GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - There's a lot to celebrate at Roice-Hurst Humane Society these days; adoptions are up 55 percent at the local no-kill shelter, with 1,048 adoptions (728 dogs and 320 cats) in 2012. Total adoptions in 2011 came to 189 cats and 489 dogs.Plus, Roice-Hurst is celebrating a big birthday in 2013."This is our 50th anniversary of saving animals," shelter manager Judy Bowes said. "We'll be doing some nice events to celebrate that."Bowes attributes the huge boost in adoptions to a variety of operation changes and programs."It isn't any one thing," she said. Rather, it's a combination of having a new location, a great animal care manager, improved marketing strategies, and a strong group of volunteers. In June 2011, the shelter moved to its new digs from Clifton. Now, it operates at 362 28 Road in the old county animal-control building.Roice-Hurst President Julie Butherus said the biggest reason for Roice-Hurst's "banner year" in 2012 is its new facility. "We have better accommodations, and our staff is great," she said.The shelter additionally has new outdoor areas for exercising its animals, both dogs and cats. That means the animals up for adoption with Roice-Hurst are healthier and calmer."In the future, what we're looking to do is improve our dog-park area," Butherus said. "We're working on getting an agility course out there, which will greatly improve the adoptability of our dogs."Such an improvement should run around $1,500 and fundraising will be imperative to making the project happen, Butherus said. She hopes the project can be completed this year.-"An agility course would do a lot for our animals," Butherus added. "It improves the dogs' mental state."
Roice-Hurst is no stranger to hardship and funding shortages since it almost shut its shelter doors in 2008. But, the community rallied to save it and the organization is currently quite healthy. Roice-Hurst Humane Society donor relations coordinator Julia Hall recently said the shelter now operates on a budget of about $500,000 annually, and it has no debt to speak of. "We keep things going and keep good things happening," Butherus said. "I've been involved since we were ready to shut the doors, and I've been on board ever since. We've made huge changes and strides. Being almost forced to close the doors to where we are today is pretty incredible."For more information about Roice-Hurst Humane Society, visit www.RHhumaneSociety.com.