2009 Accomplishments

Programs That Benefit All Animals


From the desk of
Elisabeth Jennings
   


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To Friends of New Mexico's Animals,

I’m writing with a substantial report of Animal Protection of New Mexico’s (APNM) life-saving programs during 2009, thanks to your generous and consistent support. As you probably know, we rely entirely on the generosity of individuals like you to fund our work to make animals matter in New Mexico. We receive no government funding for the multi-faceted work we do.

More than ever before, the momentum for change for animals in New Mexico is extraordinary, but we need your continued help to shepherd our relevant projects to success. Can you make a special contribution at this time, so our creative work of challenging cruelty in New Mexico can be optimized? Our needs are tremendous this year, and a generous donation right now would mean so much.


I hope you agree that when resources are limited, it is even more important than ever to make sure your local animal protection organization–APNM–thrives. Animal Protection of New Mexico is accomplishing positive change New Mexicans can see right in front of them, in communities throughout the state. When local television and newspapers feature stories about animals who’ve been rescued from hoarding, animal fighting and other life-threatening situations, it’s likely APNM has been the driving force behind the scenes. Thanks to our donors, we are improving how animals are treated and regarded in New Mexico.

But we both know there is so much more to do to help animals. APNM’s hard-working and extremely effective staff is committed to doing all it can, but we need your active participation. Remember, when you give generously to APNM, we respond by planning and implementing truly remarkable change for the vulnerable animals around us.

We remain grateful for your active engagement in our mission. Thank you!

Sincerely yours,



Elisabeth Jennings
Executive Director


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Animal Cruelty Case Management

APNM’s Animal Cruelty Case Manager now handles about 200 cruelty cases each month through hotline calls. APNM’s case management process results in more frequent intervention in and prosecution of cruelty cases, often leading to high profile attention in the media. The public responds to these developments with increased reporting of cruelty.


Rewards for Information

To encourage public participation in reporting animal cruelty, APNM regularly offers rewards of up to $10,000 for information on animal abuse cases. The rewards have proven to be extremely useful in several cases, particularly those involving dogfighting and other extreme cruelty. A precedent-setting case involving the sexual assault of a dog ended in the perpetrator being charged and successfully prosecuted as a felon.



Within just days of one billboard being displayed, numerous calls came into
APNM’s hotline to help a horse in desperate need of immediate rescue.

Billboards Draw Attention to Cruelty

APNM publicizes substantial rewards and the importance of reporting animal cruelty in a variety of ways, including on billboards. Thanks to the generosity of Clear Channel Outdoor and an Albuquerque donor, four billboards are already in place and two more are slated for western New Mexico this month. The presence of the billboards with the cruelty hotline number so readily available has made it very easy for people to access help for any animal, no matter how unfamiliar someone is with what agency to call. The hotline number on the billboards is truly a clearinghouse for all animal concerns to get directed to the right agency statewide.


Other Outreach

 
APNM’s rewards are also featured regularly on television and in newspapers across the state. Recent coverage includes a dog who miraculously survived after being shot through the head with an arrow (The Gallup Herald), and a beloved family dog shot numerous times with a BB gun (the Hobbs News-Sun). The Hobbs newspaper also published a strong editorial about the local crime, emphasizing the link between animal cruelty and other kinds of violence. Stay tuned for APNM’s upcoming advertising “blitz” about animal cruelty and the importance of reporting it. Print, radio and television ads will soon broadcast the plight of animals subjected to cruelty and neglect and how people can help them get relief.


Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force


Lily was rescued from near starvation by an APNM staffer who coordinated the law enforcement response to a Cibola County hoarder’s home. Almost 100 sick and malnourished dogs were found. Lily gained 15 pounds in three weeks while being fostered by APNM’s Communications Manager.

 

 

 
As coordinator of the Attorney General’s (AG) Animal Cruelty Task Force, APNM has been continuing its far-reaching work with law enforcement to ensure the 2007 cockfighting ban and the decades-old dogfighting ban are being enforced. At least 25 raids on animal fighting enterprises and hoarding situations have been conducted since the task force was created. As a sign that the grisly business of cockfighting is dying fast, this summer the New Mexico Court of Appeals rejected New Mexico cockfighters’ desperate attempt to sue state officials, including task force members, to overturn the 2007 cockfighting ban. The Court ruled that the 2007 cockfighting ban is in fact constitutional and the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed that ruling.


Intervening in Animal Hoarding Cases, Staffing AG’s Hotline

On behalf of the task force, APNM staff members are also directly organizing agency responses in more complicated cruelty cases, such as animal hoarding. In recent months, APNM coordinated the law enforcement and human services involvement in two of the worst hoarding situations ever seen in the state. The comprehensive response resulted in the rescue of about 150 dogs and intervention for their human caretakers in two rural counties. APNM staffs the AG’s cruelty hotline, as well as APNM’s own hotline.


