(formerly New Mexico Animal Sheltering Board)
On July 1, 2018, the state’s Animal Sheltering Board officially became the Animal Sheltering Committee under the New Mexico State Board of Veterinary Medicine.
The Animal Sheltering Board Background
In 2007, the New Mexico Legislature and Governor enacted the Animal Sheltering Act, which created the Animal Sheltering Board within the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. Since that time, the Animal Sheltering Board regulated the field of euthanasia services performed at animal shelters in the state, specifically by licensing non-veterinary euthanasia providers, euthanasia agencies, and euthanasia instructors. The Animal Sheltering Board also developed recommended minimum shelter standards for infrastructure and operations, and funded many spay/neuter initiatives to combat companion animal overpopulation.
Why was the Animal Sheltering Act created?
Each year, New Mexico’s animal shelters take in over 135,000 homeless, lost and abandoned dogs and cats; of these, over 65,000 are euthanized annually. New Mexicans agreed that those animals who must be euthanized for lack of a home at the very least deserve humane euthanasia by trained and licensed individuals. New Mexicans also wanted to see minimum recommended standards for animal shelters developed and promoted statewide. Further, New Mexicans wanted to see the expansion of proactive, low-cost spay/neuter programs to reduce the number of homeless animals in our state.
Thus, the Animal Sheltering Board’s mission from its 2007 inception has been:
- to ensure a humane death for every shelter animal requiring euthanasia;
- to define recommended minimum standards for animal shelter operations and facilities; and,
- to develop spay/neuter initiatives to address the costly problem of dog and cat overpopulation in New Mexico.
The Animal Sheltering Board successfully met the challenges and mandates provided by state law in its highly specialized mission and operated within a very modest budget.
The Animal Sheltering Board Accomplishments
- By early 2009, the Animal Sheltering Board completed the development and adoption of mandatory rules governing euthanasia procedures, providers, agencies, instructors, and formulary. As of 2018, the Animal Sheltering Board had a total of 265 active licensees: 224 Euthanasia Technicians, 28 Euthanasia Agencies, and 13 Certified Euthanasia Instructors. The Animal Sheltering Board was also responsible for monitoring and disciplinary activities associated with its licensees, including investigating complaints and conducting hearings.
- In response to 2011’s Senate Memorial 36, the Animal Sheltering Board produced a study of development and funding options for a spay/neuter initiative to aid low-income households in New Mexico.
- In 2012, the Animal Sheltering Board produced and published online its Recommended Minimum Standards for Animal Shelters in New Mexico. The board disseminated this document to animal shelters statewide in early 2013.
- In 2014, the Animal Sheltering Board oversaw the distribution of $25,900 from the state’s spay/neuter license plate, made available to 44 local spay/neuter programs in 28 counties.
- In 2015, the New Mexico Legislature and Governor appropriated an additional $70,000 to be distributed to spay/neuter programs at the board’s discretion. To achieve the greatest impact, the board developed a targeted plan to fund 16 low-cost programs within the nine communities whose public shelters suffered the highest intake and highest euthanasia rates in New Mexico: Portales, Clovis, Roswell, Farmington, Hobbs, Valencia County, Gallup, Carlsbad, and Doña Ana County.
- In 2016, an additional $12,000 in spay/neuter license plate funds were distributed in four communities: Aztec, Deming, Silver City, Grants. In total, these successful efforts provided affordable spay-neuter surgeries for approximately 2,000 dogs and cats. The Animal Sheltering Board’s strict funding guidelines and direct distribution to existing local programs ensured that all funds were expended only on sterilization surgeries, in cooperation with local veterinarians.
- In 2018, the board, at its final meeting prior to transitioning to its current committee form, approved a spay/neuter funding distribution plan covering a total of $88,475 ($54,422 from New Mexico’s spay/neuter license plate and $34,053 from state tax refund contributions) to 21 spay/neuter programs in nine counties.
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