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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Archuleta County, CO

Archuleta County is located on the southern border of Colorado, in the western part of the state. Its population is 12,000 people. Its county seat and sole municipality is the town of Pagosa Springs, which has 1700 people.

Archuleta County has a municipal animal control that transfers impounded animals to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (HSPA), a private non-profit that provides animal sheltering for Archuleta and Pagosa Springs. Pagosa Springs also has an animal control officer. I was told by an HSPA official that HSPA has a contract with the county to take in strays picked up by animal control, and that the contract includes Pagosa Springs. HSPA accepts owner surrenders subject to a waiting list, but it will take in an owner surrender immediately if the owner cannot wait.

HSPS is a progressive shelter that has a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program, low-income and free spay-neuter assistance, behavioral assistance, and good community involvement. This page on the HSPS website describes how the shelter started back in 1984 and relocated to larger quarters in 2007 due to population growth.

HSPS describes its transfer program on its website, and the program sounds like a model for such programs. HSPS screens its transfer partners carefully, transfers out only animals that it has not been able to adopt out locally, and looks for situations where it can “trade” animals with another shelter. The page describes one situation where they sent Manx cats, who were not in demand in Archuleta County, to a California shelter where they were in demand, and received cats in exchange. Both sets of cats were adopted quickly in their new locations, and as a bonus HSPS was able to help the California shelter set up a TNR program. HSPS says the adoption rate of the animals it transfers “has been in the high 90′s percentile.”

The state of Colorado collects statistics from animal shelters each year, and I received copies of the reports by record request. In 2012, HSPS reported that it took in almost 500 dogs and cats. Its live release rate was 98% (97% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care are included with euthanasias.) In 2013, intake went up substantially to 787 animals. It appears that this increase was mostly in feral cats that had TNR. The live release rate went up in 2013 to 99% (97% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care are included with euthanasias).

Archuleta County, CO, was originally listed by this blog on October 22, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.



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