LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Humane Society of Southern New Mexico's new campaign puts the focus on spaying female pets to help ease overcrowding at local animal shelters.
Last week, ABC-7 reported that seven out of 10 dogs and cats taken to the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley are euthanized instead of adopted.
Humane Society President Frank Bryce said it is hard to say the word "spay" without also saying "neuter." Since the message has not seemed to sink in, Bryce said they have switched their approach to just focusing on the females.
"If we concentrate on spaying alone -- put our money and our effort into that -- we can reduce the number of animals coming into that shelter," Bryce said.
Bryce said the first step toward change is catching people's attention in a bold way.
Driving east along Highway 70 just past the Sonoma Ranch Boulevard exit, motorists will notice a pair of adorable faces plastered on a billboard.
Bryce said the sign -- which shows a syringe next to a puppy and kitten and reads "Born to be killed? Spay now!" -- is meant to remind people the shelter is not the problem. Instead, he said, it is irresponsible pet owners who are.
As ABC-7 reported, in the month of June, the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley was overwhelmed with the highest intake yet -- more than 1,600 unwanted cats and dogs.
And Bryce said the overcrowding has skyrocketed the euthanasia rate to about 70 percent of perfectly adoptable animals.
Like it or not, Bryce said, the new idea could go a long way.
"We hope that the spay only will jog people's consciousness (that) it's the females that have the puppies and the kittens, and that's where it really needs to stop first, and as quickly as we can," Bryce said.
Bryce said the Humane Society also set aside $4,000 to reimburse any spay performed at the Animal Services Center.
The cost to spay is $35 for a dog and $25 for a cat.
If pet owners save their receipt and mail it to the Humane Society of Southern New Mexico, a full refund will be received back in the mail.