This year’s 12 Strays of Christmas fundraiser was the Cortez Animal Shelter’s most successful yet, supervisor Jennifer Crouse said on Friday.
Every December, local businesses and individuals sponsor dogs at the shelter for a minimum of $25 each. This year, Crouse said, the shelter received about $5,300 in donations, more than double the highest amount they’d received before. She said she believed the outpouring of donations came partly in response to the Montezuma County government’s decision to reduce the shelter’s funding by half in 2018.
“A lot of people made reference to, ‘I hear the county cut your funding,’” she said. “The community very generously stepped up.”
Before this year, Crouse said the largest amount of money raised during a 12 Strays of Christmas event was about $1,900. This year, she said, several people donated much more than the required $25 to sponsor a pet, with some individuals giving as much as $500. In a thank you letter released to The Journal on Friday, she thanked about 80 people and businesses that participated.
The money will go to buy food, toys, kennels and other supplies for pets at the shelter, and Crouse said she may use some of it for repair projects in the summer.
Cortez residents were also generous with adoption during the holidays. Crouse said every dog that carried a sponsor’s name down Main Street in December was adopted by the end of the month, and a total of about 24 cats and dogs from the shelter found new homes.
But Crouse said January has also seen an “influx” of new stray cats and dogs, which is not unusual for this time of year. The shelter has received five litters of puppies already since Jan. 1, most of which have been adopted. Crouse said the busy season has forced the shelter to put its donations to good use right away.
The shelter’s outlook for this year is a positive one, she said, despite the reduced funding from the county.
“I think we will be fine,” she said. “I’ve always been pretty good at keeping to my budget.”
She also plans to apply for a few grants from the Animal Assistance Foundation, a Lakewood-based organization that helps finance nonprofits and government entities that care for animals.
The Cortez Animal Shelter takes in stray cats and dogs from all over the Four Corners area. Animals that don’t get adopted by locals are sent to larger no-kill shelters in Colorado.