Challenging Animal Cruelty
Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) has been making sure animals matter in every New Mexican community since 1979. APNM is challenging historic and widespread animal cruelty through its ambitious initiatives.
Animal Protection of New Mexico's Challenging Animal Cruelty Program is comprised of five elements that together allow us to hear the public's concerns about animal abuse and neglect in communities all across the state, identify the root causes of that abuse and neglect and address animal abuse and neglect with both short- and long-term solutions.
-Allison in Española
Animal abuse and neglect are unacceptable in their own right, but it is now undeniable that animal cruelty is inextricably linked to other kinds of family violence. It is a community imperative to be able to effectively thwart animal cruelty. Making New Mexico a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and raise a family makes our state more appealing to businesses and productive members of society.
Animal Cruelty Hotline
One APNM staff person is devoted entirely to answering calls to the statewide animal cruelty hotline. Approximately 850 cases are reported to the hotline each year, and in many instances APNM can simply refer callers to the correct agency for reporting neglect and abuse. In other instances, particularly those in which a caller wishes to remain anonymous, APNM works directly with the appropriate agency to help bring relief to many of the animal(s) affected. Unfortunately, APNM is not able to help bring relief to animals in every case because local and/or state laws do not prohibit activities that are clearly cruel but not yet illegal.
APNM's Hotline and Cruelty Case Management system is unlike anything offered in any other state. Callers regularly tell APNM that no one else responded to their calls and that APNM made all the difference for an individual animal. Most calls are returned within 24 hours.
APNM's animal cruelty hotline service is invaluable for the public who witness neglect and cruelty, because often the information about animals in jeopardy can lead to eventual relief for many animal victims. However, the hotline also serves other important roles.
APNM tracks and analyzes the data it obtains from the hotline to evaluate trends in animal cruelty reported and to determine priorities for potential policy changes of all kinds: local and state laws; legislative and non-legislative policies; and indicators of services that are lacking. The hotline also identifies areas of the state that could benefit from additional law enforcement training and humane education. In this regard, the hotline serves as a crucial incubator for longer-term, systemic change, which is central to APNM's mission.
Law Enforcement Training
Since 2007, in conjunction with numerous law enforcement agencies, APNM has assisted with training law enforcement on the effective enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
Toward these ends, with support from a federal grant, APNM worked with the NM Department of Public Safety to establish strategically located inventories of supplies for use by local law enforcement agencies to ensure safer and more effective investigations of cruelty cases, and humane handling and disposition of animals.
APNM organizes law enforcement and agency employee training directly related to the welfare of animals. Training in cruelty investigations for law enforcement officers and training in 'The Link' between animal cruelty and domestic violence for juvenile justice system employees is in high demand. Examples of training offered, subject to funding, include:
- animal control officer training in cruelty investigations
- state police and sheriff deputy training in animal fighting investigations
- workshops about the Link between animal cruelty and family violence to social workers, child welfare advocates, juvenile justice agency employees, and law enforcement officers through presentations at the Children's Law Institute and through cooperation with the NM Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) and the NM Department of Corrections (NMDOC)
- Workshops for therapists on the Anicare Treatment Model for treating animal abusers. APNM created and now maintains a statewide list of Anicare trained therapists and has made it available to every district attorney and judge in the state so this crucial information is available for court-ordered referrals of counseling
Quotes from NM CYFD and NM DOC employees who attended training:
- "Excellent information for probation-parole officers."
- "The issues presented illustrated a link between animal abuse and domestic violence that I hadn't thought about."
- "Excellent training and very knowledgeable instructors. Information was current and positive to my job."
- "Loved this training! It was very informative and will be helpful in my job. This training should be mandatory for all CYFD employees."
- "I wish I'd had this training before some earlier jobs working with at risk adolescents and with adults in prison."
APNM created and makes available to law enforcement officers a comprehensive manual on all aspects of investigating animal cruelty. APNM created and distributes a special pocket resource guide with information on how and where to report animal cruelty, and a summary of pertinent New Mexico animal cruelty laws.
APNM is available, when requested by an agency, to help coordinate contacts among the numerous state and federal resources often needed to ensure the safety of officers and relief for animal and human victims involved in animal-related crimes that are investigated. APNM can help link law enforcement officers with human service agencies, veterinarians and animal shelters to effectively and humanely address the complex crimes involving animal victims.
APNM offers rewards related to especially egregious animal cruelty cases for which an offender has not been identified and prosecuted. Reward levels are based on a combination of the number of animals harmed, the type of violence perpetrated on the animal(s), and whether the animal(s) lived or died.
animal hoarding is a big problem in the state, with suspected hoarders
living in nearly every community.
Although companion animal hoarding is usually associated with large
numbers of animals (50, 100, 150), it is about how the animals are
cared for. The typical situation involves malnourished, sick animals
living in filthy, cramped conditions, which, in some cases, require
the premises to be condemned.
In the past, our community shelters have spent large amounts of money and other resources impounding alleged hoarders’ animals. This takes away from the services the community depends on them to provide.
Companion animal hoarding is a psychological problem. And the living conditions are not just bad for the animals – they are bad for the people too. Hoarders need help.
If you see a suspected case of hoarding, don't assume "someone else" will be taking care of the situation. Take precautions to safely investigate and report any findings of neglect or cruelty to the proper authorities.
(within the state of New Mexico)
Monday through Friday
Calls made outside these hours will be returned within 48 hours. Please leave a detailed message.
When calling the Cruelty Hotline speak slowly and clearly:
- Describe your concern.
- What have you witnessed?
- Provide the address and/or city/county in which this took place.
- If you do not know the address, provide clear directions, with street names and/or landmarks.
- Please leave a number at which you can be reached.
Someone will return your call as soon as possible.
Thank you for being the voice for animals.
We are not a law enforcement agency and have no legal authority to intervene directly, but we can help callers identify and report animal abuse and neglect. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
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