Created: February 12, 2020 10:20 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A new Facebook group page is hoping to provide support to animals in the community.
It was started after a number of complaints seemed to go nowhere for a couple of concerned residents. Pets left out in the cold, no shelter and what appeared to be little care.
Now those residents are hoping people will share stories and pictures of animals in our community who need help.
“What do we need to do to step up,” said Melinda Wieser, a concerned resident. “I know Albuquerque residents will step up.
Wieser said there are animals in desperate need in our community. She knows because she reports them to Animal Welfare. Animals who may not have shelter or even adequate food and water.
“Just because you make a phone call doesn’t mean you’re actually getting something done,” said Wieser. “It doesn’t even really mean the officers are aware.”
Pet owners are required to maintain suitable shelter for pets who are outside, something that will keep them out of the elements.
Those not in compliance can be cited.
But animal welfare said it's not as simple and driving by a home, or seeing an animal in the cold.
Pet owners are in compliance if they have a doggie door, or shelter that may not be visible to a side street.
Officers do track calls and complaints with the goal to get those owners in compliance. They’ve even started a new program to help those who may not have the funds to get into compliance.
“I happened to have a program where were helping those in need with free dog houses, I happen to have a medium-sized dog house ready to go,” said Lt. Thomas Romero with the Animal Welfare Department.
That program is limited to donations. They won’t be able to provide a dog house for every dog in need. The city is asking for donations for dog houses.
Wieser and Michael Romero also worry that the help, and ordinance enforcement depends on the view of the responding animal welfare officer.
“There’s no set protocols,” said Michael Romero. “The officers are free to do what they choose, however they want to interpret the situation is how they interpret it. I think they should have some basic rules they need to follow first.”
So they are starting that Facebook group to give those animals a voice, those conditions another set of eyes and to make sure the city it being held accountable.
“When you see an animal in distress, you’re going to find other problems,” said Wieser.
Animal welfare officials said they are moving forward with prosecution on at least one of the complaints Wieser called on.
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