LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Las Vegas and Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico have now cut ties, leaving the shelter there completely empty. “The city came to us and asked us if we could help run the shelter,” said Marshall Poole, who is on the board of the coalition.
For over nine years now, Poole and the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico worked hand in hand with the city of Las Vegas, running their animal shelter as best as they could, but all of that changed this year. “They’ve never talked to us specifically about any of this,” said Poole.
Back in early January, Poole and his team started submitting letters to the city clearly stating what they needed moving forward and asking to set up a time to chat about their upcoming contract renewal. “Bringing up issues for the city that really, we needed addressed before we could be comfortable making another renewal of a contract,” said Poole.
Poole also says those issues included the lack of animal control and no enforcement of pet ordinances in the city. “In our experience, 90% of the animals within the city, we think, do not have rabies vaccines,” said Poole.
Instead, in early May, the city released a request for proposals looking for another agency to run the shelter – just under two months away from the contract end date. “Frankly, the city ought to be ashamed of this document,” said Poole.
In that request, the city laid out what it wanted. “For example, the control over euthanasia and we have to affirm over penalty of perjury that the offerer will strictly adhere to the city’s euthanasia and cremation directives,” said Poole.
For that reason, among others, the coalition decided they couldn’t in good conscience agree to the terms. “This year, they’re saying shelter operating costs for the shelter would be the sole responsibility for the offerer, so they’re even not offering to pay us anything to run the shelter,” said Poole.
Over the course of two months, the coalition had to figure out what to do with the animals of the shelter. “We placed and transferred all of the dogs that were in our care and all of the cats that were within our care,” said Poole.
The animals were spread out between shelters here in New Mexico and in Colorado. As of June 30, it is now completely empty. “We could not make a proposal, nobody made a proposal,” said Poole.
Leaving Las Vegas without animal care from the city. “What is the city’s plan for animals that are injured or ill,” asked Poole.
News 13 reached out to the city of Las Vegas for comment and were told to reach back out after the holiday.