Agencies ready for season's end

Officers say less snow means more activity

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— The ski season is quickly coming to an end, and some agencies in town are preparing for the change of the seasons.

Historically as each ski season comes to an end, the Steamboat Springs Police Department has to deal with more crime, the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter finds itself with more animals and Waste Management has to pick up more trash.

"People are now coming and going," said Steamboat Springs Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing. "It is a time of change."

In Fiebing's close to 20 years as an officer here, the trend has been for thefts and burglaries to increase as the ski season comes to a close.

"People are more vulnerable this time of year if they don't lock their homes, garages or cars," he said. "This time of year we always have thefts and burglaries."

Fiebing believes these types of crimes occur because many people are leaving town.

"People are going to take things that are most accessible," he said. "I always encourage people to lock their doors to their homes and cars."

This time of year, the police department also deals with a number of disputes between landlords and tenants, he said.

"We typically get a rash of those types of instances at this time of year," he said. "It is not a big problem, but it happens every year."

Abandoned animals are also unfortunate signs the ski season is coming to an end.

"Every year at this time, we do see an increase of animals that are abandoned," said Stacy Hayes, animal control officer. "We are already seeing it happening."

In the past couple of weeks, the shelter has picked up at least five dogs.

Hayes believes these pets have been abandoned because owners have not come to the shelter.

Hayes also believes this because two of the dogs were left outside the shelter tied up.

"I never look forward to the end of ski season," Hayes said. "People will abandon their pets because they are moving or the pet no longer fits into their lifestyle."

Currently, the animal shelter is holding 13 dogs, nine cats and two rabbits.

The shelter's capacity is 19 dogs and has kennels for eight cats.

Hayes encourages anyone in town that is planning on abandoning their pet to surrender it to the shelter.

"They can come to the shelter and pay a $15 surrender fee," she said. "If they do this, we get the pets' vaccination record, name and what they like to eat.

"This helps us so much when we try to find a new home for the pet, but if they just leave the animal, we don't get this valuable information."

By law, any animal in the shelter must be kept for five days. Once that time has passed, Hayes then has to make difficult decisions of whether to put animals down based on the shelter's population.

"That is the last resort," Hayes said. "We don't want to euthanize any animals."

Currently, Hayes is not in the position where she has to make decisions.

However, she fears that if the trend of the shelter picking up additional abandoned animals continues, the shelter will be forced to make decisions.

"When the shelter is full, difficult decisions have to be made," she said.

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