 
Law Enforcement Training

To ensure New Mexico law enforcement officers receive the specialized training needed to investigate reports of animal cruelty–including animal fighting–APNM continues to underwrite tuition for animal control officers to attend the National Animal Control Association Level I, II and III academies. Also, in August APNM worked with the N.M. Department of Public Safety to sponsor a full-day training on animal fighting investigations for state police officers in every district and two Special Investigations Division officers. This training created valuable police contacts in every jurisdiction and will be a key component to ensuring animal fighting activities cannot survive in our state.

Further, the Spring 2009 edition of the New Mexico Sheriffs and Police Association’s newsletter featured a two-page center story on the AG’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, emphasizing its importance in ensuring the enforcement of animal laws, but also its role in helping law enforcement find known drug dealers and other felons.


Attorney General King and Doña Ana County
Sheriff Garrison Earn Law Enforcement Award


 
In late September, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the National District Attorneys Association formally recognized Attorney General (AG) Gary King and Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison for their work on enforcing New Mexico’s animal fighting laws through the AG’s Animal Cruelty Task Force. King and Garrison were among law enforcement leaders from seven states recognized for their extraordinary work to ensure animal protection laws are vigorously enforced.

“Attorney General King and Sheriff Garrison have created the nation’s most effective statewide task force to combat illegal animal cruelty and fighting,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “It is a model we hope other states emulate, and we are proud to present them with this award for their remarkable work in protecting animals and putting their abusers behind bars.”
–Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President
 


Getting Dogs Off Chains

APNM is using its website, apnm.org, to disseminate information about the cruelty and safety issues involved when dogs are constantly chained. APNM’s “Train. Don’t Chain™.” section of its website now features multiple resources for getting dogs off chains, including tips on dog training, building fences and installing trolley systems. In addition, the HSUS published an article about dog chaining in its flagship publication, All Animals, which reaches close to 500,000 people. In it they refer to APNM’s report, “The Public Safety and Humane Implications of Persistently Chaining Domestic Dogs,” which the public can download from APNM’s website. It is being recommended as a useful guide to advocates who want to reform the practice of chaining in their communities. APNM’s sister organization, Animal Protection Voters, has been challenging the practice of unregulated chaining through revisions of ordinances in various locations. The most recent areas to make improvements in this regard are Torrance and Bernalillo Counties.


Animal Control Officer Appreciation

 
How animal cruelty cases are handled depends heavily on the capability, training and motivation of animal control officers (ACO’s) in various jurisdictions across the state. APNM recognizes that these officers on the “front lines” are sometimes performing their jobs without adequate training, equipment or proper recognition for the complexity and difficulty involved in keeping animals and the community safe. To remind the community that ACO’s deserve recognition and acknowledgement, during April’s national Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, APNM delivered thank you cards and cakes to animal control officers in the greater Albuquerque metro area.


 
Promoting Humane Shelters & Euthanasia

APNM has stayed very engaged in the evolution of new rules governing euthanasia that have now been approved and adopted by the state Animal Sheltering Board (ASB). These historic regulations for the humane disposition of homeless dogs and cats were many years in the making. They will help ensure that as long as dogs and cats have to be euthanized, the process will be done professionally, humanely and with oversight. APNM will also participate in the development of the ASB’s next phase of its oversight responsibility: to establish voluntary standards for the state’s animal shelters. To supplement this effort, APNM’s website now contains a comprehensive resource intended to help communities improve their animal shelter operations. “Shelter Savvy” includes recommendations for how communities can make their shelters safer and more humane, with an emphasis on citizen engagement, active involvement and support of their local shelters.


Humane Youth Education

 
APNM is maintaining its commitment to teaching children about kindness to animals and others by subsidizing the distribution of KIND News to 260 New Mexico classrooms. The award-winning publication is published at three reading levels and is designed for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. Its focus is on humane values such as fairness, compassion, and responsibility as it teaches children respect for animals and the environment.

“I am writing this letter to thank you for buying the KIND News. I love the beavers and dogs. We write facts and we do the games…I hope you don’t quit so I can learn about animals. Sincerely, Brandon G., 4th grade, Kaune Elementary”


Equine Protection Fund and Program

In partnership with the New Mexico Community Foundation, APNM has created the Equine Protection Fund to support the Equine Protection Program (Program). The Program will seek on-the-ground solutions to equines’ most immediate needs, providing relief across the state.

