SANTA FE, N.M. — St. Francis is the patron saint of Santa Fe. So it should come as no surprise that the city recently earned recognition for its compassion toward animals.
Best Friends Animal Society, which describes itself on its website as a “national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters,” has designated Santa Fe a “No-Kill City,” meaning more than 90 percent of homeless animals brought into the Santa Fe Animal Shelter are saved.
Santa Fe, which registered a 94.2 percent save rate based on a 2017 impact report, is one of just three cities in New Mexico – Corrales and Raton are the others – to earn no-kill community status from BFAS.
Mayor Alan Webber said the designation is a reflection of the city’s values.
“How we treat our pets is a measure of how we will treat our people,” he said. “Santa Fe’s no-kill status matches up with our values as a place that loves and cares for all creatures, large and small. We’re proud of the work our entire community did to come together and reach this milestone.”
Jennifer Steketee, the shelter’s executive director, credited the Santa Fe community, including volunteers who collectively contributed more than 15,000 hours of their time, for the achievement.
“For an entire city to achieve no-kill status means we as a community are addressing the root causes of animal homelessness,” she said, adding that the shelter takes in every animal regardless of their health status and tries to find them a good home. “The Santa Fe Animal Shelter has always led the way in supporting animals, saving lives and spreading compassion, and we are thrilled our shelter is now leading the way for the rest of the country.”
Not every animal is saved. About 1 in 20 are put down because they cannot be cured. For those that are suffering, euthanasia is the humane thing to do, the shelter says.
But the shelter does not turn away or put down healthy or treatable animals to make room for new arrivals.
The impact report shows that 2,877 animals found new homes through the shelter in 2017, and another 1,140 were returned to their owners or rescuer. Nearly 900 received foster care.
In addition, 179 animals were transferred to partner shelters, while the Santa Fe shelter took in more than 1,000 animals from the other shelters.
The Santa Fe Animal Shelter is a nonprofit organization that does not receive direct support from the city, state or federal government. Its funding comes from the medical services it provides, sales at its retail store, contracts, grants, fundraising drives and donations. Eighty percent of its expenses are directed toward programing, according to the shelter. The rest is split between administrative costs and fundraising efforts.