Dec 11, 2009 7:52 PM by David Ortiviz

Pueblo animal shelter rescues dead man's pets

Pets are often the unseen victims of violence or tragedy in a home. On Thursday, when 50-year old Robert Piserchio was found dead in his Pueblo County home, his five English springer spaniels suddenly became homeless.

Pueblo Animal Services rescued the dogs under their Safe Keeping program. When authorities respond to homicides, domestic violence situations or even natural deaths--animal control officers will rescue the homeowner's pets.

"We get called all the time of these Safe Keeping programs," said shelter director Donna Straub. "I'm sure there's a minimum of 100 (cases) a year," she added.

The shelter keeps the pets for free until the owner or next of kin can get them. After 10 days, if no one from the family claims the animal, it's put up for adoption.

Straub says the program is funded by donations from the public.

Straub says the program gives reassurance to pet owners, someone will look out for their pet after they're gone. "Their animal is going to be taken care and that's the important thing, because I think a lot of people worry about that," said Straub.

Pueblo Animals Services also has a Heroes program to help U.S. soldiers serving overseas. The shelter will keep the soldier's pets for the length of their deployment.

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