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Foster homes needed as Farmington struggles with overcrowding in the animal shelter

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AZTEC — The Farmington Regional Animal Shelter and Aztec Animal Shelter are changing normal operating procedures due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in New Mexico. This includes closing the doors to members of the public.

The announcement that the public will not be allowed to enter the shelters to view dogs and cats comes after an executive order from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Department of Health.

As of the morning of March 17, there were 23 cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico however there were no confirmed cases in San Juan County.

While the shelters are closed until further notice, that does not mean people won’t be able to adopt dogs, cats and other animals. The two shelters list their available animals online. A list of the animals at the Aztec Animal Shelter can be found at petharbor.com and Farmington lists its available animals at fmtn.org/animalshelter.

Once people have found the animal they would like to adopt, they can call the shelters during normal business hours to schedule appointments.

According to a statement on the Friends of the Aztec Animal Shelter Facebook page, those appointments will be limited to a small group or family unit.

According to a press release from the City of Farmington, the Farmington shelter is becoming overcrowded and the city has chosen to waive adoption fees for animals that are six months old or older. Puppies and kittens can be adopted for $50.

The Aztec Animal Shelter can be reached at 505-334-6819 and the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter can be reached at 505-599-1098.

The shelters are also allowing people to visit to find lost pets. The Aztec Animal Shelter has a doorbell beside the front door. People who have lost pets can ring the doorbell from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and look for their pet. Farmington Regional Animal Shelter is encouraging people to go to the owner/surrender door and ring the doorbell for assistance if they have lost a pet. The shelter will allow them to reclaim their animals between 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Aztec Animal Shelter will also accept stray pets and surrendered pets if people ring the doorbell. Farmington Regional Animal Shelter is encouraging people to find other means of rehoming pets, such as asking friends to take them, due to overcrowding at the shelter. Farmington will not accept any stray or trapped cats and will be limiting the number of intakes.

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Because of the overcrowding, the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter also looking for volunteers to foster animals. Foster applications can be filled out at fmtn.org/animalshelter.

Farmington Regional Animal Shelter is also suspending future spay and neuter procedures for pets owned by members of the public. Surgeries that have already been scheduled will still take place, however no new surgeries can be scheduled until at least April 9.

Volunteers are still permitted to visit the Farmington shelter and walk dogs between 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. However, dog walking will be limited to five walkers per hour, according to the press release. If a group of people wants to walk a dog, the shelter encourages only one person to go inside. The other members of the group can wait outside and walk the trails together.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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