Pueblo Humane Society Seeks More Funding to Address Growing Caseload

The Humane Society’s Pueblo Chapter for the Pikes Peak area is returning to pre-pandemic levels of pet admissions and adoptions and is managing a workload similar to other shelters across the state with a significantly smaller budget, according to a presentation at a Pueblo City Council business meeting Monday night.

The Humane Society will seek approximately 20% additional funding from the city and county governments of Pueblo as it compiles its budget for next year to account for increased operational costs and increased demand for services. contractual.

The city of Pueblo donated about $1.4 million to the Humane Society last year.

National trends show that the number of receptions in shelters is increasing

Animal shelters across the country saw a 3% increase in intakes in the first six months of 2022 compared to last year. However, the numbers still lag behind 2019 – the last full year of data before the COVID-19 pandemic – as this year’s data shows a more than 14% decrease in intake compared to three years ago. year.

Among states in the Mountain Region, which includes Colorado, there has been a higher increase in the number of pets admitted to shelters and less of an overall decline since 2019.

According to national and regional data, shelters are taking in fewer dogs than before the pandemic. But while national averages show that shelters took in fewer cats in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2019, regional data shows a slight increase (0.6%) over this period, as well as an overall increase of 8.2% in cat intake from 2021 to 2022.

Adoption data reflects a similar trend, where the number of cats adopted from January to June increased by 3% nationally from 2019 to 2022, but increased by more than 24% in the mountain region. Meanwhile, the number of adopted dogs has dwindled.

“You can only adopt animals if you take in more. We need more animals to be able to adopt them,” said Duane Adams, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, during the city council business session.

Local data shows Pueblo, Colorado Springs shelters outpacing state trends

Humane Society shelters in Pueblo and Colorado Springs have had some of the highest numbers of pets cared for and adopted among the nearly 400 licensed pet shelters and rescues across the state.

According to the data, the Pueblo site adopted more than 1,200 cats in 2021, which was the ninth-largest among all shelters and rescues in Colorado. The Pueblo County shelter also had above-average rates of stray cat admissions and owner-abandoned cats.

Adams shared annual statewide data at the work session that showed how the community intake of cats and dogs, which includes owner-abandoned pets as well as strays, has dropped dramatically. in 2020, but appeared to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.

Colette Bradley, spokesperson for the Humane Society, added in a statement to the Chieftain that shelters are taking in more dogs than cats, but the local trend has started to reverse in 2021.

The percentage of rescued stray dogs and cats that are returned to their owners varies widely for cats and dogs. About two out of three stray dogs taken to shelters in Colorado are returned to their owners, while only 14% of stray cats were reunited with an owner in 2021.

Bradley said most stray dogs have owners, but more stray cats are feral and are born without an owner. Also, some stray cats that come into the shelter are strays whose owners expect them to come home eventually.

“We strongly encourage microchipping and licensing of all pets to help increase returns to owner,” Bradley said.

Anna Lynn Winfrey covers Pueblo Chieftain politics. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @annalynnfrey.

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Jennifer R. Strohm