San Juan County will pay more for animal welfare
- The county will pay $215,000 to Aztec and $505,000 to Farmington for animal services.
- That is about $127 per animal at the Aztec shelter and $151 per animal at the Farmington shelter.
- The San Juan County Sheriff's Office saw a decrease in animal control calls last year.
AZTEC — San Juan County will see a 16 percent decrease in the costs of sending animals to the Aztec Animal Shelter and a 22 percent increase in the cost of sending animals to the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter.
The county will pay about $215,000 in fiscal year 2018 for animal shelter services with the city of Aztec and $505,000 for animal shelter services with the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter. This is approximately equivalent to a little more than $127 per animal at the Aztec shelter and a little more than $151 per animal at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter based on the numbers of county animals taken to the shelters last year.
The county paid $413,000 to send animals to Farmington's shelter, and $260,000 to send animals to the Aztec shelter during fiscal year 2017. About 3,300 county animals were taken to Farmington's shelter last year while nearly 1,700 were taken to Aztec, according to numbers provided to the County Commission.
Undersheriff Shane Ferrari said the San Juan County Sheriff's Office saw a decrease of approximately 33 percent in animal calls, which led the office to decrease the number of full-time animal control officers.
After the San Juan County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Ferrari credited this decrease to the availability of free or reduced-price spay or neuter operations as well as more information available about the benefits of spaying and neutering pets. In addition to spaying and neutering the shelter animals, the Farmington shelter has spayed or neutered nearly 3,000 pets since 2014 through its reduced price spay and neuter program, according to shelter director Stacie Voss.
The county also pays the Farmington shelter to care for animals from the Navajo Nation. In fiscal year 2016, about 30 percent of animals at the shelter were from Navajo Nation, according to numbers provided to the county. That increased to 40 percent during fiscal year 2017.
Commission Chairman Jack Fortner said the county should talk to Navajo Nation officials about having the tribe pay some of the costs. Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director Cory Styron said the Navajo Nation has taken significant steps in improving animal welfare on the reservation. He highlighted spay and neuter initiatives on the Nation.
Commissioner James Crowley also suggested talking to the town of Kirtland about paying for its share of animals.
"Kirtland's going to be a really very small number," Styron said.
He said there will not be a lot of animals coming from Kirtland because only a small area is incorporated. Styron said there were about 20 animals from within Kirtland's town boundaries when the shelter analyzed the numbers.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.