Montrose, CO

Montrose is a city of 19,000 people located near the western border of Colorado. It is the county seat of Montrose County, which has a population of 41,000 people.

The city has municipal agencies that provide animal control and sheltering. The animal shelter serves both the city and the county. The shelter takes in strays and owner surrenders, with owner surrenders subject to a waiting list. A shelter representative I spoke with told me that the wait period for owner surrenders currently is about one month. All animals, including cats and dogs under 6 months, are spayed or neutered before they leave the shelter.

In 2011, the shelter’s annual report showed an 87% live release rate (that figure includes owner-requested euthanasia). The 2011 live release rate was 85% if animals who died in shelter care are included. The euthanasias include 116 feral cats. In 2012, the county’s report to the state of Colorado showed that the live release rate improved to 93%, with an intake of 1270 animals. The live release rate including animals who died or were lost in shelter care was 92%.

The shelter’s 2013 report to the state of Colorado showed an intake of 1151 animals. The live release rate was 90%. If animals who died or were lost in shelter care are counted with euthanasias, the live release rate was 89%.

Montrose County was originally listed by this blog on November 1, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

New Look — New Criteria

I’d like to thank everyone for their patience while the blog has been undergoing changes the last three months. I’ve still got some tweaking and editing to do, but the blog is mostly back together again now, with the running totals, a re-worked right sidebar, and a couple of new pages. The right sidebar now lists 144 communities that have been at or above a 90% live release rate for at least one year and make their statistics publicly available. This category – 90% Documented – is the one I’m going to concentrate on, and the other categories (90% Reported and Worth Watching) will not be updated as frequently.

Please keep in mind that “the list” on this blog is not a comprehensive list of 90%+ communities. For one thing, it would take a whole team of people working 40-hour weeks to identify, research in depth, write up, and update all the communities that are either at 90%+ or closing in on it. And it’s complicated because everyone has a different idea of how to calculate 90%, or whether that should even be the standard in the first place. The list should therefore be viewed as illustrative, not definitive.

In other news, I’m very involved right now in writing a book on the origins of the No Kill movement. This project has included doing about 3 dozen interviews so far, reading 40 or so books (most of them very obscure), and sifting through about 5 reams of documents, not to mention what I’ve found online. It’s a fun project but it’s much bigger than I thought. It’s amazing how far the history of No Kill reaches back, and how many people have been crucial in making it what it is today. Needless to say, this has been keeping me extremely busy!

Routt County, CO

Routt County is located in northwest Colorado, bordering Wyoming. The population recorded in the 2010 census was 23,500. The county seat is the city of Steamboat Springs, which has 12,000 people.

Steamboat Springs has a city-run animal control and shelter called the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter (SSAS). SSAS serves the entire county, including all the incorporated and unincorporated towns. I was told in a telephone call to SSAS that Routt County has its own animal control officers but contracts with Steamboat Springs for strays to be taken in by SSAS. The shelter official told me that SSAS takes in owner surrenders for the city and the county. Once in a while the shelter gets full, and when that happens they ask owners who want to surrender animals if they can wait. If the owner cannot wait, SSAS takes the animal immediately.

The shelter gets support and volunteer help from the Routt County Humane Society (RCHS). A newsletter that is no longer available online described how RCHS volunteers staff the shelter to extend the hours that it is open to the public, and raise funds for spaying and neutering and medical care for shelter animals. RCHS covers the veterinary care and the spay-neuter expenses of 90% of the animals that SSAS takes in. As an example of an animal that would not have survived without medical care provided by RCHS, the newsletter describes the case of a 4-week-old puppy who stopped nursing and required several days of intensive care before he recovered. RCHS also provides assistance for low-income families to spay and neuter their pets.

The most recent RCHS newsletter reports that 90% of stray dogs and 10% of stray cats impounded by SSAS are returned to their owners. Although the return-to-owner rate for cats may not sound too good, it’s about 5 times higher than I usually see. Dogs with extraordinary expenses that were saved recently by RCHS included a dog that was so malnourished that both its front legs broke not long after impoundment, and a dachshund that had to have all her teeth extracted. Both are now doing well.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture collects information on the statistics of animal shelters in the state. The 2012 report submitted by SSAS shows a total intake of 625 animals. Intake per 1000 people was 27. The live release rate was 98%. One animal died in shelter care, but if that is counted in with euthanasias it does not change the live release rate. The Colorado reporting form does not separate out owner-requested euthanasia.

