Humane Society of Moffat County aids furry four-leggeds | CraigDailyPress.com

Humane Society of Moffat County aids furry four-leggeds

Moffat County Humane Society President Ann Anderson cuddles Boots, who was recently transferred to Glenwood Springs to improve his chances of adoption. In addition to her role in the Humane Society, Anderson is employed by Bear Creek Animal Hospital and cares for the shelter pets most evenings.

— Moffat County's down-and-out animals are in much better stead these days than they were in decades past, thanks in part to the efforts of the Humane Society of Moffat County.

Founded in 2002, the Humane Society — which bears no affiliation with the national organization — works in partnership with Bear Creek Animal Hospital and the Craig Animal Shelter, which is housed at the clinic.

"We are 'friends' of the shelter but we do numerous services for the community in addition to helping the shelter," Humane Society President Ann Anderson said.

The organization's mission includes finding homes for shelter animals and supporting spay and neuter programs and a variety of other efforts to improve the lives of animals in Moffat County.

"From the very beginning, our goal was to educate, spay and neuter, and help people in the county that needed help with animals, sometimes with medical issues," said long-time member Pat Pearce. "The main thing we really want to do is educate the community about how important it is to spay and neuter so we can reduce the numbers in the shelter."

According to veterinarian and owner of Bear Creek Animal Hospital Kelly Hepworth, who also sits on the board for the Humane Society, the group's efforts have been quite effective at reducing shelter numbers.

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"Our numbers are as low as they've ever been," Hepworth said. "I think that's a reflection on our spay and neuter program over the years."

He noted that animals are very rarely euthanized at the shelter, a significant change from when he took ownership of the clinic 15 years ago.

"We rarely ever euthanize an animal unless it is a wild cat or a dog that's not adoptable," Hepworth said. "As compared to 15 years ago, we euthanized hundreds of animals a year."

According to Craig Police Department numbers cited in a Humane Society newsletter, 30 cats and seven dogs were euthanized in 2013 out of 206 cats and 443 dogs total.

The Humane Society's transfer program has been instrumental in improving the fate of local critters. If cats and dogs at the Craig Animal Shelter aren't adopted within about three to four weeks, volunteers will transfer them to other Western Slope or Front Range shelters. In 2013, 101 cats and 46 dogs were transferred.

"It's hard for some reason to get animals adopted here and find good stable homes," Anderson said. "We'll have an animal here for ages and it will get transferred and get snatched up."

The Humane Society supports the transfer program financially as well as logistically, paying for animals to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated before heading off to a new shelter and eventually, a new home.

The organization also offers financial support to individual pet owners for food or medical expenses, and often pays for medical treatment for injured animals that show up at the shelter.

"They're a huge benefit, no doubt about it," Hepworth said. "It's worked out to be a pretty symbiotic relationship that helps animals and achieves the goal of finding… them a good home."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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