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

Task force eyes city's dilemma on spay-neuter


Last updated 11/9/2021 at 5:50pm

CLOVIS — An ad hoc animal control task force quickly came to agreement on one thing Monday night, as it was succinctly put by Justin Howalt.

“We’re not going to solve the problem this evening,” Clovis’ city manager said as task force members met for 30 minutes to take a first glance at spay/neuter issues and other pet-related problems the city has faced — some longstanding and some more recent.

The task force, which began the meeting with each member introducing themselves and noting what pets they had, was formed primarily to find a replacement to the city’s former low-cost spay/neuter program.

Linda Cross, president of the High Plains Humane Society and task force chairman, said local veterinarians had participated in the program but a COVID-fueled backlog of regular business has them swamped.

“They’re scheduling into next year,” said Cross, who noted some veterinarians are booked until May.

“Something had to go, and unfortunately it was our low-cost spay and neutering program.”

Howalt said as a stop-gap measure, the Clovis city commission approved a $50 adoption fee at the shelter. Included in the fee is $5 for administrative costs, $10 for a rabies shot, $10 for microchipping and $25 that is refunded when the person adopting the pet brings back proof they spayed or neutered the pet. Howalt said the city is not concerned with who does the spaying or neutering as long as it gets done.

But people either aren’t following Bob Barker’s advice, or they aren’t coming in to collect their $25 once the job is done. City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said an inherent problem was that the city has limits in what it can make people do, and presented three overstuffed binders of outstanding adoption forms.

Task force members passed around information from the P.E.T.S. Clinic of Amarillo (Preventing Euthanasia Through Sterilization). The nonprofit charges $60 to sterilize dogs, $35 for a male cat and $45 for a female cat. Task force members liked the services P.E.T.S. provided, but noted they’d like to find efficient ways to transport pets or help set up a similar operation closer to Clovis.

Task force members also discussed the possibility of partnering with Best Friends Network, which attempts to transition shelters to low-kill or no-kill and provide support to keep them that way. Cross said the organization made a lot of sense, and was willing to do a free assessment of the city’s animal ordinances.

Howalt said there was no guarantee Best Friends’ services would lead to quantifiable improvements, but that having an outside set of eyes looking at city policies certainly wouldn’t hurt.

The group has tentatively planned to meet 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22, pending the availability of representatives from P.E.T.S. and Best Friends to attend in person or by conference call.


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