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Humane Society of Fremont County won't take in animals from the county for now

Posted at 7:34 PM, Sep 27, 2023

FREMONT COUNTY — Stray animals like puppies and kittens call the Humane Society of Fremont County a safe haven until they find their forever home. Just ask Kim Diorio, who recently adopted her cat, Mookie.

"He has just been an exceptional part of my family and I'm very blessed to have him," said Diorio.

That won't be the case for strays coming out of Fremont County.

"I'm waiting for the first person to walk in here and say they just found a stray walking in Fremont County that we can't take,” said Doug Rae, Executive Director of the Human Society of Fremont County.

The Fremont County Sheriff announced this week his office ran out of money to fund intakes at the shelter for the rest of the year, after failing to reach an agreement for a new contract.

"We've always served every animal that came to us, done everything we can with every animal, and we've also done everything we can for every person that comes to us. Now, the animals of Fremont County and people of Fremont County, I can't help at all because of the county,” said Rae.

Conversations centered around a new contract began in July of 2022.

The shelter says they need about $82,000 for the next contract. That's a $2,400 increase from the last contract. In a statement to News5, Sheriff Allen Cooper says his office cannot afford that.

"It is basically a math problem. In 2018 the county paid the shelter $44,250. In 2022 the county paid the shelter $80,000, over a 50% increase in five years,” said Cooper.

The sheriff says he needs money to go toward other pressing issues, like fixing a broken air condition unit and replacing plumbing at his facility.

"I understand that his budget has gone up, his expenses have gone up. Our expenses have gone up here. Our medical has tripled over the past year, the minimum wage has put the payroll the highest it's ever been. We also can't afford it either. This is the in my 9 years that we are going to end the year in a negative,” said Rae.

While both parties work to reach an agreement, people in Fremont County are concerned more stray pets will roam the streets.

"To not be able to have somebody in our local agencies be able to pick them up, that's concerning because then the pets aren't protected and it's a danger for them and it's a danger to our community because we have pets running around and we want to see everything be taken care of,” said Diorio.

Meanwhile, the shelter will continue taking in stray animals from the city limits of Canon City, Florence, and Custer County.

Sheriff Cooper says he has put aside money for the shelter in his 2024 budget. It just won’t be as much money as the shelter hopes to receive.

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