Garfield County renews contract to help area critters |

Garfield County renews contract to help area critters

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Dogs, cats and other animals scooped up by Garfield County’s animal control officers in 2010 will end up spending a few days in Silt, thanks to a $120,000 contract approved this week by the Board of County Commissioners.

The contract is with the Divide Creek Animal Hospital, and is a continuation of an arrangement that began in 2006, according to the contract documents.

Where contract renewal agreements often sail through the county’s approval process with little comment from the county commissioners, this one proved different.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt demanded clarification of one section, wondering whether Divide Creek was euthanizing animals after they are held for five days and the facility is unable to find anyone to adopt them.

She was assured by Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario that, while the county’s procedures allow for animals to be killed after five days, the normal course of events is to deliver them to the Colorado Animal Rescue operation south of Glenwood Springs.

“That’s not clear in the language,” Houpt countered, and it was agreed that the contract would be modified to direct the Divide Creek to turn animals over to CARE rather than resort to euthanization.

County officials said that CARE is typically seen as a long-term option with an emphasis on adoption, as opposed to the short-term nature of the contract with Divide Creek. Care’s contract with the county is for $400,000, according to the county’s contract administrators.

According to Tanny McGinnis, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, the animal control department typically picks up 20-30 animals a month, mostly dogs, although an officer once came across a caiman (which is in the same family as alligators).

Deputies also have encountered other reptiles, parrots, and “there’s been a lot of goats lately,” McGinnis said.

She said that “with 80-90 percent of them [dogs] they don’t have a collar or tags,” so that the owners cannot be contacted quickly.

The numbers of animals picked up by the department have not varied this year, McGinnis added, despite predictions that the slowdown of the gas industry might spell trouble for pets owned by gas-patch workers.

“We really did expect to see an increase, with people packing up and leaving these animals behind,” she explained.

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