Zero in Seven Program Debuts
(LAS CRUCES) -- "Zero in Seven," is a new initiative bringing city and county leaders together along with several organizations interested in finding a solution to the animal overpopulation problem in Dona Ana County. Beth Vesco-Mock is the executive director of the Animal Service Center and see first hand the on-going animal overpopulation problem happening in Dona Ana County. "It's a horrible situation and to make the decision is actually worse than the ejecting and I am one of the people at the shelter who does make the decision and it is a horrible decision to have to make," said Vesco-Mock. Vesco-Mock is part of "Zero in 7," a new community coalition working to achieve zero euthanasia of healthy and adoptable pets within the next seven years. "Unfortunately last year took in just under 15,000 animals. We're on pace for just under 15,000 this year. Maybe 14,500. You know, Dona Ana County only has population 200,000 so its really a harsh situation and it's a harsh reality that we have to kill many, many puppies, kitties and adult animals that would be fine in someone's home," she said. The initiative is endorsed by the Dona Ana County Board of Commissioners, the Las Cruces City Council and the Board of Directors of the Animal Service Center. "Right now, unfortunately we have to euthanize almost 50 percent of all the dogs and cats that come into the shelter and so what we're doing is one of things that we're tackling is various methods," said Mayor Ken Miyagishima. Through the program, leaders want to make sure the public is well educated about the responsibilities of being a good pet owner, the importance of having your pets spade or neutered and finding good homes for animals. "I think one of things we have to remind them is that a pet is a living thing and it is more and more becoming part of the family and we have to treat it as such. And I think it's just like anything else we just have to let the public know the seriousness of this," he said. Leaders with the coalition say more than 8,000 healthy, adoptable animals are still killed each year. They hope this new coalition will cut back that number and eliminate the overpopulation problem.