Donations help animals and shelters

Posted 1/2/10

For one county the economy is taking a toll on the livestock that eventually leaves the animals abandoned without food or water. Lately, the Elbert …

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Donations help animals and shelters


For one county the economy is taking a toll on the livestock that eventually leaves the animals abandoned without food or water.

Lately, the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office is dealing with the left-behind livestock in a big way. Undersheriff Shayne Heap said people who have lost their homes many times leave their livestock behind because they have no way of taking care of them. This abandonment is not only affecting the animals but also the Sheriff office’s resources.

Heap said the livestock left behind end up being taken care of by the Sheriff’s Department. The animals are usually left at the home while deputies come out and feed and manage the animals or they are moved to the fair grounds and taken care of there.

Heap said this type of work gets difficult because the money to feed them and the manpower is not in the department’s budget.

“We found that instead of moving them or stressing them, we leave the animals there at the home and the guys go out and care for them everyday and water and feed them,” Heap said.

But this month in an effort to help the Sheriff’s Office, one Elbert Country resident stepped up to the plate by donating 50 bales of hay to the department.

Rod Denning is the owner of Tumbleweed Tractor Service in Kiowa and also operates a feed business in Franktown. His donation is being used to care for abandoned and neglected livestock in the county. Heap said the donation has truly helped the Sheriff’s Office and the animals.

“Rod is a really good guy and when I told him about the animals I asked him if he knew there was a place where I could find discounted bails of hay,” Heap said. “But instead he ended up just donating the hay to us.”

Luckily for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office abandoned livestock or any other domesticated pet is not an issue. Lieutenant Attila Denes with the Douglas County Sheriff’s office said the department has not seen any kind of an increase in animal rescue in the county due to the economy or foreclosures. He said out of the 180 evictions done on the county this year, there have been only two or three times when a pet has needed a home.

The Buddy Center in Castle Rock is also not seeing an increase in pets surrenders due to the economy. Michelle Ray, a spokesperson for the Buddy Center, said pets are constantly being surrendered, but there is no increase from this year compared to last year.

“People who give up their pets do not tell us directly is it because of the economy,” she said. “But we are still receiving pets and we are always in need of volunteer help.”

But in Elbert County, the left behind animals are a direct result of the economy. Heap said while the animals are being taken care of, the owners are contacted. If the owners can not keep the animals, the Sheriff’s Office then finds another home for the livestock.

“One good thing is that we never have a problem finding homes for these animals,” Heap said. “Someone is always willing to take them and take care of them. Even the old, beat down animals.”

But there is another option other than abandonment for people who can no longer care for their horses. Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in Douglas County rescues horses and rehabilitates them back to good health if needed. Some of the horses are adopted out to new families and some are trained in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and are paired with troubled children or families.

Owner and founder of the ranch, Jodi Messenich said because the ranch is a non-profit organization, people who surrender their horses are asked to contribute either financially or through volunteer work at the ranch to help take care of their horse and other horses.

“We always need volunteers and donations,” she said. “I have a 146 acres and there is no physical limit to the number of horses I can take in. It’s the financial limits that causes us not to have as many horses as we could.”

For more information on the Zuma’s Rescue Ranch, visit


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