Larimer County, CO

[For today’s News Bit and the Running Totals, click here.]

Larimer County is located along the northern border of Colorado, and has a population of 300,000 people. The county is growing rapidly — its population was only 251,000 in 2000. It contains several cities and towns, the largest of which is Fort Collins (population 149,000).

The Larimer Humane Society is located in Loveland, Colorado. LHS describes its contractual responsibilities as follows: “Larimer Humane Society is [] home to the county’s only Animal Protection & Control unit. Through contractual agreements, Larimer Humane Society provides full-service animal control for Fort Collins, Loveland, and unincorporated areas of Larimer County, as well as stray-animal sheltering for Wellington, Windsor, Timnath and Berthoud.”

LHS accepts owner surrenders and asks for, but does not require, a small surrender fee. The shelter has a humane education program, including school and community presentations, critter camps, and job shadowing. LHS has a large volunteer program. Volunteers logged over 43,000 hours in fiscal year 2013-2014, including over 21,000 hours in foster care. Volunteers are involved in virtually every aspect of shelter operations.

The shelter reports to the state of Colorado. In 2013, it had a live release rate of 86%, with an intake of 6401 animals. Intake was down from 2012, when LHS took in 7143 animals (the reportable animals are dogs, cats, small mammals, reptiles, and pet birds; the shelter also takes in a small number of farm animals who are not reported to the state). The shelter’s live release rate for 2013 was also down somewhat from 2012, when it was 89%. The live release rate for 2013 does not change if animals who died in shelter care are counted with euthanasias.

Larimer County is counted in the Running Totals as an 80-90% community.

Fort Morgan, CO

Fort Morgan is a city of 11,000 people located in the northeastern part of Colorado. It is the county seat of Morgan County, which has a population of 28,000. The area is mostly devoted to farming. The city of Brush, which is located in Morgan County, has 5500 people.

Fort Morgan has an animal control service, but animals are impounded by a private agency, the Fort Morgan Humane Society (FMHS). I spoke to the shelter’s operations manager, Tina Gutierrez, who told me that the shelter has contracts with Fort Morgan, Morgan County, Log Lane and Wiggins for stray intake. She said that the county has a deputy assigned to animal control. The shelter accepts owner surrenders subject to a waiting list. Gutierrez told me that she is generally able to counsel owners to be able to keep their pets or, if that is not possible, to find a rescue placement for them.

Gutierrez told me that transfers from FMHS go to approved rescues. One rescue she mentioned that has been of assistance to the shelter is Furever Friends, which does adoptions and has a lost and found service. FMHS has a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats. They are neutered and given vaccinations and a full examination. The shelter does not offer owner-requested euthanasia.

The state of Colorado collects statistics on animal shelters. According to those statistics, FMHS took in 1302 animals in 2012, which is an intake of 47 animals per 1000 people in the county. The live release rate for 2012 was 92%. If the number of animals who died or were lost in shelter care is counted in with euthanasias, the live release rate was 90%. Gutierrez told me that she instituted new medical protocols since she took over in 2012. In 2013, the shelter took in 895 animals, with a 97% live release rate. The live release rate was 93% if all non-live dispositions are counted as euthanasias.

The city of Brush has its own shelter and an animal control unit run by the police department. The Brush shelter does not accept owner surrenders. FMHS takes in many animals from Brush who are not reclaimed within the 5-day hold period. Brush was not listed as a 90% community in 2012 because the Brush Animal Shelter reported killing 56 of the 111 cats they took in during 2012. In 2013, their intake was 238 animals, with a 91% live release rate. The live release rate is unchanged if all non-live dispositions are counted as euthanasias. I’m adding the city of Brush to the right sidebar based on its reported outcomes in 2013.

Fort Morgan, CO, was originally listed by this blog on November 9, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Summit County, CO

Summit County is west of Denver and is home to about 28,000 people. It is a mountainous area of Colorado and the county was named for the many peaks within it. The Summit County Animal Control and Shelter is run by the county as part of the sheriff’s office, and it takes in strays from the unincorporated area of the county.  I spoke to a shelter representative and was told that the shelter does not have formal contracts with the municipalities within the county, but accepts impounded animals from the municipalities when they are not reclaimed by their owners.

The representative told me that the shelter accepts owner surrenders from anywhere, as long as they are brought in within normal business hours.  There is a $50 fee for residents of Summit County and an $80 fee for non-residents, but the shelter will waive the fee if the owner cannot pay.

The shelter reported a 99% live release rate for 2010, with an intake of 458 animals (scroll down in the link). It reported a 97% live release rate in 2011, with an intake of 388. The live release rate with owner-requested euthanasia and animals who died or were lost in shelter care counted in with euthanasias was 95% in 2011.

