Routt County Humane Society seeks to place animals in homes for the holidays |

Routt County Humane Society seeks to place animals in homes for the holidays

Routt County Humane Society Development Manager Cary Rentola holds adoptable kittens Uno, Umbrella and Uncle as the cats play with the Humane Society’s Fur Tree of Wishes. (Photo by Eleanor C. Hasenbeck)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Routt County Humane Society wants to send several animals home for the holidays.

Routt County Humane Society Executive Director Alexis Pagoulatos said summer and the holiday season are the times of year when the animal shelter takes in the most animals.

“This is a time of year where we see typically an increase in the number of animals coming in,” said Routt County Humane Society Development Manager Cary Rentola. “The weather has changed. It’s colder now. Unfortunately, we still have folks that decide to surrender animals around the holiday season for a variety of different reasons — either they’re getting a new pet or they’re traveling.”

By the numbers

• 574 pounds of food per month
• 700 pounds of cat litter per month
• 641 animals this year, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets and chickens
• 210 animals reunited with their owners this year

This month, an influx of barn cats has taken up resources at the shelter. The Humane Society recently took in the cats after their owner passed away.

Staff and volunteers are working to find homes that can provide food, shelter and water for the cats — most of the barn cats don’t want much human attention. Rentola said there are still more cats coming from the property, so they hope to adopt out the ones currently in the shelter to create more room for additional felines.

“We don’t turn animals away,” Pagoulatos said. “We always find creative solutions.”

She said when kennels in the shelter start to fill up, the Humane Society relies on a network of foster homes and other shelters to make room. A certain number of spaces must be open for stray animals and the Humane Society’s Safe Haven program, which provides temporary homes for pets when their owner’s home has been destroyed or is temporarily unsafe, such as in fires or flood events.

The Humane Society has seen more animals than usual, 641, come through its doors this year, including cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets and chickens. In previous years, Humane Society management said that number has been around 600.

This summer, the Humane Society took in some animals from Colorado shelters impacted by wildfires. The organization also received a grant-funded transport truck, which allowed the Humane Society to take in more dogs.

The Humane Society has been working to receive grant funds and private donations to expand the shelter. An expanded outdoor play area for dogs and an outdoor patio for cats are in the works.

Community members can assist the Humane Society by adopting, fostering, volunteering or donating to the shelter, Rentola said.

These guys all deserve a home for the holidays — all of them, including our barn cats,” Rentola said. “It might be a garage for the holidays or a warehouse for the holidays, but our goal really is that we want as many of them as possible to be adopted during the holiday season to get them out of the shelter, so they can experience the joy that all of our owned pets experience.”

If you can’t adopt an animal or volunteer but would like to support the Humane Society, the organization has an Amazon Wishlist.

For the holiday season, the Humane Society is also displaying a Fur Tree of Wishes in its lobby. The tree is decorated in ornaments with adoptable pets on one side and a few items the Humane Society is seeking in its holiday donation drive. Visitors can pick an ornament from the tree to donate items that are listed on the back of the ornament. These items include bleach, peanut butter and toys.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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