Time for Taos mobile spay-neuter

Staci Matlock
Posted 1/16/20

The horrific incident of dogs mauling a woman recently near Taos has driven home a sad fact: Taos County has far too many canines running wild and loose.

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Time for Taos mobile spay-neuter


The horrific incident of dogs mauling a woman recently near Taos has driven home a sad fact: Taos County has far too many canines running wild and loose.

More than 100 people a year are bitten by dogs around the county. People report seeing packs of dogs roaming through neighborhoods.

It isn't the dogs' fault.

This is a problem created and fostered by humans.

Humans need to get with it and prevent the problem.

The proven, most effective and most humane way to reduce the overpopulation of dogs is to have a regular program available to spay and neuter. Prevention is always the most cost-effective approach, in this case, preventing dogs from getting pregnant.

Since Taos has a high poverty rate and many people don't have access to reliable transportation, it means bringing the spay-neuter services to them through a mobile unit. These can be expensive to set up, operate and insure - but the alternative is the ongoing problem of too many animals running loose and too many animals ending up at the shelter.

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter needs a fund for a mobile spay-neuter van and then it needs buy-in from its partners in the county, town, Taos and Picuris pueblos, and perhaps from neighboring counties. The big expense is setting up a van and hiring a vet or vet tech to do the spays and neuters. It might be possible to work with area vets who could offer to staff the van one day a month for a fee.

It is not cheap. But it would be well worth it in terms of health and safety for humans, dogs and cats.

Our region's newly appointed state senator and representative should fight for seed money in the state Legislature to set up this mobile spay-neuter van.

This could be an opportunity for the Intergovernmental Council that represents towns around the Enchanted Circle to work on a project that would benefit the safety and health of all of their communities. It might not be as sexy as putting money into an air service, but it is also valuable.

Taos Ski Valley, as part of its B Corporation status and dedication to helping the communities that support it, could provide funding.

The van could take to the road on a regular basis and cruise around the Enchanted Circle, offering spay-neuter services at a minimal fee, or free, in all of the communities.

Stray Hearts could set up a donor fund to provide ongoing support for the mobile spay-neuter van. The shelter might be able to qualify for grants to support the program as it demonstrates its success.

A mobile spay-neuter van is the best bet to tackle the dog overpopulation problem over the long term, helping reduce the constant influx of animals to the shelter and, more importantly, helping prevent another terrible incident.


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