General FAQs

Adoption

More than 20,000 pets pass through our doors every year – that’s a lot of paws! Due to the number of animals in our care, we are unable to be on the lookout for specific pets. Please check our website or visit us in person to see who is currently available for adoption.

The good news – there’s no shortage of people wanting to adopt homeless pets in our community! But that means the adoption process could take longer when we are busy. Plan on a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour on a weekday, or up to two hours on the weekend. 

We limit visitations to two pets per family, per day. This helps ensure everyone interested in adopting has the opportunity to spend time with their potential new family member.

Available pets are ready for immediate adoption. Because we could be caring for hundreds of animals at our shelter at any given time, we are unable to hold available animals for pickup at a later date. If you adopt an available animal, you will be expected to take him home the same day. This frees up valuable kennel space for other pets in need.

Stray wait animals are lost animals waiting at HSPPR for their family to find them. By law, stray dogs are held a minimum of five days and cats a minimum of three days (five days in Pueblo County) before we can make an animal available for adoption. We evaluate each and every animal as an individual, and there’s never a time limit on how long we’ll care for an animal before he’s adopted.

Yes, we call this a choice hold. A choice hold makes you the first person we call if a stray dog or cat doesn’t get reclaimed. You will have the opportunity to meet the pet and decide whether you wish to adopt once the stray period is up (we are unable to allow visitations until then). There are a few requirements:

1. If you wish to place a choice hold over the phone instead of coming to the shelter, you will be required to provide a credit card.

2. Only the potential adopter (not a friend, family member living in another household, etc.) may place a choice hold.

3. You must be able to complete the adoption process and take the pet home the first day she is made available for adoption. 

The non-refundable choice hold fee is $25 for cats and $35 for dogs; $50 for a dog or cat in foster care. We will, however, refund the fee if the pet is reclaimed by his owner. 

In the event the person with the choice hold decides not to adopt the pet, we will hold what’s called a popular pet drawing to ensure all other interested parties have the same opportunity to adopt. Interested adopters must be at the shelter when we open the day the pet becomes available and register with us upon arrival. A random drawing will take place immediately to select an adopter.

Owner surrendered pets, pets held for court cases or safe-keeping, and pets younger than 6 weeks of age are not eligible for a choice hold. 

Like many animal shelters across the country, we use variable adoption pricing. We can help more animals in need by pricing pets in high demand at a higher rate. These higher adoption fees leave a legacy for other animas in our care that are older, require extensive medical care, or need more time to find a home. We often reduce the adoption fees on these harder-to-place pets. Check our adoptable pets page for a specific animal’s adoption fee. You’ll also find the adoption fee posted on the pet’s kennel card if you are visiting us in person.

We’re here to get you and your new furry family member off on the right paw. That’s why all HSPPR adoptions include: spay/neuter surgery, a voucher for free veterinary exam (within 14 days of adoption), vaccinations, microchip, and a one-year license (dog adoptions only).

We are required by Colorado law to spay/neuter all dogs and cats adopted from our shelter. It’s another way we are working together to help reduce unwanted pets!

Complaints

Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page) to report a pet in a hot car. A dog can only withstand an increased body temperature for a short time before suffering a fever, heat exhaustion, irreparable brain damage – or even death.

If you are concerned about the well-being of a pet, please call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page). It is not illegal for people to keep their pets outside, but food, fresh water, and adequate shelter must be available. Adequate shelter is a structure with three sides, a roof, and a floor that will retain body heat. The shelter must protect the pet from the elements and be size-appropriate.

Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page) if you suspect an animal is suffering or you suspect she’s been abandoned. Please don’t email us as it may delay our response.

Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page). If no complaints have previously been made, Animal Law Enforcement can send a letter advising the pet owner of the noise complaint or an officer can be dispatched to issue a written warning. A written warning requires the witness be identified to the pet owner. Once a written warning has been issued, additional complaints must be in the form of a signed complaint. The signed complaint is a penalty assessment or summons to court and requires corroborating evidence.

Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page). When necessary, an officer will be dispatched to investigate. Response time may vary depending on our current emergency call volume.  

In order for a written warning to be issued, the law requires an Animal Law Enforcement officer to identify the witness to the pet owner. The law also requires the witness to be within 500 feet.

Additionally, all calls received by Animal Law Enforcement are subject to public records laws. There are exceptions, such as information identifying juveniles, medical information, and information about ongoing criminal investigations in which an accused violator has not been charged with a crime.

 

Any unprovoked and persistent barking during any time of the day or night that disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood is considered unlawful.

