ISSUE 03-19-22 ANIMAL CONTROL LAWSUIT?

No one is saying publicly exactly how the Village of Corrales is being, or may be, sued over how it handles animal problems here. In a closed session during the Village Council’s March 8 meeting, officials made no decision nor otherwise informed the public what they discussed when they met in private “pertaining to threatened or pending litigation in which the public body is or may become a participant to discuss threatened litigation against the Village involving Animal Services.”

After the meeting, Corrales Comment contacted councillors for general information about who is threatening a lawsuit and why, but little or no information was forthcoming.

However, in brief remarks at earlier council meetings councillors talked of the Village starting its own animal shelter to take in stray animals. Councillor Bill Woldman, in particular, wanted that possibility considered.

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Over the past decade, he has taken a keen interest in the Village’s animal control operations. His wife, Barbara Bayer, is the founder of the non-profit CARMA (Companion Animal Rescue and Medical Assistance).

On its website, CARMA says it has saved the lives of almost 5,000 dogs and cats over the last two decades and “turned the Village of Corrales into the first no-kill community in New Mexico.”

It was not clear from remarks at the March 8 council meeting whether Village officials, or members of the very active animal protection community here, are dissatisfied with the presumed “no-kill” track record of facilities to which apprehended or owner-surrendered animals here are delivered.

But Village Administrator Ron Curry reported to the mayor and council how many such animals are being taken in and what became of them. “In the 12 month period March 1, 2021 to

February 28, 2022,  the Corrales Animal Control folks reported that 65 canines had been impounded and 37 of those canines were returned to owners, 16 were adopted, four were taken in by private rescue organizations and seven were transferred to the Sandoval County Animal Control,” Curry reported, “and one is still in Corrales awaiting transfer or adoption.”

Of the 38 cats taken in by Corrales Animal Services during the period, eight were returned to owners, 14 were adopted, 15 were taken to private rescue organizations and one was transfered to Sandoval County,” Curry said.

He said the average was 8.6 animal intakes per month or about two each week.

Perhaps crucially, he said the Village continues to get assurances from the organizations to which Corrales animals are transferred, such as the County facility, that this community’s no-kill requirement is honored. “We are not aware of any evidence which would support the allegations which were made at the February 8, 2022 council meeting that the Animal Humane or Bernalillo County facilities are always too over-crowded to make space for Corrales animals so that they refused to take them or that they kill other animals to make space,” the Village Administrator said.

He further reported that when the old Valley Fire Department building was renovated, the project included construction of two indoor holding pens for impound animals, and that a floor drain to clean out those pens will be installed this summer.

Curry summarized his remarks by suggesting that construction of the Village’s own animal shelter may not be necessary, given how many of the impounded animals are already being placed or transferred. “We need to make sure that we’re solving a problem that exists,” he concluded.

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