New state law stretches animal control budget

A law enacted in the 1999 Colorado legislative session has caused the Craig Police Department animal control budget to increase by 37.7 percent. The law requires that all animals picked up by animal control be held for five days instead of the usual three.

The increase will be in boarding costs because the law calls for animals to be kept at least five business days, which Animal Control Officer Amy Andrews said usually means six or seven days because the Craig Animal Shelter is closed for a half-day on Saturday and all day Sunday.

The law has been in effect since July.

"We haven't seen a real increase in animals kept at the shelter," she said. "I do hope it increases an animal's chance of being adopted."

1998 was a low year for animals picked up with 758 collected from Craig streets. Of those, 324, or 42 percent, were euthanized which is the least amount of animals euthanized since 1991. This year, the numbers are on pace to exceed 1999. So far, 643 animals have been picked up and 249 euthanized.

The law has a clause that if an animal is abandoned, it can be euthanized at any time the shelter sees fit.

"We don't know when an animal has been abandoned," Andrews said. "It's hard to tell so we just keep it for the full five days to be safe."

Boarding costs for each animal are $9 per night and the Police Department has budgeted $19,280 for boarding costs for 2000 as opposed to the $14,000 budgeted for 1999.

The law has not flooded the shelter with animals as some expected. According to Andrews, she has always had enough space.

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