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High Country Humane

A laughing dog and cat greet customers and rescues at the entrance to the High Country Humane animal shelter in Timberline.

Nearly a week after High Country Humane opened its doors, the number of animals it has received has risen from 12 to 75.

A large portion of that has been made up by puppies, almost 30 in all, said President of High Country Humane Diane Jarvis.

“The response has been wonderful from the public,” Jarvis said. “It’s been going really well.”

So far, High Country Humane has been able to return 12 animals to their owners and adopted two animals out, said executive director Steve Conrad. They currently have four animals up for adoption, two cats and two dogs, and seven are available to be fostered out at this time.

High Country Humane, which opened on Jan. 2, is acting as the new city and county animal shelter after it won both contracts last year.

However, this begs the question as to what the future holds for Coconino Humane Association.

Michelle Ryan, the executive director of the Humane Association, said despite losing the contracts with the city and county, they are excited about their future plans and are very much still open and welcoming animals.

Ryan declined to go into too much detail, but said that the Humane Association is looking to expand, providing services to other areas and other municipalities across Coconino County, such as Page or Tuba City. Animal welfare remains an issue across the county, with reservation animals a key example.

Ryan said although the contracts they had with the city and county were part of the business they did, they have never relied on them for their survival. The same goes for the two contracts they have with the Hopi reservation and Williams, from which they receive only a few hundred animals a year.

Coconino Humane Association was also given a substantial donation of $340,000 from an estate to be put toward its veterinary services so it can “continue to provide services for years to come,” Ryan said.

And it still has more than 100 animals at the shelter and received 22 since the beginning of the year. However, now that it no longer holds the contracts, the Humane Association does not accept stray animals from the city and county.

Because of this, some animals had to be turned away, but those who bring them in are being referred to High Country Humane. This may be an issue for some who, after being directed to the new shelter, elected to simply release the stray animals rather than bring them in.

Flagstaff animal control officer Shalaine Bigler said they have seen a few instances of this after people were referred to the new shelter.

At an apartment complex near Fourth Street, a resident witnessed a couple drop off four cats and then leave, Bigler said. The couple matched the description of two people who had tried to drop four cats off at the Coconino Humane Association shelter earlier that day, Bigler added.

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Bigler also said they have also been getting reports of a dog that appears to be lost and wandering around the Lower Greenlaw Estates neighborhood. While they can’t be sure that the dog in question was abandoned there, Bigler said an animal that looks lost is a sign that it may have been dumped in the area.

Jarvis said they hadn’t heard about the incidents, but said that she was somewhat surprised that people would dump stray animals rather than bringing them to the newly opened facility.

Although High Country Humane is out of town, Jarvis said, it is only about six miles past the mall on an paved road that is easy to navigate.

Nonetheless, if people see a stray animal and want to help, but don’t have the time or ability to bring it to a shelter, they should call animal control, Jarvis said.

Bigler agreed, adding that it can be dangerous to relocate animals to an area that they are not familiar with.

With the discovery of rabies in some wild animals recently, Bigler added it is also a priority to get stray dogs and cats into shelters, and at times it is best for members of the public to just call animal control.

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Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at askabelund@azdailysun.com, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on Twitter @AdrianSkabelund.

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