• Susan Houser

Routt County, CO

Routt County is located in northwest Colorado, bordering Wyoming. The population recorded in the 2010 census was 23,500. The county seat is the city of Steamboat Springs, which has 12,000 people.

Steamboat Springs has a city-run animal control and shelter called the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter (SSAS). SSAS serves the entire county, including all the incorporated and unincorporated towns. I was told in a telephone call to SSAS that Routt County has its own animal control officers but contracts with Steamboat Springs for strays to be taken in by SSAS. The shelter official told me that SSAS takes in owner surrenders for the city and the county. Once in a while the shelter gets full, and when that happens they ask owners who want to surrender animals if they can wait. If the owner cannot wait, SSAS takes the animal immediately.

The shelter gets support and volunteer help from the Routt County Humane Society (RCHS). This recent newsletter describes how RCHS volunteers staff the shelter to extend the hours that it is open to the public, and raise funds for spaying and neutering and medical care for shelter animals. As an example of an animal that would not have survived without medical care provided by RCHS, the newsletter describes the case of a 4-week-old puppy who stopped nursing and required several days of intensive care before he recovered. RCHS also provides assistance for low-income families to spay and neuter their pets.

Another organization that supports the shelter is the Animal Assistance League of Northwest Colorado (AALN), which serves 5 counties, including Routt. AALN provides humane education, spay-neuter funding, assistance to horses and other livestock in need, and other programs.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture collects information on the statistics of animal shelters in the state. The 2012 report submitted by SSAS shows a total intake of 625 animals. Intake per 1000 people was 27. The live release rate was 98%. One animal died in shelter care, but if that is counted in with euthanasias it does not change the live release rate. The Colorado reporting form does not separate out owner-requested euthanasia.

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