Adopting a pooch in Denver is easy, you just need to know where to look. // Photo: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Adopting a Dog in Denver: What You Need to Know

Denverites love their dogs. Nearly 43 percent of Colorado households own canines, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)’s 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics SourcebookThat translates to more than 1.3 million dogs in the Centennial State.

New rules approved by city health regulators have made Denver the first city in Colorado to allow dogs on restaurant and bar patios, according to The Denver Post.

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, here’s what you need to know.

Denver Shelters

The AVMA‘s Sourcebook says that nearly 45 percent of Americans adopt dogs at an animal shelter. There are many options in the Denver area, including the Denver Animal Shelter, the Dumb Friends League (with locations in Denver and Castle Rock), Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, MaxFund and Humane Society of Boulder County.

The Metro Denver Shelter Alliance also lists its member shelters, rescues and foster organizations. You can view homeless pets online or stop by a facility for a one-on-one meeting.

Adoption Fees

Dog adoption fees vary. At the Dumb Friends League they start at about $125. Some dogs at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley fetch as much as $499 if they are purebred or highly sought after.

A dog adoption package like the one at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley typically includes spay or neuter services, a free office visit to a local veterinarian, initial vaccinations and microchip identification implant. The Dumb Friends League also throws in a temporary collar, ID tag and leash.

For the best deal on an adoption fee, consider an older animal instead of a puppy. Shelters often offer these animals for less.  Because of the booming pet population, many shelters offer specials throughout the year and, on occasion, certain shelters will let you adopt a dog for free.

Area Pet Laws

Remember that Denver and surrounding communities have specific laws related to licensing and control. All dogs are required to have a dog license and current rabies vaccination.

Leash laws are also strictly enforced in Denver and other Colorado cities. Dogs allowed to roam streets may be in danger from cars, wild animals or other dogs. For these reasons, dogs must be on a leash when off your property, unless in a designated off-leash park.

In the town of Castle Rock, leashes can be no more than 8 feet long. Pet owners who violate these rules are subject to a fine, and if a dog is found roaming free, it may be turned over to animal control and impounded. Break the rules repeatedly in Jefferson County and you could pay up to $1,000 per offense.

Finally, some area communities have restrictions on certain dog breeds. Be sure to check with your local animal control department or animal shelter if you have any questions.

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