Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Lyon County Animal Services Supervisor Ted Bolzle, left, hangs out with Tom Blomquist, rescue
representative for the Indigenous Nevada Trailer Dog Society, and Rusty, who needs a good home.
Life is better for the dogs of Silver Springs
November 5, 2004
They band together in a desperate
cause, battling to protect man's best friend from the worst of human nature.
Silver Springs is not alone in its horror
stories about abandoned and neglected pets, but it does seem to have more than its share.
Those in the forefront of
the battle include Tom and Lee Blomquist, founders of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, and Lyon County Animal Services
supervised by Ted Bolzle. Regionally, they work with many other individuals and animal-welfare groups.
moved to Silver Springs about nine years ago to escape Santa Barbara, Calif., expecting a more laid-back lifestyle.
week we moved in, we rescued seven animals within sight of our kitchen window," Tom Blomquist said.
They also rescued
some kittens whose litter was being disposed of by being thrown against a wall.
Today, the Blomquist home in Silver
Springs has been turned into a licensed dog sanctuary with 20 dogs and eight cats. A list of their animals is a list of hard-luck
cases that would have been euthanized without a second thought.
Bumper is blind. Shadow has diabetes. Rusty ran out
of time at the county shelter. Peka's and Gabby's owners moved without them. Chelsea, at 10 years, was too old to be adoptable;
now she's 18. Truckers, called the "psycho dog," was found in the middle of Highway 50.
The Blomquists also have three
adoptable dogs they are fostering until they find permanent homes.
As they rescued more and more dogs, Lee Blomquist
went back to college to become a registered veterinarian technician. She now works with Dr. Lisa Hayden in Yerington as well
as with her own pack of rescued pets.
"That was the best thing we ever did," said Tom Blomquist, who pays the bills
by working as a banquet server for the Reno Hilton. "What would have been an emergency a few years ago is now something casual."
also founded the nonprofit Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project to educate and help people spay or neuter their pets.
this time (of my life), I expected to be dealing craps part time and studying history," Blomquist said, showing off his bookcase-lined
office, which is now a "cathouse."
Other areas of the home are filled with dog crates, pens and rubber trash cans filled
with various food mixtures. Outside, their yard is divided into numerous large pens, where compatible groups of dogs can romp
and be segregated from less-compatible dogs. The hours from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. are dedicated to feeding and dispensing pet
Although they get help tending to the animals from friends and volunteers, there is little break time
between caring for and calming their charges and finding help for other animals in danger.
"What I've learned is you
can't rescue them all," Blomquist said. "Most of these animals we've had since the first year."
They can only take in another animal when one dies or is adopted. But many more
Silver Springs dogs need homes. So the Blomquists focus their public efforts on reducing the number of unwanted pets in Lyon
County by promoting spay-and-neutering projects.
Several years ago, it was that message that caused them to cross swords
with the previous management of the county animal services. It had been lax about following state law that all animals over
4 months old would have to be neutered or spayed to be adopted.
Today, the Blomquists work closely with Lyon County
"Tom had valid points," said Bolzle, who recently became Animal Control supervisor. "Spaying and neutering
animals is the law. We've addressed that."
Part of the problem, he added, was that shelter volunteers felt it was better
to accommodate people who couldn't or wouldn't adopt if they had to spay or neuter the animal. But pets breed, and that compounds
Keeping control of the animal population in a spread-out county can be daunting.
three animal control officers and volunteer office staff who handle animals throughout Lyon County. Yerington has an animal
shelter with 10 dog runs, and Silver Springs has 30 dog runs.
"We've had three calls already today from people wanting
to bring in their puppies," Blomquist said early one afternoon on a tour of the shelter. "There are not enough homes for all
"We have 30 dog runs," Bolzle said, adding that it's not unusual to pick up six to eight stray dogs a day.
"We've taken in 800 dogs this year. A bigger shelter would only delay the problem.
"People want us to be a no-kill
shelter, but we could have 1,000 runs, and they'd still fill up."
The shelter tries to limit euthanasia. Bolzle said
October is their fourth month without euthanizing an adoptable dog. So far this year, they've put down 32 adoptable dogs because
of overcrowding. But that is a fraction of two to three years ago, when 250 adoptable animals were euthanized.
shelter staff works hard not only to find homes but to improve a dog's adoptability.
Staff and volunteers walk, play
with, and begin training dogs. New owners are given help with training. They've expanded the "mobile adoption" process, which
prepares animals with spaying or neutering and rabies shots so they're ready to adopt.
