Regretfully, Mayor Tim Keller has left us no choice. We and other Albuquerque citizens who respect and value the lives of animals must call him out, sadly in the year of an election. Before elected, he sought support from us and many of our fellow animal advocates, citing his past positive voting record as a state senator on animal welfare issues. His campaign included promises to manage with kindness and care the incarcerated pets in Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department shelters, and tackle our city’s animal welfare issues with compassion – and to do a better job fighting the rapidly increasing crime in Albuquerque.
However, once elected, the animal care, adequate funding and trained employees in our shelters atrophied. Not only did the AAWD receive a negative report from the city inspector general, but also a continual barrage of Journal articles from 2018 through 2021 has exposed the worsening mismanagement and abuse of AAWD incarcerated pets – even breaking many of the current HEART Animal Control codes – until it reached those sickening, gruesome, neglectful current conditions revealed on KOB-TV (recently). These charges were supported by three other current/former AAWD employees. No honorable administrator(s) would allow these denigrating conditions and abuse to occur.
Responses from Keller and AAWD Director Carolyn Ortega, who is without any prior animal welfare experience, included pitiful excuses for the city’s inability to hire the necessary number of animal care workers or repairmen for the air conditioners and heating elements servicing as many as 600 pets. This moaning about inadequate funds for humane animal care seems confusing and inconsistent with Keller’s announcement of plans for a multi-purpose soccer complex if bonds are approved, estimated to cost (at least) $50 million. Additional funding for AAWD was not requested. It appears that the mayor considers the field more important than the lives of innocent, incarcerated pets languishing and dying in our filthy, overcrowded and understaffed shelters. His words: The blame, the buck stops with the mayor of Albuquerque.
Our silence would imply agreement that those abandoned creatures deserve their current torturous existences, that their lives have no worth. But, by acting, we citizens of Albuquerque can become the voices of these tortured pets. I am hoping all city animal advocates will join us in their concern for the health and safety of those incarcerated in AAWD shelters by copying this letter, signing and mailing it to Mayor@City of Albuquerque, so he will understand that, in Albuquerque, we respect life and expect our mayor to act with honor.
By expressing your concern, our mayor will realize the value of making the positive, necessary, humane changes immediately.