Elbert County Animal Control: Frequently asked questions

  • Reporting Stray and Nuisance Animals?
  • Reporting potential animal cruelty?
  • Animal Problems During Non-business Hours?
  • How to Adopt a Pet?
  • Locating Missing Pet?
  • Getting my pet back from Animal Control?
  • I received a Warning Notice. What do I do now?
  • What to do with Stray Pets?
  • Pet Licenses. Number of Pets Allowed?
  • Barking Dog at Night?
  • Problems with Raccoons and Other Wildlife animals?
  • Animal Bites?
  • I have a problem with my neighbors livestock being on my property?
  • What are my responsibilities concerning maintenance and upkeep of the fences between myself and my neighbors property?


  • How do I report stray or nuisance animals?

    Call the Dispatch Center at 303-660-7500 to report stray, loose, or nuisance animals. We will need a description of the animal(s) causing the problem, a description of the problem, and your name, address and phone number so we can get back in touch with you if necessary. The animal owner's name and/or address are helpful, but not required.

    For example: "My name is John Smith and I live at 123 Elbert Street. My phone number is 303-555-1234. There's a large, brown dog out loose on our street. I think it might belong to the family at 135 Elbert Street. I'm worried because it's barking at the kids getting off the school bus."

    It is against the law to allow dogs to run loose in Elbert County. Elbert County Resolution 99-44 requires that all dog owners keep their animals on their premises at all times. When off premise they must be under the control of the owner. Dogs should be walked on a leash and be under the direct control of their owner at all times.

    Cats are considered "animals at large" and are not required to be on a leash or under the direct physical control of their owners. We do however highly recommend they not be allowed to leave their owners' property for the safety and well being of the cat. There are a significant number of wild animals in our county that prey on cats as a food source.

    If loose animals are causing a problem in your neighborhood, simply call Elbert County Dispatch at 303-621-2027 #1 and request a "call for service" be entered. The ECSO Animal Control Unit is normally staffed between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week (except for government observed holidays). Be ready to provide the dog's location and a good description. If you think you know who the dog might belong to, tell us.

    You do not have to give your name when you report a loose or stray animal. If you do provide it and if the owner turns up, he or she does not have the right to ask who called about their pet. We do not give out information on the scene or over the phone about the person who filed the report.

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    How do I report animal cruelty and neglect situations?

    If it is an emergency situation that needs immediate attention, call the Elbert County Dispatch Center at 303-660-7500 to report cruelty and neglect, dog fights and cockfights. All reports can be reported anonymously, but it's important for you to provide as much information about the problem as possible. For example: "There is a very skinny black dog tied to the front porch on the northwest corner of Main Street and Banner Street. I don't know the address, but it's a blue house with white trim. The dog has no food, shelter or water." If it is not an emergency call 303-621-2027 #1.

    The more information we have about an animal problem, the better we are able to help.


    If you witness someone causing deliberate harm to an animal, you can report them to us. Try to have as much information as possible. Photos or videotape of the abuse is even better. Be sure to use the time-date feature on your camera if this is possible.

    If you think someone is neglecting an animal, let us know. According to state statute, animals must be provided with adequate food, water and shelter, adequate space, clean living conditions and basic veterinary care. "Shelter" means an actual dog house-being able to duck under a porch, car, or boat doesn't count. If a dog is kept on a chain, the chain must be at least five times the length of the dog (not counting the tail) and it must be set up so the chain doesn't get tangled on bushes, posts, etc.

    Animal fighting is considered cruelty to animals. Even if no other evidence of cruelty or neglect is present, animal fighting is illegal on its own. Drugs, gambling, prostitution and other illegal activities are often present at human-induced animal fights-fights set up by people to challenge one dog against another. You may report dog fights or cock fights either to Animal Control or directly to the sheriff.


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    How do I get help with an animal problem at night, on weekends, or on holidays?

    The Animal Control Unit is staffed seven days a week from approximately 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM except for government observed holidays and vacations. We have an officer available for animal emergencies during these times. We consider it an emergency when:

    An animal has bitten someone

    An animal is trapped, injured or otherwise in serious danger

    Wildlife has wandered indoors

    An animal is loose on the Interstate, county road or on a major street

    Other situations in which an animal is in distress or a human being is in danger of being harmed by the animal.