"We want to be sure we're adopting
out a good-quality product," Bolzle said.
The shelter staff also strives to match an animal to an owner's lifestyle.
said only one dog has been returned in the last year, and it was an adoption they had discouraged. An elderly woman fell in
love with an Australian shepherd - a very active breed. Without enough exercise, Aussies
jumped from here
become hyper, mischievous and even destructive.
with all the work, an animal that starts out being adoptable, after months in a cage, may develop kennel stress.
are a lot of unadoptable dogs in this area - dogs that have been locked up in a pen for four years without interaction," Bolzle
said referring to a recent case. "We don't have enough foster homes, people who know how to handle (dogs with behavior problems)."
few adoptable dogs are euthanized, so far this year, 230 dogs considered nonadoptable have been put down to make room for
those that have hope.
"There's no magic deadline." Bolzle said. "We try to hold them until either they are adopted
or kennel-stressed and they're no longer adoptable."
"We focus on trying to help them get dogs out of here," Blomquist
said of his organization.
That includes helping potential adoptive families spay and neuter an animal or by providing
free food. Sometimes a little help will even keep an animal in its original home.
Animal foster homes help when shelters
get overcrowded. But there are not enough qualified people willing and able to take in animals.
Blomquist noted many
people start taking in animals, but get in over their head. Some end up in court because the animals are neglected. A case
currently in the courts could put another dozen animals up for grabs.
"It's not just the space, but the time to deal
with individual animals," Bolzle said.
There are preliminary plans to expand the shelter to help keep up with the population.
Bolzle would also like to see several satellite shelters to make it easier for owners to reclaim runaway animals.
control and the spay-neuter project are also increasing efforts to educate animal owners about spay-neutering and basic animal
"I don't know if its working, to be honest," Bolzle said. "There's a lot of resistance to licensing dogs.
But all a license does is prove to me that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies."
Another change Bolzle and
Blomquist would like to see is outlawing such things as passing out free puppies at the grocery story, which is already illegal
in Carson City.
"It's impulse shopping," Blomquist said. "(Pet ownership) is an eight-, 10-, 12-year investment."
But until people start taking responsibility for their animals, the problem will continue
Pointing to the dogs in the shelter, he added, "These are all the broken promises here. There are a lot of
excuses why they can't take care of their pets. I have met people who move into campgrounds to save their dog."
on the right track here," Bolzle said. "All in all, we're doing good."
Contact reporter Sally Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1210.
Dogs, cat continue to wait in shelter for permanent homes after owner dies
by F.T. Norton,
October 30, 2004
SILVER SPRINGS - Two of four dogs and a cat orphaned when their
owner was killed in a Mound House accident Oct. 14 are still looking for homes.
Cody, a black and white collie and
Trixie, an older shepherd mix, remain at the Silver Springs Animal Shelter, said Ted Bolzle, Lyon County Animal Control supervisor.
Spay and Neuter Project is paying to have a nodule removed from Trixie's leg. Once we get her all fixed up, she'll be nice
and pretty for adoption," Bolzle said.
Joan James, 79, died when the setting sun blinded her as she pulled in front
of a truck from Highlands Lane onto Highway 50 East. She lived alone.
Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter
Project said James was an animal activist and would be thrilled to find out her dogs were being adopted.
Three of James'
cats have already found homes and two dogs were placed after an article appeared in the Nevada Appeal.
"One of the
dogs was adopted out to a family in Dayton, and the other was adopted to a family in Carson City," he said. "The folks from
Carson called to say they wanted the dog in the paper and that's what they got."
He said the one cat left at the shelter
from James will be ready for adoption following a 10-day treatment with antibiotics for an intestinal infection.
reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal From left, Carson, Trixie and Cody are up for
adoption at the Lyon County Animal Shelter after the death of their owner in a traffic accident Thursday in Mound House.
Animals need homes after owner dies in crash
by F.T. Norton,
October 19, 2004
SILVER SPRINGS - Three dogs and a cat, orphaned last week when
their owner was killed in a Mound House accident, are looking for new homes.
Joan James, 79, died Thursday when the
setting sun blinded her as she pulled in front of a truck from Highlands Lane onto Highway 50 East, according to the Nevada
"Joanie lived for her animals, and she'd be glad to know such effort was being for them," said Tom
Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project.
James was active in animal welfare and
"ultra-sensitive" to their needs, Blomquist said.
"She would take in dogs that she figured would not have a chance
of getting a home."
