The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Animal shelter petition may have been prompted by miscommunication

 


PORTALES — The Portales animal shelter dominated the public comment portion of Tuesday’s Portales City Council meeting.

A misunderstanding regarding the shelter’s euthanasia policy may have led to the public outcry.

Animal rescue workers Monica Eppinger and Kirsten Peterson-Barber presented the council with an online petition, which as of Wednesday afternoon had more than 16,000 signatures from around the world.

The petition requests the shelter institute a 21-day holding period for animals before they are euthanized.

The women said the current holding period is seven days, which does not give rescue workers enough time to find new homes for the animals.

But Portales Police Chief Pat Gallegos said there was miscommunication regarding the policy in place. He said the animals are not euthanized after seven days, but rather they are not available to outside rescue groups during this week-long period to give local residents a chance to adopt the animals.

Gallegos said he would meet with the animal rights activists in order to get everyone on the same page.

Council members Chadwick Heflin, Jim Lucero and Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Miller were not present.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting (all votes 5-0):

• The council voted to proceed with architectural design services for a new sports and recreation center. According to the approved agreement the new facility would be located adjacent to the swimming pool on South Chicago Avenue.

City Manager Sammy Standefer said the current vision is for the building to be 20,000 to 25,000 square feet and potentially include one large gymnasium, a smaller gym, racquetball courts and storage areas.

Standefer said the city will receive cost estimates, conceptual drawings and artists’ renderings for the potential rec center at a cost of $16,500.

• The council re-approved a memorandum of agreement between the city and Portales Municipal Schools to allow the city’s sports programs to use school courts and fields.

• Planning Director Donna Rutherford gave a report on code enforcement violations for 2017-18. Rutherford said vacant properties are causing the biggest issues with regards to blight in the city.

Standefer said if sending certified letters to property owners telling them to clean up their land doesn’t work, the city will need to start taking those people to court.

“That’s a hard-nosed approach but I think that’s the approach this council has instructed me to put in place,” Standefer said.

• The council approved a one-year contract with options for three additional years with Amber McDaniel to serve as the teen court coordinator for the Portales/Roosevelt County DWI program.

McDaniel was the only response to the city’s Request for Proposal.

• The council approved a notice of public meetings resolution for fiscal year 2018-19. City Attorney Steve Doerr said language was added that says city councilors will not respond to comments or answer questions during the public comment portion of meetings to avoid violation of the Open Meetings Act.

• Payroll specialist Kathy Kennedy and Fire Chief Gary Nuckols were recognized for 20 years of service with the city.

 

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