Dog rescuer fined for too many dogs

Backers appeared in East Fork Justice Court on Monday to support herd dog rescuer Kathy Givens, who was cited for having too many dogs on her Johnson Lane property.

Givens pleaded no contest to the citation and was fined $5, with a $42 administrative fee.

"My attorney told me to plead no contest," she said. "They did have evidence and they had the photo."

Givens said she was warned by Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Paul Gilbert not to grandstand in court.

"He saw the multitude who came with me and the herding dogs out in the parking lot," she said. "He said it showed I had a lot of support, but that the courtroom wasn't the place to protest."

Givens, who was suffering from laryngitis on Tuesday, said she made contact with a county commissioner who expressed interest in getting the issue before the county board.

"I've never been in trouble with the law before," she said.

Givens has been rescuing border collies and Australian shepherds since she arrived in Douglas County six years ago. She was cited after a neighbor brought a photo of two extra dogs besides the three dogs Givens owns.

Douglas County code only allows residents to keep three dogs older than four months on the premises of a residence, business other than a licensed dog kennel, veterinary clinic or hospital or any other location within a fenced location.

"One of those dogs was a puppy who was dragged from the back of a pickup until his claws, paws, legs and hair were worn down," she said. "In the picture he looked like a limp bird with four Q-tips for legs."

Givens said the Douglas County code makes it impossible for individuals to do animal rescue, which provides a valuable service to the county.

Many of the dogs Givens has rescued have participated in agility trials at Fuji Park and in Gardnerville.

Before she will take a dog, she says it must be in pretty bad shape.

"They have to really need me," she said. "I won't work with breeders who just need a place for pups, they have to be dogs who have a problem."

Givens said she has a waiting list of people who want to adopt the dogs.

Among the people who waited outside the courthouse with their dogs was Connie Thompson, who adopted her dog Sheba from Givens.

"I brought her to be a witness," said the longtime Gardnerville resident Thompson.

"Bless her heart she just wants to be good to these animals who need to be adopted," she said. "She puts her own money out there and tries to make them better and find them homes."

Thompson pointed out that the county allows people to have unlimited cattle and sheep, but puts a limit on dogs.

She counted seven dogs and their owners who waited outside of the Judicial & Law Enforcement building for the hearing to be over.

"They wouldn't let us in the courtroom with the dogs," Thompson said.


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