A Dog’s Life at 10,200 Feet
Leadville Animal Shelter Greets New Furry Friends
By Caitlin Kuczko, Leadville Lake County Animal Shelter Manager
The Leadville/Lake County Animal Shelter (LLCAS) is here to serve the stray and homeless animals in our area and the pets surrendered into our care. Due to the local weather and overall climate of Lake County, it is very rare that we have a stray population in our area. There are occasional stray cats and even fewer stray dogs; these animals are presumed to be previously owned, possibly dumped, or missing pets who were not reunited with their owners. Sometimes pets get loose, and we are here to temporarily house them while they wait to be reunited with and claimed by their owner(s).
Per our 2020 statistics, of the 160 stray/loose animals that the shelter housed, only 12 were unclaimed strays (6 dogs, 1 puppy, 4 cats, and 1 feral cat). Per our 2021 statistics, as of April, of the 48 stray/loose animals that the shelter has housed, only 6 were unclaimed strays (5 cats and 1 feral cat). Our facility has six double sided dog kennels, allowing for a maximum of 12 dogs, and 5 double sided cat kennels, allowing for a maximum of 10 cats. During 2020 and to date in 2021, we have not been at maximum capacity. This means we have open kennels that are available and not regularly in use.
While the LLCAS is here for the homeless, stray, and surrendered animals in our area, we recognize that in-home support is the best way to prevent owned pets from being surrendered to the shelter. Our shelter is not set up or budgeted to support owned animals, which is why we partner with local businesses and nonprofits to help the pet owners of Lake County. Planned Pethood Leadville is a local nonprofit that consistently helps the animal shelter and pet owners who need financial support for necessary medical care or for spay/neuter surgeries. PAWSability Center offers discounts and scholarships to community members in need of training and behavior support to keep their dogs home and out of the shelters. Two locally owned pet stores, Grateful Paws and Mountain Dogs also provide community support and assistance. We are lucky to have such great local businesses and non-profits who help the local pets and their owners!
Due to our low intake numbers and high demand for adoptable animals, we are partnering with other shelters and rescues in and out of state to help alleviate their overflowing intake numbers due to overpopulation in their area. Per state law, all transfer animals must be seen by a vet and receive a health check prior to being transported into Colorado. Once we have the animals in our custody, we then get them another checkup without local vets and arrange for any additional necessary surgeries and vaccines.
Thankfully, Grateful Paws has partnered with Pets Global Incorporated, and they are supplying all of the shelter’s cat and dog food for 2021. The cost for pet food varies depending on the animals we have, but on average it is $200 per month to feed the shelter animals. This not only provides the animals in our care a quality diet through their Inception brand pet food, it also limits food cost for the animal shelter and thus helps lowers adoption fees. Adoption fees will vary per animal, typically the adoption fee is $50 in addition to vet costs. Vet costs can range from $150 – 500 depending on the animal and its needs. We are currently looking for grants to help cover the animals’ vet bills and/or adoption fee, so we can provide lower adoption fees to the public.
We will never saturate our community with animals from transports because we will not pull more animals than we can care for or have interest in and our adopters come from all over the state of Colorado and even out of state! Our priority will always be to serve and care for the stray and homeless animals in our area and the pets surrendered into our care, so we will never transport in more animals than we can care for and house.
Caitlin Kuczko KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, CTDI AKC CGC & Tricks Evaluator, ASPCA Professional Responder, and the Leadville/Lake County Animal Shelter Manager.
Winter Dog Dance at Twin Lakes
A Dog’s Life in The Cloud City
When it comes to return on investment for projects that have been well-planned, executed, and maintained in the past decade, the Lake County Dog Park tops the leaderboard. Envisioned in 2012 by a small group of animal-lovers, the concept went through the proper procedures and was granted a small piece of land adjacent to a well-used recreation area.
From nuts to bolts the plan was well-executed and officially opened in October 2015. The end result is a fenced ¾-acre dog park situated at the west end of Huck Finn Park located at 505 W 5th Street. The park features include a double “air-lock” gate system, numerous dog waste bag dispensers, a walking trail around the inside of the fence, a picnic table, and benches where tired dog owners can sit. Owners should bring water for their dogs, as none is available nearby.
Rules are posted on a sign at the entrance. Important rules require that owners remain in the park with their dogs and must clean up waste, using the plastic dog bags which are provided at the park. Dogs must be on leashes outside the dog park and still are not permitted in many parts of Huck Finn Park. This is a daytime facility only, as the dog park has no lighting.
Contact Leadvilledogpark@gmail.com, or visit the Leadville Dog Park Facebook page for more information and activities.
Dog Days of Summer
It’s #allaboard for man’s best friend when it comes to the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad. Did you know that man’s best friend rides for free on the Leadville Train? Just be sure to arrive at the historic depot early enough for your furry friend to pass the Meet-The-Conductor test. Be sure to bring your own leash and water bowl!