LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – One Las Vegas City Council leader is pushing for the city to seriously consider creating its own animal shelter.
Councilmember Victoria Seaman efforted a presentation at last week’s city council meeting by staff, who researched the operations at the Animal Foundation, the city of Henderson, and other non-profit facilities across the Valley.
In a scenario where the city could create its own shelter, it would cost $35 million to build and require $6 million a year in operating costs.
The Animal Foundation held 12,000 animals from the city in 2021. City officials estimated that a city-run shelter could require more than 200 dog kennels; the Animal Foundation holds 535. Staff looked at a potential three-acre site near the Animal Foundation.
“There were strays on the streets. There was no animal control, at one point, that would even go out and pick up animals. Being a world-class city, we need to make sure that we are taking care of our animals,” Seaman said.
Last fall, a disease outbreak halted intake for a matter of weeks, and the number of strays on the streets surged.
The City of Las Vegas must fund the Animal Foundation $3 million a year through 2025, and $660,000 a year through 2027 for a construction bond. According to Seaman, the contract stipulates that spending oversight can only occur through an audit.
In October, the councilwoman spearheaded the effort to approve an audit of the Animal Foundation, and it passed unanimously. The contract for the audit is being finalized, and an audit can take 68 weeks to complete.
“The benefits [of a city facility] could be oversight. The benefits could be, we have control,” she said. “Let’s do the right thing by our constituents and our animals,” Seaman said.
Other council members voiced concerns at the council meeting; Mayor Carolyn Goodman had questions about funding.
“Most importantly, where are the dollars going to come from? are we going to give up certain dollars?” Goodman said. “It’s an unlimited number of animals we will continue to deal with,” she said.
Councilwoman Olivia Diaz expressed the need to work out current concerns with the Animal Foundation before looking at a brand new facility—especially since the city is already committed to paying millions in funding.
“To say the investment is warranted, I feel like I need the data,” Diaz said.
Seaman said she will work with staff members to get more data on city shelters from jurisdictions of similar sizes and bring it back to the city council.
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