GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mesa County Animal Services made great strides in 2012, Director Penny McCarty said. It moved toward better pet-management practices with new dangerous-animal amendments. Another major accomplishment: Zero healthy animals were put down by the county last year.
At the end of 2012, both the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County government approved amendments to rules and regulations of Title 6, regarding dangerous animals.
"Based on changes in the ordinance we had, we just took two cases back to court," McCarty said. "Certainly, it has given us more teeth in the city and county. Repeat offenders take a lot of our resources because (pet owners) don't confine animals as the court has instructed. That's when we get problems where dogs attack other animals and people."
With these amendments, Mesa County Animal Services is now better able to supervise problem dogs within city and county limits by enforcing yearly home visits and licensing. These approved changes mean dogs (or other animals) previously found to be dangerous by the court of law will be visited yearly to enforce confinement restrictions and other owner requirements.
Dangerous dogs are generally classified as having caused bodily injury to a person or another animal.
"For the most part, very few people in the community are repeat offenders," McCarty added. "Only 1.07 percent (of those cited) are a continual problem. That's low."
Also, for the first time ever, animal services was able to place 100 percent of its healthy dogs and cats with adoptive agencies and new homes.
"That was a huge undertaking, made possible with adoption partners like Roice-Hurst," McCarty said.
According to Paul Quimby Jr. in the Mesa County Animal Services 2012 Annual Report: "Since 2003 (when Mesa County started tracking Live Release Rates), the number of animals leaving the shelter to return home or to find a new home has increased from 39 percent to 65 percent. For canines, that number is an even more impressive 79 percent. Those that were not suitable for placement and needed to be humanely euthanized had either severe behavioral (aggressive) or medical issues."
For more information about Mesa County Animal Services, visit www.animalservices.mesacounty.us or call 970-242-4646.