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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Ouray and San Miguel Counties, CO

San Miguel County, located on the western border of Colorado, has 7600 residents. Ouray County, bordering San Miguel County to the east, has 4400 people. The counties are in a mountainous and sparsely populated area. Ouray County is so mountainous that it’s known as the Switzerland of America. The most populous cities in Ouray County — Ridgway and the City of Ouray — each have about 1000 inhabitants. The largest city in San Miguel County is Telluride, with a population of 2300.

The city of Telluride has its own animal control officers who impound dogs for the city and county. Telluride also has an animal shelter that adopts out dogs. The Second Chance Humane Society (SCHS), located in Ridgway, provides animal sheltering for San Miguel and Ouray counties. SCHS takes in strays and owner surrenders, both cats and dogs. I called SCHS and was told that Ouray county does not have animal control officers, and so stray intake is by citizens bringing in the strays. SCHS has a waiting list for owner surrenders.

The state of Colorado collects statistics on animal shelters in the state. In 2012, the city of Telluride took in 40 dogs (4 strays and 36 confiscated), returned 35 to their owners, transferred 3, and euthanized 1 for a live release rate of 97%. SCHS took in 294 dogs and cats in 2012 and had a 97% live release rate. One animal died in shelter care at SCHS, but that did not change the live release rate.

In 2013, the city of Telluride took in 47 animals and had a 100% live release rate.  SCHS in 2013 had a substantial increase in intake with 380 animals for the year. Their live release rate was 99% as stated in their 2013 annual report.

Ouray and San Miguel Counties were originally listed by this blog on November 12, 2013, based on their 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

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