Bernalillo County Animal Control, headed by Matthew Pepper, has an agreement with the city of Albuquerque to house stray pets:
The contract allows the County to drop off animals it collects at one of the two city shelters on any day of the week.
Upon intake, the city photographs the pet, creates a record for him, scans for a microchip, vaccinates and treats any veterinary needs. The director says they would never deny a space to a pet from the county for any reason.
But the county is housing some stray pets at its administrative building – an old fire station. Some dogs are being kept in outdoor pens with no protection from the elements and others are being housed in what appear to be unheated fire truck bays in small wire crates with wood shavings. A local TV news crew visited the administrative building after receiving photos of the dogs living there:
[...] 4 On Your Side obtained photographs of dogs inside the county office building that showed obvious signs of medical distress. One photo showed a newborn puppy with several scratches on its face. Another showed a lactating female dog that had either just given birth to a litter or was soon about to.
The reporter states the newborn puppy died.
In an interview, Pepper stated he couldn’t remember those two animals being there, but stated there had been turnover among his staff and any issues in the past are now corrected.
Feeling reassured? Me neither. He can’t remember a tiny puppy who died in his building or a mama dog who needed vet care but it’s all good.
“The only reasons animals would come here would be for a couple of reasons,” Pepper said. “It would be if we had a likely owner for an animal or if we have a rescue partner willing to place an animal in a permanent home.”
How can any county animals be placed with anyone without being vaccinated, seen by a vet, posted online and held for a period so the owner, if any, can reclaim? Are there even records of the animals being kept at this administrative facility? The guy in charge doesn’t seem to remember at least 2 of the recent animals – does he know what happened to any of them? How does an owner find a lost Bernalillo Co pet who is not at the shelter, not listed online, and may not be remembered by anyone? This makes no sense to me. On top of which, I imagine Bernalillo Co ACOs would issue a citation to anyone found housing unvaccinated dogs they do not own in sub-standard conditions. But I guess, you know – turnover and stuff. Everything’s fine.