Santa Fe Community Foundation award will address animal overpopulation

The Santa Fe Community Foundation recently awarded Española Humane a $15,000 grant as part of its 2021 fall grants cycle to support free spay and neuter for companion animals in Northern New Mexico.

The funds will provide 125 spay/neuter surgeries, which includes free vaccinations and microchips, said Bridget Lindquist, the shelter’s longtime executive director.

“We are so grateful to the Santa Fe Community Foundation, its board of directors and their wonderful donors for this grant and their support for the pets in our region,” Lindquist said. “Animal overpopulation lies at the heart of our problem in animal welfare, and free or low-cost spay and neuter is critical.”

The shelter began offering free spay/neuter and vaccinations to pets of area residents in 2011 and pre-COVID annually altered more than 6,000 dogs and cats. While pandemic restrictions and staffing issues have limited the number of clinics, the shelter continues to increase the number of surgeries whenever possible.

The shelter currently hosts four free clinics weekly, along with frequent free and low-cost vaccination clinics. Last year, the shelter provided 4,686 free spay/neuter surgeries.

The Santa Fe Community Foundation provides grants for animal welfare organizations that provide services or advocacy to protect both companion and wild animals in Santa Fe, Mora, Rio Arriba, and San Miguel counties. Grants that target animal overpopulation focus on free or low-cost spay/neuter clinics; trap/neuter/return programs; transport programs; and the reduction of euthanasia as a form of population control.

In addition to population control, the foundation also awards grants to animal welfare organizations that focus on cruelty prevention, wellbeing, and reintroduction and conservation of New Mexico species.

Española Humane employs a three-tiered strategy to animal overpopulation which includes free, accessible spay/neuter and vaccinations for every pet; help to keep pets in their own home, including fencing, temporary pet food assistance, and other resources.

Homeless animals in the shelter are altered, vaccinated, and evaluated as quickly as possible so they can find new homes. Those who might need more time enter the shelter’s Foster First program to recover from medical or behavior issues, mature until they are ready for adoption, or just take a break from the shelter.