Animal shelter gets creative to abate overcrowding

Posted at: 02/07/2013 6:59 PM
By: Whitney Jones

A rash of hoarding cases has the Valencia County Animal Shelter packed beyond capacity.

Even so, the shelter has found a way to reduce the number of animals that are being put down.

Animal Control Director Erik Tanner is constantly dealing with overcrowding issues at the Valencia County Animal Shelter.

"We've been at capacity constantly for months now," said Tanner.

Hoarding cases dump a lot of animals at the shelter, but according to Tanner, that's just a fraction of the real problem.

He says the entire county is over-populated with uncared-for animals.

The shelter says even though there is a constant stream of animals coming in and overcrowding the shelter, they're looking for other options beyond euthanasia.

That's where a generous grant from the ASPCA comes in. It is being used to ship dogs and cats to Denver for adoption.

"Just last month we moved about 300," said Tanner.

It's rapidly decreasing the percentage of animals they have to put-down.

"3 years ago it was in the 70's and this last year we finished at 49 percent," said Tanner.

Shelter foster volunteers like Marie Privett praise the effort, but say the problem still stems from the community.

"When you have a shelter that takes in 40 or 50 puppies a week because people are not spaying and neutering their animals, it's a problem," said Privett.

Privett works with the shelter to help lead the foster program, she can be reached at the VCAC Foster Program at 505-715-9116 or