Ephriam Chavez talks about his concerns over skunks around his property and how the city handles animal control on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Farmington. (Augusta Liddic The Daily Times)
- Oct 23:
- Farmington Regional Animal Shelter prepares to open next month
- Oct 22:
- City council approves new guidelines for animal shelter
- Farmington announces new executive director of regional animal shelter
- Jul 30:
- Local veterinarians, animal welfare advocates say teamwork a necessity on spay/neuter, animal welfare initiatives
- Jul 28:
- Farmington, San Juan County governments look at spay/neuter initiatives
- Jul 23:
- Farmington City Council discusses animal shelter plans, future
- Jul 21:
- Farmington City Council to discuss animal shelter conditions, plan for future
- Jul 16:
- Farmington Animal Services Advisory Commissioners discuss shelter operations, progress
- Jul 11:
- Farmington Animal Shelter at capacity, understaffed as officials search for a humane solution
- Jun 26:
- Animal shelter controversy continues at Farmington City Council amid funding, staffing concerns
- Jun 23:
- Farmington City Council to consider crematory at animal shelter, discuss project progress
- Jun 16:
- Farmington leaders celebrate progress at new animal shelter
- Jun 5:
- San Juan County agrees to pay more for regional animal shelter
- May 29:
- Farmington City Council approves animal shelter consultant
- May 15:
- Farmington Animal Shelter's first adoption special a success
- May 6:
- Farmington Animal Shelter to hold cat, kitten adoption special
- Apr 23:
- Water, electric utility hookups left out of Farmington Animal Shelter budget
- Apr 12:
- Farmington Animal Shelter seeks volunteers and foster homes
- Feb 14:
- San Juan County, city officials and animal rights workers celebrate new animal shelter
- Jan 10:
- Farmington animal shelter presentation receives high praise, funding uncertain
- Jan 7:
- City Council to hear animal shelter improvement suggestions
- Nov 28:
- City Council approves construction on long-anticiapted animal shelter
- Nov 26:
- Farmington council approaches animal shelter decision
- Jul 16:
- Farmington Animal Shelter aims to find balance
- Jul 11:
- New Regional Animal Shelter plans unveiled
- Jul 8:
- Final public meeting for Farmington's animal shelter plans to be held Tuesday
- Jun 8:
- Farmington officials and residents plan new animal shelter
- Apr 4:
- Farmington chooses BDA Architecture for new animal shelter
- Mar 30:
- Farmington Animal Shelter has new, enthusiastic director
FARMINGTON — Staff shortages and overcrowding at the Farmington Animal Shelter are affecting the city's animal control services.
Faced with the daily challenges of caring for an influx of cats and dogs, the city has scaled back its animal control of wildlife, such as skunks.
Although providing animal control for skunks, raccoons and other wildlife was never an official city policy, its rollback appears to be causing some confusion and frustration in the community.
About two weeks ago Ephriam Chavez, 65, of Farmington, contacted the Farmington Animal Shelter about removing skunks from his property.
Chavez said staff told him he could rent a trap for $20, but that he would have to contact a private pest control company or dispose of the animals himself.
"It just blows my mind," he said. "I'm sure I'm not the only citizen that has a skunk problem."
Chavez said that as a taxpayer, he expects the shelter to provide pest control services, and that paying for a private pest control company to take the skunks is not a viable financial option.
Samantha Embry, the shelter's volunteer coordinator and an animal control officer, said shelter staff are willing to work with residents who are physically or financially incapable of trapping and disposing of skunks.
"Skunks are a rabies issue and (trapping) has been a great public service we've done, but it takes time away from other duties," she said. "Most other cities have nothing to do with skunks."
Trapping a skunk can take about an hour and the city's animal control officers are already stretched thin, Embry said.
The animal control officers are affiliated with the animal shelter, but city administration have begun talks to move them into the police department.
"At certain times of the day, there's only one (animal control officer) for the whole city," Embry said.
And the shelter may not be able to assist residents with raccoons.
Raccoons are a protected animal, said Dan Williams, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game.
It is prohibited to kill a raccoon unless it poses a safety threat or is destroying property, he said. Skunks, rabbits, coyotes, rats, gophers and rock squirrels are not protected.
But Chavez says something needs to be done about the issue.
"I do not want to take it upon myself to shoot or drown the skunks," he said. "I feel that the city, through the animal shelter, should be able to help not only me, but others."
Greg Yee covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @GYeeDT on Twitter.