LAS CRUCES - When she first took the job almost a decade ago, Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock, outgoing director of the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley, had a mission to kill as few animals as possible.
Seven years ago, an idea struck Vesco-Mock: If the ASCMV was at full capacity, why not drive her animals to other parts of the country to shelters with fewer adoptable pets?
"We've all worked very hard to do all of this," Vesco-Mock said, wiping away a tear. "I really pray that it continues on with the staff that's left here, because it has literally saved 6 to 8,000 animals."
On Friday, her staff loaded up multiple dogs, puppies and a few rabbits to head to a shelter in Oregon, a 24-hour trip one way.
Vesco-Mock designed the transfer vehicle to have individual air conditioning systems in each unit, to make sure the animals are as comfortable as possible on the journey.
"(It is) in order to humanely transport the animals," Vesco-Mock said.
The units are also designed to properly dispose of pet waste, so an animal is not sitting in urine for hours on end.
It's not cheap. The cost of one cross-country transport is anywhere from $1,300 to $1,500. However, she's saved the lives of thousands of animals.
"It makes it all worthwhile," Vesco-Mock said. I get adoption pictures from many of them."