New Mexico's Pet Resource WINTER 2006



Welcome to Adobe GoLive 6

Mission of the group:

Our mission is to improve the welfare of dogs and cats through rescue and adoption services and through community spay/neuter services. NMAF provides temporary care for homeless dogs and cats until permanent homes can be found. NMAF also provides low-cost spay/neuter services through our Chica’s Gift program and supports humane management of feral cat colonies through our Street Cat Companions program.

Brief history of the group. How long have you been in existence? 

NMAF was founded in 1981 to provide no-kill rescue and adoption services for homeless animals. We began as a tiny organization of four people and now have about 100 members.

Approximately how many animals do you take in every year?

We take in around 200 animals a year.

How many animals do you adopt out each year?

We adopt out more than 200 animals a year, with the number growing steadily as we implement more regular programs and expand our foster care network.

hat requirements do you have for intake of animals and adoption? Do you inquire about the past/present experience of potential adopters with pets or ask for references?

Our intake policies are quite liberal, although we do not take in dogs that are dangerous to people. We will try to work with dogs or cats that have behavior problems though, if we have the resources, and we will sometimes take in dogs that are not good with other animals if they are friendly and cooperative with people. Our hope is to find lifetime, happy, loving, safe homes for our dogs and cats, so we are pretty careful with our adoption process. We follow guidelines utilized by many other no-kill groups across the country and we look carefully at the living situations, history with previous pets, and the “match” between the animal and prospective owner when we are considering adoption.

Do you make follow-up home visits or phone calls to adopters?

We do a home visit prior to adoption and make follow-up calls or visits after adoption. The initial home visit allows us to check out fencing and other safety issues, as well as help the adopter figure out where the newcomer will stay when he or she first moves in. Some of our more complicated animals are given a series of “play dates” with prospective adopters prior to adoption in order to help them make a good transition to the new home. This is the case with our timid dogs, fence-jumpers, and the dogs with separation anxiety. Most cats do not like to travel back and forth very much, so they do not usually get play dates, but we may provide one or more opportunities to meet with the prospective adopter so they can begin to get acquainted.

What is your adoption fee and what does it cover? (i.e. does it cover shots, transportation and spay/neuter)?

Our current adoption fee is $85 for dogs and $75 for cats. The fee covers shots and spay/neuter, and all of our animals have had an initial vet exam. Cats are tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV. Many of our animals have had more complicated or extensive veterinary care, as well. We will soon be microchipping all of our animals and will increase our adoption fees at that time.

What are your provisions for the return of animals if they aren’t compatible with their adopters?

We provide a “lifetime safety net” for our animals. If an adoption does not work out for any reason over the lifetime of the dog or cat, we want the animal returned to us. We do prefer to help support a good adoption though, so if our adopters are experiencing problem behaviors, we will provide them with training support if they will follow through on it.

Do you accept puppy mill or kitty mill animals? If so, what is your policy toward their probable medical expenses and toward providing spay or neuter for them? 

We accept animals from many types of circumstances, although we have not worked specifically with dogs or cats from puppy or kitten mills, per se. We have worked with hoarding situations though, as well as with animals relinquished from facilities that have closed down. In addition, we have taken in very old or very young animals. We have a few people who can care for orphaned infant animals. At the other end of the spectrum, this past year we placed a 21-year-old cat and a 13-year-old dog, and we are currently looking for a home for two 11-year-old dogs. We also took in 51 cats and a dog when their owner passed away. We provide needed medical and behavioral care even in these more challenging situations, unless a good quality of life cannot be assured.

If your group accepts cats, what is your policy toward feral cats?

Through our Street Cat Companions program, we support the humane management of feral cat colonies using the philosophy of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). We have traps that can be checked out and volunteers to offer information and technical assistance. We also hold a once-monthly spay/neuter clinic where feral cats can be sterilized, ear-tipped, and receive vaccinations for a normal life.

What is your policy concerning euthanasia?

We do not euthanize healthy animals. We provide needed veterinary or behavioral support unless we cannot expect the animal to have a good quality of life even with treatment. Over the years, we have only had to euthanize a few animals.

Do you use a foster based system or do you have a physical building to house animals?

We have foster homes to care for our dogs and cats and are always on the lookout for more!

How is the group financed?

NMAF receives the bulk of its funding through private donations and through special events that we hold during the year. For instance, we hold a dog walk and pet fair in the spring and a gala and auction in the fall. We encourage bequests and other giving programs, as well as support through designated donations from United Way and similar programs. A bequest supported our Chica’s Gift program, for example, which provided spay/neuter services for about 1700 animals in 2004. We also get funding through special corporate events such as the Santa Claws photos sponsored by PetsMart each year.

What do you need in terms of volunteers, goods, services, etc.?

We need volunteers to help in our office, at our adoption clinics, to walk dogs we might have to kennel temporarily, to transport animals, to help with fundraising events, and for a zillion other tasks. We sponsor a Pets and People Donation Drive during the holiday season and seek donations of food and supplies for the pets of low-income people and their families. We also need donations of pet food, cat litter, dog houses, airline and suitcase-style kennels, cat carriers, and all the other goodies needed for animal rescue. Our office needs donations of office supplies. Services are always needed, including copying and printing, grooming and veterinary care. Our feral cat program needs volunteers, traps, carriers, towels, and medical supplies, as well as the help of volunteer veterinarians and vet techs for the monthly spay/neuter clinic. And of course, monetary donations are always needed and very much appreciated.

PETroglyphs thanks Beth Sims, president of New Mexico Animal Friends, for providing this information. If you would like to volunteer for or donate to this group, you may contact them at P.O. Box 40189, Albuquerque, NM 87196, (505) 881-7297, on the web at: www.nmaf.orgor email at: ED is Cheryl Bruce.

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