    Barking dogs, stray cats, and raccoons in your garbage can are not emergency situations. Please notify us of these situations during regular business hours.

    If your problem is an emergency, call 303-621-2027 #1 or dial 911 and they will alert the Animal Control Officer or Patrol Deputy on duty.


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    How do I adopt a pet? How much does it cost?

    All stray animals picked up in Elbert County are delivered to Hallcrest Kennels on CR 158. They are held for safekeeping for 7 calendar days. After seven days if not claimed they are available for adoption. Hallcrest Kennels may be reached at 303-646-4626. They are an independent kennel and not part of the Elbert County Sheriffs Office. All fees are set by the kennel.


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    My pet is missing! What should I do?

    Call the Elbert County Dispatch Center at 303-621-2027 #1 and provide your name, address and contact numbers. Please ask to have the information entered in the "Animal Log", give us as much information about your pet as possible: the date your pet went missing, along with its age, sex, color, breed (if known), weight, and important distinguishing features such as a stub tail. It's important for us to know if your pet was wearing its tag and collar or has a chip.

    Contact Hallcrest Kennels at 303-646-4626 and leave the same information with them. Check the internet. Most shelters like the Denver Dumb Friends League and Buddy Center and websites with all the dogs pictures.

    It is very important that you begin to look for your pet as soon as you notice it's missing. Don't assume your pet is "off wandering around" and that he'll come home in a few days.

    Make up flyers right away, and post them at gas stations, grocery stores and other neighborhood gathering places. Check with local vet clinics as well. Sometimes, kind people find an injured pet and will bring it to the neighborhood veterinarian.

    Run a lost ad in the paper, and check the found ads every day.


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    Animal Control picked up my pet. What do I do now?

    After you have verified that we picked up your animal, come to the Elbert County Sheriffs Office at 751 Ute Ave. between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM Monday through Friday and pay the impound fee of $75 per animal picked up. This fee must be paid before you go to Hallcrest to retrieve your animal. We will provide you with a receipt that must be presented to Hallcrest to pick your animal(s) up. If we are not available you may leave payment in the form of personal check or cash at Hallcrest when you retrieve your animal(s).


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    I received a Warning Notice from Animal Control.What do I do?

    There are three types of Warning Notices that an ECSO Deputy might issue.

    Warning Notice

    Notice of Entry And Care

    Notice of Warning


    A Warning Notice will be a numbered document that was provided as a courtesy to make the resident aware of issues such as a complaint for a loose animal or barking dog. This notice contains no fine but is kept on file so that in the future should the problem continue the officer may refer to it and take further action including issuing a summons. It is notification that you have an issue that needs to be addressed (such as a barking dog) and we would appreciate your assistance in resolving it.


    A Notice of Entry And Care is posted on a premise when a Deputy has been on the premises, no one is home and the animals there required immediate care such as food, water, shelter or removal from a dangerous situation. For example a dog is found wound up in a tether line or a horse is caught in a fence and the Deputy released it form the fence. If there are any questions concerning the notice contact the deputy who name is on the bottom of the sheet.


    A Notice of Warning is provided when there are potentially serious issues concerning possible "Abandonment", Mistreatment" or "Neglect". There will be a Deputies name and contact number at the bottom. You should read this form carefully and then contact the Deputy for clarification if necessary. This is the most serious form of warning issued and usually contains issues to be resolved and date for them to be fixed. Failure to address the listed issues may result in further action being taken by the ECSO.


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    What should I do if I find a stray pet?

    If the animal is wearing an identification tag on its collar and you can read the tag number you should call the animal's owners in an attempt to return the animal.


    If the animal is not wearing tags and you are comfortable with the animal, you may want to care for the animal for a few days while you post "found" flyers in your neighborhood and in adjacent subdivisions. It's a good idea to place a few flyers at local gas stations, veterinary hospitals, grocery stores, etc. The odds are it belongs to one of your close neighbors and they will be out looking for it. This is often the fastest way to return an animal to its owner.

    If you are not comfortable with caring for the animal call the Elbert County Dispatch Center at 303-621-2027 #1 and ask for the animal to be picked up. An Animal Control Deputy or Patrol Deputy will contact you.


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    What about pet licenses, and how many pets may I keep?

