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Animal shelter bursting at the seams

Donna Gray

Although a new animal shelter is in the works for Garfield County, until that happens, the status quo remains in play and is proving to be an increasing expense for the county.Sheriff Lou Vallario asked county commissioners Monday for a hefty increase in funding for Colorado Animal Rescue, which houses stray dogs and cats for the county.While the county has $75,000 budgeted for CARE’s service as a dog and cat pound, Vallario asked for $130,000.He explained that the shelter in Spring Valley is always full of impounded animals, and has, in fact, turned away animals picked up by animal control officers because there is no room to keep them.”We’ve having a heavy impact on CARE,” Vallario said. CARE, which can house about 40 dogs, is now unable to fulfill its primary mission, which is to take in animals surrendered by the public.”Right now, every dog we take in is from the county,” said Leslie Rockey, CARE director. “There is no room for any others. Every kennel is full every single day.””They’re also keeping the animals longer (because) there’s a lower reclamation rate” than dogs impounded in Glenwood Springs, he said. The reasoning seems to be, “Let’s take them out to the country and find them a good home,” Vallario quipped. Many of the dogs that come into the CARE shelter are dumped in the county and picked up by animal control officers.County manager Ed Green questioned Vallario about CARE turning away county dogs for a total of 50 days this year.Again, the issue is having a full house, Vallario said.What also contributes to the relatively low turnover rate of the kennels is having dogs in quarantine for 10 days for biting, Rockey said. Kennels at the shelters can be divided to take two dogs, but in the case of a quarantine, one half is not available until the time period is over.Vallario suggested that those dogs could stay under quarantine in their owners’ homes, as was the practice until the CARE shelter was built.The county commissioners took the matter under advisement but did not make a final determination on the increased funding for CARE. The county budget is due to be finalized by the end of DecemberContact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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