Dogs find safety in Steamboat Springs |

Dogs find safety in Steamboat Springs

Adoptable animals rescued from shelter in Idaho Springs

Zach Fridell

— The wagging tails, wet noses and happy pounces of the young dogs at the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter belie the fate they nearly met in Idaho Springs.

Hillary Rice, an organizer with the Homeless Animal Rescue Team, worked with the Steamboat Springs shelter to bring dogs from the overcapacity facility in Idaho Springs to the relatively empty shelter in Steamboat.

Rice has moved 14 dogs in the past two weeks, she said, and several remain up for adoption in Steamboat, including Katie, a playful beagle mix who bounded around the parking lot at the shelter Tuesday.

Shelter manager Janel Moore said the Steamboat shelter had only one dog when they agreed to take the dogs from Idaho Springs, a shelter that has a much higher euthanasia rate than Steamboat's. She said the Steamboat shelter hasn't been full for some time, and animal control officers report the shelter's dog population has declined in the past few years. The shelter has 18 kennels and can hold more dogs than that if necessary, but now there are only five dogs awaiting adoption along with several more in foster care across the county.

"All these are healthy; they're happy," Moore said. "They're all very adoptable."

Although the city- and county-run facility can't accept dogs from people in other counties, Moore said that through the trading program the shelter occasionally can bring in adoptable dogs that would otherwise be put to death and can send out dogs that are requested in other areas. The dogs usually are sent out through breed-specific rescue programs, she said.

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Shelter volunteer Maggie Smith said the low numbers in the shelter can be attributed partly to education about spaying and neutering pets in Steamboat, along with a dog-loving community. The state law requiring that all dogs adopted from shelters be spayed or neutered also is helping, she said.

Despite the good news on the number of dogs, the cat side of the shelter is packed with nearly 30 felines. Moore said that about five were adopted in the past week, but their ranks continue to grow.

Moore warned that the animals, while popular gifts during the holidays, are a longtime commitment and should not be adopted without serious thought.

For more information or to adopt an animal, visit the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter on Critter Court, or visit

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