Toward the end of 2015, APNM began receiving calls from concerned residents and overwhelmed shelter employees and volunteers in Valencia County pleading for our help. Rampant dog and cat overpopulation, a severely overcrowded facility, and staffing shortages resulted in a nightmarish situation inside the aging, county-owned and operated animal shelter in Los Lunas. Shelter animal health and public confidence were being affected. Those calls gave rise to APNM’s Humane Communities initiative in Valencia County.
- APNM reached out to Valencia County’s management and the ASPCA® to develop a plan to deliver support specific to the shelter’s most immediate needs and to lay a foundation for sustainable improvements.
- County management and shelter staff members enthusiastically devoted months addressing operational priorities identified. A generous ASPCA grant provided supplies, equipment, and training to implement a highly effective cleaning system, microchips, collars, an engraving machine, ID tags, and PetPoint® software.
- Valencia County hired Jess Weston as its new Director of Animal Control. Demonstrating strong leadership and a can-do attitude, Weston immediately got to work on major shelter improvements. The county provided staffing support and significant funding to repair ventilation systems and resurface kennel floors.
- Other agencies, organizations, and volunteers came forward to offer their assistance, host a Pet Health Fair, and begin an ongoing series of spay/neuter clinics.
- By the end of 2016, our collaborative efforts resulted in dramatic improvements for the animals, staff, volunteers, and public.
- In 2017, our Humane Communities partnership secured a generous grant from the Dennis Friends Foundation to construct a “Meet and Greet” area at the Valencia County Animal Shelter. It’s a lovely space where dogs and potential adopters can interact in a stress-free zone to increase the dogs’ chances of finding homes.
- By mid-2018, Valencia County completely funded and renovated the shelter’s animal intake center, which now includes a public reception area, improved office space for staff, better storage facilities for food supplies and equipment, and vastly improved housing for cats.