LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock has submitted her resignation as executive director of the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley.
Vesco-Mock's last day will be Thursday, August 10, 2017, according to a news release.
Vesco-Mock was the first executive director hired to run the facility after Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces took over operations from the Doña Ana County Humane Society in 2008.
"This shelter has gone from a slaughter house to a place where we have an 80 percent live release rate on dogs. We are not quite there on cats yet. If the trap, neuter and release program could really get going in this community we could be there for the cats also," Vesco-Mock said.
The facility's overall live-release rate was at 20 percent when Vesco-Mock's tenure started the County said.
A news release states this was accomplished with an "aggressive on-and-off-site adoption initiatives were implemented, along with a program by which healthy animals are routinely shipped to other shelters nationwide that have a higher demand for adoption than they do shelter populations."
"Dr. Beth has served this community well for the last nine years, and we collectively owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her innovation and energy in helping us deal with what remains a crushing intake each week at the shelter," said Jess Williams, with Dona Aña County.
The search for Vesco-Mock's replacement will begin immediately, Williams said.
It will be handled through the Human Resources Department of the City of Las Cruces, which acts as the shelter's fiscal agent.
A reason for Vesco-Mock's resignation was no provided.
Frank Bryce, with the Southern New Mexico Humane Society, told ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom running the animal service center is a tough job. Bryce said he is concerned about overcrowding at the center, which was built to house 200 animals, but normally houses in between 700 and 800 animals.
Earlier this month, Vesco-Mock revealed more than 100 pets were euthanized over an eight day period, in part, to make room for incoming pets at the shelter. "It's a killer of a decision, literally. Everyone here feels like we have failed these animals, because there's just no homes for them," Vesco-Mock said, "We tried to talk people into keeping them, and finding fosters, but there's just no home for these animals, unfortunately."
In April 2017, Vesco-Mock came under fire when she admitted to ABC-7 the shelter conducted medical experiments on dogs three years ago. Vesco-Mock told ABC-7 that the experiment involved giving treatment to dogs for diarrhea. "We got $1,200 dollars per dog", added Vesco-Mock. She said she worked with a drug company called Jaguar. In return, the shelter received money per every dog they treated. Vesco-Mock said no dogs were harmed.