Expanding our Focus
The Española Valley Humane Society is expanding its innovative community outreach program, currently focused on the city of Española, into five additional communities in the greater Española Valley. These five are the pueblos of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh, and the farming communities of Chimayo, Hernandez and Velarde.
One in five residents of these communities lives below the poverty line. Their pets also live in poverty and have a high risk of ending up at the Shelter. By offering free onsite vaccinations and transport to and from the clinic for surgery, EVHS expects to perform over 600 free sterilizations over the next 12 months. The increased number of surgeries will decrease the number of unwanted litters and homeless animals from these areas.
In 2011, EVHS began offering free vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries to the pets of local residents. Two years later, EVHS ambassadors started going door-to-door, visiting with residents about their pets and offering information about the shelter’s free services. As a result, services provided to local pets more than doubled to an annual average of 2,700 spay/neuter surgeries and 6,200 vaccinations.
The increased number of surgeries has dramatically reduced the number of unwanted litters and homeless animals brought to the Shelter. In 2011, the shelter took in 4095 animals, compared with 2688 for 2015. The reduction in intake is allowing EVHS to treat more illnesses and give more
time for adoption. It is also enabling a shift in focus to outlying communities with high poverty rates and large numbers of homeless animals.
Buddy No Longer has a Chain
Sweet and good-natured, Buddy lived with a large heavy metal chain around his neck in a trailer park in Espanola. With the help of Espanola Valley Humane’s Pet Amigos outreach program Buddy now sports a stylish halter. His owner, Beto, who rescued Buddy, was grateful for the program’s help and support.
Pet Amigos went door to door over the last 12 months, visiting residents in the City of Espanola to provide them with information about the shelter’s services, including a no cost spay/neuter clinic, low-cost vaccinations as well as education and tips for how to best care for their animals.
“We found that people do really care about their pets but that lack of education and limited resources often limits their ability to care for their animals” said the programs coordinator, veterinarian Carolyn Fletcher. “Many of the people we spoke with didn’t even know the shelter existed.” As a result of this outreach, the shelter spayed or neutered almost 500 animals that Fletcher believes would have otherwise continued to produce unwanted litters.
Thanks to the generous support of the ASPCA, Pet Amigos is now focused on the pueblos of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh and the communities of Chimayo, Velarde and Hernandez. All have high poverty rates and lots of unwanted animals that end up at the EVHS shelter. By offering free onsite vaccination clinics and transportation of animals to our clinic for surgery, we expect to perform 600 spay/neuter surgeries that will eventually reduce the number of surrenders to the EVHS shelter.
Senior Garcia and His Cats
Four years ago a feral momma cat and her four kittens showed up in Mauricio Garcia’s yard in Española. “I felt badly for them and began to feed them. Pretty soon the babies started having babies and before I knew it there were over 40 cats showing up at dinner time” said Garcia. Last year representatives from Española Valley Humane’s Pet Amigos Program knocked on his door with information about their Trap, Neuter and Release program. The shelter helped Señor Garcia trap the cats, spayed, neutered and vaccinated the colony at no cost, and released them back into his neighborhood. Today there are about 30 cats in the colony and Señor Garcia continues to feed them daily. “I don’t believe in animal abuse and care for all types of animals. With Pet Amigos help I have been able to provide better care for these cats”.
Feral cat are born and raised outside and have never been socialized with people. They are almost always too wild to be handled or adopted. Española Valley Humane works towards controlling and reducing the numbers of feral cats through their Trap, Neuter and Release, also known as TNR. TNR is a non-lethal way to control the feral cat population and is a compassionate, and efficient approach to helping the animals and the community. We provide traps and no cost spay/neuter for cat colonies in the Española Valley.