DENVER — This past summer, the city’s animal shelter posted a photo of a hedgehog that got me quite curious, which led me to this article you’re reading now.
“...we do not turn any animal away. This means that sometimes we get in animals other than cats and dogs,” the post said.
Being a curious government watchdog (sorry, bad pun), I filed a records request for all the “other” animals that are found on the city’s website for adoption.
Like Noah’s Ark, the city delivered a boatload of photos of all sorts of creatures from the animal kingdom, from hissing cockroaches, fish, parrots, pigs, ducks, chameleons, and chickens.
For shelter employees, keeping up with the care of different types of animals that come in can be challenging.
“The animal care team has worked really hard to create care sheets for every kind of animal that we may see coming in,” said shelter supervisor Meghan Dillmore.
Each animal has a story whether it was the 300-pound pig that somebody could no longer take of, or the snake that arrived because of an eviction.
Shelter workers commonly see roosters that people relinquish to the city, especially since urban farming became popular 10 years ago.
“So people go get these cute little chicks at the feed store. And then the chicks grow to roosters and roosters are not allowed in the city and county of Denver,” Dillmore said. “And we do find homes for them outside of the city limits.”
One of the strangest animals I saw in the city records of photos was a hissing cockroach.
The Denver Animal Shelter's "other" animals
"Hissing cockroaches, Madagascar cockroaches, they can all be pets. Some people very much like having those larger insects as pets just like tarantulas, so we do get them from time to time," Dillmore said.
One of the most popular success stories involves Petey, a five-foot long iguana that showed up one day quite sick with an infection called “mouth rot.”
A shelter employee nursed Petey back to health, and he’s now a full-time “learning animal” at the Downtown Aquarium.
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