Dogs luckier than cats at shelter

Cats had a tougher year than dogs in 2010, according to an annual Mesa County Animal Services report released Monday.

More than two-thirds of the 2,515 animals euthanized by Animal Services’ shelter in 2010 were cats, while 30 percent were dogs. Eight wildlife animals and eight animals in the “other” category also were put down.

Cats were less likely to be adopted than dogs in 2010 and less likely to be retrieved by owners, too.

Among 478 animals adopted last year from the county’s animal shelter, 338 were dogs and 109 were cats.

Another 1,208 animals that had been taken to the shelter were picked up by owners, including 1,181 dogs and 21 cats.

Cats also fared worse last year when it came to being placed in the shelter. The number of cats impounded by the shelter increased by 264 to 2,534 in 2010 compared with 2009. The number of impounded cats dropped by 39 in 2009 compared with 2008.

Operating under the assumption cats can fend for themselves, locals have “raised the bar of expectations” higher for dog owners than cat owners, according to Mesa County Animal Services Director Penny McCarty.

“Most citizens expect dog owners in their neighborhood to keep their dogs safely confined, socialized, healthy and happy and do not hesitate to report when they see violations,” McCarty said in a press release.

Animal Services responses increased by 1,207 to 12,041 in 2010 compared with 2009. The agency saw a 5 percent increase year-over-year in calls about animals that were injured or appeared to be in jeopardy, and the number of deceased animals picked up by the agency increased 20 percent.

Investigation follow-ups more than doubled and instances where officers handed out notifications or served papers increased from 281 in 2009 to 443 in 2010.

The number of animal bites, cases of dogs on the loose and barking dogs all decreased in 2010 compared with 2009, along with the number of welfare and neglect checks.


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