By Wyatt Goolsby
HOBBS, NEW MEXICO - It's a push to increase animal adoption and decrease euthanasia in Hobbs. This week, Animal Control officers are working out of a new, nearly three million dollar shelter. Officials hope it's the first step in stopping an overpopulation of dogs and cats.
Officers told NewsWest 9 on Wednesday since they have moved into the new Animal Adoption Center, they have stayed busy. They also added the facility is definitely an upgrade, especially when you compare it to the old shelter.
"We are extremely busy, probably busier than we ever have been at Animal Control," Assistant Fire Chief Ernie Wheeler, who oversees Animal Control, said. "We're going from a 1950's design facility - a kill facility, into a state of the art, operationally sound facility."
There's plenty on the Animal Control employees "To Do" list. This is the first week dogs and cats are being housed at the new 2.5 million dollar animal shelter.
Wheeler explained all the moving and adjusting by employees is worth it. He said the new facility is built reduce an overpopulation of animals in Hobbs.
"The ten year plan is, in ten years our goal is to have no or very few euthanasia, and we are going to be calling other facilities in the state and others states to ask to bring animals here so that we can adopt," Wheeler said.
After a tour on Wednesday, the layout appeared pretty extensive. There is a secure entrance for vehicles, a complete animal computer database, plenty more dog runs than the old shelter (with their own ventailation), an area for spaying and neutering future pets, and a classroom teaching locals how and why to adopt. Wheeler explained that last one, a push for education, is a big reason why he thinks the facility will be worth it years down the line.
"When I look outside this facility and I see bus loads of third graders pulling up to the parking lot to bring those students into our facility for tours and education, when we hit those third graders, they're the future. They're going to remember this facility, and hopefully when they're grown up they'll know how and why you adopt and spay and neuter animals," Wheeler said.
Officials said they'll be working quickly especially the next few weeks. They said they've scheduled the grand opening on July 29. By then, they say, they'll hopefully have plenty of spayed and neutered dogs and cats ready for good homes.