I am here to inform Albuquerque that their animal shelter is not a good place for homeless pets. They need your help.
I was the Behavior Specialist at AWD for just shy of three years. I left AWD for ethical reasons. Not to go to a new job. I could no longer accept money to be part of a process that is absolutely neglectful and sometimes cruel to animals. I am not a hero, nor do I have an axe to grind with any person. I just want people to know what is happening to them. I had to be able to look myself in the eyes. I also left so I could get out into the community and speak out about the horrible living and working conditions at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department.
I want to find ways to inform and encourage the good people of our city to stand up for these animals and demand upgraded or new housing, increased staffing and husbandry practices that meet at least the minimum standard recommended by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines and the City's own Heart Ordinance.
I worked under two different directors. The problems with this department pre-date both of them. But, neither of them sought to address the living conditions for the animals. Many dedicated and experienced staff members have fought an uphill battle to get leadership to DO something about the filth, the lack of enriching activities for the animals to help them cope, the lack of staffing, the decaying buildings not suitable for long term stays. These are just the obvious issues that are discuessed daily among shelter staff who are frustrated that there seems to be no end in sight.
Below are the standard responses that are heard when concerns are brought forward to not only shelter administration, but city leadership as well.
"The problems cannot be solved overnight"--True. But they will never be solved if nobody takes proactive interest and action.
"There are no easy answers"--This one is my favorite. Nobody said it would be easy. But this is worth doing, and things worth doing are seldom easy.
"Everyone is understaffed due to Covid."--The shelter has not been fully staffed in over 3 years. This is not a new problem, it is now just a bigger problem. Staff members left in droves under the current administration. Of those who have not gone, most are looking for a new job.
Please join me in speaking up for our homeless pets. They are our pets, they belong to all of us until an individual comes forward to make them a part of a family. I would never allow a pet of mine to live like the animals in our shelter do. Not for a day.