In 2013, SSAS total intake was 635 animals, with a live release rate of 99.3%. If the two animals who died in shelter care are counted in with euthanasias, the live release rate was 99.0%.

Routt County was originally listed by this blog on October 24, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Rio Blanco County, CO

Rio Blanco County is located in the northwestern part of Colorado on the Utah border. The 2010 census counted 6700 county residents, including the towns of Rangely (population 2400) and Meeker (2500). The County has two animal shelters, one serving Rangely and the other serving Meeker. Both shelters also accept animals picked up by the sheriff in unincorporated areas of the county.

The Rangely Animal Shelter (RAS) is a municipal agency that handles animal control and sheltering for Rangely. Animals are vaccinated, neutered, and microchipped before being adopted. The RAS manager told me that they have a small, waivable fee for owner surrenders and will either take them in immediately or help the owner place the pet. They have a TNR program and they adopt out kittens born to feral mothers. The statistics submitted to the state by RAS for 2012 show a live release rate of 99%. The live release rate does not change if the one animal who died in shelter care in 2012 is included with euthanasias. In 2013, RAS took in 313 animals and had a 99.7% live release rate. The live release rate was 99.3% if the one animal who died in shelter care is included with euthanasias.

The Meeker Animal Shelter (MAS) is also a municipal agency that provides animal control as well as sheltering. I spoke to the animal control officer, who told me that although MAS does not impound cats, she will respond to calls about sick or injured cats and take them to a local veterinarian. MAS accepts owner surrenders subject, at times, to a monitored waiting list. A rescue in Meeker called the Cat Coalition does TNR in the area. MAS took in 107 dogs in 2012 and had a 99% live release rate. The shelter took in 115 dogs in 2013 with a live release rate of 100%. No animals died or were lost in shelter care in 2013.

Rio Blanco County was originally listed by this blog on December 9, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Lamar, CO

Lamar is a city of 7800 people located in southeastern Colorado. Lamar has its own animal control and a municipal shelter, the Lamar Animal Shelter (LAS). The Lamar animal control site states: “Since late 2008, early 2009, the Lamar Animal Shelter and the Code Enforcement Officers have striven to avoid euthanizing animals which come into the shelter.

The Second Chance Animal Rescue Foundation (SCARF) is also located in Lamar. SCARF has no physical shelter, but houses animals in foster homes. A volunteer with SCARF told me that they rescue animals from a six-county area in southeastern Colorado. Both LAS and SCARF take in owner surrenders from Lamar on a space-available basis, and SCARF networks with other rescues for owner surrenders. LAS only takes in dogs, but SCARF takes in both dogs and cats. SCARF has a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats and two big spay-neuter clinics each year.

Statistics from the Colorado Department of Agriculture show that LAS had an intake of 329 dogs in 2012, with a live release rate of 99.7%. Two dogs died or were lost in shelter care, and when they are included with euthanasias the live release rate for LAS was 99.0%. SCARF took in 385 cats and dogs, with a 100% live release rate. The Lamar Animal Sanctuary Team (LAST) also reports to the state. They took in 79 strays and owner surrenders in 2012, with a 100% live release rate.

In 2013, LAS reported an intake of 343 animals with a 99% live release rate. No animals died in shelter care. SCARF reported an intake of 518 animals with a live release rate of 100% and no animals dying in shelter care. LAST took in 87 animals and had a 100% live release rate. Their modified live release rate, counting the one animal who died in shelter care, was 98%.

Lamar was originally listed by this blog on November 14, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Lake County, CO

Lake County is in west central Colorado and has a population of 7300 people. The city of Leadville, the county seat, has 2600 inhabitants. Lake County is in an extremely mountainous area, and it has an elevation that is mostly above 9000 feet. The county contains the highest peak in Colorado, Mt. Elbert.

The Leadville/Lake County Animal Shelter (LLCAS) is run by the city and county. I called the shelter and was told that LLCAS accepts owner surrenders from its jurisdiction subject to a small fee and on a space-available basis. The shelter is open 7 days a week and closes only on major holidays.

