Santa Fe artists raises awareness about plight of shelter dogs

SANTA FE (KRQE) – A Santa Fe artist spent four years painting portraits of shelter dogs that never made it out of the shelter alive. It’s part of a project that teaches compassion over killing.

From Santa Fe and working with groups across the country, Mark Barone gave a face to dogs. These animals met their fate by getting euthanized.

“Fifty-five hundred is the number of dogs that are killed every day in this country in our shelter system. My intent when I do any of these works is to put the soul back into these animals that have been lost,” said Barone.

His journey is now the subject of a documentary entitled “An Act of Dog.” One by one, he painted the images of 10 dogs a day. They were animals that never found a forever home. Barone painted for 1,400 days straight.

In all, he painted 5,500 dogs, including hundreds from New Mexico.

Barone’s partner, Marina, first sent him some of the images of dogs after they were put down.

“I didn’t stop sending him the images. If I’m passionate about something and something really connects with me, I will push,” she said in a trailer for the documentary.

“It all came in at once, and I couldn’t even talk. I just broke down,” Barone said.

Barone painted for four years so their spirits can live on.

“When I started looking at the animals that were so needlessly killed, for no good reason, healthy adoptable animals that were killed, all those things came flooding in at one time,” he said.

Mark Barone and Marina say this is all about using art to encourage pet adoption and animal rescue to raise awareness about the plight.

They also hope to open “An Act of Dog: Museum of Compassion” in Albuquerque or Santa Fe and are looking for donors.

“A camera can’t give an image soul, but an artist can.” he said.

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