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Larimer Humane succeeds in third try to get new shelter on ballot

The third time was the charm for the Larimer Humane Society (www.Larimerhumane.org) , which learned this week that a proposed tax hike to build a new shelter will be on the November ballot.

The Larimer County Clerk found that of the 22,000 signatures turned in last month, 13,182 were valid, A minimum of 11,463 were needed to make the ballot.

If voters approve, the tax of one cent for every $10 spent on appicable purchases will be levied, amounting to $2.67 a month per household for 6 years or less, when it would "sunset," according to Larimer Humane.

Larimer Humane Society has been in its current shelter for 40 years while the population they serve has grown more than 33 percent, a spokesman said.

"While our building has aged and deteriorated, our animal intake has increased 10-fold,” said executive director July Calhoun. “We’ve used paint, caulk, duct tape, nails and bungee cords to keep operating in our current space.

"The size and construction of kennels, as well as the layout and design of the facility are barriers to an animal’s ability to heal from injuries and receive the behavioral training more animals need to be healthy and adoptable.”

Should the ballot issue succeed, the sales tax hike would go into effect in Larimer County beginning January 2015. It would bring in more than $13 million Larimer Humane Society needs to build a new shelter on County Road 30 in Loveland just north of the Fort Collins/Loveland airport. Construction on the new facility would begin immediately and Larimer Humane Society could move within two years.

The new animal shelter building and exterior yards would total 38,802 square feet, approximately three times the total area now. The humane society owns the land outright and likely would lease the new shelter to the county, a spokesman said.

Larimer Humane Society provides sheltering and veterinary services for Larimer County’s homeless animals as well as animal control and disaster response services for the community.

In 2013, a similar petition drive fell short of the needed 11,263 signatures to place the issue on the November ballot. Shelter officials blamed a counting error on their part. Larimer Humane then gathered public support and appealed to the county's board of commissioners to refer the matter to the ballot, but commissioners, though supportive, took no action because the county would have had only two weeks before the deadline for referral to work out details, said spokesperson Stephanie Ashley.

“We’re asking the community to vote YES in November for a new animal shelter in Larimer County,” Calhoun said. “We appreciate the generosity our community has shown to us over the years. But now, more than ever, it is an important for people to support Larimer Humane Society," Calhoun said.

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