Shelter director Charlsie Duffy-Wilcox and her dog, Wallace, relax in the outdoor dog run at the Lovelock Animal Shelter. According to a recent DNA test, Wallace is a Great Pyrenees- Border Collie Mix with multiple other breeds thrown in for good measure.
Shelter director Charlsie Duffy-Wilcox and her dog, Wallace, relax in the outdoor dog run at the Lovelock Animal Shelter. According to a recent DNA test, Wallace is a Great Pyrenees- Border Collie Mix with multiple other breeds thrown in for good measure.
Charlsie Duffy-Wilcox, 32, has an invitation for the people of Lovelock, and a reminder. She invites people to come to the shelter at 700 South Meridian and spend time with the animals. And she reminds them to keep their dog’s rabies vaccination current. Also, dog owners within the city limits must register their pets every year.

Duffy-Wilcox attended Pershing County High School, attaining her GED in 2009. She’s certified in pet CPR and is completing an externship in veterinary assisting. She’s also studying small business management. In Sept. 2019, she took over as shelter director. Laura Iniguez assists.

Lately, temperatures have hovered in the triple digits but, on a recent visit, eight shelter dogs, nine kittens and three adult cats stayed cool. 

“The heat is crazy,” said Duffy-Wilcox. “We have central air, but because the dog alley is so tall with a lot of open space, I could not keep it below 80 degrees, no matter what. So, as we tried to think of a better way, my mom and her husband donated a giant swamp cooler. It’s still humid, but now we keep it about 70 degrees with no problem.”

As Duffy-Wilcox spoke, her dog Wallace stayed close by, curious and friendly. He and his littermates came to the shelter from McDermitt as ten-day- old orphans. Duffy and her daughter Briahna (Bri), 14, bottle fed them for a couple of weeks. The Duffy-Wilcox family adopted Wallace. There’s also a one-year-old resident cat, Marty, a tuxedo.

“We always have dogs that need to be walked, or even if people just want to come and throw a ball, we have the dog runs. This whole area out here is for the dogs to play in,” said Duffy-Wilcox, gesturing toward a fenced enclosure of about 30 X 250 feet. 

“We’re growing grass, squash and pumpkins out back. It’s not the prettiest yet, but we’re trying for a visiting area for people and dogs. We always have cats to play with too,” she added. “We have nine kittens right now; just got two yesterday.” 

In the cat area, donated enclosures allow the kittens to leap between platforms. A tiger kitten lounged in a hammock. A black cat hid from view, curled up deep inside a hide-a-bed. Most of the cats were headed to a no-kill facility in Reno the next day.

Volunteers must sign a waiver of liability. If they’re 18 or over, they can sign it themselves. If they’re 16-18, they’ll need a parent or guardian’s signature. A parent or guardian has to accompany children under 16 and stay with them throughout the visit.

“It’s hard for me to set up times because I get call-outs, so preferably just show up when you can – any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday,” says Duffy-Wilcox. Staff must be present on the facility, so she advises calling or texting first. 

“Having people around helps the animals because we get to see how they react to other people besides us,” she said. Recently, representatives of the Pershing County 4-H stopped by - Director Colby Burke, 4-H parent Megan Reynolds, dog club instructor Samira Dyer, Cassidy Burke, 18, and Lily Reynolds, 9. “We got to see how the dogs reacted to a child.”

The information will help Duffy-Wilcox give a complete biography to the rescue facilities that adopt about 80 percent of the dogs that enter the shelter. Most of the rest are privately adopted. Not all stories end happily, but euthanasia is reserved only for the gravely ill, injured or dangerous, she says.

Rules and regulations

All Pershing County dogs must be current on their rabies vaccines. “When I show up, a lot of people say they didn’t realize we had that regulation, so I give them two weeks. Our veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Hummel DVM, comes twice a month, so we set them up for an appointment,” she says.

Within the Lovelock city limits, dogs must be licensed every year at 400 14th Street. The dog owner has to show proof of a current rabies vaccine.

The animal control officer does not have jurisdiction over the Lovelock Paiute Indian Colony, a sovereign nation. “We are not allowed onto the colony,” says Duffy-Wilcox. “If someone wants to surrender an animal, they have to bring them here or meet us off-site.” 

“In the last two months, I’ve read every regulation there is for our county and city. I’ve tried to learn as much as I could. I had no idea there were so many. For example, a dog is not allowed to be on a chain for more than 14 hours in a 24 hour period. The chain has to allow the dog to move 12 feet in any direction,” she said.

“Also, every animal in our county must be provided with fresh water, nutritious food, shelter and clean fresh air at all times. I ask people to send me pictures of possible violations.” 

“There is a mathematical calculation for the size of kennel and the size of dog. Once I understand that better, we’ll be going in and checking kennels.” 

The shelter is also equipped to house horses and cows. Duffy-Wilcox is currently updating regulations for livestock care. She will draw on her experience growing up on a ranch.

“The more I get to know the county, it’s easier to recognize whose dogs are neglected, not being taken off the chain or brought inside when it’s 106 degrees outside,” she says. “I don’t care if he has a kennel or not. When it’s that hot, that dog needs to come inside.”

For more information or to volunteer, call Charlsie Duffy-Wilcox at 775-770-0933 (cell).

The shelter phone number is 273-7297.