Sunday, August 8, 2010

Urge our leaders to partner with the ASPCA on shelter repair and reform

I am going to be very blunt: we have the worst case of animal hoarding right inside the Las Cruces, NM, municipal animal shelter at this time. Because of this, the ASPCA is offering to send a team of experts to help us clean up and repair the physical building and train management and stafff on sheltering best practices and animal intake, routing, herd health, shelter medicine, etc. It is a challenge to our leaders and community to work hard for two months to make drastic change, and we'd be fools not to accept this help and make it happen. Where there is a will, there is a way, and conditions are so dire that drastic and immediate action is necessary (it has been for some time). See yesterday's blog post for the ASPCA report and details.

If you want the ASPCA to help our shelter progress and right its wrongs, please contact the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley's oversight board. Right now, it sounds as if many of them have completely closed the door to the ASPCA because of them calling for the shelter to close for 60 days, but there are possibilties and options for what we can do with our homeless animals during that time frame. Our leaders have not even sat down with the ASPCA to work out those details. It is incumbent upon them to do so, as far as I'm concerned.

The board's names, e-mails, and phone numbers are listed next; contact them with your opinions!

Miguel Silva, ASCMV Board Chair, City Councilor, 541-2066,

Dolores Connor, Board Member, City Councilor, 541-2066,

Nathan Small, Board Member, City Councilor, 541-2066,

Terrence Moore, Non-Voting Board Member, City Manager, 541-2076,

Scott Krahling, Board Member, County Commissioner, 525-5810,

Oscar Vasquez-Butler, Board Member, ,County Commissioner, 647-7201,

Jess Williams, Board Member, Dona Ana County Director, 525-5801,

Brian Haines, Non-Voting Board Member, County Manager, 647-7201,


Anonymous said...

first you all get upset because the kill rate at the shelter was to high, now the shelter is not killing as much because they are holding animals you get upset because you think it is over crowded.
it is about ime you put your money where your mouth is

Michel Meunier said...

Anonymous: It is never acceptable to incorrectly house animals in order to reduce the kill rate by a few percentage points. It is incumbent on our animal shelter to provide adequate, best-practices care and support for all sheltered animals. There is a way to reduce the kill rate without improperly warehousing animals; one does not follow from the other, and that excuse the shelter is using is getting very old and tired.

See the No Kill Equation to the right. Implemening it is the correct way to reduce the kill rate in our community. While animals are housed in our shelter, herd health and animal care is necessary and should be up to modern shelter practices.

Anonymous said...

well then go get your own building if you can do better and put your money where your mouth is and quit complaining

Michel Meunier said...

See the following out of the May/June 2010 Animal Sheltering magazine; animal cruelty can also be charged against shelters and AC officers, as it should be.

If I was the shelter managerand had a $1.9 million budget to work with each year, it would be my responsibility to ensure proper care of all animals in my care, as it is our shelter management's responsibilty right now. If I had $2 million to spare, or more, you can bet I'd put my money where my mouth is and model proper animal shetlering in this community.

Here's the excerpt from Animal Shelering magazine:

"In the first few months of 2010, some of the news from animal welfare groups around the country was anything but warm and fuzzy.
The director of an Ohio shelter pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges, after animals in the care of the facility were found to be sick and living in their own filth. In California, an animal control officer was put on leave after pleading guilty to a cruelty charge. The director of an animal shelter in Tennessee was arrested, along with several other staff, on
cruelty charges. In Texas, 64 animals were seized from a rescue group after many of them were found to be starving.
We’re sure you’ll agree with us when we say … yuck. These groups had similar missions, but different operating policies. They were a nokill shelter, a public humane society, a county
animal control department, and a rescue group, respectively. The one thing they had in common was that, in ways big or small,
their mission to shelter and protect animals had somehow run off the rails.
As all of us work toward the end of euthanasia of healthy, treatable animals, we should keep these cases in mind. While saving animals’ lives should be
a primary focus at shelters, reasonable people can still differ about euthanasia policies. Many excellent, compassionate shelters still euthanize to cope with the
influx of animals into their facilities. Many excellent, compassionate rescue groups
and limited-admission shelters do not. And in spite of the differences in their operating
policies, many of these organizations have learned to work together to make the biggest possible difference for the animals in their communities.
What reasonable people who care for animals should not differ on is standards of care for the animals they’re sheltering. Whatever your policy on euthanasia, your policy for
the living should be clear and uncompromising.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Five Freedoms state the case best: Animals deserve freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from
discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behaviors, and freedom from fear and distress.
Every organization that takes in animals should self-assess on a regular basis. Ask: Are we providing the basics to the animals we care for so much? And if not, can we really call our passion “compassion,” or has it become something darker?
Animal rescue and sheltering work is dirty, difficult, heartbreaking, and incredibly
valuable. The work you do inspires us every day. So keep the Five Freedoms in mind, and remember: Anything worth doing is worth
doing well. We can disagree on plenty, but we have to agree on that. If you’re struggling, The HSUS has resources that may help. Check out the Programs and Services section of, and remember, many of our old issues are available in our online
resource library."
—Carrie, James, Jim, and Amy
Animal Sheltering magazine staff

Anonymous said...

so bring on your legal proof that the local shelter and animal control are abusing ang negleting animals.
if was as bad as you say you would get a lawyer and bring on the charges
put up or shut up

maria cristina salvat said...

haven't read all the comments and got some info from you very welcome emails, michel.....anonymous from aug. 8 upsets me and wish they had a more positive tone.

first of all, michel, you and ACT are doing a wonderful job of caring for animals in the community via your presence and actions such as the food bank.

someone called in to soundoff a thought that had occured to me when i read the city is losing money maintaining a virtually empty old courthouse. our thoughts--animal shelter! but i don't know if a shelter should be surrounded by more land, be single story, have to have concrete floors and drains, etc. would it be to pricey to alter the courthouse.

don't like the location of the present shelter--hard to get to from the west.

i definately think we should take up the aspca on their offer to fix, guide, etc. they have been in the biz a long time and if it's true they rarely give bad ratings and are appalled by our shelter, well.....

caught a "dog whisperer" episode where cesar takes a client to a local shelter and it looked like a spa or shangrila. everything was clean, beautiful, lush with plants, inviting. my only other experience with a shelter was madison, wi. which didn't look much better than ours.

why not approach contractor who would donate work and the city/county pay for materials to enlarge, improve our shelter or build a new one?

i will certainly contact the board members with some feedback. thank you for all you do.