Local pets having trouble finding homes

To help

Anyone interested in adopting or fostering an animal should call Bear Creek Animal Hospital at 824-5964 or stop by 2430 E. Victory Way.

After being picked up as a stray, Dizzy, a 2-year-old female Husky, ended up at the Bear Creek Animal Shelter.

Although Dizzy wore a tagged collar, the address and phone number on the tag was old, and there has been no way of finding her previous owner. It's been more than three weeks since she's been in the shelter, and she hasn't found a home. In the past six months, more dogs like Dizzy have ended up in the shelter.

When Bear Creek Animal Hospital took over operations of the animal shelter in Craig, the shelter started accepting relinquished animals people no longer could keep.

In return, the shelter asks for a $75 donation to help care for the animals until a home is found for them.

Previously, when the city of Craig was running the animal shelter, the only way pets ended up at the shelter was when they were brought in as strays.

The change in ownership came after the city and animal hospital reached a mutual agreement to make the change.

Since January, when the shelter began accepting relinquished pets, many residents have taken advantage of the service, usually more people who visit the shelter to adopt pets.

This week, the animal shelter has taken in five new animals, and no adoptions have been made.

The overall toll it takes on the facility is substantial. Sometimes numbers even out, but most of the time, they don't.

"We're doing on average just about five to seven adoptions per week between dogs and cats, and we get new pets everyday," said Meagan Traylor, a receptionist and vet tech at the animal shelter.

Numbers are not tracked for the amount of animals that are relinquished at the shelter, but amounts of strays are.

Last year at this time, 257 stray cats and dogs were picked up by the city. This year, the numbers have been counted through May, and there have been 300 cats and dogs picked up.

"When it comes down to it, strays are relinquishments as well because someone's not claiming them or taking care of them," said Kathie Johnson, city community service officer.

Traylor said that some relinquished animals are being left behind as people move out of town.

"There's people who came in with the power company and adopted a pet while they were here," Traylor said.

Once they leave town, they leave the pets behind.

People who are having trouble affording to keep their pets, Traylor said, are owners of sick or injured pets. When the owners can't afford to give the pets appropriate health care, they are relinquished.

"Sometimes the hospital will adopt them, so we absorb the costs," she said.

In 2002, the Humane Society of Moffat County stepped in to help animals at the shelter, animals like Dizzy.

"There are a lot of animals in the back that I work with," said Ann Anderson, vice president and transfer coordinator for the Humane Society of Moffat County. "I do transfers to no-kill shelters."

Each week, Anderson takes pictures of animals that have been in the shelter for an extended period and sends out e-mails to surrounding shelters until she finds someone to take them.

"Usually if I send out an emergency message, someone will step up or someone will offer to foster," Anderson said.

Volunteers work with Anderson to help transport animals to areas such as Glenwood Springs or Fort Collins. Before receiving help from the Humane Society, the shelter had to euthanize animals to make more space for new ones coming in.

As for Dizzy, she will be transported along with two other dogs to the Frisco Animal Shelter this weekend in hopes of finding someone to adopt her.

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