Mesa County citizens want to live in a safe and healthy community. As a result, Mesa County funds Mesa County Animal Services to provide animal control enforcement that addresses public safety, public health and animal welfare issues. Conversely, humane organizations are largely funded by donations to non-profit humane societies and rescue groups. These organizations focus on adopting displaced pets and providing education so that the animal/human bond is strengthened and pet overpopulation is eliminated. In order to make the best use of donations and tax dollars, it is essential for both animal control and humane organizations to work together to provide the level of animal services expected by Mesa County citizens.
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How Collaboration has Evolved
The Western Slope of Colorado is a huge geographic area with most of the networking, educational and training for animal organization opportunities occurring on the front range. In 2006, several agencies identified the need to coordinate a meaningful and helpful network to address issues specific to Western Colorado. A meeting was coordinated that resulted in a surprisingly large turnout and the formation of WeCARe (Western Colorado Animal Resources). As of 2009, WeCARe has approximately thirty members including humane societies, animal control agencies, animal welfare foundations and veterinarians. WeCare has identified the following areas as a focus for its members:
Decreasing Unnecessary Euthanasia
- Uniform Tracking of Statistics (Using Asilomar Accord Standards)
- Increasing Resources and Capacity
- Emergency Response
- Regional Training
How Collaboration Works
n the past, the animal welfare community in Mesa County was fragmented and unfocused, often duplicating services ineffectively. In 2005, Grand Rivers Humane was formed with the dual purpose of rehoming Mesa County displaced pets and reducing pet overpopulation. Their mission is focused on re-homing and assisting with the care of displaced animals specifically housed at Mesa County Animal Services.
Since the formation of Grand Rivers Humane Society, euthanasia of healthy/adoptable animals has been almost eliminated. While we will continue to work together to increase services that will reduce euthanasia of those animals needing behavior or medical rehabilitation, the progress made over the past four years is rewarding.
Combining resources ensures that Mesa County taxpayers receive the level of care they expect from their local animal shelter without having a negative impact on operations. This partnership was the start of a collaborative effort in Mesa County that has grown to include Roice Hurst Humane Society, Cats League and Assistance of the Western Slope (CLAWS) and other rescue organizations, locally and across Colorado.
In addition to providing effective services by reducing duplication and a reduction in euthanasia in our community, Mesa County Animal Services is working closely with The Animal Assistance foundation in receiving spay/neuter grants each year. Additional grant funds to assist with the cost of veterinary care for displaced pets are pending.