Dona Ana County animal shelter at lowest ever kill-rate

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley reports it had its lowest euthanasia rate in its history in 2012.

Executive Director Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock presented the 2012 annual report to the shelter's board of directors on Thursday morning.

"All of the statistics are remarkable for our 2012 annual report," she said.

According to the report, the shelter put down 52 percent of its animals in 2012. That's a 26 percent decrease from five years ago.

Board members said they hope that number continues to drop.

"We're taking individual issues, working on them, and that is part of why you're seeing some changes in terms of the total number. It's a great report we had today," said board member and Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett.

Vesco-Mock said the drop in kills at the shelter comes down to new programs: more adoption events, more community outreach and a better relationship with rescue groups.

It's all leading to fewer animals coming into the shelter and more animals going out.

"Getting our animals out quicker into permanent homes, that's our main goal. So I've been over the top with some of our ideas and driving animals all the way to San Diego, but that's what we need to do and that's what we're going to do," Vesco-Mock told ABC-7.

Garrett said they're not where they want to be, but they're getting there.

"We have a very high euthanasia rate and that's not anything anybody feels proud about. I think we can feel proud that we're moving in the right direction. That we're a humane place for people and animals," Garrett said.

In comparison, the Animal Services Center in El Paso reports it euthanized 77 percent of its animals last year.

Two months into this year, the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley has a 43 percent euthanasia rate.

Vesco-Mock hopes that number will stay in the low 40s for the rest of the year, bringing it that much closer to being a no-kill shelter.

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