanely and cruel," Rebecca McBean said.

McBean found 9-year-old chihuahua Coco and took care of her for seven weeks before the owners tried to reclaim her. She said animal services told her to bring the dog in to be returned, but then the owners couldn't pay the fees to take her home.

McBean said she barely raised the money in time to avoid Coco being put down.

"They wanted $160 for me to get a dog back that I had already had," McBean said. "They had her for two days."
Erin Wright's 15-year-old chihuahua Mama ran away during a thunderstorm this spring. Wright nearly lost her because she couldn't pay the fees within the window.

"They asked me when my payday was," Wright said. "I told them I get paid every Friday, and so they just told me that I had to come in on Friday, if not the dog would be put down."

"They're more interested in getting their money than reuniting the families," McBean said.

City Manager Larry Werner said animal services is operating within the law, but that doesn't mean these decisions were the right ones.

So they shut down animal services this week to evaluate the situation. 

"We've got to figure out what's wrong," Werner said. "What's wrong with the system? Why did this happen and what can we do to correct this?"

McBean and Wright said they want to see big changes come from this. 

"If it's someone's dog and they come, work a payment plan, work something," Wright said. 

"Part of it is a training issue, but I think some of their policies need to change," McBean said. 

Werner said it's a top priority for the city to fix this problem. 

"We've had calls for the entire staff to be fired and that's just simply not going to happen, but we are going to try to find out why this happened and what we can do to prevent it in the future," Werner said.

Also, the city wants to ensure animal services gets back to its mission.

"Our first goal should be: return that dog to the owner, and it shouldn't be whether or not you have money," Werner said. 

This story has been picked up by the Assocated Press, and at least one international media outlet. People from all across the country, and even Canada, are posting on the Carson City Animal Services Facebook page wall: some of the posts are calling people who work there "monsters" and "ignorant." Many posts are asking for all of the employees to either quit or be fired.

Werner said they'll be evaluating the policies the rest of this week and plan to implement changes on Monday.

Senator Ben Keickhefer is also looking into Nevada laws to see if he thinks anything needs to change on a state-wide level.
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4everanimals - 8/15/2013 10:43 PM
0 Votes
We live near Carson City and were shocked when we heard this story on the news. It is absolutely beyond cruel. My feeling is that the shelter should be shut down or the rules changed YESTERDAY! Come on people let's see that this does NOT happen ever again! I am truly heartbroken over this story.

Jerrys Girl - 8/12/2013 11:04 AM
0 Votes
I am honored to be among the commenters here. There isn't one of them that I disagree with. In fact I could not have said everything that they have said any better. I don't live in Carson City so I can't vote them out of office, but those of you who do, by all means, remember who these people are at election time.

brasscookie - 8/10/2013 4:35 PM
0 Votes
... Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely!

elkogirl - 8/9/2013 5:26 PM
0 Votes
Someone who can't "bend the rules" a tiny bit to accommodate a citizen (who pays their wages) and should have some compassion for a beloved pet, and his person, really shouldn't be working that kind of job. This incident is reprehensible. I say get someone in there with a heart. These people are heartless.

Bubbles - 8/9/2013 2:05 PM
2 Votes
I might add it wasn't "euthanization" which is done only to relieve suffering, it was killing an adoptable healthy OWNED animal.

Bubbles - 8/9/2013 2:02 PM
1 Vote
Why wasn't the dog put up for adoption instead of killing him? Sounds like the powers that be are much more interested in making a point at the expense of the animal the trying to save him. Not only should the policy be changed those in charge should also be replaced.

tikidianne - 8/8/2013 10:42 AM
2 Votes
The solution is simple, however the bureaucracy of city government has to make a huge, difficult deal over this. Simply change your policy.. NOW!! Lost pets certainly need more time to be claimed!! What if a person was on vacation and the animal got out? Certainly you would hope whoever was caring for the pet would contact animal services, but you never know!! The owners could be away for a couple weeks!! Give them a chance to claim their pets! And if the animal has collar/tags there is no excuse for making no effort to find the owners. Isn't that what micro-chipping is for???? What's the rush to kill a poor, innocent animal??? And seriously, charging that kind of money is asinine!!! Good grief... give the people a chance to claim their pet and to get the REASONABLE fees for boarding/care! It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out!!! Your "holding times" are frickin ridiculous!!! Wake up and have some compassion!!!

MomInNV - 8/8/2013 10:37 AM
3 Votes
Posted yesterday - 8/7/2013 This is the most despicable act I've ever heard of! I am shocked over the lack of compassion that people working at an "animal shelter" could have for an animal. I heard on the news that personnel at the "shelter" are NOW undergoing extensive training with regard to "customer service." I don't think training personnel in "customer service" it is going to bring back Ms. Archuleta's dog, nor do I feel the "training" will prevent it from happening again. I feel that the termination of insensitive/cynical personnel is what is needed. I don't give a "damn" what the "rules" say. Times are still tough for some and I feel that each person's circumstances should be taken into consideration BEFORE an animal is destroyed because of rules that serve no purpose other than to cause pain and suffering to animals and their owners. Shame on you Carson City Animal Shelter!

Ronhuber re - 8/8/2013 12:48 AM
2 Votes
If they are standing behind there law then the law must change And if no action is taken.Then we will reevaluate our elected officails on a very serious note .

2sleepy - 8/7/2013 9:45 PM
3 Votes
In Nevada we can't ask mines or casinos to pay their fair share of taxes, so the burden of running this state is put on the working class, with idiotic $160 animal control fees. Carson City needs an overhaul and it should start by firing the City Manager and end with firing the animal control employees who would even consider killing a healthy loved pet because someone couldn't pay their 'fine'.

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