ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Department of Animal Welfare admits it’s falling behind, way behind on complaints because it’s shorthanded.
The department gets calls ranging from dog attacks, to people complaining about their neighbor’s noisy dog.
Animal Welfare says those calls may take some time to be answered.
Natalia Gayou is Aria’s owner and says no matter the reason for the call, they should be responded to in a timely manner.
“They’re clearly doing the right thing by reporting that and opening a case, and it’s not getting taken cared of. That’s very unfair and frustrating for them,” said Gayou.
Animal Welfare says there are more than 550 cases that still have not been looked into. On top of that, the department only has 204 officers working during the day and one or two officers at night.
Incoming calls will be filtered by health and safety first. It’s a response that doesn’t sit well with Gayou, after she and Aria had a close call of their own.
“It was some sort of Husky-mix. It was easily 120 pounds, and it was just very aggressive towards our dog and our friend’s dog,” she said.
While Aria was not harmed, Gayou’s friend, Dagmar Galvan, says situations like this could be easier to handle with the help of an officer.
“It would actually be helpful if they came because they could be a mediator,” said Galvan.
Ultimately, Galvan and Gayou say the department needs to do a better job at handling the incoming calls.
“The fact that there are so many cases open and nobody’s doing much for it, that’s kind of unfortunate and almost makes you lose faith in the city,” said Galvan.
“I actually think that’s very unfair to the people who haven’t had their cases looked at,” said Gayou.
Animal Welfare says it’s doing its best to hire more people to fill the open positions, but it’s having a hard time finding qualified people.
The department has a total of 21 officers to handle calls right now. They are working to fill the 11 open positions.