A Holiday Wish to Reduce Unprecedented Surge of Pets at Denver Animal Shelter

Denver Animal Protection offers suggestions to help ease the animal overload ~

DENVER—Denver Animal Shelter (DAS), like other shelters in Colorado and across the country, is seeing an unprecedented number of homeless animals seeking loving homes. During this season of love and giving, DAS is asking the community to join in caring for the animals of Denver.

Our wish is to give these deserving animals a happy holiday and the hope that there’s more happiness and love to come. Those who are considering bringing home a pet this holiday season are urged to consider adopting from a shelter or rescue organization this holiday—don’t shop for one from a pet store or breeder.

There are many advantages to adopting a shelter pet including:

  • You’re saving a life by freeing up limited spots at shelters and rescues to save another pet’s life.
  • You can find a trained pet that’s already housebroken and has basic manners.
  • You’ll know the pet’s personality. Shelters like DAS evaluate a pet’s personality to assure it fits in with your family.
  • Rescue pets are more affordable. They also have all vaccinations and are spayed and neutered.
  • You’ll have a lot of choices. Shelter pets come in all breeds, shapes, sizes, and genders.
  • You’ll help fight puppy mills, which focus on profits with lesser regard for the health and welfare of the animals. Puppy mills in the U.S. are legal, but the majority are not regulated.
  • We make it easy! A list of adoptable pets at DAS is online and updated hourly. Also, many of the lost and stray pets in our care may eventually become adoptable.

Each day new animals find their way to DAS. What is typically a more relaxed season has not slowed down for us. The number of animals in the care of DAS has increased 76% when compared to December 2019. The numbers are even larger for other animals at DAS. The number of rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, birds, reptiles, and turtles looking for new homes has grown 175% compared to the same period in 2019.

The length of stay for all homeless animals has also increased between 4 and 4.5 days on average.

Already this year, DAP has adopted out 887 dogs, 822 cats and 405 other animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs and turtles.

The need is great. The work seems never-ending. And Denver residents can help make the situation better for these animals. If you can’t adopt, Denver Animal Protection (DAP) offers these suggestions:

  • Microchip and license your pets. This ensures that if your pet is ever lost, we can reunite you quickly. Most strays at DAS have not been microchipped or licensed and their owners never find them.
  • Sign up to volunteer at DAS.
  • Join our foster program to care for pets in your home when shelter space becomes challenging.
  • Donate! All donations directly help the animals we serve—both at our shelter and in the community.

Let’s help make this a happy holiday for vulnerable pets who long for a loving home—maybe yours.


  1. Do you have a younger female Terrier? Happy New Years.

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