The Rainbow Bridge Group could be just four to five months away from bringing a pet crematorium to Steamboat Springs.
Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord, who is working with the group, said the group hopes to order the unit in the next 30 to 40 days, and it could take four months before the crematorium unit is delivered and installation is complete.
Last Tuesday, the City Council directed staff to move forward with plans to turn a section of the Steamboat Springs and Routt County Animal Shelter on 13th Street into a crematorium. When the animal shelter was built in 1996, a room was put in specifically for a crematorium, but the city never had the funds to install one.
"This group has come forward and is able to raise those funds," DuBord said.
The cost of a crematorium unit and processor is $33,525, which includes delivery, set-up and training by the vendor. The Rainbow Bridge Group still needs to raise or find "in-kind" donations of about $5,000 to install the unit.
When the Rainbow Bridge Group first presented its business plan to the council in June of 2002, the group said if pet owners in Steamboat wanted to cremate a pet they had to travel as far as Grand Junction or the Front Range.
Since then, the Northern Lights Pet Crematory has opened in Craig, but DuBord said the new facility should not have much of an impact on Steamboat's crematorium business.
"They felt there was enough business in Northwest Colorado to support two crematoriums," DuBord said, noting the Craig crematorium still would have business from Moffat and Rio Blanco counties and from the Vernal, Utah, area.
The Rainbow Bridge Group business plan shows that in 2002 three veterinary offices -- Mount Werner Veterinary Hospital, the Pet Kare Clinic and Steamboat Veterinary Hospital -- had 203 pets cremated. In 2001, 331 pets were euthanized at the three clinics.
From those three clinics alone, the Rainbow Bridge Group predicts there would be enough business to make more than an $11,000 profit a year.
And those numbers do not include business from pet owners whose pets have died from natural causes and are looking for a nearby crematorium.
The profit from the crematorium is being proposed to support animal welfare projects such as spraying and neutering pets, vet bills for shelter animals and expanded adoption programs.
The Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, Pet Kare Clinic, Routt County Humane Society and the Animal Assistance League of Northwest Colorado have written letters to the city in support of the crematorium.
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