Pets Suffer at NM Shelter While City Officials Dither

The city pound in Farmington, NM is slated for replacement.  And it sounds like it’s about 30 years overdue.  From the shelter’s Petfinder page:

The current Farmington Animal Shelter to be replaced is 30 years old, wedged between the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Power Plant with no place to expand, and only contains 54 kennels. Not one of our dog kennels meets the Humane Society of the United States regulations for space required per dog and we are forced to place several dogs in each kennel. The current shelter receives an average of 25 new animals each day. With only 54 kennels to house these animals in a non-adoptive-friendly facility, the shelter must euthanize an average of 19 animals every day due to space restrictions.

To wit, city bureaucrats in Farmington solicited the public for donations to help build a $7.6 million shelter.  Now they are researching how they can cut corners and build a $5.1 million dollar shelter instead.  It sounds as if this is all just an exercise in forming-committees-to-look-into-possibilities though:

But there’s no funding budgeted for the animal shelter this fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2011.

So the city is ready to put up a big fat zero dollars.  But the public should absolutely step up and donate money.  No guarantees on what kind of shelter the city will end up building with it – if they even build a shelter at all.

Jennie, a dog listed as available for adoption at the Farmington Animal Shelter. The other dog living in this square of concrete looks like a German Shorthair Pointer. Given the extreme overcrowding and high kill rate at this shelter, I assume both dogs will be dead by the time you read this.


Next on the agenda:

Meanwhile, city councilors asked veterinarians at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss with their colleagues how the city could develop a low-cost spaying and neutering program.

The article doesn’t say how many dollars the city is budgeting for this low cost neuter program but I’m hoping it’s more than they’ve allocated for the shelter.  My guess is though, that when they say “how the city could develop”, they mean “how you veterinarians could absorb all the cost”.

So to summarize, the city is cramming pets into a self-described “non-adoptive-friendly facility”, killing most of them, asking the public to contribute towards a new facility that they deem worthy of not one dime of the city’s budget and asking veterinarians what they’re going to do about getting pets neutered at reduced rates.  Responsibility, anyone?

I sense the formation of an exploratory committee.  Maybe they should meet between the sewage plant and the power plant.  They might find themselves a little cramped for space but if so, we can always kill some more pets.

22 thoughts on “Pets Suffer at NM Shelter While City Officials Dither

  1. Touche! Another excellent post. I enjoy being subscribed to your blog, but I am SO glad that I don’t have to search for all these stories on my own.
    Thank you for looking, thank you for sharing, and most of all, thank you for calling it as you see it!

    1. Thanks for reading Lynn.
      I can’t stop looking at Jennie’s page on Petfinder. I love her. It breaks my heart to look at her sweet face and think of her likely fate. I can’t even begin to think about the dog behind her, too depressed to even get up when someone comes to take a photo.
      I should add that looking at Jennie’s picture is about all you can do on her page as the “More about Jennie” part where shelters normally put things like heartworm negative, current on shots, likes other dogs, not sure on cats, etc – that spot simply says “Pet ID: w0168”.

  2. Howdy from Farmington, NM! Yes, I am incredibly excited to be part of the team bringing Nathan to Farmington and I have been marketing hard to get all of the city councilors, mayor, city manager, and all of the animal welfare people on board.

    Yes there is a HUGE problem with the Farmington shelter. I can’t even begin to start.

    Honestly the biggest hurdle to expanding low cost spay/neuter has come from the veterinarians themselves. They fought against the shelter fixing animals before they were adopted and have successfully stopped non-profits from taking advantage of the clinic built for the shelter a few years ago. The shelter only adopts out a couple animals a day if they are lucky and so they vets doing the spay/neuter are done by 9:00 in the morning. I say take advantage of all that time available to fix more.

    So when the article mentioned the vets talking to their colleagues I think it was about how much the local vets were willing to not attack the city for using their tax money to take their business. (said sarcastically, I work for a vet who told me in all seriousness that the shelters were trying to take my job).

    The city councilors were honestly clueless about how much a spay or neuter costs, how much a low income person can afford to pay, and how much of a need there is in this area. I am teaming up with another woman to create an easy to read information packet for them.

    Of course, the shelter itself has plenty of problems-lack of leadership and not taking advantage of even one of the elements of the No Kill Equation. They have no foster, volunteer,adoption, spay/neuter, rescue, TNR, redemption, or rehabilitation programs. The director says she cares, but we will see if she will attend Nathan’s talk and if she will take anything of use back with her.

    I met with the mayor, city manager, and head of the parks and rec department (animal shelter is under parks and rec) earlier this year and we talked about No Kill, what needs to be changing at the shelter right now to save lives, and of the need for a rescue coordinator at the Farmington shelter. They took one of their current employees and put her in charge of posting on Petfinder, and I have heard they actually did a rescue transport—2 dogs! Yay for those dogs but really, that is really not enough.

    So it’s a big shit pile and I am working to reform it all. I DID attend Ryan Clinton’s webinar so I am becoming more educated about how exactly to do just that.

