Doña Ana County has partnered with the Spay and Neuter Action Program for years and in August increased funding to provide free spay and neuter surgeries for domestic cats and dogs that belong to county residents in unincorporated areas.
“It has been a very successful partnership for our community. Since August, we experienced a significant increase in the number of surgeries we facilitate and estimate more than 212 cats and 469 dogs have been ‘fixed’ for county unincorporated area residents” said Sue Daily, SNAP office manager. The number of cat and dog spay and neuter surgeries overall increased by nearly 50 percent to 1,994 in 2019, from 1,325 in 2018.
“And we know we owe it in large part to the county’s investment and letting people know about it. We especially want residents of rural and unincorporated areas to know the surgeries are available for free, along with microchipping and rabies vaccinations,” Daily said.
“Most of the surgeries are at no cost to residents of county unincorporated and rural areas. Even residents of incorporated areas can benefit from a cost reduction,” Daily said. Doña Ana County covers the fees in full or in part, based on income and residence, determined through a brief qualification process.
The county’s partnership with SNAP dates back years and was recently revised by county leadership to promote countywide responsible and caring ownership of domesticated animals. “Our overall goal in this partnership and investment is to reduce the number of animals taken into custody by Doña Ana County Animal Control Officers and delivered to the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley,” said County Manager Fernando R. Macias. “Preventing the overpopulation of cats and dogs in our community is the most strategic and humane approach to loose animals and neighborhood nuisance.”
Spaying or neutering domestic animals helps control the overpopulation in the county and decreases the number of animals neglected, abandoned or ultimately destroyed. In 2019, animal control officers picked up 1,721 unleashed or stray dogs and 884 roaming cats.
“We are the ones picking up neglected, runaway or abandoned animals. We prefer and are very glad when we pick up dogs or cats that are microchipped and get reunited with their owner, that same day,” said Mary Lou Ward, Doña Ana County Animal Control and Codes Enforcement Supervisor. “On the other hand, it is devastating when we pick up neglected or hurt animals that end up being euthanized.”
Thousands of animals are put down each year in shelters across the state, including at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley. “Everyone can help reduce the number of euthanized animals by spaying or neutering their companion animals. It is safe for the pet and improves some of their aggressive and risky free-roaming behaviors,” Daily said.
To report loose, hurt or neglected animals, please call the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority, MVRDA, at (575) 526-0795 and choose option 6. They route the information to the right department and also track the number and type of calls received from each area.
For more information about SNAP, please visit www.snapnewmexico.org or call 575-524-9265.
Information from Doña Ana County