Colorado Rescue Act (Featuring Big Handsome)

April 2024 PawPrints

Colorado Rescue Act (Featuring Big Handsome)

Big Handsome is an appropriately named red-brindle mastiff mix from a shelter in Oklahoma. When his shelter ran out of space but was still required to take more incoming dogs, Big Handsome was placed on a list to be terminated even though he was a healthy and well-behaved dog. Luckily, Big Handsome was also put on a list of dogs that could be transferred to other shelters that had available space to take them.

At MaxFund No Kill shelter we do our best to save and treat all kinds of cats and dogs. Animal rescue is a community that extends far beyond MaxFund, and for any number of reasons, not all shelters operate as No Kill shelters. Some shelters are municipal shelters that must admit all incoming animals. Some shelters must maintain a certain amount of available kennel space for city animal control contracts and funding. Kennel space, funding, even proximity to and availability of veterinary and training staff can all influence how different animal shelters and rescues operate.

Overall, though, we have the same basic objective: we are trying to save animals. Sadly, some shelters and their animals still run out of options. Demand for shelter space is extremely high and some shelters are required to make space any way possible. In some instances, healthy animals are put on a “kill list” simply because they were not adopted before more animals came into the shelter. MaxFund helps these animals and shelters when we can. We understand that some good dogs and cats simply take more time for the right home to find them. MaxFund reached out to Big Handsome’s shelter in Oklahoma, and he was transferred to MaxFund. Big Handsome is a very sweet, although strong and boisterous, big dog who is a well-behaved walker with the MaxFund staff.

Several other current MaxFund guests are also transfers from similar lists at other shelters. Dogs like our goofy Charlie Brown and playful Caboose were transferred from overcrowded, rural Colorado shelters that wanted to avoid terminating healthy dogs for lack of space. Animal rescues everywhere are at capacity, and try as we might, no single shelter can save every pet. What we can do is encourage cooperation and communication among shelters to build a better network to find space and facilitate transfers like the one that that saved Big Handsome and brought him to MaxFund until he is adopted to his forever home.

The Colorado Rescue Act, put forward by No Kill Colorado, MaxFund, and several other shelters in the state of Colorado, was meant to facilitate this sort of communication among Colorado animal rescues and establish a common network rather than a few isolated lists and phone calls between shelters. Failing health, dangerous behavior, and animal control mandates are examples of reasons that some animals are euthanized in shelters, but it is an unnecessary shame to end the lives of healthy and treatable animals when full shelters run out of space. A common platform among Colorado’s 300+ animal rescues would have given these animals the best chance to be seen and moved if able and thus have a truly complete rescue. It would have meant even more success stories like Big Handsome’s.

The Colorado Rescue Act did not make it into law this year. While we knew that asking for increased transparency in euthanasia with a bill of this kind would prove difficult, we dove in anyway and started the conversation. Next year, MaxFund and our partners in No Kill will be using what we’ve learned to continue to forward the mission, to keep healthy animals off kill lists and give them all the best opportunities possible no matter what Colorado shelter they land in.

Please find more information at:
Go Back