Humane society issue remains unresolved

Posted 7/20/09

The fate of the Colorado Humane Society and operation of the Englewood-owned animal shelter remain uncertain, Deputy City Manager Mike Flaherty …

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Humane society issue remains unresolved


The fate of the Colorado Humane Society and operation of the Englewood-owned animal shelter remain uncertain, Deputy City Manager Mike Flaherty reported to the city council July 13.

The uncertainty came about when, as a result of legal action by the state attorney general, the judge prohibited the previous society management from further association with the organization. The judge also appointed a custodian to oversee operations while conducting a full evaluation of the society in order to find an individual or organization to take it over. The custodian, Rick Block of the Waverton Group, put out a request for proposals to take over the shelter. However, he recently extended the proposal deadline from June 30 to July 20. Flaherty said indications are there may not be a decision on the proposals until September.

However, since he appointed to the post, the custodian has worked with staff members so the society can continue to operate the city-owned animal shelter of South Platte River Drive where they care for abandoned or lost animals and arrange adoptions.

“The process is continuing but no one is sure just how this will be decided,” Flaherty said. “There are a number of possible options and I wanted to brief you on what we know about those possibilities.”

Currently, a man named Nick Fisher has expressed interest in operating a privately owned animal shelter that will be accessible to the public in western Arapahoe County. Fisher, the former executive director fo the Table Mountain Animal Center, suggested he isn’t interested in taking over the society because of the legal and financial liabilities. However, he would like governmental entities to join together to build the shelter he would operate.

Additionally, current society employees Shelby Davis and Susan Fredinburg had prepared a proposal to take over the society and continue to run the shelter. However, they do not have the money to cover an estimated $200,000 in society liabilities. Also, the business plan in the proposal would continue operation of the Englewood shelter and require establishing a contract with Englewood Littleton, Arapahoe County. Centennial, Lone Tree, Sheridan and Cherry Hills Village to shelter lost and stray animals.

Flaherty said the current shelter is small and often at capacity with Englewood and Littleton animals. Additionally, he said Centennial has indicated they won’t be part of any agreement using the Englewood shelter.

Denver Dumb Friends League’s tentative proposal would pay off the liabilities, take over the Colorado Humane Society Name but league officials indicated there is no desire to continue to operate the existing shelter or to provide lost and stay animals services for area communities.

The other options included the city operating the shelter on its own but Flaherty said that would cost more than the currently $50,000 a year Englewood pays the humane society for its services.

He noted Littleton and Arapahoe County are considering the possibility of establishing a regional animal shelter, establishing contracts with area governments for the animal services and hiring someone to operate it.

Flaherty said Englewood and Littleton own land over by the South Platte River that originally was earmarked for the humane society to build a new shelter. Agreements could be reached to use that land if agencies joined forces to build a new regional shelter.

Councilman Wayne Oakley said he didn’t think anyone wants the city to run its own shelter. He said none of the options are all that great but clearly something must be done.

Councilman John Moore agreed and noted the biggest stumbling block to a new regional shelter is it will cost an estimated $3 million to $5 million to build it.


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