Animals up for adoption at the Logan County Humane Society (clockwise from top left) June, a 2.5-year-old shepherd mix looking for a single dog home with a very tall fence; Clark Kent, a 3-year-old pit mix who loves to cuddle; Haze, a 4-year-old border collie full of life and energy; and Taffy, a 1-year-old female torti who enjoys laying around and watching the world but won’t hesitate to snuggle. (Courtesy photo)
While the news and images coming out of the impact zone of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are heart-wrenching, in landlocked northeast Colorado, the impact can seem far removed from reality.
For most Logan County residents, the devastation wrought by the two Category 4 hurricanes is unlikely to have a major impact on life. Gas prices went up a bit in Harvey’s wake, but otherwise the disruption has been minimal, except perhaps for those who have loved ones on the Texas or Florida coast.
However, the disasters’ impact is being felt at the Logan County Humane Society, which has been running at capacity in recent weeks. Why? The Sterling shelter routinely ships off animals to shelters and rescues along the Front Range, where the larger population base makes it more likely the critters will find a new home. But right now, those shelters are also full of animals rescued from the hurricanes and can’t accept the LCHS transfers. While animal warden Jamie Helmut says none of the sites have explicitly said that is due to the storms, she sees a connection. Some of the shelters the humane society uses most frequently are well-known for bringing in animals from disaster areas across the nation.
The shelter is also bracing for the closure of one of its transfer sites. Meanwhile, “they (animals) just keep coming,” Helmut said.
With more animals in the shelter comes more work, Helmut said. Fortunately, a call for volunteers posted on Facebook has generated a good response, but more volunteers are always welcome. The more help they have, the faster they are able to complete the chores of cleaning and feeding, freeing up time to play with the pets.
Helmut is concerned that the lack of transfer space is going to cut into the success LCHS has had in reducing the feral cat population. “We’ve been making a huge difference,” with programs for trapping and neutering stray cats, she said. Some of those cats are released back into the community, while those that are candidates for adoption are placed in homes or transferred to other shelters. The efforts have reduced the local cat numbers significantly each year, according to Helmut.
Anyone interested in adopting one of the pets should plan to stop by LCHS’ annual Pet Expo and Adoption Fair today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Johnson & Associates, CPA’s, 400 S. Division. A few of the animals will be on hand during the event, and a photo board will display others who are looking for a forever home. The expo also includes low-cost micro-chips, vendor booths from local businesses that offer pet-related services and products, a demonstration by Sterling Police Department’s K-9 unit at 2 p.m., and a raffle to raise funds for the shelter.
Sara Waite: 970-526-9310, firstname.lastname@example.org