Denver got a grant to help people keep their pets when they’re facing a big vet bill

The top reasons people give up their pets to Denver Animal Protection are health problems and behavior problems.

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Harlow sits on the couch in Urban Gypsy on West Colfax Avenue. Jan 9, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Harlow sits on the couch in Urban Gypsy on West Colfax Avenue. Jan 9, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The top reasons people give up their pets to Denver Animal Protection are because they have health problems the owners can’t afford to treat or behaviors the owners can’t figure out how to manage.

A $50,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will provide one-time assistance with medical costs, pet supplies and training resources so that people can keep their pets with them.

This isn’t a program for people who straight up can’t afford to own pets, and it won’t cover ongoing expenses. The money would go way too fast if that were the case.

But if, for example, a dog has a broken leg, and the owner can’t afford treatment, this grant money could be used to help, said Kerra Jones, a spokeswoman for Denver Department of Environmental Health.

There are a lot of costs to the city when someone surrenders a pet, not to mention the emotional effect on the owners and the animal, and the grant could help reduce that by keeping more pets with their owners.

Because the money is limited, Denver is asking people who want to use this grant to go to the shelter to meet with a staff member. Assistance will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Denver Animal Shelter is at 1241 W. Bayaud Ave. You can spot it by the giant silver dog statue. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Denver is hoping this program will help 70 pets stay with their families, though the exact number will depend on the level of service needed.