This comprehensive Program will:

• provide financial support to equine sanctuaries;
• provide subsidized emergency equine care and humane disposition;
• advance equine stewardship through public education;
• train law enforcement in equine cruelty investigations;
• promote humane management of wild horse herds.

An opinion piece authored by APNM staff about the current equine crisis was published in the Artesia News and the Horsemen’s Voice magazine earlier this summer. To learn more or to donate, visit the Fund’s website: EquineProtectionFund.org


Chimps to Sanctuary

APNM is implementing its comprehensive strategy to ensure the more than 200 chimpanzees currently held at the Alamogordo Primate Facility are retired to a permanent sanctuary.


 
Wildlife Co-existence Campaigns

APNM continues to promote coexistence between the state’s wild animals and its citizens. APNM co-authored an opinion piece on cougar conservation that was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican. In addition, APNM is developing a Cougar Smart New Mexico campaign, to help people learn how to stay safe in “cougar country” while simultaneously keeping cougars thriving in our state.

APNM is creating a comprehensive landowner guide that will include a wide array of resources and information so people can learn how to co-exist with beavers, and why they are important and valuable animals that provide enormous benefit to New Mexico’s arid landscape.



Animal Protection Voters’ 2009 Legislative Successes

Governor Richardson signed two Animal Protection Voters’ priority bills, making 2009 a highly successful session for the animals. SB 127, Custody and Care of Mistreated Animals, sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) and sponsored on the House floor by Representative Al Park (D-Albuquerque), allows for much needed financial relief for local governments, animal shelters, the New Mexico Livestock Board and non-profit horse shelters. Agencies responsible for the care of animals seized in animal cruelty cases may now petition the court for reimbursement of the cost of their care, which would be paid for by those charged with animal cruelty. This law will have an enormous and positive impact on the lives of animals suffering from mistreatment and/or neglect.



Governor Richardson addresses crowd of animal protection advocates at State Capitol.


Also, SB 185, Pet License Plate Fees to Animal Care Fund, sponsored by Senator Mary Jane García (D-Doña Ana) and sponsored on the House floor by Representative Bill O’Neill (D-Albuquerque), improves the funding mechanism associated with the existing spay/neuter license plate law. From now on, $25 of the $37 license plate fee will go directly to the Animal Care and Facilities Fund managed by the Animal Sheltering Board. Funds will then be distributed to local spay-neuter programs, thereby maximizing the impact of the plate revenues to help animals. Now that the funding mechanism has been optimized, APNM’s Community Programs Manager is gathering media support for promoting the spay-neuter license plate. Articles about the spay-neuter license plate appeared recently in the magazine, High Desert Dog, and in Petroglyphs, an online magazine aimed at the animal welfare community.


Animal Protection Voters’ Local Ordinance Successes

APV’s savvy, in-depth and strategic community organizing has paid off tremendously in the last twelve months, with Torrance and Bernalillo Counties and the city of Hobbs adopting a new county animal control ordinance. APV staff worked directly with local residents, animal control officers, agency representatives and decision-makers to help create ordinances that were a vast improvement over the previous ones. In Torrance County, a half-page document in place for decades provided virtually no protection for animals. The new Torrance County ordinance now features:
 

• regulations on dog chaining;
• care and maintenance standards;
• animal fighting and paraphernalia ban;
• protections for wild animals;
• protections for animals left in hot cars;
• a prohibition on animal abandonment;
• penalties for violations;
• differential dog licensing to encourage
animal sterilization;
• permits requiring inspection for dog and cat breeding facilities and kennels.

APV staff is now working with engaged citizens to improve their ordinances in Taos, Tucumcari and Catron and Lincoln Counties.



Holly, BEFORE and AFTER what was above-and-beyond intervention by
Torrance County Animal Control Deputy, Erwin Greven; Cindi Jones, Director
of the Torrance County Animal Shelter; and Walkin’ N Circles Ranch, a horse shelter.



APNM’s 30th Anniversary Celebration Captures Imagination of Supporters

In late October, Animal Protection of New Mexico marked 30 years of serious work improving the lives of New Mexico’s animals. About 200 supporters soaked up the gorgeous fall weather, the fabulous bluegrass music by Holy Water & Whiskey, and the magical ambience of Chalk Farm Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe at APNM’s 30th Anniversary Jubilee. Thanks to many generous sponsors, attendees enjoyed delicious food and beverages while enjoying the company of other advocates and taking in heartfelt testimonials from guest speakers Dr. Ray Powell, activist and actor Ali MacGraw and Attorney General Gary King. The afternoon also featured a comprehensive video retrospective showcasing three decades of successful animal protection activities. Building on its momentum, APNM looks forward to making the biggest difference possible for animals over the next 30 years!


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