Ely animal control officer Andrew Hayes talks with Steve MacKinnon, chief of humane law enforcement for the San Diego Humane Society.
Submitted photo by
Maddies Pet Project

The City of Ely has been taking many steps to move forward with various efforts from animal related organizations to assist the Animal Control facility with it daily functions and procedures.

Animal Control Officer Andrew Hayes recently attended a Animal Care Expo hosted by the Humane Society of the United States in Kansas City, Missouri.  Hayes received a scholarship from Maddie’s Pet Project in Nevada to attend the three day expo last week.

Hayes came back with some goals and objectives that he is excited to start working with the Animal Control Advisory Board that was recently approved by the Ely City Council.

Hayes top priority right now is to get a trap, spay and neuter release or feral program going.

“All these cats I’m getting in, I can successfully get a rabies vaccination, get them spayed or neutered and get them out into places where they would make good working cats, also known as cat colonies, “ Hayes said.

A great examples of a cat colony in White Pine would be the city corrals in Ely.  The corral already has a cat colony but unfortunately most in the area are not fixed, or vaccinated for  rabies, but Hayes noted that it wouldn’t take much effort to get that done, and then a colony could be established and he could bring more into that colony.

Colonies created are close enough to help reduce the rodent population but far enough to keep them out of residential areas.

Hayes discussed future plans of cat colonies in each town…one in Ruth,  McGill, if he can find a good location for them. One of the requirements for the colonies is shelter.  Another requirement is that they are all spayed/neutered and rabies vaccinated and a notch cut in their ear to identified as a colony cat.

Hayes noted that grants are available for this type of project.

Other goals Hayes spoke of was revamping the animal control facility and creating a volunteer group. He would like to obtain things that are standard for a facility.

A quarantine room, the euthanasia room, better kennels for the cats, better fencing for the dogs to help prevent escapes.

“I would also like to work on what we need for volunteers and how we could accomplish that with no funding coming from the city, the Animal Control Advisory Board will be able to assist and research the process for this,” he said.

Volunteers could assist with various things such a filing paperwork, cleaning of kennels, socializing animals, making Hayes more available to respond to animal cruelty calls or dog at large, and issuing citations if needed.

Socializing the animals, giving them attention would be key in helping reduce the animals stress level and a better chance of adoption by being socialized more.

Hayes mentioned that all paperwork for the facility is completed manually and he would like to move towards a digitized method.

Taking this step forward would allow him to better track when an animal is brought into the shelter, if it’s a repeat animal, if the person surrendering has surrendered multiple animals. Being able to track these type of things would give Hayes the ability to isolate issues quicker and figure out a more effective solution when it came time to adopting an animal out, hopefully to its final, forever home.

Another top project Hayes spoke on would be to implement is a deter program. So many times animals are surrendered to the shelter.

He’d like to begin asking people their reasons why their surrendering the animal. Is it lack of food? A behavior problem?

Hayes mentioned that he would like to be able to help people attempt to keep their animal in their own home by maybe providing a bag of food if it’s needed, or a reaching out to a trainer to assist the person with a behavioral issue.

“The shelter is not the best environment for an animal, if I can help them take the animal back home, work on getting it adopted out, then that’s one less animal makes it into the shelter,” he said.

Hayes also discussed a website he learned about at the expo. Adoptapet.com is a website that assists people in getting their animal adopted out to areas as far away as Salt Lake, Reno, Las Vegas, etc.

“The facility isn’t really for people to drop their animals off,” he said.  “It’s for bigger issues such as an animal cruelty case, it’s not because you can’t feed your dog, or the dog is acting up. Maybe I can help get you in touch with a trainer.  Just yesterday I got a female cat with four kittens.

“This adoptapet website would greatly reduce the drop offs, the program is funded from Petco and other charitable organizations therefore the profits made would come back to animal control to help make the facility a better place, it’s a win win for everyone.”