Statistics from the Colorado Department of Agriculture for 2012 show that LLCAS took in 181 dogs and cats in 2012 and had a live release rate of 99% for 2012 (98% if the one animal who died in shelter care is included with euthanasias). The shelter’s intake was 25 animals per 1000 people in 2012.

In 2013, the shelter’s intake increased to 208 animals. The live release rate was 99%, or 96% if the animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias.

Lake County was originally listed by this blog on November 25, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Grand County, CO

Grand County is in north central Colorado and had a population of 15,000 people as of the 2010 census. Municipalities in Grand County include Granby (population 1700), Kremmling (1400), and Winter Park, a resort town with a permanent population of 1000.

I spoke to an official at the Grand County Animal Shelter (GCAS), located in Granby, who told me that the county sheriff’s department runs the shelter. GCAS serves the entire county, including the towns, and there are no other shelters in the county. Grand County Pet Pals (GCPP) is a private non-profit that assists GCAS and maintains the GCAS website. Grand County is also home to Mountain Pet Rescue (MPR), a foster-based rescue located in Winter Park. MPR specializes in transporting heavy-coated dogs of the working breeds in from out of state. These dogs are popular in the Colorado mountains and MPR reports that there is a shortage of them.

GCAS charges a $20 fee for owner surrenders. Sometimes they ask people to wait to surrender animals if the shelter is full, but they always make exceptions if the owner cannot wait or if they think the animal would be better off impounded. Their general rule is to accept owner surrenders only from their jurisdictions, but they have occasionally made exceptions in the past and taken surrenders from outside the jurisdiction. They do not have a TNR program, but they have live traps that they lend to people who trap ferals. The shelter then neuters the cats and places them as barn cats.

Shelters in Colorado report their statistics to the state’s Department of Agriculture each year. In 2012, GCAS took in 309 dogs and cats. This is an intake of 21 pets per 1000 human population. If MPR’s intake is counted, the intake is 45 pets per 1000 population. GCAS’s live release rate for 2012 was 98%. The live release rate was 97% if animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias. MPR also submits statistics to the state. In 2012 they took in 354 dogs, of which 301 were transported in from out of state, and they took in 6 owner-surrendered cats. They had a 100% live release rate, which drops to 99% if the 4 dogs who died in their care are counted against their live releases.

In 2013, GCAS took in 266 animals and had a 99% live release rate. They had no animals die in shelter care and did not report any owner-requested euthanasia. MPR reported taking in 515 dogs and 9 cats in 2013, with a 99.8% live release rate. MPR’s live release rate was 99.6% if the one dog who died in shelter care is counted against the live release rate.

Grand County was originally listed by this blog on December 12, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Garfield County and Glenwood Springs, CO

Garfield County has a large landmass that stretches from west of Denver to the western border of Colorado. It has a population of over 56,000 people. The county seat is Glenwood Springs, which has a population of about 10,000. Colorado Animal Rescue (CAS) is a non-profit that has animal sheltering contracts with the county and Glenwood Springs. (The city of Rifle is located in Garfield County, but it has its own animal shelter that reports separately.) CAS takes in strays and owner surrenders, but has a waiting list for owner surrenders and charges a fee.

CAS reported a 96% live release rate to Maddie’s Fund in 2010, with an intake of 931 animals (scroll down in the link). In 2011, the shelter reported a live release rate of 97% with an intake of 992. The shelter did not report any owner-requested euthanasias, and the live release rate with animals who died or were lost in shelter care included with euthanasias was 96%. CAS also reports its statistics each year to the state of Colorado. In 2012, it reported an intake of 1098 animals. The live release rate was 97%.

Garfield County and Glenwood Springs are two of a group of communities in the area west of Denver that report to Maddie’s Fund and the Asilomar Accords as part of the Northwestern Colorado Coalition. Other members of the coalition are Summit, Pitkin, and Eagle counties and the cities of Aspen and Rifle. The coalition reported an overall 97% live release rate in 2010 and 98% in 2011 (see pages 1-2 in the links).

In 2013, CAS reported to the state of Colorado. Its intake was 1096 animals, with a live release rate of 96%. The modified live release rate, counting the deaths in shelter care, was not significantly lower.

