At a press conference on Sunday (covered by KOAT-TV news) Albuquerque
Mayor Chavez "officially" announced what had been expected for some
time. During the 60-day New Mexico legislative session that starts on
Tuesday (Jan 16), Mayor Chavez will seek legislation for mandatory
statewide spay/neuter of all pets.
The legislation will be modeled after the disastrous HEART ordinance
adopted in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, this continues Mayor Chavez's
politics of supporting extreme aspects of the Animal Rights ideology.
Under the HEART ordinance, animal ownership is considered to be a
privilege granted through, and controlled by the government. Under
HEART, owners have lost their property rights. So, any legislation
modeled after HEART raises serious property rights issues that should
be of concern to all New Mexico residents.
Furthermore, HEART is a disastrous law because it trivializes animal
cruelty, establishes poorly conceived government care requirements,
discriminates against those with low income, is acknowledged to be
unenforceable, establishes a government monopoly on companion
animals, and fails to provide effective measures to reduce the number
of animals killed in Albuquerque' s shelters. Simply put, HEART is a
public policy disaster.
Those at Sunday's press conference included Albuquerque Mayor Martin
Chavez, Denise Wilcox (the Albuquerque Animal Control Director), and
Lisa Jennings (the APV-APNM Executive Director). APV-APNM is the
largest Animal Rights organization in the state and has worked
closely with Albuquerque. During the mayoral elections, APV-APNM
endorsed Mayor Chavez. At Sunday's press conference it was also
announced that former Minority Whip, Republican Joe Thompson will be
the lobbyist for the proposed legislation.
Now is the time to start contacting state legislators to express
concern about Mayor Chavez's proposed legislation. I will support any
meetings to clarify issues and discuss alternative measures. As
reported in recent news coverage, Albuquerque' s handling of its own
animal shelters under the Mayor Chavez administration has been a
failure. Furthermore, mandatory spay/neuter laws have been
demonstrated to be ineffective. To achieve a no-kill status for
animal shelters, requires innovation and community effort. The State
Legislature could lend support to such initiatives, but not with the
Mayor Chavez plan.
Ronald A. Gustafson
Founder, New Mexico Animal Control Forum
"Rational Thinking on Animal Control Issues for the State of New