The Cortez Animal Shelter depends on annual funding from Montezuma County to operate, the commissioners learned last week.
While tightening the 2017 budget in the face of shrinking oil and gas tax revenues, commissioners questioned why the county regularly chips in $55,000 per year to the city shelter.
The shelter serves the county’s pet needs as well as the city’s, said Jennifer Crouse, supervisor of the Cortez Animal Shelter.
“About 50 percent of the animals that come in are from the county, so their financial assistance is important for our budget,” she said.
The county’s long-standing annual contribution represents 22 percent of the shelter’s $240,000 annual budget.
During last week’s county commission meeting, members of the nonprofit For Pets’ Sake Humane Society urged continued county support for the shelter. The local nonprofit is not affiliated with the animal shelter, but it relies on it to help manage issues of the many lost and feral pet issues they deal with in the county.
“Seventy percent of the feral cat colonies are in the county, and when we get calls from people who want to deal with the problem, we depend on the city shelter to help,” said Marian Rohman, president of the For Pets’ Sake board.
In the past eight years, For Pet’s Sake has recorded 360 feral cat colonies in the area.
The group relies on volunteers to foster pets waiting for adoption. They refer many stray, lost and feral dog and cat cases to the animal shelter, which spays and neuters animals, houses lost pets, quarantines problem pets and puts animals up for adoption.
“We’re a branch of the police department and take in strays and impounded animals from both Cortez animal control and the county sheriff’s office,” said Crouse.
The county contributed $49,500 to the Cortez Animal Shelter for 2017, a 10 percent cut from last year, which commissioners applied across the board to departments and other programs they support.
Commissioner Keenan Ertel said he appreciated the information about the need for animal services.
“I was unaware of those statistics. We are getting something from our funding,” he said.