The Roswell Animal Control Services have come under fire from local and national animal rescue groups since the city put the department under the purview of the Roswell Police Department.
As of July 1, the shelter has been euthanizing animals on the eighth day of captivity, per city ordinance.
The animal shelter was already in the hot seat after Mayor Dennis Kintigh temporarily halted rescue groups from taking animals from the shelter pending a review of city policies and the implementation of an agreement letter which allows the city to inspect rescue shelters housing animals taken from the Roswell shelter.
The animus from the rescue groups stems from behavior that began in a previous city administration — namely animal shelter employees bending the rules to accommodate the rescue groups.
Shelter supervisor Joseph Pacheco said on Wednesday that for the past few years, the shelter had been holding animals for rescue groups, sometimes putting off euthanizing animals “on hold” by as much as 14 days.
Now that the shelter is following the ordinance of euthanizing animals on the eighth day, more animals are being destroyed. Pacheco says he doesn’t like having to put down more animals, but he has to do his job.
He has ideas that could possibly improve the chances of the shelter animals for surviving. One of his ideas is to extend the length of time animals are kept from eight days to 10. Another is to allow rescue groups to adopt animals at the discounted $1 per animal rate beginning on the fifth day of captivity, instead of being limited to rescuing animals only on the seventh and next to last day.
Currently rescues are only allowed to adopt animals on the seventh day — the first four days animals are kept in hopes that the owner will come and retrieve them, and the next three days animals are only available to the public for the full $40 (for dogs, or $30 for cats) adoption fee plus a pre-paid veterinarian visit for spaying or neutering — which raises the cost of adoption to about $140 per animal.
Pacheco’s final idea is to drop the adoption charge to a flat $10 fee, lessening the cost of adoption, which can be prohibitive, even for families looking to reclaim a lost pet.
Finally, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic is desperately needed in Chaves County. If the total cost of adopting animals could be knocked down to less than $100, more animals would have a chance at surviving a trip to the animal shelter.
City officials are scheduled to meet in a workshop in August to consider ways to improve the city’s animal control policies. We hope the city councilors will listen to Pacheco, who has spent years in his job.
Pacheco, a conscientious employee and a decent man, wants what is best for both the city and the animals — which should be what the area rescue groups want as well.