NM Shelter Killing 10 Dogs a Day for Convenience

KOB in New Mexico reports that the Valencia Co Animal Shelter is overcrowded with more than 240 dogs at the facility. In response, they are killing for convenience:

This week, the shelter has killed 8-10 dogs every single day and even that’s not nearly enough.
“I can’t bring myself to putting 40 to 50 dogs on that list at a time like I should be,” [supervisor Patty Mugan] said. “We’re getting to that point when we’re going to need to.”

Not need to – choose to. Killing is a choice, as is lifesaving, which is hard work:

“It’s not fair to the kennel techs to have to have twice the work to do to clean and walk dogs and feed them and everything else,” Mugan said.

I’m sorry but where in life do we sign up for FAIR? Because I have been wanting FAIR so hard all these years and I’ve never known where I go to get it. Is it Valencia Co, NM?

And the response to UNfair is kill, I guess.

“But it’s sure not fair to the animal sitting in a crate on borrowed time. It’s very hard for us mentally to watch day after day.”
[…]
“It’s not easy to be the one to look in their eyes and tell them goodbye,” she said.

Where does this sense of entitlement come from?  Life should be fair and easy and not require ironing.

I’m glad it’s not easy to kill animals you are supposed to be sheltering. It should be hard. It should be impossible really.

Staff is apparently trying to ship the problem out of state by getting rescue groups to transport dogs.  But since every state in the U.S. kills shelter animals, shipping shelter pets to other states is not a long term solution.  It just redistributes the killing.  Maybe that seems fair or easier to some people, I don’t know.

Instead of killing animals and making excuses for it, why not try implementing the proven programs of the No Kill Equation?  Start looking the animals entrusted to your care in the eyes and telling them hello.  Tell them you are committed to protecting them from harm and getting them into loving homes.  It requires hard work but seeing all your animals get out alive sounds pretty sweet.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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21 Comments

  1. Donna Leshne

     /  January 12, 2016

    Oh you stupid fuck ups they are not killing for convenience they are killing because they are so overloaded they don’t even have the floor space to put up a collapsible crate to stuff another dog into you fucking moron if you really want to help you will roll up your sleeves and get involved with trying to get the state to pass him spay neuter laws that are enforceable

    Reply
    • Oh Donna, mandatory spay/neuter laws don’t work. You know what does work? Educating the community and making services affordable and available to them.

      Reply
  2. Well, if you kill ten dogs a day, it’s not going to bother you much longer because that part of you that has any empathy for them will be fried right out of your soul.

    Instead of trying to ship dogs out of state, how about holding a major adoptathon? Get some party hats, some cupcakes, and move those dogs out at free/reduced rates! Get a local business to sponsor adoption fees! How much networking of your animals are you doing? Do you have volunteers photographing pets and putting them up on social media? What kind of RTO rates do you have? Could you increase it with in field microchip scans? Are you photographing strays and listing them as found immediately?

    Instead of whining about how much killing you HAVE to do, start thinking about ways not to do it! ASK FOR HELP. People want to help. Engage your community!

    Reply
  3. I have to call it on this one. Like Donna, I work with Val Co. And yes, there are lots of long-term solutions that they should be implementing more extensively. I hope for the day those long-term solutions are put into place. But the fact is, this shelter is chronically overcrowded. They have 100 kennels and sometimes, that many dogs come in within a 48 hour period. The math just does not add up on that one. That’s not even enough time for each dog to sit out their holding period in a humane manner. The shelter cannot be keeping 4 dogs to a cage and keeping dogs in crates long term.

    I wholeheartedly agree with 99% of what is said on this blog. But in no way is ValCo an evil shelter, such as for example Roswell animal shelter just a few hours south.

    Reply
    • Jacinta, what’s the traffic like through the shelter? Do they have people coming in to adopt? How are the adoption fees?

      Reply
    • sarahjaneb

       /  January 13, 2016

      I can’t even figure out how to view their adoptable animals online. There’s a petfinder link but it shows nothing. Taking pictures and putting them on petfinder or similar is a short-term step that can significantly increase the number of animals going out the front door.

