ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Thursday, Mayor Keller presented the One Albuquerque Award to an Animal Welfare officer who worked with the community to deal with dogs that were barking at and attacking residents of an Albuquerque neighborhood. Sgt. Raymond Candelaria was honored as the July One Albuquerque Award recipient for his role in helping the residents and the dogs involved.

“Sergeant Candelaria didn’t do the minimum of dealing with the situation, he prioritized humane treatment of animals and that’s something we always want to do,” Mayor Keller said during the ceremony. “He bought dog houses so they wouldn’t have to be stuck outside in the rough weather, and toys so they could play, and also worked with the neighborhood to document the situation which is also very important to find the best resolution moving forward.”

Last September, Animal Welfare began receiving calls from the same neighborhood about two dogs who kept getting out of their yard and constantly barking. When Candelaria visited the home he realized there were no doghouses for the dogs to rest in, so through the Animal Welfare Department’s dog house program, he was able to provide the owner with dog houses and toys.

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“We set them up. I took some toys and educated the owners on barking. If they’re barking, bring them inside because they’re barking for a reason. But the owners work a lot or were never home so they’d just leave the dogs. The dogs being dogs needed attention,” Candelaria said.

The dogs continued escaping the yard and attacking neighbors, and the neighbors were logging the incidents and reporting them to the department. Finally last month, the dogs got out and attacked one of the neighbors badly enough for Angel’s Law to be enacted. enabling Animal Welfare to seize the dogs with the owners’ consent and hold them to protect the public.

During the administrative hearing process, the owner decided to surrender the dogs. Candelaria said they are now trying to find homes for those dogs.

Candelaria said he was shocked to be nominated and recognized because he was simply doing his job. “It’s not just myself, our officers go through this day in and day out.”

Candelaria wants the community to know that they are there to help. “When we drive up, we’re not there to take your dogs, that’s the last thing we want. We only do that under extreme circumstances and that’s either with the owner’s consent or court order. That myth that as soon as we pull up we’re taking the dogs, that doesn’t happen,” Candelaria said. “We’re there because we love animals. We don’t want to see them hurt.”