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Foothills Animal Shelter takes over pet-licensing program

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Organization launches campaign to encourage pet owners to register animals

By Chris Ferguson

As of July 20, Foothills Animal Shelter has taken over the pet-licensing program in Jefferson County.

Since 2007, licensing funds collected by Jeffco have been used to pay down debt from construction of the new shelter next to the Jeffco Fairgrounds. The facility, which opened in 2010, has 46 staff members and 400 volunteers.

Foothills Animal Shelter has also launched a new interactive website that offers a number of features and resources for pet owners, said Jennifer Strickland, spokeswoman for the shelter.

The site has a lost-and-found page where owners can look up or post lost pets. People also can look up events such as vaccination clinics or adoption drives. And visitors to the site can find featured adoptable pets and a host of educational initiatives. 

“The site is bright, contemporary and fun,” said Strickland. 

On the new licensing page, someone who has found a lost pet can look up licenses to reunite the animal with its owner. 

Licensing fees run $15 or $30, depending on the type of animal, and $3.90 goes to administrative costs such as overseeing the database and renewal mailings. Despite it being mandatory for pet owners in unincorporated Jeffco to license their dogs, only 26 percent of canines in the county are licensed, Strickland said.

She said there are a number of benefits to pet licenses, most importantly that pet owners can be contacted immediately if a missing pet is found. 

“Oftentimes our animal control partners can bring your pet directly home if they’re wearing that tag,” she said.

Also, pet-licensing fees help support the shelter. 

To bring more attention to pet licensing, the shelter has begun a new campaign that features a large mastiff sitting in the back of a taxicab. Foothills worked with Barnhart Communications in Denver to design the campaign. 

“(The campaign) implies, ‘If it were only this easy for your pet to get home,’ ” she said. “We wanted a fun and creative way to draw attention to the program, and then, from there, be able to talk about the benefits of how it can help your pet get home. But also how you can support less fortunate pets that are homeless in the community.

“The ultimate goal of our program is very simple — to help get more lost pets home,” said shelter executive director Heather Cameron. “We hope this new eye-catching campaign … will remind pet owners of the important advantages of licensing.”

Chris Ferguson is a news editor with Evergreen Newspapers. E-mail him story tips to chris@evergreenco.com.