Garfield County scratches up $100K for CARE |

Garfield County scratches up $100K for CARE

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Garfield County commissioners on Monday approved transferring $100,000 from the county’s general funds to help the Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) get through the rest of this year. The shelter is currently operating in the red, according to shelter officials. That money county commissioners approved on Monday could be supplemented by a possible $50,000 transfer to the shelter from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.The distribution of the money to the shelter comes at a time when it is currently facing about a $100,000 budgetary shortfall, said Connie Baker, president of the CARE board. She and Leslie Rockey, the shelter’s executive director, appeared before the county commissioners on Monday to request the additional funding.”This year, we are struggling,” Baker said. “We are going to struggle next year.”Commissioner John Martin and Trési Houpt both voted in support of transferring the $100,000 to the shelter, along with a vote of support for Sheriff Lou Vallario to contribute funds to the shelter. Commissioner Larry McCown voted against the move.Vallario told commissioners he might able to “slide over” about $50,000 to the animal shelter during the Monday meeting.Much of the shelter’s current budget problems comes from housing an increasing number of stray county dogs and cats that have been brought to the shelter by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Baker told commissioners. She said shelter staff didn’t expect to see the number of animals that they have seen this year. The shelter spent $341,464 on housing 209 dogs from the county – which equates to about $1,633 per dog – so far this year. The shelter’s entire budget for this year is $599,060, according to budget figures the shelter submitted to county commissioners.Earlier this year, the county contributed $200,000 to CARE’s 2008 budget, along with a $75,000 contract to provide spay and neuter programs.Baker said the county’s current partnership with the shelter saves the local government money in the long run. “We would like to continue to manage our animals, but we can’t do it if we don’t have money in the bank account,” Baker said.Houpt said the county needs to support the shelter through “the good times and the difficult times.””We can’t afford to lose this service,” she said.But McCown voiced a concern about the costs. He expressed surprise that the shelter spends $1,633 to house each county dog.Martin noted that the economics of the local area played a part in the shelter’s current budgetary crunch. He said that humane societies in the Denver area are currently seeing “red lines.””It is just economics and their policies,” he said, referring to the shelter’s policy of holding dogs until they are adoptable.Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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