Through his organization, Blomquist provided the former postal worker with food to feed her animals,
and he and a friend had built a kennel in her Miriam Way back yard.
Often when Blomquist would
deliver dog food, James would call a couple of days later and ask for more, he said. When he'd ask what happened with the
food he just dropped off, "she'd say she gave it to people who needed it," he said. "She was just like that."
the three-car accident Friday, neighbors, who gathered at the intersection, spoke to one another about James' dogs being left
alone in the house. Word got back to police, who contacted Animal Control.
Animal control officers collected the dogs
and four cats Thursday night.
Ted Bolzle, Lyon County Animal Control supervisor, said three
of the cats have already found homes, but he is still searching for someone to take dogs Carson, Cody and Trixie. A fourth
dog, dropped off by James two days before her death because it was afraid of loud noises and she lived near a gun range, also
needs placement, he said.
"These are just indigenous Nevada trailer dogs," Blomquist said. "Carson could be the dog
in the movies running with the neighbor boy. He gets along well with other dogs; he rides well in the truck. What Cody likes
to do is sit on the couch with Joanie and eat her ice cream, and Trixie ... well, Trixie always gave me this look like I was
gonna cheat at cards."
Blomquist said all of the animals are spayed or neutered, and whoever adopts them will also
receive 120 pounds of dog food from his organization.
"Joanie went through great efforts to take care of those animals.
It would be heartbreaking if these dogs don't find a home."
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Eight lab-mix puppies were abandoned recently near the Carson River. The pups are
being cared for by Lyon County Animal Services and are now up for adoption.
Abandoned puppies need homes
Robyn Moormeister, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 13, 2004
Eight hungry, abandoned
puppies were found in a Silver Springs recreation area at Carson River on Tuesday, putting the Lyon County Animal Shelter
near full capacity and spurring animal lovers to find the dogs a home.
"I'm going to have to put out a 'No Vacancy'
sign," Lyon County Animal Services Officer Ted Blozle said after he took in the eight dirty mutts Tuesday morning.
Springs resident Judy Perry found the dogs while she and her four children hiked to the river for a swim.
immediately fell in love with them, but the last thing a busy mom needs is eight more mouths to feed.
"I thought about taking them for about three seconds," Perry said.
A dog lover and owner of
black Labrador retriever Regina and pug Zeuss, she wanted the puppies to have a chance at a good home, so she brought them
to the Lyon County Animal Shelter on Highway 50.
Twenty-nine of the shelter's 30 kennels are full, so shelter staff
will have to place dogs together in one-dog kennels if they take in any more. Blozle said this is the season for discarded
dogs, so overcrowding is more than likely.
"May through September is horrible for abandoned pets," he said.
staff have to consider euthanizing adoptable animals when they're at full capacity, but first they'll request help from privately-funded
animal rescue organizations throughout the Carson/Tahoe region.
rescue services such as Silver Springs Spay and Neuter, Douglas Animal Welfare Group, Nevada Humane Society, Pet Network,
Puppy Love Rescue and Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation of Incline Village and several veterinarians have helped the shelter
save hundreds of animals over the years, Blozle said.
However, not all of the animals can be saved. The shelter had
to euthanize 32 out of 604 animals last year.
"That's really not a lot," Blozle said. "Last month, we had to euthanize
zero adoptable dogs."
Tom Blomquist of Silver Springs Spay and Neuter said his 20-animal kennel for discarded pets
is almost always full, but he continually finds space for one more stray and someone willing to adopt it.
he will spay and neuter the eight puppies, and feature them Saturday and Sunday at the Weekend Adoption Center at the intersection
of Alternate 95 and Highway 50, or Four Corners, in Silver Springs.
said the puppies have a greater chance of being adopted from the intersection instead of the shelter, because many potential
adopters dislike the shelter environment.
"A lot of people just won't go because they don't want to see the animals
they don't take," Blomquist said. "This way the puppies have a better chance."
The Lyon County Animal Shelter Adoption
fee is $20, which includes a year of free licensing for county residents.
Contact Robyn Moormeister at email@example.com or 881-1215.
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Tom Blomquist plays with one of several dogs available for adoption from
the Lyon County Animal Services. Blomquist, director of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, is organizing what he calls
a "used dog sale" for Saturday from 11-3 at the intersection of highways 50 and 95A to help increase animal adoptions.
Dogs by the dozen
TERI VANCE, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 28, 2004
People looking to purchase puppies from a store
or private breeder may be barking up the wrong tree, according to activist Tom Blomquist.
