The Aspen Animal Shelter this year has boarded 341 animals, including pets that were rescued and those that were there for the long term.
That’s according to Seth Sachson, president of the Aspen Animal Shelter. Many of them are pets that were given up by their owners to live in Aspen, he said.
One man recently gave Patches, a dog he’s owned for 14 years, to the shelter because he won an affordable housing unit that didn’t allow pets. The dog owner was devastated and felt ashamed that he had to choose his home over his dog, Sachson said.
Another instance involves a seasonal worker who moved to Aspen in October and boarded his dog at the shelter for the entire winter because he couldn’t find an apartment that allowed dogs. Luckily, the worker found pet-friendly housing at the last minute, Sachson said.
Still, most seasonal workers who have pets aren’t as lucky, Sachson said. A lot of ski bums with dogs come to town thinking they won’t have a problem finding an apartment, he said. When they realize the pet-friendly units are expensive and rare, they board their dog for a season, Sachson said.
People who can’t find dog-friendly housing often come to the shelter for advice, real estate tips or long-term boarding services, Sachson said. One trend that Sachson has noticed is that since the Great Recession, people have been allowing dogs in order to fill units, Sachson said.
Since the economy crashed, renters have a little more equal footing with apartment owners, Sachson said.
Sachson said he has mixed feelings about whether there should be more pet-friendly housing in the area because it could encourage irresponsible people who are not ready to take care of a dog to get one, he said.
“It’s a tough call because I can see both sides,” Sachson said. “Dogs are good but you need a responsible owner — even a good dog can be messy or destructive.”