      Is there a foster program? When they have those massive influxes do they ever send out pleas to the community for emergency short-term fosters? The bottom line is that if “There’s no place to put them in the shelter therefore we must kill them” is the first thought, they’re doing it wrong,.

      Reply
    • You know what, you guys are right. I got blinded by the fact that I’ve been rescuing from and following this shelter for so long. They’d had 600 adoptions in 10 months last year in a county with a population of 72,000, and only 400 reclaims. My shelter which I used to work at did 200 adoptions and 200 reclaims a year with a population of 18,000 and that was simply because we did not have more animals coming in that we could send out. There’s certainly progress to be made. Surely there are ways that adoptions could increase. I think they feel like they are treading water and don’t have the energy to make more effort, to be fair. And they do a LOT of rescue transports. I know there’s debate over animals crossing state lines but sometimes, some states *do* have a little more space.

      I can’t cross the line to faulting the people at the shelter. But there’s room for change surely.

      Reply
  4. vida

     /  January 12, 2016

    Do they have fosters? Or big adoption promotions? Or off site adoptions? I’m thinking some action to speed adoptions rather than killing en masse would be worth a try.

    Reply
    • Agreed, vida. If you’re killing 10 a day, you need to not worry about long term solutions right now, you need to get animals out FAST.

      You also need to put a team on the reason that you’re getting so many in to try and staunch the flow. *WHY* are people surrendering so many in this area and what can be done about it?

      Reply
  5. Dea Ibarra

     /  January 13, 2016

    I’m sorry-I have been in rescue long enough to know that it is not that simple. Create and ENFORCE strong laws against BREEDING. NO MORE PUPPIES OR KITTENS UNTIL ALL STRAY DOGS HAVE BEEN HOMED PERMANENTLY. Charge $1000 per year for every unaltered dog or cat. Govt entities should promptly alter all stray animals before returning to owners or offering for adoption. NEVER BUY DOGS OR CATS. Speak up to anyone- your Pastor, your best friend, your neighbor, your boss, your kid’s friends-when you hear about questionable animal practices, particularly breeding. And I’m sorry, but pregnant females that are picked up should be spayed and puppies/kittens aborted. It HAS TO STOP and the people on the FRONT END have to be held accountable.

    Reply
    • Dea, if you’ve been in rescue any length of time, you will know that “until all stray dogs have been homed permanently” is not a feasible thing. Ever.

      As for holding the people on the front end accountable, no. They aren’t the ones doing the killing, the shelter is. And the SECOND that a dog walks into their building, they are wholly responsible for that dog’s well-being. I don’t care what happened to get that dog there, I don’t care how many people failed this dog before, the SHELTER is responsible for what happens to that dog.

      Why? Because that’s their job.

      Reply
  6. Erika M

     /  January 13, 2016

    Oh. This “unaltered pets are the reason animals are dying in shelters!” thing again.

    You know what worked to drop the kill rate at the local shelter where I live? Big adoption events, a serious TNR program, working with places to develop solutions for accessible low cost spay and neuter — which many people WILL take advantage of if they have the option — and utilizing fosters and rescue groups to save whatever they can. There are also low cost vets and programs in place to help low-income folks feed and keep their pets rather than having to leave them at the shelter due to money issues. We’re still working on improving, but the rate is over 80% live release now, and guess what: there are no spay and neuter laws. We don’t even require pets to be licensed. Shockingly, neither a uterus nor a set of balls paraded into the shelter to beat puppies to death in a back room despite that fact.

    It’s truly amazing what you can do when you stop gawping about how it’s everyone ELSE’S fault and actually, for real do everything you can to get animals into homes. It’s not easy and it’s not overnight, but damn, get around to starting somewhere instead of pretending that “…if only X is law or Y happens, we’d no longer have to kill anything.” You’ll find a lot more animals survive working with reality than crying about dreams.

