No place like home for lost pets

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Foothills Animal Shelter is making a lot of noise these days.

They just started their pet licensing campaign, and are hoping to generate a lot of howl over the importance of tagging a pet.

Last year, the shelter took in around 8,000 animals in its 33,000 square-foot- facility.

Out of the 8,000 taken in, 4,700 were lost, with 1,700 animals reuniting with their owners.

“We would love to be able to increase that through the licensing program and be able to decrease the amount of animals coming through our door,” said Jennifer Strickland, director of community relations and development.

Although pet licensing is mandated throughout Jeffco, the Foothills Animal Shelter reported a 26 percent compliance rate of pet owners. Animal Control spent an estimated $344,520 addressing issues of lost animals in unincorporated Jeffco alone in 2012, according to Jeffco Animal Control.

“Licensing is going to be a real easy way to help your pet get back home,” said Strickland.

Should a pet get lost, the tag allows for easy pick up by animal control that will be able to identify where the pet lives. Also, owners can sign up for the “tag lookup” feature which allows anyone to find the owner’s address or phone number online at the Foothills Animal Shelter website.

The shelter is reaching out to the community with Vaccine, License and Microchip Clinics held twice a week at the Foothills Animal Shelter.

For a reasonable price, owners can choose to vaccinate, microchip or license their pet in order to comply with county ordinance. Kami Sherman of Lakewood was among the many pet and cat owners visiting the on-site clinic on July 31. She brought with her two Inu cocker spaniels, a 2-year-old mother named Riley, and her 5-month-old pup named Nina. During her visit to the on-site clinic, Sherman renewed Riley’s license, and purchased a new license for Nina.

Sherman has lost Riley before.

“Kids leave doors open,” Sherman said. “I’ve had a couple people bring her back because she has the tags.”

Another piece to lost animal prevention is awareness of the Foothills Animal Shelter, said Strickland.

“These animals are owned,” she said. “I think a lot of folks don’t know they need to go to the local shelter.”

For Jeffco residents not located near the Foothills Animal Shelter, off-site Vaccine, License and Microchip clinics are set up every weekend at various locations. Schedules for off-site clinics can be found at www.foothillsanimalshelter.org/clinic.