ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - New animal laws go into effect Monday in Bernalillo County, and it'll change how many people handle their pets. County officials said they hope to see change around neighborhoods for the better.
With a new ordinance aimed to crack down on delinquent pet owners, Bernalillo County is bringing about some changes for pets and their owners.
Starting August 26, it'll be mandatory to micro-chip your dog or cat, and animals found running loose twice will be required to be spayed or neutered.
- All dogs and cats must be microchipped.
- Animals that are found running loose twice will be required to be sterilized.
- Dogs can no longer be tethered or chained. Dogs must be contained in a yard, behind a fence or in a kennel of adequate size to allow for exercise and room to play or jump around without hitting themselves against the enclosure.
- It is now illegal to transport your dogs in the open bed of a truck. It must be in a kennel or crate secured to the truck.
- A litter permit is needed if your dog has puppies or your cat has kittens.
- A breeder permit is required for every animal used for that purpose
- More on the Bernalillo County Animal Ordinance
"Its beyond time to happen throughout New Mexico," said Brianna Lewis, an Albuquerque pet owner.
Lewis said she's on board with the new ordinance.
"Its sad you know, these animals deserve their lives and when there's so many of them that nobody will take care of them, its a shame," Lewis said.
County officials said one of the biggest changes is that dogs can no longer be tethered or chained.
"We do find that a majority of the cases that involve animal cruelty or neglect in this community, do involve chained animals," said Matt Pepper, Director of Animal Care Services for Bernalillo County.
KRQE News 13 has reported on cases in the past, where dogs have been tied up so long, their collar becomes embedded in their skin. In one case, the dog's wound healed after surgery, and she was later adopted.
"Its really sad you know, to see dogs that are on a chain or dogs you know running loose in the streets," said Lewis.
KRQE News 13 spotted both cases in the South Valley on Sunday, where Bernalillo County Animal Services says 75 percent of their calls come from.
Dogs were seen running loose, others tied up in a yard. KRQE News 13 asked to talk to one of the owners who had his dog tethered, but he declined.
Come Monday, anyone who violates the ordinance can face a maximum penalty of $300 or 90 days in jail.
"We want to first help people be good pet owners when they want to be, but we're also going to be holding people accountable when they choose not to be," said Pepper.
Pepper said county officials will work to educate the public on the new changes.
The city of Albuquerque has a similar ordinance, but this one will affect unincorporated areas outside city limits.
Other rules in the ordinance include owners needing permits if their dog or cat has babies. And it'll be illegal to transport a dog in the bed of a truck without a kennel or a secured crate. For more information, click here.
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