Licenses

Licensing is required by law in most jurisdictions, but those requirements depend on where you live. See our licensing page for more information on requirements and pricing.

Licensing is required by law in most jurisdictions – even for cats – but those requirements depend on where you live. See our licensing page for more information on requirements and pricing.

We make licensing easy! Get your license online, at one of our campus locations, or even at participating local veterinary offices. Visit our licensing page for more information.

Lost pets

Take a deep breath. We’re here to help. Time is critical, so please visit our lost pets page to file a lost report right away. We strongly encourage you to come to the shelter and walk through the kennels, too.

 

If your pet is currently at HSPPR, our lost & found team members are here to help reunite you as quickly as possible. Note whether your pet is at our Colorado Springs or Pueblo campus, then follow the signs for Admissions when you arrive. Our hours vary by day and location, so please check before heading our way.

We work hard to ensure the health and safety of your pet while at our facility, even if it’s just for a short time. We do charge boarding fees on a per-day basis to help cover the cost of caring for your pet during her stay. If your pet receives necessary medical care from our veterinary team, the total due may increase. By law, other fees associated with ensuring your pet meets rabies vaccination and licensing regulations may be required. Our customer service team will walk you through a description of these charges.

Let’s join paws to get ’em a happy tail! There are a few ways you can help – bring the pet to HSPPR, call Animal Law Enforcement to pick the pet up (depending on where you live; please note response time may be delayed), or complete a found report and temporarily care for the pet until his owners are found. Please visit our found a stray page for more information or to file a found report.

Please contact us if you are interested in adopting the stray pet you found should his owner not come forward. Legal ownership of an unclaimed pet can only be transferred through the adoption process at a licensed shelter or rescue facility after completion of the stray wait period.

Veterinary and other pet care

For the health and safety of pets and people in our community, rabies vaccinations are required by Colorado law for all dogs and cats. Other routine core vaccinations may be recommended by your veterinarian to help keep your pet healthy and prevent costly medical care. HSPPR offers vaccination events regularly. Check our veterinary services page for more information. 

A healthy pet is a happy pet! We recommend establishing a relationship with a veterinarian, not only for routine health care, but also so you have someone to call in an emergency situation. You can find a list of HSPPR veterinary partners here. Additionally, HSPPR does offer some veterinary services to the public. Check our veterinary services page for more information. 

Our accredited veterinary team provides full medical services to the homeless pets in our care, just like a private clinic. But we are pleased to offer limited low-cost services to the general public, too, including wellness exams, vaccinations, and spay/neuter surgery. Please check our veterinary services page for more information.

We are unable to provide recommendations for pet trainers, but do encourage you to research and interview local trainers who use positive reinforcement techniques.

At HSPPR, we sterilize dogs and cats at 8 weeks of age, provided they are at least two pounds. This is the age and weight requirement recommended by the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

Pediatric sterilization is also endorsed by the American Animal Hospital Association and multiple veterinary colleges. There will be no first heat when surgery is performed early, so the future risk of mammary cancer in females is drastically reduced. With early age surgery, there are also fewer surgical and post-surgical complications reported. 

Wildlife

First and foremost, please do not attempt to touch any wild animal.

HSPPR is not licensed to accept wildlife. We recommend contacting a local pest control company for removal or Colorado Parks and Wildlife if you have other questions.

Prevention is the best course of action. Most animals are looking for food, water, or shelter, and will not hang around if these aren’t available. Keeping your garbage in an enclosed, inaccessible area, like the garage, is especially important. 

If you or your pet had an encounter with a wild animal, such as a bat or skunk, it must be reported to your local health department. Rabies cases are on the rise in Colorado; your local health department will instruct you regarding medical care for yourself and/or possible required quarantine procedures for your pet. HSPPR does not provide bite quarantine services.

HSPPR is not licensed to accept wildlife. If you find orphaned or injured wildlife, including deer, birds, rabbits, turtles, or tarantulas, please check with Colorado Parks and Wildlife for licensed rehabilitators.

Bite reporting

Colorado law requires all animal bites be reported to the health department.

Bite reports can be filed online in El Paso County here. If you live outside of El Paso County, please contact your local health department. Additionally, if you seek medical attention, your doctor will be required to report the bite.

To report a dangerous/aggressive animal situation involving a domestic pet, call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page) or call 911. If you are active military, contact law enforcement on your base/post.

