La Plata County, CO

La Plata County is located in southwestern Colorado and has 51,000 residents. Its county seat is Durango, which has 17,000 residents.

The impounding agency for the city and county is La Plata County Humane Society (LPCHS), which has an animal control division. LPCHS describes itself as an “open-admission animal shelter.” The shelter accepts owner surrenders from La Plata County and Durango but asks that people call first. A shelter representative told me that, in addition to open-admission acceptance of La Plata and Durango animals, LPCHS also accepts animals from outside of its jurisdiction when it has room. All animals are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped before they leave the shelter. The shelter offers owner-requested euthanasia.

LPCHS participates in the PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ program. This article describes a recent transport from LPCHS to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. LPCHS shelter director Chris Nelson said they had not euthanized a dog for space since they began to participate in the program. Lisa Pedersen, director of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, said they might be short of dogs to adopt out without the transfers. She attributed that fact to the attitude of people in Boulder Valley, stating that adoption from the shelter was the “popular choice” for people in the area.

LPCHS submits its statistics to the state of Colorado. For 2013, total intake was 3047 animals. This gives the shelter an extremely high pets-per-thousand-people rate of 60. The shelter adopted out 1905 animals and transferred 193. The live release rate was 92%. The modified live release rate including shelter deaths was 91%.