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Española Humane struggles to feed its residents

January 6, 2019

Española Humane posted a photo on Facebook on Saturday showing a box full of puppies. The five little dogs, suffering from hypothermia and severely malnourished, had been dropped off at the nonprofit’s animal shelter a day earlier, the post said.

The puppies had been fed cow milk, which isn’t good for them.

The post announced another problem: The animal shelter is in need of food.

While keeping the pantry stocked is an ongoing challenge for the small nonprofit, Española Humane staff said, an increased number of pets coming into the shelter in 2018 has left it low on food, especially for kittens and puppies.

“We’ve had a lot more puppies this year than we’ve had in the last three years,” said Barbara Tebbel, one of the shelter’s supervisors. “The puppies are on the rise again.”

And they’re not alone.

While the number of cats and kittens brought into the shelter typically slows down in the winter months — because cats don’t usually reproduce in the cold, Tebbel said — the Española shelter has seen cats come in through December. The numbers are just starting to slow down.

Overall, the shelter took in 3,079 dogs and cats in 2018, Tebbel said.

According to its website, the number was a few hundred pets more than the year before, when it had 2,863 animals.

While the numbers were up in 2018, Tebbel said, they didn’t reach the levels of around 4,000 animals that the shelter took in five years ago.

“We had our high numbers around 2013; from that point on, we actually started to see a decrease in annual intake,” she said. “This year, it’s starting to shoot back up.”

The reason for the increase is something of a mystery.

Perhaps, Tebbel said, the warm winter of 2017-18 allowed more cats to reproduce.

“Maybe in 2019 we got off to a good start with the cold winter,” she added.

Whatever the case, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society said the local facility hasn’t noticed the same uptick in animals. In 2018, the Santa Fe shelter accepted 5,071 pets, on par with the 5,063 in 2017, said spokesman Murad Kirdar.

The Santa Fe shelter did decrease the number of animals it accepted from other shelters by 17 percent in 2018, Kirdar said, because it had so many animals to take care of locally.

How to help

• Members of the public interested in providing food to Española Humane’s animal shelter can bring it in or ship it to 108 Hamm Parkway, Española, NM 87532 — or buy food from the shelter’s Amazon wish list. Food can be dropped off at the shelter’s supporting thrift stores in Santa Fe: Barkin Attic at 851 St. Michael’s Drive and Barkin’ Boutique at 510 N. Guadalupe St., Suite N, near Jinja at the DeVargas Center.

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