Spotlight: Leadville and Lake County Animal Shelter

Leadville Lake County Animal ShelterA shared services agreement that has worked so well it has not been changed in more than a decade - that is the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the City of Leadville and Lake County to fund an animal shelter serving the Arkansas headwaters area. 

Leadville Mayor Jaime Stuever calls it a “well-oiled machine. This is another good example of two governments working together and IGAs are a quicker means of being able to put our resources together and make something good come of it.” 

The animal shelter IGA was first signed in 2004 after the City decided a more workable shelter facility was needed. As much of the nonmunicipal population of Lake County immediately surrounds the City of Leadville, elected officials in both entities agreed that it made sense to combine the efforts of the two governments in handling domestic pet issues. 

Funding for the animal shelter is a 50-50 split between City and County. 

Leadville City Administrative Services Director Sarah Dallas said the City handles budgetary issues such as billing and payroll then gets reimbursed by the County. 

Stray animals are delivered to the shelter primarily by a code enforcement officer who receives part of her wages from the County’s contribution to the shelter budget. The animals are housed at the shelter until owners are notified and come to pick up their animals or until unclaimed animals are adopted. Fees collected help support the shelter budget. 

The agreement covers the original construction of the shelter as well as continuing maintenance and operation. It is automatically renewed each year. A termination clause requires notification by April 1 to end the agreement on the following January 1. 

While the IGA is between the City and County, support for the shelter comes from the entire community. Shelter Manager Debbie Ruma said the shelter routinely receives citizen donations of dog food and supplies. Ruma coordinates local volunteers who visit the shelter daily to exercise the animals and keep the shelter tidy. She said because of the many volunteer hours the animals “get lots of hands-on and a lot of extra love.”

Read the IGA or watch a video that, among other shared services, includes details on this project.