Surge of stray dogs roaming Las Vegas streets, rescue group says
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KVVU) — There has been a surge of stray dogs roaming the streets or dogs run over by cars across the Las Vegas Valley, according to rescue group Doggie Task Force.
Volunteers said the surge started after the Animal Foundation, Clark County’s contract shelter, halted intakes for five weeks after a canine pneumovirus spread through the animal population. As other shelters and rescue groups took on the intake burden and were eventually overwhelmed, Clark County Animal Protection Services limited pick-ups to animals in distress or causing a danger, encouraging neighbors to help find a stray’s owner or home in their neighborhood.
Volunteers with the Doggie Task Force told FOX5, they had never encountered so many strays or remains of dogs run over by cars. The group has a mission to get strays off the streets, scan a microchip for a possible owner, reunite them with families, or board animals or take them to local shelters.
“Rescues–we’re not sleeping. It’s a very stressful situation and a very stressful time,” said Melanie Shayne, founder of Doggie Task Force. At least one volunteer spoke before the Clark County Commission earlier this month to voice concerns over the situation.
“There should really be no excuse for not having some kind of emergency plan in place for situations like what occurred. There was no temporary shelter or tent or warehouse,” Shayne said. She pointed out to FOX5 that there also has been a surge of dumped animals in places like Frenchmen Mountain in the East Valley, at the far edge of Washington Avenue.
Clark County sent the following response, to address future actions:
First, it’s important to emphasize that the number of dogs taken to The Animal Foundation had to be limited due to the potentially lethal nature of the canine pneumovirus outbreak. Decisions on how to respond when the contract animal shelter is under quarantine following disease protocols are addressed on a case-by-case basis. Whatever happens, it is critical that CCAPS be able to respond to emergency calls. A number of factors must be considered, including how long quarantine protocols will be in place, is there space available to continue to take in animals, how much space is available, is Animal Protection Services able to make temporary adjustments to their response and still respond to emergency calls, etc. If any factors preclude CCAPS from addressing emergency calls, then the decision would be made to open an emergency shelter. – Clark County
Shayne also voiced frustration with the Animal Foundation’s new policy for appointments for animal intakes, saying it’s a hurdle for people to help; the Animal Foundation, however, said to FOX5 that there’s a higher likelihood of success to reunite a dog with its owner in the same neighborhood through social media, rather than that owner traveling across town to the shelter.
‘The big message to the public– if you see a lost dog or cat in your neighborhood, it probably belongs to one of your neighbors,” said CEO Hilarie Grey in an interview with FOX5 this week on managing the pneumovirus outbreak.
Grey also said that it’s important to manage capacity to limit outbreaks in the future.
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