EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The number of stray dogs in Chaparral, New Mexico, is increasing rapidly and the county is pushing for residents to help with this issue.
The Doña Ana County Animal Control Unit is asking residents to spay and neuter their pets, as well as keep them in their yards.
Officer Gweneth Kingsley, who has been with DAACO for nearly six years, said stray dogs are a problem in Chaparral.
“They do have major stray dog issue, but so does much of the southern part of the county,” Kingsley said.
According to Jeanne Quintero with Dona Ana County Animal Control, the bigger problem is that people don’t neuter or spay their pets.
“Puppies remain unfixed and have their litters as well,” she said. “The numbers compound over time and that presents an issue.”
Last year, the county responded to 375 calls, where nearly 147 stray dogs were taken into custody. Many of the dogs that are found and taken in by ACO are dogs that have just gotten out of their yard. On average, there were nearly 28 calls per month.
“ACOs estimate that a vast percentage of reported ‘strays’ are actually owned dogs being allowed to run loose. Most have collars, some have tags and a few are microchipped,” Quintero said.
One of the most common excuses that the county hears is that owners say their dogs are fine running loose.
“When the dogs are brought back to the owners, a number of responses are received, e.g. ‘my neighbors don’t mind,’ ‘he always comes back at the end of the day,’ ‘he’s just going for a walk by himself.’”
Officer Kingsley said there are other concerns when it comes to strays or pets who get out. When dogs get excited or attack animals and/or kill livestock like chickens, then the dog must be euthanized.
“The problem with those cases is that the dog cannot be dangerous at all or like, as far as towards people, but if it’s proven that they have killed livestock, they only have to do once by New Mexico law,” Kingsley said.
One resident who wanted to remain anonymous did say that they were frustrated by the strays in the area.
“People just don’t care. They let their dogs just go anywhere and no one is being responsible for their pets. I take of my dogs, why can’t they do the same?” the resident said.
The county is urging residents to step up, urging pet owners to make sure their pets are microchipped and have a collar with tags on them.
One way to make sure that they are encouraging that dogs don’t get out is to enclose yards and fences. ACO also advised residents to fill holes around fences if their pet is digging.