ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (FOX) – According to a 2017 statewide survey, New Mexico’s government-run and nonprofit animal shelters have strived to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats as well as euthanasia rates. However, annually there are over 100,000 dogs and cats that enter the state’s shelters and over 20,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters.
The survey also reports that animal control and sheltering costs New Mexico communities over $51 million and at least $38 million of these costs are paid by taxpayer dollars every year. Chief Legislative Officer Jessica Johnson and Humane Educator Cindy Wacek of Animal Protection Voters visit the set to discuss Senate Bill 57 and what impact it would make in the community.
A 2012 Senate-requested study showed that the solution to these problems is to invest money in statewide spay and neuter programs. The most effective and feasible funding source would be a pet food manufacturer fee.
Introduced by Senators Jacob Candelaria, Peter Wirth, and Representatives Dayan Hochman-Vigil, and Joanne Ferrary, Senate Bill 57 would enact a reasonable increase in the fee already paid by pet food manufacturers who sell dog and cat food, as well as treat products in New Mexico. The amount would be $100 per year for each product and would be added to the current $2 fee.
“The reason why this is the approach that we’re pushing for is because it’s already happened in three other states in the country including West Virginia and Maine. So, similar states with smaller populations, a lot of rural parts of their states and it’s done really well there,” said Jessica. “They’ve been able to reduce their animal shelter intake, dramatically reduce their euthanasia and it hasn’t had any negative impacts.”
A concern is that this bill would increase pet food prices, however, Jessica says that has not been the case. She explains that they broke down numbers and even if the legislation did result in increased food prices, it would be a minimal amount of about $1 to $2 a year per pet.
For more information on Senate Bill 57, visit saveNMpets.org.