Animal euthanasia mandate likely

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

Clovis may soon be forced to change the way it destroys stray dogs and cats.

Euthanasia seems poised to become the law of the state.

And while both sides in what was a contentious issue in Clovis say
they accept this, the question of who pays the cost of changing remains
at issue.

The debate centers around House Bill 265, a law that forbids gas
chamber euthanasia — the method now employed in Clovis — and specifies
euthanasia must be by lethal injection.

The bill passed the state Senate Tuesday by unanimous vote, 38-0,
and now awaits Gov. Bill Richardson’s signature to become law.

Richardson has made his support of the bill well-known and is expected to sign it. It would become effective July 1.

Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield says she is glad to see the law will change.

“Personally, I think it’s a good decision. All the rest of the state does it this way,” she said Wednesday.

“I think that it’s time to move on and we need to start working on training some of our people.”

Brumfield said she is confident Richardson will provide state tax money to help pay the costs of changing.

Costs for making the switch are estimated at $141,200 for the first year, and an annual cost of $92,200 for subsequent years.

Clovis City Commissioner Juan Garza, who opposed lethal injection
when the issue starting heating up last spring, said Wednesday while he
is resigned to the change, he wonders where the money to pay for the
switch will come from.

“What’s done is done and what we need to concentrate more on is the
future. How are we going to be able to get revenue to pay for this
change,” he said.

“I knew it was coming. I’ve been following the bill and it’s a feel
good bill. They (the state) don’t have the extra money…but they’re
mandating this.”

Richardson had pledged $100,000 to help Clovis convert during the height of the citywide debate last December.

Garza has long argued the gas chamber was an effective and humane
method of killing dogs and cats and the expense of changing over to
lethal injection places too heavy a financial burden on taxpayers when
they already have