GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — Garfield County has eliminated its animal control program due to budget cuts.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said he regrets having to end the program from the overall duties and services of the sheriff’s office, however economic challenges and a decrease in revenues in the county forced the move.
The responsibilities of the three animal control officers in the county ended on Dec. 27, and they are no longer available to help the public. On a yearly basis, the officers responded to nearly 2,000 calls.
The sheriff's office will handle some of the animal control officers' duties, including dog bites, animal cruelty and emergency situations to protect the public if there's an immediate threat (such as large animals on the interstate).
The county sheriff's office will not pick up the following responsibilities:
- Handle lost and found pets
- Trap stray animals, such as feral cats
- Provide assistance to spay, neuter, or fund required vaccinations, etc.
- Transport animals to either the Rifle Animal Shelter, CARE or any other animal shelter
- Collect or corral wandering livestock
The sheriff's office said anybody with a wildlife-related inquiry or concern should call Colorado Parks and Wildlife through the Colorado State Patrol Dispatch. Calls regarding wandering livestock should be directed to the brand inspector. Any person who picks up a stray animal should bring it to the animal shelter.
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office said no other information will be released on this change.