SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS CAPTURE HEARTS, MILAGRO AWARDS
By Harriette Roller
Left to right (people): Larry Barker, Dave Ruff (KOAT-TV reporters); Efran Torres, parent; Ed Campbell, Executive Director, NNMAPS; Tomasa Torres, parent; Efran Torres, student; Charles Wolmann, KOAT-TV producer; Elias Moreno, Highland Elementary School Vice Principal; Lette Birn, Guinness's Guardian/Trainer; Dr. Kim Lark, Diane Whetsel, Sage's Guardians/Trainers; Ali MacGraw, Actress/Animal Activist; Julien McRoberts, President, NNMAPS; Florence Barclay; Randall Harris, District Attorney; & Guinness and Sage (dogs).
Ray Begaye not pictured.
Four canine members of New Mexico Task Force One's Urban Search and Rescue team who helped their human partners sift through the Pentagon rubble in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, captured the hearts of Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) members and were nominated for a coveted award bestowed by the organization on November 3rd. Representing all the Task Force canines at APNM's Second Annual Milagro Awards dinner and ceremony were Sage, a Border Collie from Carlsbad and Guinness, a Labrador from Los Alamos (read the cover story to learn more about Guinness). Two other canines, Dusty (Albuquerque) and Ronin (Chandler, AZ) had prior engagements.
The ceremony took place at Santa Fe's Hilton Hotel with 160 people in attendance. The Award, a sterling silver dog tag designed by San Juan Pueblo artist Andrew Garcia, was bestowed "for exceptional animal intelligence and courage”. APNM Board member Dr. Deborah Schildkraut placed the awards over the dogs' heads—Olympic medal style. Schildkraut read a congratulatory letter from Congressman Tom Udall and presented a $1,000 check from APNM to the Task Force for its canine unit.
Other 2001 Milagro Awards presented during the evening were the Advocacy Award to Representative Ray Begaye (Shiprock) for sponsoring legislation protecting New Mexico's reptiles and amphibians; Board of Directors' Award to Florence Barclay (Albuquerque) for founding APNM's endowment; Direct Animal Services Award to Northern New Mexico Animal Protection Society (Española) for alleviating animal overpopulation, abuse and neglect in northern New Mexico; Executive Director's Award to District Attorney Randall Harris (Clovis) for outstanding support of APNM's program; Humane Education Award to actress/animal activist Ali MacGraw (Tesuque) for articulating animal issues and supporting efforts to end abuse; Media Award to KOAT-TV Target Seven (Albuquerque) for its two-part undercover expose of New Mexico cockfighting; and Youth Award to Highland Elementary School (Las Cruces) for raising funds for the veterinary care of Sam, a wounded German Shepherd.
APNM is a 22-year-old statewide non-profit animal advocacy organization.
NO MORE HOMELESS PETSDuring the last several months No More Homeless Pets of New Mexico has been busy working on a spay/neuter plan. The plan will provide a comprehensive analysis of the spay/neuter needs in New Mexico. It will also propose the best way to accomplish the necessary spay/neuter surgeries to achieve our mission, which is to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats in New Mexico until each cat and dog is guaranteed a loving home.
HITS THE ROAD!
By Helga Schimkat
The plan looks at the intake numbers from shelters throughout the state, sets targets for the number of surgeries that need to be performed each year, and suggests the programs that are the most likely to be successful. No More Homeless Pets will offer its programs to low income households and will work with veterinarians and organizations that are able to provide effective spay/neuter surgeries.
To learn what other groups were doing about pet overpopulation, two of our board members, Helga Schimkat and Laura Banks, attended the No More Homeless Pets Conference. It was held in Seattle on the last weekend of October and sponsored by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Conference speakers included Bonney Brown, Michael Mountain, Gregory Castle, Julie Castle and Francis Battista from Best Friends and No More Homeless Pets in Utah; Ed Boks from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (Arizona); Mike Arms from the Helen Woodward Animal Center (California); Richard Avanzino from Maddie's Fund; Peter Marsh from Solutions to Overpopulation of Pets (New Hampshire); Becky Robinson from Alley Cat Allies; Dennis Stearns of No More Homeless Pets in Guilford County (North Carolina) and Paula Fasseas from PAWS Chicago.
The speakers presented topics such as:
· Creating No More Homeless Pets Communities
· Key Challenges and Programs that Meet Them
· Public Money for Animals
· It Takes A Community
· Opening a Spay/Neuter Clinic
and many others.
The conference also provided valuable opportunities to talk with others involved in similar efforts and build a network of support and help. We were very pleased to hear the emphasis that the speakers placed on planning. They stressed that it is the steppingstone to success. It's great to hear that we're on the right track.
Another theme that resounded throughout the conference was the necessity for working together and putting aside small differences (like do we spay/neuter at 2 months or 3 months) in favor of focusing on the big picture.
The conference was very positive and helpful, and No More Homeless Pets of New Mexico will benefit tremendously from what we learned. The concept of No More Homeless Pets is taking off across the country, and it was extremely encouraging to see the good work that so many people are doing.
We can make this happen!
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