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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Chaffee County, CO

Chaffee County is located in a mountainous, rural area of Colorado west of Colorado Springs. It has a 2010 population of 18,000 people, including the towns of Buena Vista (population 2600) and Salida (5200), the county seat.

Animal sheltering is provided for the county and its cities by the Ark-Valley Humane Society (AVHS). I called AVHS and was told by a shelter official that the county has two animal control officers, one each in Buena Vista and Salida. AVHS does not have a formal contract with the county, but the animal control officers bring strays to AVHS for impounding. AVHS also takes in owner surrenders. The shelter does not have a surrender fee for county residents, but does charge a fee for out-of-county surrenders. The shelter official told me that AVHS does not have a waiting list or a requirement for an appointment. The shelter has several initiatives, including low-income spay-neuter assistance and Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats, and an active volunteer program.

AVHS has two shelters. The main shelter is located in Buena Vista and a satellite, called the Sunshine Shelter, is located in Poncha Springs. This video offers a look at the Sunshine Shelter. One unique thing about it is a garden filled with cat-and-dog themed outdoor sculptures by local artists. The AVHS 2012 annual report describes how the Sunshine Shelter has enabled AVHS to meet the needs of cats in Chaffee County and help other shelters with cats.

Animal shelters in Colorado report to the state Department of Agriculture. AVHS’s two shelters report separately. The total intake of the two shelters as reported to the state was 1269 animals in 2012 (the intake of 988 animals stated in the AVHS 2012 Annual Report does not include the animals that AVHS took in from other shelters). This is a very high intake of about 70 animals per 1000 people. The live release rate for 2012 including dispositions of the transferred animals was 96% (95% if animals who died or were lost in shelter care are counted with euthanasias).

In 2013, total intake for both shelters was 919 animals. The live release rate was 99% for the Buena Vista shelter and 97% for the Poncha Springs shelter. The modified live release rates were 98% and 96% respectively.

Chaffee County, CO, was originally listed by this blog on October 26, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.



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