If you or your pet had an encounter with a wild animal, such as a bat or skunk, it must be reported to your local health department. Rabies cases are on the rise in Colorado; your local health department will instruct you regarding medical care for yourself and/or possible required quarantine procedures for your pet. HSPPR does not provide bite quarantine services.

HSPPR does not provide bite quarantine services and will not accept an animal that has bitten in the last 10 days.

Deceased pets

It is extremely difficult to see a deceased pet on the side of the road. If you are willing and able, you may bring a found dog or cat to our Colorado Springs or Pueblo campus for cremation. We do attempt to match deceased pets with any lost reports we have on file so we can provide closure to their owners. If you are unable to bring an animal in, our Pueblo Animal Law Enforcement team can provide domestic pet pickup in Pueblo County. Please know depending on emergency call volume, pickup may be delayed. If you are outside of Pueblo County (including Colorado Springs/El Paso County), please contact your local roads department.

HSPPR isn’t licensed to handle wildlife. Please contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife for further instruction.

Deceased pets can be taken to your veterinarian or HSPPR for cremation. Please see our end of life care page for more information on euthanasia and cremation services and fees. We recommend checking your local laws/ordinances before burying a deceased pet.

Loose pets

Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page) if you see a dog currently at large. Response time may vary depending on our current emergency call volume. If the dog is not currently at large and the pet owner’s location is known, the witness can request a warning letter be sent. The witness may also sign a complaint against the pet owner and a penalty assessment or summons to court will be issued. Providing evidence, such as video, produces a stronger case.

One of the reasons we live here is because it’s a pet-friendly state! Click here for a list of off-leash dog parks in Colorado. Except for explicitly designated off-leash dog parks, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

HSPPR rents out humane cat traps for a refundable deposit. Stray cats can be brought to HSPPR for possible adoption or placement in one of our special cat programs once the stray wait period is up. Contact our customer service team for more information on renting a humane cat trap or check out our community cats page to learn about becoming a colony manager for stray cats in your neighborhood.

Depending on where you live, Animal Law Enforcement may be able to pick up the stray pet for transport to the shelter. Please know depending on emergency call volume, pickup may be delayed. 

If it’s safe to do so, you can help out by bringing the stray pet to one of our shelter locations. We provide them with a safe place to stay and daily care while our lost & found team works to reunite them with their family.

Pets - what's legal?

There are no breed bans in the jurisdictions served by our Animal Law Enforcement team – El Paso or Pueblo counties, City of Centennial, or Douglas County.

In most jurisdictions served by our Animal Law Enforcement team, hens are allowed, but roosters are prohibited. The number allowed depends on zoning restrictions in your area. Call our Animal Law Enforcement team at your corresponding jurisdiction’s phone number (listed at the bottom of this page) for additional assistance.

Laws vary by jurisdiction, so the limit depends on where you live. Visit our laws and ordinances page for more information.

Surrender a pet

There are many reasons a family can no longer care for a pet – a move, allergies, or maybe what could be a behavioral problem. Please visit our surrendering your pet page for more information or to schedule an appointment. Whatever the reason, HSPPR is here to help when you don’t have any other options. Providing us with as much (and as accurate) information about your pet as possible will help us find the right placement. 

Surrendering a pet can be stressful. An appointment will reduce your wait time and some of the stress for both you and your pet. Please visit our surrendering your pet to schedule an appointment.

Whether at our Colorado Springs or Pueblo campus, follow the signs for Admissions when you arrive. Our hours vary by day and location, so please check before heading our way.

We do charge a small fee to help us defray the cost of caring for your pet while at HSPPR: $25 to surrender a dog, $15 to surrender a cat, or $5 to surrender a small mammal, reptile, or bird.

We are unable to provide pickup for surrendered pets. You must bring your pet to one of our campus locations to surrender her.

Proof of ownership is required to surrender a pet. Otherwise a pet brought to us will be considered a stray and the stray wait period must be completed, delaying possible placement.

Due to their special needs, we are unable to accept owner surrender livestock, including chickens, ducks, horses, goats, pigs (other than potbellied pigs), or any other animal considered to be livestock. Please visit our surrendering your pet for additional resources.

HSPPR is an open admission shelter, which means we never turn an animal in need away. We evaluate each and every animal that comes to us as an individual and there’s never a time limit on how long we’ll care for an animal before he’s adopted. We may also work with other shelters/rescues to assist in assessing the specific needs of a pet. In some cases, seriously ill animals or animals with severe behavior problems may be humanely euthanized. As a socially conscious animal shelter, our focus is on the health and well-being of every animal in our care and the safety of the community.