LAPS helps less fortunate furry friends |

LAPS helps less fortunate furry friends

Special to the DailyA family poses with their pooch for their holiday card at last year's Pet Photos with Santa and the Grinch in Frisco. This year's event takes place this weekend and benefits animal-friendly nonprofit LAPS.

Humans have all the luck when it comes to nonprofits, but at least one local organization is dedicated to helping mankind’s four-legged friends.

The League for Animals and People of the Summit aims to improve the quality of life for pets of low-income families. The original function of LAPS was to provide funding for low-income families to spay and neuter their pets, and though its scope of services has expanded, reducing animal overpopulation is still LAPS’s primary goal.

“It’s always sad when there’s too many pets for homes available,” LAPS board secretary Susan O’Brien said.

The program has grown to include coverage of medical bills for low income families who live or work in Summit County. O’Brien said LAPS has stringent income standards for financial aid due to the high demand for help with costly veterinarian bills.

“We wish we could help even more than we are now,” said O’Brien. “And hopefully with increased fundraising we can.”

Although LAPS is not directly affiliated with the Summit County Animal Shelter, the nonprofit works closely with the shelter. All requests for financial aid from LAPS come through the shelter first, O’Brien said.

LAPS also has a pair of funds for specific purposes. The Cheyenne Fund assists pets with long-term illnesses, and the Chappy Fund provides help for animal abuse cases.

LAPS has no staff members, and therefore no payroll. The organization consists solely of volunteers and members.

“Our board consists of some very committed individuals,” O’Brien said.

The organization has three main fundraising streams – membership, grants and events. Through these channels LAPS raises approximately $50,000 annually for its operating budget.

Membership requires a tax-deductible donation and entitles the donor to discounts on LAPS events and the knowledge that the donation will go toward helping a low-income family provide care for a family member. Members meet regularly at Abby’s Coffee in Frisco every third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

LAPS biggest annual grant comes through the Summit Foundation each year and goes directly toward supporting the Summit County Animal Shelter’s spay and neuter program.

LAPS is the beneficiary of four regular annual events: Pet Photos with Santa and the Grinch, DogTerra, Let’s Go Boating and the Canine 4K Run-Walk.

Pet Photos with Santa and the Grinch is set for this Saturday at the Frisco Historic Park Chapel from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families can bring their pets and, for a small, fee have their holiday card photos snapped by a professional photographer from Great Outdoors Photography.

DogTerra is held in the early spring at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge. The event includes free lessons on how to skijor – the art of being pulled on cross-country skis by one’s canine – as well as snowshoeing, a “Dogstacle” course and Frisbee tossing.

Local boat owners donate their time and vessels for the Let’s Go Boating event on Father’s Day. Patrons donate money and are treated to a 45-minute captained cruise on Lake Dillon. No pets are allowed, but all proceeds go to benefit LAPS.

The 20th iteration of the Canine 4K Run-Walk was held last August in Frisco and raised $19,0000 for LAPS. Nearly 200 dogs participated in the race with owners in tow. The event also features vendor tents, contests and training tips.

LAPS is also among the organizations that will benefit from this year’s Holiday Shopping Extravaganza at the Outlets at Silverthorne. The event will take place this Saturday and features discounts and prizes for shoppers.

The best ways to help LAPS are through membership, volunteering and donations.

Most LAPS events include membership drives, but interested individuals, families and businesses can also sign up on the LAPS website at http://www.sum or by e-mailing Donations can be made by printing off a form from the website and sending it to LAPS at PO Box 2512 Frisco, CO 80443.

LAPS partners with Dog Parks in Summit County and is actively seeking volunteers to help form local committees to lobby for dog parks. The organization is also seeking volunteers to help with the paperwork for fundraising through bequests and estate planning. To volunteer, email

SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be contacted at (970) 668-4633 or

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