Eagle Valley Humane Society started in 1974 and continues to address the need of homeless animals in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley Humane Society started in 1974 and continues to address the need of homeless animals in Eagle County

Unlike your children (or your parents), you can have the pleasure of picking your pet.

And while some people look for that perfect breed from a hopefully-legit breeder, they might not know that animal shelters, such as the Eagle Valley Humane Society, sometimes have those highly sought after purebreds.

"Currently there are still millions getting euthanized in shelters across the U.S.," said Char Gonsenica, who has been with the Eagle Valley Humane Society for almost 20 years. "I always encourage people to look at adopting first, and if they don't find what they're looking for, then they can look at other options. But I also encourage people to really research breeders and visit the sites."

More than a Shelter

Recently, the humane society here in Eagle County has been getting fewer cats than previous years, and the dogs have been going quickly.

Gonsenica believes the decline in cats needing homes has been a result of the increased spay and neutering efforts across the state.

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The Eagle Valley Humane Society is part of a regional coalition, working together and serving as part of the emergency response team for the state. Gonsenica is the head of the We Care Coalition, which includes 14 counties on the Western Slope. Their first priority is to each other before reaching to help outside of the region and state.

As part of the Bureau of Animal Protection and the state's disaster team, the largest legal case they had to assist with was a breeder who had 280 dogs and was convicted of animal cruelty.

Adoption process

At the Eagle Valley Humane Society, the adoption process is "fairly simple," Gonsenica said, "because we're a good community around here, and a community where most people know each other."

All dogs go into foster homes, and the foster owners help in the process to determine if it's a good fit for the adopter. Rarely, Gonsenica said, animals get returned.

The humane society will help make sure you have everything to get started, such as a kennel if the animal should need one. It also offers year-round obedience classes free of cost with Mark Ruark. Gonsenica is also a certified professional dog trainer, so she makes home visits from time to time to help with issues after adoption.

The Eagle Valley Humane Society will always take the animals back.

Coming up at the humane society

The Eagle Valley Humane Society is always looking for foster homes. For more information, visit http://www.adoptafriend.org or call 970-328-3647.

July is matching-donation month at the humane society, with a private donor matching all donations up to $10,000. Visit http://www.adoptafriend.org to donate or mail in a check.

In honor of longtime president Bill Loper, who recently passed away, the humane society board voted to name its adoption center in honor of him and his wife, Ann. It is now called the Loper Adoption Center. The Lopers have fostered hundreds of kittens over the years and have been the "backbone" of the organization for 25 years.

The Eagle Valley Humane Society has four new board members: JK Perry, Wendy Mallas, Jeanne Adams and Karen Grimaldo. The new president is Gabe Shalley.

For more information and to check in on what animals are available, visit http://www.adoptafriend.org, call 970-328-3647 and follow the Eagle Valley Humane Society on Facebook and Instagram.

Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.