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Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

Getting Bigger and Better

For lost, abandoned and abused animals, being in a shelter can be their lifeline to survival and happy endings. And people who relinquish pets and bring in lost or stray animals are trusting that the shelter will make life better for them. 

HSPPR is hoping to do that in a big way with its $8.1 million expansion of the current outdated and outgrown facilities. Construction of a two-story, 13,145 square foot addition will begin this fall. The capital campaign kickoff was made possible by a $1.2 million bequest from a generous donor.

The shelter has reached its limits in the care and services it can provide for its guests. The cats in particular have the worst environment, housed in small cages in an area with poor temperature regulation, and isolated from interaction with other cats and potential adopters. Dogs don’t fare much better. 

What will the new facility mean for the furry guests? Well, there will be assessment rooms, larger kennels, isolation kennels for sick and injured dogs, and quiet spaces for the timid and traumatized. It will also have spacious visitation rooms for adopters, and doggie condos for those who need more space. Seventy percent of animals taken in are lost pets, and there will be expanded housing to help reunite them with their families.

The kitties? HSPPR handles 7000 cats each year. New improvements will include roomy and increased caging, a triage and lost cat area, and cat condos where cats can play and socialize and adopters can actually interact with the felines.

Overcrowding

In 2014, the private nonprofit cared for 17,276 animals in the Colorado Springs facility, and euthanized 2,495. “The main reason animals are euthanized is severe illness or serious behavior problems,” says president and CEO Jan McHugh- Smith, who is also a certified animal welfare administrator. “We do not euthanize for time and space.” The expansion will provide additional resources toward behavior modification because of additional kennel room to keep animals longer as they are rehabilitated.

McHugh-Smith says HSPPR is proud of its live release rate of 85.4 percent. Ninety percent is considered “no kill,” meaning 10 percent are euthanized. For HSPPR, that would mean currently 14.6 percent. 

The average length of stay for dogs waiting for adoption is 7.3 days, and 11.25 days for cats, she says. But it varies and it depends.

Transfer Programs

To give animals from rural areas who languish in shelters with low adoption rates a better chance for adoption, Colorado humane societies are taking in pets from outside their jurisdictions through transfer programs.  Last year, HSPPR instituted its own transfer program funded by the Lakewood-based Animal Assistance Foundation. It transferred in 800 animals and found homes for 98 percent. Volunteers make scheduled trips to rural shelters in Southern Colorado in a transfer van that can handle 25 animals at a time.

Colorado is known nationally as a leader in animal welfare and sheltering. “Colorado is very unusual in the high level of collaboration that exists between its shelters,” says McHugh-Smith. 

Making a Difference

Even as HSPPR struggles with space issues and providing for animals’ physical and mental health while incarcerated, it provides outstanding medical care to its resident animals and those from other shelters in its AHAA-accredited hospital. Two full-time and two part-time veterinarians perform life-saving surgeries, and spay and neuter services to pets of low-income families, as well as community cats through the shelter’s trap, neuter, return (TNR) program.

HSPPR is committed to helping lost and abused animals have a second chance in life. Check it out. It’s a great place to find a new best friend. 

For more information or to make a donation: Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region / Jan McHugh-Smith President and CEO: 610 Abbot Lane, Colorado Springs, CO 80905, 719-302-8750, www.hsppr.org