Beaverhead Animal Shelter Board of Directors

2020 Dillonaire Group
Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
New Leadership

Animal Shelter board Vice President Ross Miller and shelter Operations Director Elizabeth Nutzman (top left, from left) examine the newest shelter building on the premises, not long after the new board took over. At left, Nutzman and shelter employee Danny Melle show off one of the potential pets available for adoption. Casey S. Elliott and J.P. Plutt photos

Animal care

It’s been a tough year for everyone in Beaverhead County, but that’s not necessarily the case for the community’s potential four-legged companions.

Animals coming into Beaverhead Animal Shelter have better care, cleaner facilities and more space to spread out while waiting for that forever home, thanks to a dramatic turnaround in management and operations of the shelter.

The shelter’s new board – upon taking office in 2019 – sorted through roughly $70,000 in red ink, paying off bills, reducing animal intake and putting a renewed focus on adopting out existing shelter residents. As the months passed, the board and its new Operations Director Elizabeth Nutzman cleaned up policies and procedures to ensure the shelter was properly equipped to serve as a temporary residence for animals countywide. The addition of Executive Director Nikki Knight at the start of 2020 bolstered Nutzman’s efforts, and the shelter saw its first-ever day in April when it had no animals available to adopt.

The new board insisted on transparency in all its actions, ensuring residents had a clear picture of the shelter’s costs, how much money it owed and to whom, and how they intended to tackle both financial and operational challenges. The goal was always to do what was best for animals in its care, and to make sure the community that supported the facility could be confident their trust was not misplaced.

While many of the improvements were accelerated thanks to generous volunteers and community members with checkbooks at the ready, none of them would have known where to start without the dedicated work of board members and shelter staff who set priorities and put in the physical effort to bring it about.

With January 2021 on the horizon, shelter management have a budget blueprint to guide them for the next year, and are in the process of outlining future facility improvements. The incredible turnaround in a bit over a year clearly shows why former and current board members Richard Melle, Ross Miller, Kim and Paul Tikalsky, Lauren Johnson, Cecil Jones, Joyce Pollastro, Ellen Foster and Brian England deserve this community’s recognition, and why Nutzman and Knight deserve heartfelt thanks for guiding the shelter to a bright future.