LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Valencia County commissioner is teaming up with the local animal shelter to get dogs adopted. The Valencia County Animal Shelter has already reached full capacity only a week into the new year, so County Commissioner Joseph Bizzell and his wife decided to pay half of all adoption fees on Thursday and Friday.

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Bizzell said he and his family try to give back to their community whenever they can. “This is just one way me and my wife can afford to make sure these animals are taken care of. I wish I could do more but this is a way my family can help other families by bringing joy to their lives through a shelter pet,” Bizzell said. “If you can take an animal and take care of it, I want to help make that happen and get these animals into good forever homes.”

Shelter supervisor, Patty Mugan, said they have taken in 93 animals since Tuesday morning. “That’s pretty high for two days, especially in a county like us. We take in animals from Isleta, Bosque Farms, Peralta, Los Lunas and Belen. We can’t turn them away, so it’s hard when we fill up this quick,” Mugan said.

While shelters do seem to see an increase in volume after Christmas, Mugan isn’t sure what’s behind this abnormal surge in animal intake. “At certain times of the year we do see an increase in animals we take in, but not usually this high,” Mugan said.

Mugan also oversees animal transfers in order to avoid euthanizing for lack of space. They work with nonprofit organizations within the state and in Colorado and Utah to make sure animals have a chance to find a new home.

“When the shelter does fill up this quickly, we are at risk to make decisions that we don’t want to have to make. Luckily, we haven’t had to yet, we’ve had some adoptions today which helped, hopefully, the same tomorrow,” Mugan said. “With the generous offer from the commissioner, hopefully, that will save us from having to do that at least this week.”

Mugan said this shelter is open-admission, meaning they cannot turn animals away if they’re picked up from the county. If owners want to surrender their pet, shelter employees cannot tell an owner to come back when a kennel becomes available. “We have to take them in, no matter the outcome for that animal,” Mugan said.

She reached out to the community for help on Wednesday morning through the volunteers of the animal shelter Facebook page, letting the community know adoption costs had been lowered. Usually, the adoption fee for dogs is $92 and the fee for cats is $72. Through Thursday and Friday, families can take home a dog for $46 and $36 for a cat. All animals that are fixed are $10.

Mugan said if adopting a pet isn’t an option, people can also sponsor a dog and pay the adoption fee or help with a transfer fee to make sure the animal finds a home. Community members can also donate needed materials like food, towels, toys, and more.

To learn more about sponsoring a pet transfer, or for a full list of items they are in need of, visit the Valencia County Animal Shelter website. To see updates on pet adoption information, visit the Volunteers of the Valencia County Animal Shelter Facebook page.