Emergency Meeting called at Lyon County Animal Shelter Offers Explanation

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Silver Springs - The Lyon County Animal Advisory Board held an emergency meeting Thursday night to discuss operations at the Lyon County Animal Shelter.

In recent months, allegations about the shelter and how animals are being treated there have been brought to the table.

Now, we're finding out more about why the shelter has come under fire, and how some plan to improve conditions there.

Dan Rodgers, the former animal control supervisor, says he would like to see everything back on track for the people of Lyon County.

Many concerned Lyon County citizens say the shelter operations are not up to standards. "They need help. They don't have water, they don't have food, they don't have shelter or they're being beat. there's a number of things I've seen and we won't even go into detail." That's according to Nonie Higley, a former animal control officer.

Even local law enforcement agencies like the Lyon County Sheriff's Department have reported a lack of cooperation and assistance from Lyon County Animal Control.

That's why the animal advisory board called this emergency meeting... to discuss what's going on at the shelter, and how to improve conditions there.

Larry McPherson, a county commissioner says he believes there's a definite lack of communication. Another word he uses to describe the situation is dedication, or rather, a lack of.

The advisory board questioned animal control supervisor Burt Matthews on issues involving staffing, service and impounds, and hours of operation.

"I fear the shelter right now will go back to the way it was previously and it was just a holding facility to euthanize animal," says Paula Richards. She's a former shelter volunteer.

The board also heard testimony regarding concerns raised when agencies like the sheriff's department have requested assistance and it was denied.

Plus, public comment was welcomed. Now,the board will make recommendations and report to the county commissioners to address shelter problems.

Willis Lamm, an advisory board member, says "We're going to suggest there be some changes in the staffing model for the on duty personnel so the citizens will have more consistent service especially when there are after hour emergencies."

Now, it's up to Lyon County commissioners to make a decision for action and set policy regarding shelter operations.

Dennis Stark, the county manager, is the one to put that policy in place.

One other topic discusses at the meeting? A yellow lab named Maui, who was allegedly attacked by pit bulls at the Lyon County Animal Shelter. Maui's owners have been seeking veterinary compensation from the county for their dog's injuries. They are set to give a statement to the county insurers Friday.