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PAWS for Life begins transition to operate city-county shelter, enforcement

Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 07, 2018

PUEBLO – Despite unanimous approval, Pueblo County commissioners voiced their concerns Thursday about a lack of detail in the plan provided by Paws for Life to operate the city-county animal shelter and enforcement.

PAWS for Life and Pueblo Animal Services, the shelter’s provider over the last 16 years, held a joint meeting Friday to prepare for transition.

Speaking with News 5’s Sam Kraemer, PAWS for Life Director Linda Mitchell said the answers to remaining questions from government gained clarity in Friday’s meeting.

PAWS for Life Director Linda Mitchell talks with News 5's Sam Kraemer after her nonprofit was selected to operate the animal shelter and enforcement in the City of Pueblo and Pueblo County.

“The number of (animal law enforcement) vehicles, the number of staffing, their staffing model. We have all of those answers, what’s staying, what’s going, what we need to do to move forward,” Mitchell said.

The questions include how PAWS for Life will maintain or improve service with less money, provide adequate enforcement and care for large animals.

Mitchell said the biggest hurdle ahead is technology. She’s also not concerned about the smaller bid.

“We’re used to working on a very tight budget. Why go higher? The city’s already running a deficit, and again, we’re trying to be about Pueblo, about Pueblo city and County. We want that deficit to get fixed. This is one way to do it,” Mitchell said.

PAWS for Life isn’t shying away from an increased workload either. The nonprofit will continue to operate its private shelter, which has been in Pueblo for 40 years, while hoping to keep many of Pueblo Animal Services’s current staff.

“Our animal numbers match theirs. We’re taking in 70 animals a month, placing 100 animals a month. It’s really not a big step,” Mitchell said.

The contract for Pueblo Animal Services, which is a branch of Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, ends Dec. 31.

Mitchell said PAWS for Life will likely hold a job fair next week for current Pueblo Animal Services employees.