Garfield County and Glenwood Springs were originally listed by this blog on May 8, 2013, based on their 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Teller County, CO

Teller County is located in central Colorado and is part of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area. Teller County’s population is 23,000 people. The county seat is Cripple Creek, which has a population of 1200. The largest city in Teller County is Woodland Park, which has a population of 6500.

The Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (TCRAS) takes in strays and owner surrenders for the county and the city of Woodland Park. Animal control in Teller County is provided by the sheriff’s office. Woodland Park has its own animal control division. The city of Cripple Creek has its own animal control and shelter, the Cripple Creek Animal Shelter (CCAS).

A page on the the TCRAS website describes how TCRAS was formed in the year 2000 specifically to avoid having the county send its animals to a kill shelter. Like many progressive shelters, TCRAS does not impound stray cats (see this post by the president of HSUS for more information on recommended community cat policy). I spoke to an official of TCRAS who told me that the shelter takes in owner surrenders from Teller County on a space-available basis. An animal control officer with CCAS told me that they accept owner surrenders from their jurisdiction with no conditions other than a $75 surrender fee.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture collects statistics each year on animal shelters in the state. In 2012, TCRAS reported an intake of 757 animals. Its live release rate was 99% (98% if animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias). CCAS reported an intake of 38 animals with no euthanasias or deaths in shelter care, for a live release rate of 100%. CCAS had 2 transfers, which the animal control officer told me went to TCRAS.

In 2013 the shelters had the same live release rates as in 2012. TCRAS reported to the state of Colorado that it took in 818 animals. Of those animals, 746 were adopted or reclaimed and 9 were transferred. Eight animals were euthanized and 5 died in shelter care The live release rate was 99%, or 98% if animals who died in shelter care are included with euthanasias. CCAS took in 37 animals, all dogs, returned 33 to their owners, adopted out 3, and transferred 1, for a live release rate of 100%.

Teller County was originally listed by this blog on October 19, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, CO

Clear Creek (9100 residents) and Gilpin (5400 residents) are small counties in a mountainous area west of Denver. Clear Creek has two towns of 1000 or more population: Georgetown (1100), and Idaho Springs (1900). Gilpin has a few small towns of 600 people or less. Both counties are part of the greater Denver metro area.

The Clear Creek/Gilpin County Animal Shelter, which is called Charlie’s Place, serves both counties. It is located in the town of Dumont in Clear Creek County. The shelter was named for a favorite dog owned by the donor of the land for the shelter. I spoke with Sue LeBarron, who has been director of the shelter since it opened 5 years ago, and she told me that the shelter accepts owner surrenders from Clear Creek County and Gilpin County with no conditions. Charlie’s Place helps neighboring shelters by taking in surrenders from other jurisdictions in the area when they can. They also have a transport program where they take in dogs from out of state that are at high risk of euthanasia.

The shelter is supported by a non-profit, the Friends of Charlie’s Place (FOCP). A newsletter reporting on 2013 stated that FOCP had helped in the placement of over 180 animals in 2013, redesigned the shelter’s exercise park, helped with pet retention and adoption initiatives, and organized fundraising events. FOCP also pays the expenses of animals transferred in from out of the shelter’s jurisdiction.

LeBarron told me that feral cats are uncommon in the area, and when they are impounded the shelter seeks to place them as barn cats. The shelter does offsite adoption events for domesticated cats. It offers low-cost microchipping, vaccination clinics, and low-cost and free spay-neuter services.

Charlie’s Place reports its shelter statistics to the Colorado Department of Agriculture. For 2012, the shelter reported taking in 485 dogs and cats, which is an intake of 33 animals per 1000 people. The shelter transferred in 116 dogs from out of state and 31 dogs and 9 cats from in state, which accounts for the relatively high intake per person. Without the transfers, the intake per 1000 people was 23. The Colorado reporting form has no category for fosters, so Charlie’s Place reports fostered animals in the “other” category. The shelter’s live release rate for 2012 was 99%.

For 2013, the shelter took in 455 animals and again had a 99% live release rate. They had no deaths in shelter care. The shelter once again helped animals from outside its jurisdiction, transferring in 136 dogs and 7 cats.

Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties were originally listed by this blog on November 22, 2013, based on their 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.