Most of us are at home right now, probably thinking about something “essential” that we need in order to get us out of the house for at least 10 minutes. Unfortunately, this is the reality that we have to live in during a global pandemic.
However, there is one animal rescue in Kiowa, Colorado, that is currently in a race against time and executive orders in order to help animals of high-kill shelters in neighboring states.
The organization, Low Riders of the West, have a request for their governor, Jared Polis, now that stay-at-home orders have been issued.
The rescue’s transportation executive, Claire Sanchez, said to Fox21 News, “We want to bring these dogs to Colorado so they are out of danger of being euthanized. We want to bring these dogs to Colorado so they are out of danger of being euthanized.”
Given that these stay-at-home orders entail staying at home, it’s posing a bit of a challenge to the organization. Ever since the order was put in place, the rescue has been unable to travel to its surrounding states in order to rescue dogs from the high-kill shelters. The problem being is this travel isn’t seen as “essential.”
“Hundreds of dogs in the Texas and New Mexico area are euthanized daily,” Claire added.
According to Claire, there are 250 applications for both adopters and fosters, however, the rescue is short on dogs. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of shelter dogs in the states of Texas and New Mexico, who are in need of transport up to Colorado. But because of the stay-at-home order, they can’t bring them across the border. Sadly, the shelters in Texas and New Mexico have seen a very drastic intake of dogs because of circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have dogs pretty much coming in every weekend. There is never a time that there aren’t dogs that need to be brought here,” Claire said.
Claire has stated that shelters and rescues are still open and operational, however, it’s only the transport portion that is being affected. Of course, this is also one of the most critical functions.
The Pet Animal Care Facility Act Program of Colorado, or PAFCA, released a statement.
The press release read, “In light of Executive Order 2020-17, after consulting with stakeholders, legal counsel, and other interested parties, we consider the order to restrict the transportation of pet animals, except when such transportation is for the purpose of providing veterinary care or relocating any pet animal as a result of an emergency closure of a facility or transporting any animal to an authorized foster home. Any other transportation is not considered critical and therefore must cease until April 11, 2020.”
However, the governor’s office, after receiving the response, didn’t clarify whether or not this order would be extended to April 30th or not – meaning the rescue is still in the dark about what it can do for the dogs.
Given that Low Riders of the West is a non-profit 501 (c) (3), they rely solely on volunteers to keep their operations running smoothly. And given the current confusion as well as the current situation, it’s causing a lot of problems.
As Claire shared, “We aren’t able to keep the system moving and it’s causing huge problems on everybody’s side.”
Since the executive order, many of the transports had to be canceled – something that very much spells life or death for shelter dogs.
Claire stated, “This isn’t a business. This is volunteers giving their time and lives to save these dogs.”
However, there is a tiny glimmer of hope, since the Humane Society of Pike’s Peak region was able to post a video of an empty animal shelter thanks to the many locals who answered the call for shelter’s call for help. In our current crisis, let us not forget to be kind not just to our fellow human beings, but to our fellow animals as well. Foster or donate if you can.