Summit County’s animal shelter is seeking prospective owners for large pet population
April 26, 2009
Editor’s Note: This is the eighth of a weekly story we’ll bring readers about how businesses, families, individuals and organizations in Summit County are making it through these rocky economic times. If you have an idea for the “Making It” series, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRISCO ” Despite a poor national economy, Nancy Ring ” the director of the Summit County Animal Shelter ” hoped that the county’s resort community would be insulated from the downturn.
“I heard that pets were being abandoned and relinquished in other Colorado counties, but I didn’t see it in Summit County until fall 2008,” Ring said. “We began to see more animals, especially being brought from other counties around us. People indicated that they couldn’t afford to care for them.”
Adoption numbers were down for 2008 too ” the most significant decrease in Ring’s 30 years on the job.
But, according to Ring, a pet may be just what people need to deal with stress and have “family time.”
“Having a pet is great for stress management,” Ring said. “And there are ways to have a pet and not go all out. … It’s probably less expensive than other hobbies and activities that people are into here.”
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Summit County’s animal shelter is housing up to 60 pets, including cats, dogs and smaller creatures, like guinea pigs.
“We’re on the high end of average,” Ring said. “We have a glut of dogs at the moment.”
The Summit County Animal Control and Shelter provides impounded animals a secure and sheltered environment, and it finds unclaimed, adoptable animals new long-term homes. It also manages animals posing a health or safety risk to the community and other pets.
“The real animal rescue problem has been in ownership of horses,” Ring said. “People cannot afford that type of animal in a big way. We refer a lot of people to horse rescue in Kremmling” ” Troublesome Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation. “All horse rescues in Colorado are popping at the seams.”
“(A down economy) has put us to the challenge of finding more ways to increase continuous effort to promote pet ownership and adoption,” Ring said.
The Summit County Animal Control and Shelter is government funded, but it still relies on grants and donations to do things like spay and neuter all of its animals.
“We don’t let go animals that are breedable,” Ring said. “Two-thirds of that cost is grant-funded or donations.”
The animal shelter staff is working hard, as evidenced by it being named 2008 Agency of the Year by the Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers. Ring also was recognized for her 30 years
of career achievement as the shelter’s director from the same organization.
Ring plans to hold more adopt-a-thons and educational programs to combat stagnant adoption rates. It offers seminars on animal behavior and alternative medicines ” anything that promotes pet ownership.
Continuing education on pet overpopulation is also extremely important to Summit County’s diverse community.
“Do not breed (your pets) in these down times,” Ring said. “There’s already an overpopulation in shelters. Animals are being euthanized because there aren’t enough homes, but people are still breeding and selling. It doesn’t make sense when you could save a pet’s life.”
Even before the economic downturn hit, the cost of animal care rose in the past four or five years, Ring said. But funds to help people spay and neuter is also available on an ongoing basis through the League for Animals and People of the Summit and the shelter.
The animal shelter also accepts donations and it constantly seeks volunteers.
“I was absolutely amazed at the increase of donations around the holidays,” Ring said. “It was very touching. There was a higher personal donation level than ever before.”
According to Ring, local pet groups, clubs and businesses are extending deals for pets in Summit County.
Still, it may not be the time to add multiple pets to a household.
“Don’t get over your head,” she said.
Summit County will celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week, from May 3-9. An adopt-a-thon is planned for May 8.
“It’s a good opportunity to disseminate information about the positives of pet ownership and prevention of animal cruelty,” Ring said.
The shelter is located in the Animal Control Building at 191 Country Road 1004 in Frisco. Shelter hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Animal visitation hours occur Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (970) 668-3230.