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Animal Services Transition Presentation

Director of Justice Services Matt Lewis presented a comprehensive plan to restructure Mesa County Animal Services (MCAS) during the July 2 public hearing of the Mesa County Board of Commissioners. This plan will transition MCAS from a county department into a separate enforcement and shelter structure. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) will absorb all enforcement duties for unincorporated Mesa County, and animal sheltering will be outsourced to the nonprofit sector. Mesa County will continue providing shelter services until a new contract is approved.

The plan will:

  • Split enforcement and sheltering operations (currently performed by MCAS).
  • Transfer enforcement duties within unincorporated Mesa County to MCSO.
  • Issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a contractor to provide sheltering services for Mesa County.
  • Give Animal Services employees the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience by continuing enforcement duties with MCSO or pursuing continued shelter work with the contractor.

The plan will NOT:

  • Discontinue animal enforcement and sheltering services in Mesa County or any municipalities within. 
  • Shut down the MCAS sheltering facility — it will remain operational under the organization awarded the sheltering contract with Mesa County. 

Mesa County currently has contracts with municipal governments to provide animal shelter services and also provides enforcement services for the City of Grand Junction. 

Under the new plan, municipalities in Mesa County can expect the following changes:

  • Enforcement operations will no longer be provided in municipalities after the conclusion of current contracts, effective Jan. 1, 2025.
  • MCAS will continue to provide sheltering services until the conclusion of current contracts in Jan. 2025 and will then be open to providing shelter services for municipalities on a situational basis while seeking a contractor.
  • When Mesa County selects a contractor, municipalities may work with the same contractor or a provider of their choice.

This collaborative transition aims to provide the highest-quality services and enhance public safety and humane animal treatment. By working hand in hand with the nonprofit community, we ensure professional, compassionate, and efficient animal care. This will allow the MCSO to focus on enforcement and leverage the strengths of our nonprofits for optimal shelter management.

MCSO and municipal law enforcement agencies already perform animal services enforcement duties. We anticipate the transfer of ​complete enforcement duties to go smoothly because law enforcement entities possess the experience, resources, and infrastructure to provide enforcement services, and their involvement will enhance these services. This includes access to MCSO’s dispatch center, which will potentially serve as a central hub for residents in any part of Mesa County to call for animal services enforcement.

Likewise, our local animal welfare nonprofits have established networks of passionate volunteers who strengthen sheltering services by playing with animals and giving them the love and attention they need to thrive. 

Ultimately, this transition is about providing better, safer, and more enforcement-efficient services for our community by leveraging the expertise and resources of the MCSO and the nonprofit sector to ensure that our animals and residents receive the best care possible.

At the July 2 public hearing, the Commissioners unanimously authorized the County Administrator to forego municipal contract renewals. They also approved sending letters to inform municipal governments in Mesa County about the upcoming service changes, effective Jan. 1, 2025.

Animal Services
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Brick building that says, "Mesa County Animal Services" with a =n American flag outside.