"There are so many adoptable
dogs at shelters," he said. "They can be phenomenal."
To prove his point, he will be on the Champion Manufactured Home
lot at the intersection of highways 95 Aand 50 on Saturday with a litter of puppies and other dogs from Lyon County Animal
Services to adopt out. He will also pay the adoption fees.
"It's a hard reality that I almost have to work like a used-car
salesman," he said. "It's heartbreaking the amount of dogs that are abandoned."
his 2-year-old puppy Truckee died in his arms 11 years ago from birth defects caused by being born in a puppy mill, Blomquist
and his wife, Lee, have been advocating for animals.
In 1996, they started the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project,
encouraging residents of Lyon County and other areas to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens, reducing the amount of animals
Tom Blomquist hopes that Saturday's adoption drive will lead to a series of weekends where several dogs
are available for adoption at once.
"They will have all their shots and be spayed or neutered so they'll be ready
to go," he said.
In addition to trying to find homes for animals in the
shelter, the Blomquists also take care of 20 dogs at a time at their home.
They provide refuge for dogs that are nearing
the end of their stay at a shelter or ones that are suffering from illnesses ranging from diabetes to blindness and deafness
and missing limbs.
Lee Blomquist is studying to be a veterinary technician.
"I was one of those kids growing
up who wanted to be a vet but some teacher along the way said girls can't be veterinarians, that's only for boys," she explained.
"Now I'm working to be a vet tech."
She said people who adopt from their
program of Lyon County Animal Services will not be disappointed in their pets, even if they are mutts - or Tom Blomquist's
coined term, Indigenous Nevada Trailer Dogs.
"They offer unconditional love," she said. "They don't care if you had
a bad day at work. They don't care if your significant other left.
"They just love you."
Vance at email@example.com or at 881-1272.
An 8- to 9-month-old female terrier mix waits for a family at the Lyon County Animal Shelter in Silver Springs
New Silver Springs animal shelter director enters the fray
Nevada Appeal Staff Reports
April 9, 2004
SILVER SPRINGS - After just four
months on the job, Lyon County's animal control supervisor has come in for both praise and criticism from the county's often-contentious
Ted Bolzle took over the animal shelter in Silver Springs on Jan. 5 after
six protests over the hiring process.
Bolzle is originally from Alabama and served in the
U.S. Navy as a master at arms and dog handler.
"They hired me for my experience in law enforcement,
but even more for my experience in dog training and law enforcement," he said. "I love training dogs, and my wife and I have
a little ranch in Fallon where we raise horses and ducks and everything else."
left the service when he became disabled. He served in the Pershing County Sheriff's Office briefly before taking the animal
He has received support from the man who worked very hard to change the way Lyon
County sought applicants for the position.
Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter
Project said he and Bolzle are working to restore the program, supplying pet food to elderly shut-ins after Wal-Mart stopped
supplying the food.
"Through donations, and help from the spay and neuter program, we are
still able to take care of homebound senior citizens," Bolzle said. "You can look up study after study and see that animals
are vital to the mental and physical ability of senior citizens."
Bolzle was criticized by
a volunteer who was dismissed early last week.
Katherine McLaughlin said a family emergency
prevented her from fulfilling a commitment to the shelter, and she was let go.
On the one
hand, McLaughlin said Bolzle gave indications he intended to put dogs down, and other said he rescued German shepherds for
the drug dog program.
"I don't know what to think," she said. "I realize we have to surrender
if we need the space and that biters are the first ones to go, but we worked to get those dogs out of there."
Bolzle said the shelter's goal is to put every adoptable animal into a good home.
had a lady drive in from Sacramento to adopt a dog," he said. "Our numbers are really good with placement, rescues and adoptions."
As for working with volunteers, Bolzle points out that the shelter's Web site at http://www.petfinder.org/shelters/NV07.html is maintained by volunteers.
"I would like
to have more volunteers working with the animals versus volunteers answering the phone," he said. "We need people to take
dogs for a walk, socialize the animals, and make them more adoptable."
As Lyon County increases
in size, a new shelter is planned. Bolzle said staff are working on modifying the hours so the shelter better accommodates
"If anyone wants to volunteer, I would appreciate them giving us a call," he
Blomquist described Bolzle's first few months with something he heard Gen. Norman Schwartzkoff
tell Safari International attendees at their convention.
"When Schwartzkopf was a young colonel,
he was put in charge of something and he asked what to do," Blomquist said. "He was told to take command and do the right
thing. That's kind of what Ted has been doing."