ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque’s Animal Welfare Department has started a new initiative to crack down on the overcrowding at city shelters.
The department is making sure pit bull and chihuahua owners are getting their pets fixed.
“Those two make up the vast majority,” said Albuquerque Animal Welfare Deputy Director Paul Caster.
Nearly half of the dogs at city’s two shelters are one of the two breeds; that’s about 200 dogs.
“Because there are too many that are not spayed or neutered,” said Caster. “They run loose, you know animals will do what animals do especially when spring time comes.”
That’s why the city is cracking down and making sure pet owners get their animals fixed.
Just like police do saturation patrols, animal control officers will do spay and neuter patrols.
“Primarily in the South Valley on the west side of town, places where the animals are not necessarily taken care of as well,” said Caster.
Officers will target the neighborhoods they said have more strays, abuse cases and loose animals than other parts of the city.
“They will meet them coming outside, they will see them walking down the street, washing their car and just ask, I see your dog sitting there and he is intact, let’s fix that for you,” said Caster.
Officers will offer a pet owner a spay or neuter voucher. Each voucher is numbered, so officials will know if and when the owner gets their dog fixed.
If the owners don’t, they could face a fine.
“I think it’s good for the general public, just the safety of kids and everything,” said Albuquerque resident Pat Cervantes.
Animal Welfare also wants to hire a community advocate to go door-to-door in neighborhoods to get even more pet owners on board.