NoCo pet owners struggle to pay bills

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 22:13:56-05

Before the holidays, Denver7 told you about the downsizing of Denkai Sanctuary in Eaton, a vet clinic dedicated to helping low-income clients and their pets.

Denver7 reporter Kristen Skovira discovered other Weld County organizations are already feeling the effects of this closing and are now reaching out for help.

“I’ve gotten probably about 10 calls just within the last week of people that were going to Denkai but they heard that they closed and say, “I can't afford this,’” said Andrea Ackerman with The Toby Darwin Foundation.

Denkai founder, Floss Blackburn dedicated the past 12 years of her life to helping both large and small animals at her 640-acre sanctuary. Now, she's closing down the adoption center and veterinary clinic programs.

“It's really difficult to keep a clinic going and Floss, the head of Denkai, [she’s spent her] entire life helping animals and so she's doing everything she can. And at this point she's just trying to cut back,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman has been a vet tech for 25 years. Her surrender prevention organization, The Toby Darwin Foundation, helps rescue dogs out of shelters and helps low-income pet parents pay their medical bills.

“If a pet parent can't afford the vet bills they're either putting the animal to sleep or they're turning them into the shelter. One [pet owner] used to get medication for her dog because the dog will go blind without the medication, but she's a low-income person, she can't afford it,” she said.

And it's not just dogs. Denkai also saw cats.

Leslie Vogt with Northern Colorado Friends of Ferals is working with Ackerman and hopes other animal lovers will do the same.

“I think if the word got out when people know that they could help with 100-bucks or something, save an animal's life and certainly save a lot of heartbreak on the owner's part people step up,” Vogt said.