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Bernalillo County Commissioner De La Cruz Announces Animal Care Ordinance Review

October 27, 2010

A couple of months ago, we told you about Bernalillo County animal care ordinance changes proposed by People for Animal Welfare of New Mexico (PAWNM). Not satisfied with improvements made 22 months ago reached through community consensus, it appears they convinced at least one commissioner a committee is needed to review the ordinance again.

At the end of discussion by the group at yesterday’s commission meeting, Commissioner De La Cruz, announced the seating of a seven member committee to review the animal care ordinance. The committee is to be chaired by Pete Dinelli, a former Albuquerque Public Safety Director, one member from each commissioner’s district and Becky Darrow, the animal care services director. The committee is also supposed to include an animal welfare activist, livestock owner/boarder, animal breeder and veterinarian. All committee member recommendations are to be submitted by November 5.

Here’s the video from the commission meeting in two parts. The review committee is announced in the last two minutes of the second video…

The ordinance may need a bit of tweaking, but, among other things, tethering requirements that may require an engineering degree to understand and requirements to feed animals additional food when the outside temperature drops below 40F are overreaching. Many animals are less active in winter and calories that would go toward activity are used to produce heat instead. Bernalillo County may have a lot of fat animals in the spring in a year or two. How will PAWNM want to address that problem? More changes to the ordinance because it once again didn’t meet their perception of the intent of the ordinance? No doubt!

Other things we’re pondering…

  • We learned about the agenda item early yesterday afternoon. The agenda was published last Friday. And, it was a surprise to at least two county officials we spoke with yesterday that should have been aware of the agenda item.
  • Why didn’t anyone think it was important for Bernalillo County’s Deputy County Manager for Public Safety or Animal Care Services Director to attend this meeting to provide input? We didn’t see them on any of the video segments.
  • Why did PAWNM use an Albuquerque animal control officer instead of a county animal control officer in it’s discussion? The needs of county residents, particularly those in rural/semirural areas of the county are different than Albuquerque residents.
  • Recognizing all of Bernalillo County’s commissioners are a generally pragmatic and fair-minded group, did Commissioner De La Cruz have a lengthy discussion with staff and commissioners who were involved when the ordinance was passed before seating a review committee? The ordinance went through an exhaustive review over more than a year with many public meetings.
  • How productive is it to rehash an entire process because a small noisy constituency is unhappy with the results relative to their interpretation of the intent of the ordinance?
  • How much more productive would it have been to have the 25 or so people that spent 2+ hours at the commission meeting and those of us following the issue spend that time on animal care education throughout the county?

Contact information:
County Manager (Thaddeus Lucero) – 505-468-7000,
Public Safety Division (Thomas Swisstack) – 505-468-7000,
Commission District 1 (Alan B. Armijo) – 505-468-7185,
Commission District 2 (Art De La Cruz) – 505-468-7448,
Commission District 3 (Maggie Hart Stebbins) – 505-468-7108,
Commission District 4 (Michael C. Wiener) – 505-468-7010,
Commission District 5 (Michael Brasher) – 505-468-7212,

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