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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County

Washoe County in Nevada (population 421,000), includes the cities of Reno (population 225,000) and Sparks (90,000). The three jurisdictions have a public-private partnership for animal control and sheltering.

The municipal Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS) handles animal control for all three jurisdictions. WCRAS is known for its very successful return-to-owner program, which re-homes a high percentage of animals in the field and actively seeks to find the owners of impounded animals. The great majority of animals not returned to their owners are transferred to the private, non-profit Nevada Humane Society (NHS) for placement. NHS also handles intake of owner surrenders from Washoe County residents. The shelter requires an appointment and a small fee for surrenders.

Leadership at WCRAS changed in 2012 with the retirement of its director, Mitch Schneider. Recently, WCRAS became a stand-alone department. In another big change, Bonney Brown, who started as director of NHS in 2007, resigned in 2013. A Best Friends blog from July 2011 provides a look at how she used pet retention and creative marketing, along with other programs, to reduce intake and increase live outcomes. The new director for NHS is Kevin Ryan, who was previously director of Pet Helpers, a non-profit in Charleston, South Carolina. Under Ryan’s leadership, Pet Helpers was credited with an initiative that increased the save rate in Charleston County from 37% to 77%.

The combined statistics for WCRAS and NHS for 2012 showed a save rate of 92% for cats and dogs, calculated as a percentage of intake. For 2013, the save rate was 90%. The 2013 save rate includes deaths in shelter care with euthanasias. Combined intake was 15,350 in 2013, down slightly from 15,516 in 2012.

Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County, Nevada, were originally listed by this blog on April 16, 2013, based on their 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.



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