    1. Well this never happens! I can’t tell you how glad I am to read this comment. Please let us know how the seminar goes and if any of the shelter and/or city officials attend. Sending supportive thoughts your way. Any way to find out what happened to Jennie?

  3. Jennie is MUCH smaller than she appears in that picture. I would put her at 30 pounds max and probably about 6 months old or younger. She was found as a stray with that pink collar. Poor dear. I adopted her today and I will pick her up tomorrow after she has been spayed. Anyone want a puppy?

    1. I want her! But you probably meant someone in your area…

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for saving her. I’d like to mail you some biscuits if you’d e-mail me your mailing address.

      *HUGE HUGS* to you and Jennie.

  4. I wanted to add that I am pretty sure that German Shorthair was one of the two dogs that went to rescue.

  5. I think the vets should be tripping over each other in haste to help the community. If people come to a spay neuter clinic and get to converse with a real vet (instead of for instance realizing it would be better/cheaper to pay to have their pet euthanized than treated, or to let their pet suffer) they are more likely to trust veterinarians or recommend veterinarians to their friends/family. Spay neuter clinics DO NOT replace regular vet care, in fact they make it more necessary and more affordable for more pet owners. Spay neuter clinics make vet care seem like a better idea, when the pet behaves better after spay/neuter or a puppy successfully survives puppyhood with all necessary shots. Spay neuter clinics do have limits and they do encourage pet owners to go to a regular vet. Will some people take advantage of spay neuter clinics? Yes! Would we rather that these animals go untreated, unspayed/unneutered, and go without necessary shots or simple care (ear mites, fleas, etc)? I hope the answer is no for this community.

    1. I really hope we can get the vets on board with expanding the low cost spay/neuter now that the city is talking about it. I think they may want to consider hiring a full time shelter vet. Right now they contract with vets in the community and they are having a conflict of interest in treating shelter animals instead of treating paying clients’ animals.

      I would like to see the numbers but I would guess that they could fix more animals more cheaply if they had a staff veterinarian versus paying a contract vet. And, of course, the vet wouldn’t be refusing to fix animals due to interest conflicts.

      I agree that it is a good thing simply to have people meet with vets; even if it is in a low cost clinic way. Taking animals to a vet is a fairly foreign idea to a large number of people in the area, primarily on the Navajo reservation, and although that is changing somewhat with the younger generation there is still some resistance. I love it when people say to me, “this is the first time I have ever brought an animal to a vet” because it means positive change is happening.

  6. WOW! The power of social media is AWESOME!!!! Congrats to Jennie and the GSP. Way to go Jamie, and thanks to Yes Biscuit for getting the rescue ball rolling.
    Together we CAN make a difference—one (or two) dogs at a time!
    Jennie, are there more dogs that need help? Can we spread the word and help find you more people and or money?
    Thanks all, makes my day!

  7. Jamie, I love you right now. I was getting all sniffy and I saw you adopted her … angel’s work is never easy. I’m from New Mexico and have some acquaintances in Farmington. I’m going to put the word out to see if anyone can help in any way.

    Is there a Humane Society or something that can help back you? Even PETA could create a stir (although you can go both ways with them, I know). What about forming some kind of non-profit? Maybe some help from Albuquerque? Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I know NM is broke, San Diego is broke for Pete’s sake (literally). But, this is just heartbreaking.

    You said “local feedback” … I hope you’re not getting any threats of any kind. Including at work. Make sure and stay in touch.

    YesBiscuit, thanks for bringing this to my attention. It’s wonderful that you write this blog. I’m sure it’s hard.

  8. I’m just wondering out of all the money the HSUS has, how much are they contributing to rebuilding this shelter ?? After all is’nt what the whole point it..Years of donating money to them and less than 1/2 percent of all there millions are actually donated to local shelters !! SHAME ON YOU MR. PARCELL !!!!

  9. I work with a beagle rescue in Chesapeake VA, and sometimes also foster dogs from other places (partial to big black dogs and pits as well as beagles). My pitbull, shep/dobie mix who just passed, my lab and my beagle are very used to fosters coming in and out at all hours and for all lengths of time….

    I don’t know if any of this is helpful: will host a website for free for a rescue group. You have to pay for your domain name (www.whatever) but that’s because they don’t control that. No web building skills needed at all, just need to be able to type.

    I did our 501c3 and got it approved the first try. Anyone is welcome to email me and I’ll send our application and you can plagarize it to the extent that it helps you. Two rescues have used mine as a format and have been successful.

    Don’t know if any of that is new info or even useful info, but there you go. Good luck.


  10. Read all the comments, you ALL are the best! Especially Jamie. I’m in New Windsor, MD, if I can help in any way, please let me know. You should be able to find me on Facebook easy enough. In the meantime I will pray for your success.
    Maybe I could help post/cross-post your shelter animals on Facebook?
    I wish there was some way we could make those people meet IN the sewage plant. That would speed things along. Shame on the vets who are impeding the process.

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