Summit County is one 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 Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties and the cities of Aspen, Rifle and Glenwood Springs. The coalition reported an overall 97% live release rate in 2010 and 98% in 2011 (see pages 1-2 in the links).

In 2013 the shelter reported its statistics to the state of Colorado. The shelter had an intake of 562 animals, with a live release rate of 98%. If deaths in shelter care are counted with euthanasias, the live release rate was 97%.

Summit County, CO, was originally listed by this blog on May 9, 2013, based on its statistics in previous years. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Rifle, CO

Rifle is a small town of about 9000 people in Garfield County, Colorado. The Rifle Animal Shelter, which is assisted by the non-profit Friends of the Rifle Animal Shelter, takes in several hundred animals per year. I spoke to a shelter representative who told me that the shelter has contracts with the cities of Rifle and Parachute to take in strays, and accepts owner surrenders with no restrictions except a small fee.

The shelter and the Friends reported a combined 98% live release rate in 2010 and again in 2011 (scroll down in the linked documents). The shelter and Friends reported no owner-requested euthanasia in either year, and the live release rate was not significantly lower with animals who died or were lost in shelter care included in with euthanasias. The Rifle Animal Shelter also reports its statistics to the state of Colorado. In 2012, the shelter took in 769 animals and had a live release rate of 99%.

For 2013, Rifle reported to the state of Colorado that it had an intake of 1200 animals. Of those, 926 were adopted out. The live release rate was 99.4%. If animals who died in shelter care are counted with euthanasias, the live release rate was 97%.

Rifle is one 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, Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties and the cities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs. The coalition reported an overall 97% live release rate in 2010 and 98% in 2011 (see pages 1-2 in the links).

Rifle, CO, was originally listed by this blog on May 6, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Ouray and San Miguel Counties, CO

San Miguel County, located on the western border of Colorado, has 7600 residents. Ouray County, bordering San Miguel County to the east, has 4400 people. The counties are in a mountainous and sparsely populated area. Ouray County is so mountainous that it’s known as the Switzerland of America. The most populous cities in Ouray County — Ridgway and the City of Ouray — each have about 1000 inhabitants. The largest city in San Miguel County is Telluride, with a population of 2300.

The city of Telluride has its own animal control officers who impound dogs for the city and county. Telluride also has an animal shelter that adopts out dogs. The Second Chance Humane Society (SCHS), located in Ridgway, provides animal sheltering for San Miguel and Ouray counties. SCHS takes in strays and owner surrenders, both cats and dogs. I called SCHS and was told that Ouray county does not have animal control officers, and so stray intake is by citizens bringing in the strays. SCHS has a waiting list for owner surrenders.

The state of Colorado collects statistics on animal shelters in the state. In 2012, the city of Telluride took in 40 dogs (4 strays and 36 confiscated), returned 35 to their owners, transferred 3, and euthanized 1 for a live release rate of 97%. SCHS took in 294 dogs and cats in 2012 and had a 97% live release rate. One animal died in shelter care at SCHS, but that did not change the live release rate.

In 2013, the city of Telluride took in 47 animals and had a 100% live release rate.  SCHS in 2013 had a substantial increase in intake with 380 animals for the year. Their live release rate was 99% as stated in their 2013 annual report.

Ouray and San Miguel Counties were originally listed by this blog on November 12, 2013, based on their 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Cedaredge, CO

Cedaredge (population 2300) and Orchard City (3100) are located in Delta County in western Colorado. Development in the county has been primarily along two river valleys, following the Surface Creek and North Fork rivers. Much of the rest of the county outside the river valleys is mountainous and very sparsely inhabited.

Cedaredge and Orchard City are in the Surface Creek valley, which is served by the Surface Creek Shelter (SCS), located in Cedaredge. Cedaredge has its own animal control, which takes in dogs only. SCS is managed by a non-profit, the Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control (FCAC). I was told by a shelter official that FCAC has a memorandum of understanding to impound the dogs picked up by Cedaredge animal control. In addition to Cedaredge dogs, SCS takes in non-feral stray cats, stray dogs, and owner-surrendered dogs and cats from the residents of Surface Creek valley, including Orchard City. SCS charges a small fee for owner surrenders and usually has a waiting list, but they make exceptions to the waiting list when needed. There are rescues in the county who do TNR for feral cats.

Statistics submitted to the Colorado Department of Agriculture by FCAC for 2012 show that SCS’s intake, including strays and owner surrenders, was 313 cats and dogs. The live release rate was 95% (94% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care were counted in with euthanasias). In 2013, FCAC reported an intake of 314 animals and a live release rate of 99%. The live release rate was 97% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care are included with euthanasias.

The North Fork area of Delta County has also been doing very well at animal sheltering, but their animal shelter system has been unstable. Therefore I’m not listing those communities at this time.

Cedaredge was originally listed by this blog on November 16, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

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.

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.