Valencia County may have permanent solution for animal overpopulation

New Mexico News

Help is coming for a New Mexico animal shelter. 

For nearly a decade, the Valencia County Spay and Neuter Clinic hasn’t seen any patients because of a lack of money

“This is how we make it function right nowโ€”it just doesn’t function well, and it ends up being a storage facility,” said Animal Control Director Jess Weston. 

Weston said that’s about to change. 

“We have an excellent opportunity for the residents of Valencia County to be able to provide them with free veterinary services,” Weston said. 

Weston said they’ve received more than $300,000 in state money to fully staff and equip the clinic.

Rep. Kelly Fajardo is one of three lawmakers that helped make it happen. 

“I have constituents in my district that can’t even take their kids to the bus stop for school in the morning without the fear of dogs,” Fajardo said. 

The overpopulation of dogs in the county has been a problem for years.

Last year, they took in 4,200 dogs and cats. Of those, 4,000 were not sterilized.

“Without spay and neuter, we’re not ever going to get those numbers under control. We have 160 cages in this facility and a little over 70,000 residents in the county,” Weston said. 

Many residents in Valencia County are low income and simply can’t afford it.

“Unfortunately spay and neutering an animal…it’s not that it’s not important, but they have other things that take priority,” Weston said. 

Officials hope once the clinic is up and running, people will take advantage of it. 

“We can sit and complain about it or we can be proactive, and this will hopefully do that,” Fajardo said. 

Weston said they plan to open in late September and their goal is to spay and neuter 15 to 20 animals a day at no cost to Valencia County residents. 

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