Friends of the Shelter helps reduce pet overpopulation on Navajo tribal lands

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By Special to the Monitor

Friends of the Shelter (FOS) is a small but dedicated animal rescue group that has saved the lives of homeless pets for more than 10 years.

Besides working to find loving homes for lost and abandoned cats and dogs, FOS provides funds to pay for neutering rescued animals and pets of low-income owners.  Annually, it provides a grant to the Española Valley Humane Society for their special spay/neuter weeks, when they perform dozens of surgeries at no cost to the owner.  

Reducing the number of unwanted kittens and puppies born each year is the key to reducing pet overpopulation and ending the deaths of thousands of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats in New Mexico shelters each year.  

Friends of the Shelter has recently partnered with McKinley County Humane Society (MCHS) and the Cedar Animal Medical Center (CAMC) in Gallup to launch a spay/neuter program for the Navajo community.  

Sena Fitzpatrick and Brooke Garcia with MCHS makes contact with the pet owners, talks to them about the benefits of neutering their animals and transports the pets to and from CAMC.  CAMC performs the surgeries at a reduced cost and Friends of the Shelter foots the bill.

Martha Garcia, a tribal official in the Ramah Navajo community, strongly supports the project.

 “My observation of the Spay and Neuter project has been nothing but a much needed project for our community,” she said. “As more people became aware of the project, the education that goes with the project has been understood and people took the time to work with Sena Fitzpatrick and Brooke Garcia in getting their pets spayed or neutered.”  

Garcia states that her community also uses the project to give up their unwanted cats and dogs for adoption therefore decreasing the population of unwanted cats and dogs.

She said, “Before the project, many of the dogs had become feral and were roaming in packs killing livestock. It still exists to some degree, but with more awareness, families are now controlling the population of their animals.”

Dedicated volunteers like Sena and Brooke make this happen, but it would not be possible without the support of the generous and caring citizens of Los Alamos.

If interested in supporting neutering pets on the Navajo tribal lands, send a check to Friends of the Shelter,                                                                      P. O. Box 455, Los Alamos and write “MCHS” in the comment box. For more information, visit www.lafos.org or call Wendee at 660-1648.