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Among the shining beacons of hope in Los Alamos is the County Animal Shelter. Located at 500 Knecht Street, the shelter staff is there to help the animals by finding homes for them.
Animal Control officers drive around town, looking for dogs and cats that are loose. Many lost animals have tags with names and phone numbers, making it easy to find their owners.
However, others are often found with only their rabies tag, indicating that they’ve been vaccinated for rabies.
Owners can be traced using the rabies tag, too. When an animal is vaccinated for rabies, it is given a tag with a number on it.
The Animal Control officers can call the clinic where the shot was given, and using the number, locate the animal’s owner.
If there is no tag on the animal brought in, the shelter scans the pet for a microchip, in an attempt to find the pet owner. If the owners are not located, the shelter keeps the cat or dog for a total of 10 days, waiting for the owner to claim it.
There is a $10 charge along with an additional $5 for every night the animal is there. If not claimed, the animal becomes the shelter’s on the 11th day.
The Los Alamos County Animal Shelter is not a “no kill” shelter, so if an animal comes in with medical problems, is injured, or the shelter is overcrowded, there’s a chance the animal will be euthanized.
When an animal goes unclaimed and becomes the property of the shelter, it is vaccinated, spayed or neutered and is then ready to be adopted.
Families interested in adopting a pet can choose a cat or dog and get to know the animal in the “Meet and Greet Room,” or if preferred, a trial adoption can be put into place. In such cases, the adoption fee is held for a week while the family gets to know the animal in their own home, to see if it they are compatible.
A $35 adoption fee is charged if the pet came to the shelter already spayed or neutered. If the shelter has the animal spayed or neutered, the fee is $60.
In addition to taking in stray cats and dogs, the shelter also takes in animals that are surrendered by their current owners, for any reason.
The shelter also accepts donations of food, toys, blankets, towels and more. Unused donations go to the Española Valley Humane Society.
The shelter is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the pets at the shelter, visit the Los Alamos Friends of the Shelter website at www.lafos.org.