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Volunteers needed at Aztec Animal Shelter
City Commissioner Katee McClure says facility understaffed
AZTEC — The Aztec Animal Shelter needs help from the community to care for the pets in the shelter.
During a meeting in October, City Commissioner Katee McClure told the other commissioners that the Aztec Animal Shelter is understaffed. Based on a formula provided by the National Animal Care and Control Association, McClure said the Aztec Animal Shelter needs four additional staff members, which would bring it to 10 full-time employees.
The formula looks at the number of animals in the shelter and anticipates that each animal will need at least 15 minutes of care daily. While the formula uses a four-day holding period as a baseline model, McClure said she adjusted that number because Aztec has a longer holding period.
The shelter has six full-time employees, according to shelter director Tina Roper. While McClure said the facility would need 10 staff members based on her formula, Roper said every position in the shelter is currently filled.
Those six employees take care of the dogs, cats, pigs and birds that are at the shelter. On Wednesday, there were a total of 143 animals in the facility.
"Every department in the city would probably like more staff," Roper said.
The staffing shortage at the animal shelter can be mitigated by volunteers, both McClure and Roper said.
"I am one of the departments that is lucky enough to take volunteers," Roper said.
She said the volunteers can help the staff with most of the tasks at the animal shelter. Roper said if someone can commit to work regular hours as a volunteer, it would make the biggest difference for the shelter.
"We have lots and lots of room for volunteers," she said.
McClure said if more volunteers helped at the shelter, the staff would be freed up to perform other tasks such as sending animal control officers to patrol neighborhoods and trap feral cats.
Some of the tasks that the shelter would like volunteers to help with include cleaning cages and socializing frightened animals. People can also walk the dogs on a small trail around the shelter grounds. Roper said more confident and calm dogs can be walked on the streets surrounding the animal shelter.
The shelter also is looking for people who are willing to help transport animals from the Aztec Animal Shelter to other shelters. Forms for volunteers can be picked up at the shelter or downloaded from the website at aztecnm.gov.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.