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Mon, Nov. 18

New shelter manager focuses on healthy animals, more adoptions
New director joins the pack

Nicole Mangiameli, operations manager of Kingman Animal Shelter, gives some loving and receives it in return from an Alaskan husky puppy that was brought to the shelter Thursday. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

Nicole Mangiameli, operations manager of Kingman Animal Shelter, gives some loving and receives it in return from an Alaskan husky puppy that was brought to the shelter Thursday. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

It’s those wet, sloppy kisses that Nicole Mangiameli gets from the dogs at Kingman Animal Shelter that make her day.

Mangiameli started as operations manager in October, replacing Lisa Snyder, and has already taken in 719 dogs and cats. The shelter has adopted out 235 of them and returned at least 100 to their owners.

So far this year, more than 1,300 animals have been adopted.

“It’s hard to wrap your mind around it,” Mangiameli, 55, said during an interview in her office at 950 Buchanan St. “That’s what we focus on most. We do well when we take the animals to PetSmart.”

About 10 cats a week are adopted at PetSmart stores in Kingman and Bullhead City, she said.

Her goal at Kingman Animal Shelter is to keep the animals healthy and happy until they find their “forever home,” and plans to schedule more adoption events and fundraisers.

Mangiameli knows she can’t do it without her dedicated staff and community volunteers who show up to give some loving to the animals and take them on walks.

“You throw a ball to a dog and it makes their week,” she said.

The Western Humane Society has long been requesting additional funding from Mohave County Board of Supervisors to build a new animal shelter or expand the existing facility, which is outdated and beyond capacity. There are currently about 90 dogs and 70 cats being held at the shelter.

“The building is still standing firmly enough to be safe here,” Mangiameli said. “It is old, but the county has helped keep everything updated. We have great heating and cooling. When we call the county, they’re here the next day.”

Everyone wants a new building in a central location, but until that happens, Mangiameli said she’s going to make it work. It would be nice to have space for a clinic, more kennels and an aesthetically nicer area for the public to interact with dogs up for adoption.

“It means a lot for people to bring their family, to feel comfortable in a better environment. We’ll do more adoptions by making it more inviting for people,” she said.

Kingman Animal Shelter received a $10,000 grand from PetSmart, and is applying for a $25,000 grant that will buy vaccines, surgery equipment, food and supplies. The grants are based on the number of adoptions in Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City.

Mangiameli grew up in Orange County, California, and worked 12 years for veterinarian hospitals, most recently in Salt Lake City before coming to Kingman a couple of years ago to be closer to her parents, who retired from California to Lake Havasu City.

She took a job as manager at Petco in Kingman where she became acquainted with various people in the community who work with animals, including Darla Wright of Wright Veterinary Service and Patty Gillmore, executive director of Western Humane Society, which has the $260,000 contract from Mohave County to operate the Kingman shelter.

She also did television shows on training and handling dogs when she lived in Hollywood in the 1990s.

“I’ve always been involved with cats and dogs all my life,” she said.

Mangiameli has traveled the world, studied language at the University of Grenoble where she was able to ski almost every day, and lived in Prescott for 10 years. Both of her children were born there.

“To be honest, when I moved to Prescott, it was before the big growth spurt. That’s where Kingman is now. I love the small-town feel. I think it’s going to be absolutely the most charming place to be,” said Mangiameli, who purchased a home in downtown Kingman. “I grew up in the city of Orange. I was small-town girl back then.”

The new animal shelter manager wants to make a difference working with both people and animals. As part of the Humane Society, she has the responsibility to treat humans and animals “humanely,” she said.

Mangiameli invites people to come to the shelter and work with the animals, and promises they won’t be sad.

“Animals need love and socialization,” she said. “We provide them with food, medicine, vaccinations, but to have time for every animal here ... my employees are constantly working and cleaning to prevent disease because it’s rife in this area.”

From cleaning dishes to sweeping kennels, there are plenty of jobs for volunteers who want to help. It’s great for retired people.

“It’s not a depressing experience,” Mangiameli said. “You go to the hospital with service dogs, you make some balloons for kids in the hospital. You think of the hospital as a depressing place, but you walk out richer in spirit.”

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