    Reply
  7. Wow, some haters have potty mouths that need washing out with soap! If you cannot make a point without resorting to profanity, then you lack decorum and intelligence.

    Great blog piece.

    Reply
  8. Oh it is just not FAIR that they haver to do TWICE the work.. hey don’t want to do the work get out of Dodge.

    Reply
  9. Thanks to all the people that have the patience to argue with the kill shelter apologists!

    Reply
  10. Alice

     /  January 13, 2016

    Right. Less than 20% of dogs produced by breeders end up in shelters. Riddle me this: if ALL breeding stopped today, where are going to get dogs from in 20 years? Imports from other countries with falsified documentation like that dog from Egypt that had rabies?

    Speaking of which, if you are going to target any group, target the ones bringing in dogs from other countries. Until that stops, NO ONE can blame breeders. The people going to breeders either are looking for a specific breed to fit their lives, or were turned away from rescues for insane reasons. If anyone is killing shelter dogs, it’s the people adding to the rescue numbers.

    And no, I am NOT a breeder. All of my dogs came from animal controls with the exception of one, she is a stray I kept after being unable to find an owner after three months. And they are altered, before someone tries to jump on that.

    There is no excuse for killing. And blaming the public only makes things worse. Who wants to volunteer with people who think they are scum? Who wants to get a pet from people who will be judging them from start to finish?

    As others have said: free/low cost alterations. Even better: get local business to sponsor an event where people get free alteration plus a decent coupon to a eatery or store! Innocent owners aren’t turned into criminals, pets get to stay in their homes, animal control looks good, and local businesses get lots of good publicity. Everyone wins! Partner with local non profits so said businesses can get a write off for the money that they put into said events.

    The amount of money paid for a pet means nothing for their long term care. So having events where fees are reduced or waved all together doesn’t spell doom for all of them.

    Reply
  11. deb

     /  October 26, 2016

    They do a great job, sarcastically said. …I just saw they allowed a rescue to take puppies and killed the mom. It’s called puppy flipping for profit. No morals or ethics obviously.

    Reply
    • db

       /  October 27, 2016

      I hear what you are saying, but we have so many backyard breeders and puppy mills who are corrupt and irresponsible, just in the “business” for making money, not promoting the breed. I’m sure there are responsible breeders, but they aren’t the ones causing the problems. My guess is that they will take adopted dogs and puppies back if things don’t work out. It’s the large number of other “breeders” who need to be stopped.

      Reply
      • db

         /  October 27, 2016

        Sorry, this didn’t get under the right post. Intended as a response to Alice.

      • Alice

         /  October 27, 2016

        And who exactly is going to determine who is responsible and who is not? More than half of the anti BYB and Puppy Mill groups I see are really targeting ALL breeders. Are there people breeding who shouldn’t? Absolutely! Get a group of people together and you will find bad apples, from childcare to animals to stamp collecting.

        The laws being passed right now are only hurting the responsible people. Because they are the only ones who care about what the laws say. Just like all other laws passed as knee jerk reactions.

        I’m going to say it again: So long as there are “rescues” flying animals in from other countries by the hundreds on a daily basis, NO ONE can blame breeders. Those are the people adding to the number of animals in rescue needing homes. I saw a man recently talk about his rescued mix breed. He was imported by a US rescue from Turkey, and the fee was over $6,000. I also see “Asian Pit Bulls” on a regular basis. They look just like American ones, except for the fact an American one was killed to make way for that one.

        Breeders are also subject to puppy “lemon laws”. And rightfully so. The law requires them to pay the vet bills of any puppy they sell if it is sick. You know who isn’t subject to those laws? Rescues. Honest rescues will stand behind adopters without hesitation. Which the vast majority are. But the puppy flippers just using the label? They leave the adopters holding the bag. And there are more of those than you think. So where are the laws to hold them accountable?

  12. Anne Thomas

     /  October 28, 2016

    I’ve seen proposed legislation, I believe it was in Pennsylvania and Missouri, that specifically targeted puppy mills and didn’t affect any other breeders.

    Reply

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