I wholeheartedly support Senate Bill 367 as a way forward in addressing New Mexico’s overpopulation of homeless companion animals.
SB 367 places a modest increase to a registration fee paid to the N.M. Department of Agriculture by pet food manufacturers on product lines of dog-cat food or dog-cat treats, with the proceeds going to increasing the availability of low-cost spay-neuter services for low-income New Mexicans. Among my responsibilities as chief of police is oversight of our local animal shelter. In that capacity, I have witnessed the predictable cycle of euthanizing healthy, loving and adoptable dogs and cats simply to make cage space for other incoming homeless animals.
The vast majority of those animals arrive to our shelter not having been spayed or neutered. In this scenario, which is played out in shelters all over New Mexico, euthanasia becomes a de facto population management tool.
However, the problem of companion animal overpopulation does not start in our shelters and cannot be solved there. It is a problem in our communities, particularly the estimated two-thirds of our counties that lack affordable and accessible spay-neuter services.
SB 367 will help fund low-cost spay-neuter services throughout New Mexico, and that will finally help us to reduce the number of companion animals entering our shelters – and those who will be euthanized to make cage space for other homeless animals.
SB 367 will increase the availability of affordable spay-neuter services for companion animals of income-qualified recipients, and to that end it is in the interests of us all to support this vital bill. It is a “win” for counties, the quality of life in our communities, for taxpayers and for animals.