ANIMAL NEWS AND VIEWS
ANIMAL RESCUE: Is Change Coming?Change is in the air. A new spirit of cooperation is being seen among rescue groups. Albuquerque will be putting its money where its words are concerning animals. Existing laws will be enforced and new ones passed regarding spaying or neutering, puppy mills, and backyard breeders. Valencia County will euthanize fewer animals.
All of this has been said many times in the past with few tangible results. But judging from the attitudes and reactions of the 60 people at the “Animal Rescue: Faith and Facts” conference sponsored by Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), a Valencia County rescue group, things may indeed be changing for the better.
According to Shelly Anzara, HART president, “The purpose of the conference was twofold: to put more tools in the hands of rescuers by learning about the programs of the larger organizations, and to provide a place to meet and form alliances so we can all be more successful rescuers.”
The day-long program was packed with speakers on subjects ranging from dog behavior to homeopathy to publicizing your organization to legal procedures for nonprofits.
Mayor Martin Chavez opened the conference with remarks concerning the relationship between the City of Albuquerque and animal activists. He made the point that these relations were changing for the better and that the City would “put its money where the priorities are.” This would include a new attitude at Animal Services to adopt rather than euthanize. He admitted that Animal Services was “woefully understaffed” and that money would be in the new budget to add positions there.
Chavez commented on the various consultants the City has brought in to help improve the conditions for animals. More emphasis will be placed on stopping puppy mills and the sale of puppy mill dogs, enforcing laws to stop backyard breeders, and licensing fees to benefit spay and neuter programs.
“We need to see that adoptable animals get adopted,” Chavez said. “If they can do it in Denver and we can’t, then shame on us.” His parting words were a reminder that animal welfare workers should use the legislative process by contacting their legislators on animal issues. This tactic keeps animal issues in front of the legislators so they are more likely to get attention.
Judy Babcock, President of the Valencia County Animal Advisory Board, and Director of Chihuahua Rescue and Quixote Humane, received an award for helping to reduce the euthanasia rates in Valencia County. She detailed the changes that are taking place in Valencia County and said the new shelter will open next summer. The euthanasia rate has been reduced from 95% to 71% because of the work of rescue groups who take the animals and the increased publicity given to the animals in the press. The advisory board currently is working with legislators to get better animal ordinances in Valencia County. “In effect, rescue workers are doing what the owners aren’t doing,” Babcock said.
Awards were also given to Marcy Britton for her lifelong dedication to fighting for animal rights and more humane treatment for shelter animals, and to Marguerite Bowers of Bomar Equine Rescue for her rescue efforts.
Among the speakers was Cameron Murphy, “The Dog Man,” a canine behaviorist and trainer. Murphy focused on how the shelter environment is stressful for dogs. Dogs are social animals who forget whatever training they had when they stay in a shelter environment too long. He pointed out that everyone wants dogs to be adopted. To achieve successful adoptions, it takes the community working together. It also takes the commitment of enough money to have adoption counselors in the shelters and a team of animal behaviorists to help new owners deal with any behavior problems their adopted dog might have. These types of programs would assure that dogs are not returned to the shelter because of adjustment difficulties.
Representatives from New Mexico Animal Friends, Animal Humane Association, Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary, Watermelon Ranch and Animal Protection of New Mexico described their organizations and some of the programs they offered.
Shaw Deasey, an attorney who works with animal rescue groups on animal-related legal issues, provided information on the legalities of being a non-profit corporation. She also addressed what you are legally allowed to do if you find an animal.
Lea Greer specializes in trauma recovery-integration and animal communication. She spoke of helping traumatized animals through the use of homeopathic remedies. “Animals are our greatest teachers, and we honor them with our care,” she said.
Joyce Fay, an animal photographer who posts pictures of adoptable shelter animals on her website, spoke about the rescue community as a neighborhood where it is sometimes difficult for the neighbors to get along because of perception problems. She reminded everyone that people can evolve and change their minds. Over time things can and do change. These changes can bring increased awareness and hope. This conference was so well received by the participants that HART is planning to sponsor another one on Saturday, August 14, 2004 in Albuquerque, titled “Investigating and Reporting Animal Abuse.” For information on this upcoming conference contact Shelly Anzara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listed below are groups in southern New Mexico where help with low cost or free spay neutering is available. Contact these groups for further information on their requirements and programs.
LOW COST SPAY AND NEUTER OPTIONS
Noah’s Ark Inc.
123 S. Canyon St.
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Contact: Lynne Pitcaithly or Angela Carey
Paws & Claws
Contact: Mony Fuller
Roswell Humane Society
703 E. McGaffey
Roswell, NM 88201
NMSU Las Cruces
PO Box 3912
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Contact: Kathy Billing
SNAP (not part of SNAP USA) contacts:
Las Cruces … 505-524-9265
Silver City … 505-534-1296
Lordsburg … 505-542-3779 Helen Foster
Deming … 505-544-2209 Pat Danser
ANIMAL PLAYHOUSE AIMS TO ENTERTAIN AND EDUCATE
by Ann Beyke, Community Relations Director
Animal Humane Association of New Mexico
They might not have their sights set on Broadway but they do have a vision to entertain and educate people in the community about the importance of spay/neuter, pet overpopulation and treating all living creatures with respect.
Animal Playhouse, a group of very passionate young people who are members of the Junior Humane Association at Animal Humane Association of New Mexico, take their message into museums, retirement centers, bookstores, wherever there’s a group of interested listeners. A stage is not mandatory. Their skits always have a theme but all the members agree that, like life with animals, being spontaneous usually gets lots of laughs.
Their most recent performance at Explora! kicked off “Be Kind to Animals Week” in May. The brand new theater marquee announced the troupe and the theater was filled for both performances. Judging by the number of youngsters in the audience, there’s no doubt these ‘animal ambassadors’ really did spread the word about the importance of caring for our animal companions.
If you’re searching for some entertainment for your children or just need a good belly laugh, look for the Animal Playhouse at the following venues:
June 26 at Bound to be Read at Academy/San Mateo at 2:00pm (FREE)
August 14 at Explora! at 1701 Mountain Rd. NW - 1:30pm & 3:30pm (theater performance included in the price of museum admission)
SAVE THE DATE!Don’t miss Animal Humane Association’s, Doggie Dash and Dawdle on Sunday, November 7th at Balloon Fiesta Park. Go to www.ahanm.org for more information.
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society’s WestMUTTster 2004 is scheduled for Sunday, June 13th at Alto Park from Noon - 3:00PM. Register from Noon - 1:00. Call (505) 983-4309 for more information.
WESTMUTTSTER DOG SHOW ALERT!
WINNER OF SPAY/NEUTER PLATE CONTEST
The winner of the design contest for the New Mexico spay/neuter license plate is Josh Leach, a student at the Art Center Design College in Albuquerque. Josh is a native New Mexican who lives with his wife and companion cat in Albuquerque. Josh has been attending the Art Center for the last two years.
Animal Protection of New Mexico has submitted the design to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and they are in the process of printing them. As soon as more information becomes available, we will let you know!
Check www.apnm.org for all the latest details.
Every act of kindness or empathy is always a sort of defiance against
the way of the world. – Matthew Scully
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