A place known for its agriculture, expansive views and open space, Divide also features a number of businesses.

Sometimes it’s hard to attract attention in the quiet town. “We’re a bedroom community and people just drive through and don’t realize the amazing businesses here,” said Angie Davis, executive director of Teller County Regional Animal Shelter.

In 2012, under then-director Mary Steinbeiser, TCRAS decided to do something about it. “We started the mayor’s race to bring awareness to the businesses,” Davis said. “And, besides, we needed a mayor for Divide!”

With a dual purpose in mind, TCRAS launched the Divide Mayor’s race — with one significant difference to such elections in other areas: The mayor of Divide will always be an animal, usually a dog, but cats are welcome, too. Oh, and this year, a goat is in the running. Just so it’s not a human, anything goes.

Area businesses and agencies — some from Woodland Park — get their names in front of the voters by sponsoring a candidate. This year’s sponsors are Divide Fire Protection District; Don Doty Timberline Consulting; Alpine Firearms; Woodland Professional Building; Animal Clinic of Woodland Park; My Life Unleashed; ZenJen Massage Therapy; Penny Lane Labradoodles; Dr. Scott Little, Animal Chiropractor; Above the Clouds Siberian Service Dogs; No Limits Behavioral Solutions; Barbara Royal, Angel Energy Practitioner; Community Partnership Family Resource Center; The Curie Team with HomeSmart Realty; Divide Feed and Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.

To see photos and vote tallies for candidates Billy, the Nubian Goat; Bourbon, the Laborador Retriever; Chief, the Great Pyrenees; Darwin, the Dalmation; Keller, the Catahoula mix & Oliver, the Pitbull mix; Meadow, the Bulldog/Boxer mix; Piper, the Swiss Mountain Dog; Pitbull, the Tabby Cat; Ruby Roo, a Teacup Rottweiler; and Scarlett, the Red Fox, go to TCRASColorado.org/mayor-of-divide-2020. Votes are $2 each. As of last week, voting had raised more than $5,600 for TCRAS.

Current Divide Mayor Bentley, a handsome canine sponsored by Ute Pass Trading Co., is not running for re-election.

For Davis, who was named TCRAS director in January, the positon is another step in a 30-year career in animal welfare, beginning with wildlife rehabilitation in California.

After moving to Colorado, Davis worked for the Denver Dumb Friends League for 17 years and later as manager of the Friends’ off-site location, the Buddy Center, in Castle Rock.

With a subsequent position in Jefferson County, including the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Davis was part of nationwide change of focus for animal welfare. “Most of the facilities in the late 1960s were built as animal pounds to take dogs off the streets,” she said. “Now we do much more in shelters; we help cats and other animals and don’t just hold them for a certain amount of time; we now put them up for adoption.”

Now a resident of Teller County, Davis began volunteering for TCRAS, was hired in 2014 as an animal care technician, and was promoted to director after Lisa Robertson resigned.

Today, Davis oversees a variety of programs including Geri’s Great Fix, which offers pet owners low-cost vouchers for spay/neuter services.

TCRAS also takes part in TrapNeuterReturn (TNR) for feral and abandoned cats. After trapping the cat, the animal is spayed, neutered and vaccinated and returned to the wild with an ear tip for identification. “We’re trying to lower the volume of unwanted babies,” Davis said.

Other programs help pet owners connect with a trainer for animals with behavioral issues while another has volunteers training cats to do tricks, for instance, to enhance the chances for adoption.

As TCRAS continues to grow and expand services, Amy Elmont and Jodi Waters have been hired as directors of marketing and development, respectively.

The next big fundraiser for TCRAS is Wild Whiskers April 4 at Shining Mountain Golf Club. For information, call 686-7707.

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