The campaign, known as "Just One Day," aims to spur communities across the country to transform themselves into no-kill communities. The threshold for that classification is an adoption or live-release rate of at least 90 percent. The campaign is being sponsored by No Kill New Mexico, an animal rights advocacy group.
A petition asking the governor to endorse "Just One Day" programming across New Mexico on June 11 has garnered about 2,500 signatures toward its 3,000 signature goal, organizers said. The petition calls for Martinez to urge shelters and animal control departments to not euthanize any healthy or treatable animals on that date.
"San Juan County has the ability to become no-kill," said Traci Fletcher, Humane Society of the Four Corners board member. "We must all work together as the situation is extremely dire because it has been ignored for far too long. Thousands of animals are euthanized every year in our two local shelters, and it seems that many in San Juan County have come to view animals as disposable, and we have to change that viewpoint."
Fletcher, who signed the petition, said that low-cost spay and neuter clinics need to be opened across the county.
Dealing with the problem will require mandatory spay and neuter for all animals unless the owner possesses a breeders permit, education for children on humane treatment of animals, stricter puppy-mill laws and stiffer penalties for those who abuse animal welfare laws, she said.
"It seems that the staff at both shelters are fighting this battle all alone, and they are not the ones that created this issue — the public is responsible and we need to help them in solving the issue," Fletcher said. "It can no longer be a revolving door at our shelters ... If we stop the cycle it will reduce costs at the local shelters and have a direct impact on staffing."
For City Councilwoman Mary Fischer, the petition is only part of the solution.
"It is a gesture, albeit a nice one, but it still doesn't really help the situation we have," she said.
The Farmington Animal Shelter is overfilled and understaffed, Fischer said.
"But if for one day more animals are adopted, then that's a good thing," she said.
The grim reality in Farmington, however, is that many animals are simply unadoptable, Fischer said. Many sick, severely injured or poorly socialized animals are brought in. These animals are rarely adopted.
Fischer applauded the effort, however.
"Anything that would increase adoptions I think is worthwhile," she said. "The ideal thing would be if it were 365 (no-kill) days, but one day is certainly a beginning."
For more information on No Kill New Mexico and to view the petition, visit www.nokillnm.org.