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By Stephanie Ashley

Larimer Humane Society

Volunteers for Larimer Humane Society
James and Michelle Penland, volunteers for Larimer Humane Society with their dog Oliver, handed in 18,000 signatures

18,000 signatures handed in today to put a sales tax increase on the ballot in Larimer County for a new shelter

Fort Collins, Colo. (July 17, 2013) – Larimer Humane Society volunteers and board members have been collecting signatures since February in support of a-penny-on-$10 sales tax in Larimer County for a new animal shelter. They’ve spent 1,800 hours petitioning in the past five months and gathered at the Larimer County Clerk’s Office Wednesday to hand in 18,000 signatures. The county clerk will validate signatures through August 16th to determine if Larimer Humane Society has the 11,300 necessary to land a spot on the ballot.

James and Michelle Penland, Larimer Humane Society volunteers, devoted more than 50 hours of their personal time to collect nearly 1,000 signatures toward the 18,000 total. With a combined volunteer tenure of more than two years, they know all too well the challenges posed by the current facility. They proudly handed in the signatures Wednesday to celebrate this milestone in the process toward a better shelter for the animals.

Assuming this initiative is put on the ballot and Larimer County voters support it in November, an additional penny-on-$10 sales tax would go into effect in Larimer County beginning January 2014. The tax, which would sunset in six years or less, would bring in more than $13 million Larimer Humane Society needs to build a new shelter on County Road 30 in Loveland just north of the Fort Collins/Loveland airport. Construction on the new facility would begin immediately and Larimer Humane Society could feasibly make the move within two years. 

The current Larimer Humane Society shelter is more than 38 years old and is now failing. The facility poses disease control challenges, animal enrichment constraints, overwhelming maintenance needs and overcrowding and is no longer able to meet the needs of the growing population.

The new building is designed for efficiency and will meet state regulations and industry standards. It will implement best practices for biological risk management. It will include sufficient space for growth and changes in animal populations. The animal shelter building and exterior yards will total 38,802 square feet, approximately three times the total of both buildings currently in use.