ROSWELL, NM – Some local residents are sounding the alarm over what they say is cat and dog abuse at the city’s tax-funded animal shelter.
The concern was expressed in the form of an hour-long protest Saturday on the lawn of the Chaves County Courthouse during the UFO festival.
“Most people didn’t know this stuff was happening and most people were pretty upset about it,” said Megen Telles, a former Roswell Animal Services employee, who was in attendance at the protest.
Telles and other members of a Facebook group called Support Roswell Animals last week sent a letter to Mayor Tim Jennings and other city officials and council members, detailing what they describe as the dysfunction of Roswell Animal Control.
“We are concerned about the gross neglect and inhumane treatment of animals in kennels,” the June 28 letter read.
The letter goes on to define neglect as described in city codes as “…the failure of the responsible party…to provide an animal with all necessities, including proper and adequate food. , shelter for water and veterinary care”.
In the letter, three examples are mentioned that describe an animal service program in need of improvement.
One such incident involved a German Shorthaired Pointer brought into the shelter on June 1 and misidentified in records as a “male, brown and white lab mix.” The male dog was not scanned for a microchip and was held for days until the owner learned the dog was at the pound.
When the owner attempted to claim the dog, the letter says, animal shelter staff did not release the dog until the owner provided proof that the dog was both microchipped, spayed and spayed. he had received a rabies vaccine.
But the allegations go beyond inefficiencies. There are also instances revealed in the letter where cats and dogs did not receive necessary medical care early enough.
In April, a cat named Poppy was admitted to the shelter. Despite injuries and poor health, the cat was kept in a kennel for 18 days without medical attention.
According to the letter, Poppy was eventually removed from the shelter by an animal rescue group and was then taken to several different vets, and treated for both a broken hip and an upper respiratory illness.
Anna Edwards had worked with animal rescue groups to get Poppy medical attention and said the cat was in poor condition at the time.
“She couldn’t stand it. She was just laying there. She had no strength,” Edwards said.
Since receiving treatment, Edwards said Poppy has been doing well. But a boxer taken that same month was not so lucky.
The letter says the boxer was held at the shelter for eight days. And despite being underweight, he was not taken to a vet and kept in a kennel out of public view.
The dog reportedly eventually had a seizure and was taken to a vet. But the Boxer did not survive.
In 2020, the city revised its animal shelter ordinances, to reduce overcrowding and make it easier to reconnect lost pets with their owners. But Telles says there is still more to do.
“We want to make sure we’re enforcing the policies they have in place or their guidelines, and we want to help change them so the policies are in line with the order,” Telles said.
Edwards and Telles say they have not received a response from the city regarding their proposed policy meeting regarding the shelter.
However, in a statement to KOB 4 Thursday, Todd Wildermuth, public information officer for the city of Roswell, confirmed that the city had received the letter and was investigating the allegations.
“Any inconsistencies in the implementation of city laws and policies uncovered by the city’s investigation will be promptly corrected.” Wildermuth said.