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Santa Fe approves new law designed to protect dogs

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits keeping dogs tethered to a trolley system and from being kept outside in temperatures that are too hot or too cold.

“What a great town with people who deeply, deeply care,” said District 1 Councilor Signe Lindell, who strongly supported the bill. “Thank you to the community we live in, and for the love of dogs and the love of animals.”

Santa Fe City Councilor Signe Lindell loves dogs.

The ordinance prohibits dogs from being kept on a trolley system and from being kept outside in temperatures below 32 degrees and above 90 degrees. It also allows for an animal control officer to enter private property if an animal is being kept in these conditions.

“Animal services officers, in the performance of their general duties, may enter upon private property to take-up and impound any animal that … is in imminent danger of harm, except that animal service officers may not enter a private residence without approval of the occupant or the appropriate authority,” the ordinance says. “Prior to entering private property, an animal services officer shall first attempt to make contact with the owner of the animal.”

No one at the meeting addressed how the temperature provisions would be enforced.

About 10 people spoke during the public hearing portion. Most of them thanked the council for drafting the ordinance and no one outright spoke against it.

Karen Cain thanked the council for including provisions that prohibit dogs from being kept in unsafe temperatures.

“It’s imperative to the lives of these incredible beings,” she said.

But Brooke Doman said the bill paints a broad stroke and doesn’t take into account a dog’s size or coat.

“My dog loves 30 degrees and below,” Doman said. “She loves to play in the snow.”

Lindell said later in the meeting that there’s a difference between letting your dog play in snow and keeping it outside all night in the freezing cold.

Doman was also concerned that homeless people may have their pets taken away. No city officials addressed that concern during the meeting.

The ordinance also doesn’t address cats.

“I think it’s something we should look at,” District 2 Councilor Michael J. Garcia said. “If we’re going to be protecting our animals, we should protect all our animals.”

But Santa Fe Animal Services Supervisor Chris Smith previously told the Journal that he expects more dogs to be running loose and an increase in dog attacks if the ordinance was passed.

Santa Fe County banned tethers and trolleys in 2017.

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