By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Animal adoptions at the Portales Animal Shelter have more than tripled since 2010, according to animal control officers.
Officer Walter Chambers said he isn’t sure exactly why the number of adoptions have been on an upward trend since 2010, but he said it could be a sign that the economy is improving.
In 2010, there were 31 adoptions at the animal shelter, which is an extension of the Portales Police Department. There were 117 adoptions in 2013.
Animal control officers are tasked with addressing animal issues in the city but their work mostly consists of picking up stray animals and holding animal owners accountable for their pets.
One factor that Chambers believes contributes to the increase in adoptions is the Pet of the Week feature in the Portales News-Tribune.
Chambers said the animals that are featured are typically adopted that next day.
In recent years, the shelter has partnered with Hope Defined Animal Rescue in eastern New Mexico to find strays homes. But the number of the animals sent to the rescue are not reflected in their adoption numbers.
“They just told us what they do; to rescue as many animals as they can,” Chambers said.
What qualifies an animal to be adopted
Not every animal the shelter picks up is eligible for adoption, according to the officers.
“Good temperament always helps,” said officer Dustin Bouchard. “Age is not important, it’s more about the dog’s temperament.”
Chambers said animals that have been vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and are up to date on their shots are more likely to get adopted.
“Those animals get placed really easy,” Chamber said.
How to adopt an animal
Before people pick out the animal they want, officers talk to them about their home life to assess what kind of pet would be best for them.
“We kind of try and judge what they’re telling us,” said Chambers. “We can always get a better feel for what they want.”
A Labrador, for example, would not be ideal for someone who lives in a small place without a backyard.
“They need to have a better idea of what surrounding they’re placing the animal in,” Chambers said.
Bouchard added that people also have to consider what kind of role an animal would have in a family.
There is an $85 charge to adopt a pet, $60 of which is a deposit to ensure owners will spay or neuter their pets and get them vaccinated. If owners bring back proof of their pet’s procedures, the money is returned.
Adoptions at the Portales Animal Shelter