Las Vegas animal shelter issues urgent appeal to foster families after employee walkouts and staff shortages
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — The Animal Foundation issued an urgent appeal Monday for people to adopt animals amid staffing shortages. It comes after several employees suddenly resigned and left their jobs on Sunday, alleging poor working conditions.
According to a statement from the Animal Foundation, in September alone, its staff “felt the pressure that comes with welcoming over 2,000 animals that have arrived at our doorstep, all in need of shelter and care.” . The group added that “150 of these animals have arrived in the last two days”.
The shelter said in the post that its capacity was at “critical point”. Adding that he is in “desperate need to free up space in the shelter for animals with the most advanced needs”.
The aforementioned employee walkout caused the Animal Foundation’s Lost & Found section to temporarily close on Sunday.
“On Sunday, several members of our admissions team unexpectedly resigned, so we had to close our lost and found hall. This was temporary,” shelter spokeswoman Kelsey Pizzi said.
That office is now open again, but FOX5 contacted one of those tired employees.
Although she preferred not to share her name, we have verified that she is indeed an employee of the Animal Foundation.
She said: “We’ve asked for changes more times than we can count and we’ve never been heard from. The wages we are currently earning are extremely low for the labor intensive work we face every day and the very few times that raises were offered, were also extremely low. While most staff leave at the end of their shift (as they should) we are basically forced to stay for hours past our shift to ensure Animal Control has kennel space enough and to make sure the animals are probably cared for until the next shift. We have reached a breaking point and we will not return until we are assured that things will change for the better for all the people inside The Animal Foundation who remain for the animals and for all the animals who have suffered and continue to suffer unchanged. “said the employee.
FOX5 asked Animal Foundation CEO Hilarie Gray for her response to the claims during a Monday afternoon press conference.
“Yes salaries are an issue, our board and we are aware of that and want to look at it holistically. Uh, in the past, you know, some of these things haven’t been looked at systemically, and we’re committed to looking at everything — all the things that make up a good work environment for our employees,” Gray said.
She added that these employees are facing more than ever before: “a 48% increase in intake over the past two years,” Gray said.
She said she has daily conversations about changes that can be made to lighten their load, such as finding microchips in the field.
“There are prescription changes and things we can look into. The most important thing we can do today is to encourage and re-energize our animal protection service partners to return to their owner in the field. It’s going to make a huge difference,” Gray said.
Gray added: “I’m really sorry – personally I’m really heartbroken that they felt it was their last resort.”
The panel here at Monday’s press conference described one of the reasons for the spike in animal inflow as the tough times the Valley is facing, economically, with such high inflation. Shelter officials said they believe this has caused more people to abandon their pets due to their inability to pay for necessary care.
But they want to remind you to look for alternatives to surrender. The Animal Foundation also offers free pet food in its pantry, by appointment only. In the past, they have also held walk-in hours for this pantry. Learn more here.
It should also be noted that the employees’ sudden resignation came weeks after Las Vegas City Council member Victoria Seaman conducted a surprise inspection at the Animal Foundation and shared photos of the unsanitary conditions at the facility.
Please visit this website to find out how to accommodate a pet.
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