The taxpayers of our state spend millions and millions of dollars to capture, transport, assess, house, feed, re-home, transport to vet, kill and, finally, to transport the carcasses of animals.
Yes, half of the 130,000 animals rounded up in the animal control apparatus of our large and small communities are killed each year. One hundred dollars is a conservative estimate of what it costs to catch and kill each unwanted animal. If one multiplies 65,000 animals killed annually (according to Animal Protection Voters) by 100, we have an estimate of $6,500,000 in total costs.
Unlike many problems that seem insoluble, this expensive and horrible problem has a solution: low-cost spaying and neutering. It has worked in other states. Currently, some states even import puppies and adoptable dogs. Other states, which have adopted programs similar to one passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2017, but vetoed by Governor Martinez, have seen a huge reduction in euthanasia rates. (Google Animal Protection of New Mexico and Animal Protection Voters for more information.)
This problem affects large cities, small towns, reservations and pueblos, as well as rural farm and ranch areas. Assistance with low-cost spaying and neutering would provide a solution first by reducing the total number of dogs and cats born, and second by eliminating the millions of dollars spent to kill these otherwise healthy animals. In addition, it would save animal control employees the anguish of having to participate in the killing of these animals, a task that has to be enormously stressful and depressing.
This year, if you care about the problem of killing 65,000 dogs and cats, WRITE, CALL AND EMAIL your legislators and express your support for a solution.
Legislators count the number of calls, emails and letters they receive, pro and con. The voices of newspaper editorials, animal shelters all over the state, law enforcement, animal lovers, veterinarians and animal care nonprofits statewide cannot be left unheard forever.
Legislators and citizens, we can do better than this. Help us end this hideous practice and save millions of dollars. See you next legislative session, along with the dozens and sometimes hundreds of concerned citizens who drive from all corners of the state to attend committee meetings in support of low-cost statewide spaying and neutering for our dogs and cats. Let’s get this done.
Call your state legislators now. Visit the New Mexico Legislature website at: nmlegis.gov and click on Find Your Legislator or call the Capital at 505-986-4600.
Kathe McClaren lives in Santa Fe.