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New equipment, same old problems for WVC, Taylorsville Animal Services

Jun 23, 2017 09:30AM ● Published by Carl Fauver

Unlicensed and off-leash pets are an ongoing challenge for animal control officials. (wvcpets.com)

Gallery: New equipment, same old problems for WVC, Taylorsville Animal Services [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com


How would you like to pay $500 a year to license your dog or cat?


No, that’s not happening here in Utah; but there are some places—including Spokane, Washington and Calgary, Canada—where hundreds of dollars are charged annually for pet licenses.


“We certainly aren’t suggesting that,” Animal Services Field Supervisor Nathan Beckstead said during a recent report to the Taylorsville City Council. “But we do need to do something, because more and more people are not getting their pets licensed.”


During the first quarter of this year, 563 pet licenses were sold by Animal Services to Taylorsville residents. That’s down from the 676 licenses sold during the same quarter, a year ago.


“We’re proud to operate a ‘no-kill’ shelter,” Beckstead said. “The best way to avoid having to put animals down is for owners to license them. We are then able to return lost dogs and cats to their owners much more quickly.”


Costs to license animals (also including ferrets and pot belly pigs) is $5 to $35, depending on whether the animals are sterilized or microchipped. West Valley City residents can license pets at the animal shelter or city hall. Taylorsville residents can go to either of those locations or Taylorsville City Hall.


To license your pet, Animal Services officials say you must be at least 18 years old and provide a copy of the most recent rabies vaccination verification and a sterilization certificate if your pet is spayed or neutered. 


West Valley City and Taylorsville have operated a combined Animal Services department since 2007, when Taylorsville officials approached the existing agency about joining forces.


“Taylorsville pays about one-third of our budget,” said Animal Services Director David Moss. “Our annual budget is about $1.2 million, and we employee 19 people.”


 After Taylorsville partnered with West Valley, Beckstead said their calls for response numbers grew from about 5,600 per year to 8,600.


“That was about the same time we were moving from our old facility to our current location (4522 West 3500 South),” Moss said. “It was good timing because we were adding the extra room and a few more employees.”


Animal shelter personnel take a lot of pride in their facility. 


“Our shelter doesn’t have a bad odor like many of them do,” Moss said. “We work hard to make sure that’s the case. For example, when we change out litter boxes, our staff doesn’t just change the sand. They remove everything, and the boxes are washed before they are returned.”


Last month, Animal Services also took possession of a new state-of-the-art truck for picking up stray pets. The improvements were designed by Beckstead and constructed by the West Valley City Facilities Department.


“Our old trucks can only handle four to six animals at a time,” he said. “But the new truck has 13 kennels, along with lots of room for the tools our staff need in the field.”


The agency is expecting another identical truck this summer, with more to follow as the rest of their fleet ages out of service.


“Once, when one of our facilities people was driving the truck, someone stopped him,” Beckstead added. “It turned out to be an employee of another animal services agency that wanted a closer look at our design.”


The new vehicles also have a much more efficient cooling system, allowing animal services drivers to remain out in the field longer with animals, even on hot summer days.


In addition to its employees, Moss said the West Valley City and Taylorsville Animal Shelter also relies on about 20 to 30 volunteers. 


“They help walk the animals and keep the facility clean,” he said. “We couldn’t get everything done the way we do without them.”


Anyone interested in volunteering should call Shelter Supervisor Kathy Schuster at 801-965-5800.

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