    When your dog or cat receives its rabies shot and gets its tag from a licensed veterinarian, it becomes officially licensed in Elbert County. Elbert County Resolution 99-44 requires both dogs and cats to be vaccinated for rabies at the age of three months, then once a year afterwards, and to wear a rabies tag on the collar. Multi-year rabies vaccinations are available from your vet and are also allowed.

    Even if you think your full-time indoor pet will never get out, accidents can happen. The serial number on your pet's rabies tag is invaluable in tracing it back to you. Be sure to save your vet's receipt-if your pet loses its rabies tag, you will be able to prove it is up-to-date on its shots.


    We highly recommend that you add an up-to-date ownership tag to the animals' collars with the home address and contact numbers. If tagged we will always attempt to contact the owner prior to impounding an animal. If the animal is chipped we can trace the owners that way as well.


    Please be aware that the rabies vaccinations can be purchased at feed stores but do not count as a legal vaccination in Elbert County for dogs and cats. Your animals must be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian.

    Elbert County Zoning regulations limit a household to four dogs over the age of four months. If you wish to have more than 4 adult dogs you must apply for a kennel license through the Elbert County Zoning and Code Compliance office.


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    A barking dog in our neighborhood keeps us up at night.
    Who should we call?

    If barking dogs are a problem, we suggest the neighborly approach as a good place to start.  Perhaps the dog's owner isn't aware that the dog is a problem to others, and the solution might be as simple as asking the owner to bring the dog inside during the hours when you are trying to sleep. It's surprising how often people are willing to cooperate when they become aware that their pet is keeping someone else awake.

    If the neighborly approach fails call the Elbert County Dispatch Center at 303-621-2027 #1 and ask for a Deputy to contact you.

    Please provide:

    Your name, address and phone

    Location (address) of the dog(s) causing the problem,

    Description of the animal's problem behavior,

    Description of how the animal's behavior is affecting you.

    We can dispatch an officer to discuss the problem with the dog’s owner. A warning notice will be left to document the visit. If the dog continues to bark, the owner may receive a summons.

    Be aware that, according to the definition used in the law, nuisance barking or noise-making must be excessive before a summons will be issued.


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    Raccoons are getting into my garbage. What can I do?

    Many problems with raccoons, skunks and other wildlife often can be solved simply by building an enclosed pen for your garbage cans. It should have a top and four sides. Use a spring-type latch--this lets the garbage collector in but keeps raccoons out. You can also buy ready-made, raccoon-proof pens at some feed stores.


    Tamper-resistant garbage cans are another good solution. Or you could try stretching a piece of bungee cord across your garbage can lid. Just anchor the bungee cord to the handles.


    It's also important to avoid leaving pet food out at night.


    If raccoon and skunk problems persist after you've removed food sources and secured your garbage, you can contact a critter removal service to trap and remove them. Check the Yellow Pages or the internet for services that operate in your area.


    Please do not feed raccoons. Sure, raccoons are cute. But rabies isn't. Raccoons can carry rabies, which is transmittable to humans, pets and livestock. Raccoons also carry distemper, a serious disease which can be transmitted to dogs and cats that aren't up-to-date on their shots. If a raccoon bites a human, a doctor must be called immediately. Treatment may be needed for exposure to rabies and other diseases. If a raccoon bites a pet, take the pet to a veterinarian right away.


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    Someone has been bitten by an animal. What needs to be done?

    1st - Seek immediate emergency medical care for the victim at an ER or other qualified medical center. Do not delay as this may hamper the doctors efforts to address the injury.


    Because of the danger of rabies, which is always fatal if untreated, animal bites and scratches should always be reported without exception. A bite report will be taken, and every effort will be made to find the animal, quarantine it, and observe its health for ten (10) days.


    If you, a family member, or a visitor to your home was bitten by your own pet, if it is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, and if it was not running loose or otherwise in violation of the animal control ordinance at the time the bite occurred, you must report the bite, but you may be allowed to keep your animal confined in your own home and examined by your own veterinarian after ten (10) days have passed. The animal must not be allowed to run loose or make contact with other animals or human visitors for ten (10) days. You may also choose to kennel your pet at your veterinarian's office during this time. If the animal dies for any reason during this time, you must contact the Animal Control Unit so your pet's remains can be examined for rabies. Please call us at 303-621-2027 if you have any questions concerning this pocess.


