Volunteers work to build no-kill animal shelter

By Tony Parra

Rescuers from All-4-One Animal Rescue are working with members of the animal shelters in Portales and Clovis to try to prevent the deaths of thousands of stray animals in Portales and Clovis each year.
Caroll Baker, one of the members of All-4-One Animal Rescue, said members of the volunteer organization help in finding people to adopt animals and sanctuaries. She said the rescue group members travel to many places to save the animals, such as Roswell, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Boulder, Colo. and Denver. Baker said the volunteers spend money to make trips, taking between 15 to 20 animals, to find homes for them.
According to Baker, 230 animals from Portales and Clovis have been rescued since the rescue program began to take flight in October.
Baker said there are five members who help in the majority of the work for the rescue group: Darren Elrod, Kathy Bartlett, Elaine Randell and Baker’s husband, Robert Baker.
Caroll Baker said other volunteers help as well with the fostering of animals.
“Not just one person can do it (save all of the animals),” Baker said. “It takes everyone working together to save the animals. We’ve been able to make more and more contacts and it has helped our organization.”
Currently there is an animal control shelter located in Portales by the Portales Police Department. Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said Animal Control workers pick up between 75 to 150 animals each month. Berry said the Portales Animal Shelter can hold between 20 to 25 animals.
“Expansion is the biggest part of it (the need),” Berry said. “The building is old, it was built in the mid-80s.”
Portales city officials requested $190,000 from the 2005 New Mexico Legislation for improvements to the Portales Animal Shelter, but legislators were unable to allocate any money for the shelter.
“We appreciate the work they (legislators) do,” Lee said. “They did the best they could. Our needs are greater. We need to expand the animal shelter. I think we can have it as a legislative priority next year. We’ll try to find creative financing methods to expand the shelter.”
Berry said the animals are held between three to five days and during that time they try to find the owner of each animal.
Berry said after that time-frame, the animals are put up for adoption. Berry said media outlets are helpful by placing photos of the animals for readers and viewers to see. Berry said rescue groups from across the state help in the adoption process, also. Berry said the rescue groups take full-blooded animals around New Mexico finding people to adopt them.
Berry said Portales animal control workers take between five to 10 animals during each trip to the Clovis Animal Control Shelter for euthanization (death by gas chamber). Berry said Portales workers make two trips each week to Clovis for euthanization. He said Portales Animal Shelter workers are certified to conduct the euthanizations, but don’t have the equipment in Portales.
Baker said 3,000 animals were killed in Clovis last year. However, she said there are many reasons for the amount of stray animals. People leave their pets behind after they or when they do not spay or neuter their pets.
Baker said there has been legislation in New Mexico to change the euthanization method from the gas chamber to lethal injection, but stressed that this still doesn’t deal with the problem. Baker said solutions to the problems are to spay and neuter pets.
She said funding also helps with the rescue groups. Baker said she would like to see a no-kill animal shelter in the Clovis-Portales area as a sanctuary for hundreds of animals.