Reptiles, rodents and rabbits sometimes need shelter, too

Local businesses support Jeffco's unusual pets at Foothills Animal Shelter's Critter Corner

Posted 11/14/18

A red-eared slider turtle is not native to Colorado. But sometimes it ends up here through the pet trade. People buy these aquatic turtles at a pet store when they're small and young. But as the …

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Reptiles, rodents and rabbits sometimes need shelter, too

Local businesses support Jeffco's unusual pets at Foothills Animal Shelter's Critter Corner

Posted

A red-eared slider turtle is not native to Colorado.

But sometimes it ends up here through the pet trade. People buy these aquatic turtles at a pet store when they're small and young. But as the turtle matures, it can get as big as about 12 inches long and require at least a 10- or 20-gallon tank, in addition to full-spectrum UV lighting, a basking heat light and a dry-docking area. And, when properly cared for, it can live for 20 to 50 years.

“A lot of people don't understand the specific care and needs of reptiles,” said Jaime Segal, animal management supervisor for the Golden Police Department. “That's why sometimes they end up here.”

The `here' he refers to is the Critter Corner at Foothills Animal Shelter. It supports about 600 of the community's nontraditional pets — rabbits, birds, reptiles, rodents, for example — each year.

On Nov. 13, Foothills Animal Shelter hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the Critter Corner's sponsorship. Jason and Marlo Quade of Golden's Brick and Main Real Estate brokerage and Christy Ziska of Wheat Ridge's Cosmo's Dog Bakery teamed up to sponsor the space.

“The need exists, and we're grateful to be able to help support” the animal shelter, Jason Quade said. “As a real estate brokerage, we're passionate about supporting pet parents and animal welfare within our community.”

The Critter Corner is a “really unique space,” said Liz Maddy, marketing and community engagement manager for Foothills Animal Shelter. “It gets a lot of traffic because it supports any animal that is not a dog or cat. The curiosity of it is what attracts people.”

The space is especially popular among children and families, said Connie Howard, the shelter's executive director.

“It's our responsibility to educate potential new pet owners, as well as adopt these animals out,” she said.

The shelter depends on the community's support — whether it be education on specific animals from experts such as Segal, the time that volunteers dedicate to the shelter or the community's financial support, Howard added.

The space sponsorships — like that from Brick and Main Real Estate and Cosmo's Dog Bakery — is a yearlong commitment. About one-third of the shelter's income comes from the community's financial support, and that includes these various sponsorships, Maddy said.

“My line of business is a dog-and-cat world, but I am a lover of all animals,” Ziska said. She grew up with a variety of different animals as family pets — cats and dogs, but also horses, birds, hamsters and reptiles. “This is my way of supporting these different types of animals that may not always be in the spotlight.”

People don't always think about animal welfare extending past cats and dogs, Marlo Quade added.

“Critter Corner has lots of cute little animals in need of a loving home,” she said. “These pets are just as important.”

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