    If the dog was not up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, or if it was running loose or otherwise in violation of the ordinance at the time the bite occurred, the animal will be impounded in our Rabies Observation Kennel for ten days. The owner may reclaim the animal after ten days have passed, and must be ready to pay any fines (such as failure to vaccinate against rabies) that may apply. In some cases, you may pay your fines at the kennel and then we will transfer your pet to your own veterinarian's office for observation.


    If you are bitten by a wild mammal, such as a fox or raccoon, seek immediate medical care and then notify the Colorado Division of Wildlife immediately at (303) 291-7227. If possible they can capture the animal and examine it for rabies. Birds, reptiles, fish, and other animals do not carry rabies. If you are not sure whether or not the animal which bit you is a mammal, please call Animal Control and we can help identify it for you.


    Due to risk of infection from bacteria, and due to the risk of dangerous venom from a snake or spider bite, you should see a physician if you have been bitten by a bird, reptile, spider, or any other non-mammalian animal for medical treatment, but the animal does not need to be impounded or quarantined.


    If the Animal Control Unit is unable to locate the animal which bit you, you must go through a series of post-exposure anti-rabies injections to protect you against the rabies virus. While the risk of rabies is very small in the case of dog and cat bites, the virus is always fatal if untreated. However small the odds are, the risk is almost always too great to gamble on.


    If you have been bitten by a wild animal which got away, you must have the injections to protect your health. Consult your physician for medical advice as to whether or not you should have the injections in situations where a dog or cat got away.


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    I have a problem with my neighbor's livestock being on my property all the time. What can I do?

    Having good relationships with your livestock owning neighbors is essential. If you are encountering unwanted livestock you should first try to contact the livestock owner or land owner as appropriate and request they remove the livestock. Before involving Animal Control always try the "neighborly" approach first. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect fence. Livestock will find a way to get loose and having a good relationship with their owner will usually resolve most issues promptly.

    State statute defines Colorado as "open range" and also a "fence out" state. That means it is the responsibility of the land owner that doesn't want livestock on their property to erect a "lawful fence" to keep unwanted livestock off of their property.

    CRS 35-46-101 defines a "Lawful fence" as a well-constructed three barbed wire fence with substantial posts set at a distance of approximately twenty feet apart, and sufficient to turn ordinary horses and cattle, with all gates equally as good as the fence, or any other fence of like efficiency.


    The generally accepted standards for a livestock fence sufficient to turn away cattle, horses, mules, etc is a five strand barb wire fence with post spacing of either 10', 12', 16' or 20'. Equally spaced fence stays should be utilized in all cases with one in between 10' spacing, two stays for 12' spacing, 3 stays for 16' spacing and 4 stays for 20' spacing.


    The fences separating two adjoining properties are referred too as "partition" fences.


    CRS 35-46-112 defines the "partition fence" as follows: "Where the agriculture or grazing lands of two or more persons adjoin, whether or not such lands are farmed or grazed, it is the duty of the owner of each tract to build one-half of the line fence, such fence to be a lawful fence as described in section CRS 35-46-101."


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    What are my responsibilities concerning the building, maintenance and upkeep of the fences between myself and my neighbors property?

    The statute further defines how the costs are to be recovered for the building and maintenance of the partition fence.


    Under CRS 35-46-113 it states; "Partition fences between agricultural and grazing land shall be erected and also kept in repair at the joint cost of the owners of the respective adjoining tracts, except as otherwise agreed by such owners. If after thirty days written notice, served personally or by registered mail by either the owner or tenant of one tract upon the owner or tenant of the other tract, such other owner neglects or refuses to erect or repair one-half of the partition fence, the person giving notice may proceed to erect or repair the entire partition fence and collect by a civil action at law one-half the entire cost thereof from the other owner.


    It's also important to note here that in Colorado the adjoining neighbors are responsible for one half the total cost of the partition fence, and not responsible for 100% of the cost of half such as some states that use the "left hand rule". In those states the two parties are responsible for the building and maintenance of that portion of the fence that lies to the parties left if they were standing facing each other at the center point of the partition fence. Colorado is not a left-hand rule state.

    The bottom line here is by statute a land owner must erect a fence to keep livestock off his property and there are provisions for the livestock owner to contribute half the cost of building and maintaining that fence. Please call our office at 303-621-2027 should you have any questions concerning this.


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