County’s animal shelter gives pets a second chance |

County’s animal shelter gives pets a second chance

Cindy Rimmer of Granby, a teacher at Fraser Elementary, holds a kitten on Sunday at the Grand County Animal Shelter. Despite the appeal of playing with and holding a new kitten, Rimmer wasn’t sure if she’d be heading home with one.
Bryce Martin/Sky-Hi News |

You’ll find nothing but animal lovers at Grand County Animal Care and Control, where the mission is to give animals a second chance at a loving home.

For over two decades the animal shelter, located in Granby, has been the only one in the county, but Mary Ann Kerstiens isn’t certain many people know it exists.

Kerstiens, lead animal control officer, was available Sunday to answer questions and see off pets that were adopted during the shelter’s open house.

“So many people moving up here don’t realize there is a shelter,” Kerstiens said. “But we’re here for the animals.”

The animal shelter and animal control are the same entity, ran by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

The open house provided a chance for the public to get to know its only shelter in the area, and receive $100 vouchers good towards the spay or neuter of any pets adopted that day.

Making that voucher program possible is Grand County Pet Pals, a volunteer organization that works with the shelter year-round.

Pet Pals helps to ensure every animal that leaves the center is spayed or neutered. They raise funds throughout the year — the largest fundraiser, the Doggie Dash, will be held June 17 at Granby Trails — and are active at the site helping to care for the animals ready for adoption.

“I used to come and walk the animals everyday,” said Jeri Pierce of Grand Lake, one of the volunteers with Pet Pals. “Then finally, after probably 15 years, I adopted one. Now I spend all my time with her.”

Still, Pierce heads to the shelter whenever time permits. Along with her husband, Pierce takes the animals to large, open spaces around the county so they can hit their stride in beautiful mountain scenery.

The vouchers Pet Pals helps to fund are accepted by all Grand County veterinarians. Typically the shelter offers $50 vouchers, but the open house offered the special $100 incentives.

“We work pretty hard,” Pierce admitted.

With a high adoption rate, according to Kerstiens, the shelter hands out many vouchers.

“Sometimes you just don’t have the money to do what you need for your animals,” she said.

While they are usually always full with cats, the shelter typically has six to eight dogs available for adoption each week.

The shelter is a no-kill facility, unless the pets are dangerous or severely medically impaired. If animals are seeing low interest for adoption, Grand County’s shelter works with smaller facilities outside the county to ensure those pets find a loving home.

So if certain animals aren’t the perfect fit for residents of Grand County, they’re still guaranteed to find a new home and life elsewhere.

“The animals, I know, are getting a second chance,” Kerstiens said with a smile.

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