Pueblo County votes to support new animal services provider

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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE 12/6/18:
Pueblo County commissioners sided with Pueblo City councilmembers to hand over power to a new organization when it comes to animal services.

Commissioners voted on Thursday to allow PAWS to run Pueblo Animal services. The vote ends a 16-year partnership with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. A lot needs to happen as the transition takes place.

The PAWS director said she will be meeting at the shelter on Friday to work out details with Pueblo Animal Services to make the transition as smooth as possible. During Thursday's meeting commissioners did raise some doubts about PAWS ability to run the animal enforcement side of things. There were also concerns expressed on how much money PAWS was asking for. The worry is it may not be enough.

"We have so many strong community advocates coming in from a number of places that will exceed what's been done," Director of PAWS Linda Mitchell said.

The PAWS director has said she wants to hire the current employees of Pueblo Animal Services. PAWS should be running the shelter by the start of the new year.

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PREVIOUS STORY 12/3/18:

In front of a packed house on Monday night, Pueblo City Council put its support behind a contract with PAWS For Life to handle animal services in the city.

The contract for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is set to expire at the end of the year after 16 years as Pueblo Animal Services. The new contract for PAWS For Life is scheduled to run through 2021. It still has to be approved at the county level. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the resolution this Wednesday. If the commissioners don't support the ordinance, the city is responsible to support PAWS on its own.

City council was in support for PAWS by a vote of 4-3. PAWS for Life is a no-kill private shelter in Pueblo and bid $500,000 cheaper than the humane society.

Click here for more on the resolution passed.

"We work daily to care for the animals of the community and protect the safety and health of the people and the animals of the community," said Director of Pueblo Animal Services Julie Justman. "So we're absolutely devastated."

PAWS will have about one month to get organized as the primary animal services provider for the city of Pueblo.

"We have a phenomenal staff already in place at the PAWS building and we're hoping a lot of the Pueblo Animals Services people will carry over and embrace a new perspective on the community and animal welfare," stated the director of PAWS, Linda Mitchell.