Volunteer helps cut down on cat euthanasia rate in Valencia County

Feral cat in Valencia County
Feral cat in Valencia County

VALENCIA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – For 10 years, Becky Burkhard has been waking up early and coming home late. She does it so she can care for dozens of feral cats in Valencia County.

“Driving through here, daily, I would see kittens running all over,” said Burkhard.

The feral kittens would either get hit by cars or picked up by Animal Control, which packed an already full Valencia County Animal Shelter.

“We do get a lot of kittens. It was a bad kitten season this year. A lot of euthanasias at the Valencia County shelter,” said Burkhard.

Patty Mugan with the Valencia County Animal Shelter tells KRQE News 13 that “30 percent” of cats at the shelter are euthanized.

It inspired her to start working with Street Cat Hub in Albuquerque, and ever since she’s been helping with their trap, neuter, and release program. The Valencia County Animal Shelter also gives out Burkhard’s information to people who need their cats spayed or neutered.

“All you have to do is say, ‘Valencia County’ and everyone is like, ‘It’s a horrible place for animals.’ But that’s changing,” said Executive Director of Street Cat Hub, Jayne Sage.

Sage and Mugan say the work Burkhard is doing is helping with their euthanasia rate.

“Well, I would hope so. I like to make a difference. That’s my goal. That’s why I do it,” said Burkhard.

There are still, however, plenty of cats which Burkhard continues to care for.

“They all have names. I’ve been taking care of these cats for a long time,” said Burkhard.

Burkhard cares for cats at several locations across Valencia County. Burkhard says she and Street Cat Hub are in need of monetary donations and volunteers.

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