Help some animals while filing your taxes |

Help some animals while filing your taxes

Julie Sutor
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkElliot is one of those animals in the margin right now. Colorado taxpayers can put a dent in pet overpopulation through a checkoff on their 2003 returns. The money funds a statewide spaying and neutering program.

SUMMIT COUNTY – The annual chore of filing tax returns now looms large. For those who dread tax season, but love animals, there is a little bright spot in the otherwise gloomy and painful task.

Colorado taxpayers can file their returns and simultaneously help solve pet overpopulation.

The Colorado Legislature established the state’s Pet Overpopulation Fund to promote and fund spay/neuter surgeries and public education for responsible pet ownership.

Last year, 5,600 spay and neuter surgeries were performed as a result of the state tax checkoff fund.

Any animal-loving taxpayer can simply check a box on the return to allocate money to the fund.

“I absolutely encourage taxpayers to utilize the checkoff,” said Nancy Ring, director of the Summit County Animal Shelter (SCAS). “It’s the only statewide collection of funds to assist communities with little or no funding for pet sterilization.”

SCAS typically rescues one accidental litter of puppies or kittens every month.

The shelter operates an aggressive adoption program and hardly ever euthanizes adoptable pets, but that is not the case in many shelters around the state, Ring said.

“Good examples of underfunded shelters are the ones that utilize private clinics for their animal housing,” Ring said. “Currently, Craig uses a vet clinic for its stray animals. We receive an e-mail from them every week saying, “These are the animals we’re going to euthanize this week.'”

Locally, the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS) provide funding for spaying and neutering, but SCAS is still impacted by nearby communities that don’t have such programs.

“Any shelter that wants to apply is allowed to bring us its animals,” Ring said.

Monday, SCAS took in two animals from the shelter in Craig that otherwise would have been euthanized.

“We would like to get to the point where there is zero euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals,” said Dr. Gretchen Norton of Breckenridge Animal Clinic.

“We’d like to push having all pet animals spayed and neutered, so there are no accidental litters and you don’t have to deal with females in heat or males out roaming.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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