APNM Teams up with the ASPCA To Create a New Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP)

Promoting Partnerships and Providing Resources To Assist Animal Shelters and Communities All Across New Mexico

Victoria and Leslie
Dedicated to providing help to New Mexico's diverse sheltering community, APNM's Animal Shelter Program Manager Victoria Murphy and Program Director Leslie King.

In response to the enormity of demands confronting New Mexico's animal shelters, in 2011 Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) reached out to the national ASPCA and its team of sheltering and relocation experts to explore new ways to help make a difference. With the ASPCA's unprecedented support and thoughtful collaboration, APNM has begun a significant expansion of services to shelters statewide through the creation of the Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP), under the leadership of Program Director Leslie King. Thanks to generous funding from the ASPCA, APNM recently hired Victoria Murphy as Animal Shelter Program Manager and will soon begin a program focused on animal relocation efforts, as well.

New Mexico's 45 municipal and county open-admission animal shelters and animal control impound facilities face monumental challenges as a result of vast dog and cat populations, a lack of affordable and accessible resources, and local government budget constraints. Surveys by APNM indicate that approximately 135,000 homeless dogs and cats enter New Mexico's sheltering system each year; of those, nearly half are euthanized. In addition, a handful of privately funded, non-profit rescues, limited-admission shelters and sanctuaries are working to supplement publicly funded animal services; these are frequently relied on exclusively in counties where traditional shelters do not exist.

APNM's goals are straightforward:

  • Enhance the capacity of New Mexico's shelters to humanely care for companion animals
  • Increase access to affordable spay-neuter services
  • Increase live outcomes (adoptions, reclaims and transfers)
  • Reduce shelter intake and euthanasia
  • Help shelters achieve more sustainable public and private support.

Plans include cultivating best practices (in areas such as housing, animal handling, sanitation and adoptions), encouraging multi-agency collaborations, and providing grant writing and training assistance.

Teamwork in Truth or Consequences
Teamwork in Truth or Consequences demonstrates the power of partnerships to create positive momentum for shelter animals. (L to R, top row: City Manager Juan Fuentes, Chief of Police Priscilla Mullins, Mayor John Mulcahy. L to R, bottom row: Animal Control Officer Deb Peters with Rex, a shelter dog, and APNM's Victoria Murphy.)

In her first six months on the job, Murphy traveled over 5,500 miles, visiting over 30 animal shelters, impound facilities and sanctuaries across New Mexico, in both rural and urban settings. She studied the strengths, challenges and needs of each community to determine how APNM can create more positive outcomes for animals at risk and enhance shelter capacity.

A case in point: Truth or Consequences (T or C) Police Chief Priscilla Mullins and Administrative Assistant Malissa Austin-Cordell asked APNM for assistance toward building and operating a sustainable animal shelter, as the city must soon make a transition from its current sheltering contract with a veterinarian. They want to incorporate best practices for animal care and provide quality services to the community and surrounding areas. APNM welcomed the opportunity to assist.

Murphy invited Tami McReynolds, DVM, the ASPCA's Senior Director of Community Initiatives, to join her on site in T or C to dive into the project. Meetings are ongoing with City Manager Juan Fuentes, Animal Control Officer Deb Peters, and others to help the city succeed. State Representative Diane Miller Hamilton (R - Silver City) and State Senator John Arthur Smith (D - Deming) provided vital support to the project in the form of a recently approved request for $100,000 in capital outlay funding to plan, design, construct and equip a new animal shelter. Thanks to these partnerships, important changes are definitely on the horizon for animals and people in T or C.

Stay tuned for more details about ASAP, APNM's Animal Shelter Assistance Program, as well as APNM's new initiative to tackle the many issues facing shelters and individuals who relocate shelter dogs and cats - to destinations both in and out of New Mexico - in order to improve the animals' chances of getting adopted into good, loving homes.

 

ASAP slide
Do you know a shelter in New Mexico that could benefit from our assistance? Please contact us.
Made possible by a grant from the ASPCA
Animal Protection of New Mexico wishes to acknowledge and thank the ASPCA for its generous support.

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