Too Many Dogs, Not Enough Homes

Since summer, Corrales Animal Control has been overwhelmed with homeless animals—first cats, and lately dogs. With just three kennels that it rents at Corrales Kennels, and a handful of rescue agencies placing dogs in foster homes, the department has been struggling to keep dogs well cared for. Kennel space became especially tight during the holidays. A few of the stories:

A heeler was found with damage to both ears, one nearly torn off. “Gracie” had to have one ear amputated, and needed time to heal a badly bruised front leg. Sweet and intelligent, she was adopted in early December by a woman who owns other disfigured dogs, through Second Chance Animal Rescue.

A year-old brindle pit bull was found nearly starving in the yard of an animal-friendly family who was unable to catch her. A stubborn animal who will work only for treats, she was also dubbed Gracie and has been in custody since November.

A puppy was turned in before Christmas by a woman who claimed to have found him in her yard, though she was visibly distraught and had waited days to call. It was a puzzling case for Animal Control because the Akita mix turned out to be remarkably bright. He was adopted by an employee in the Village offices.

A Chihuahua/terrier cross that had been placed in a foster home was brought back to Animal Control after he tore up a couch. Oreo is now in another foster home. A woman from the South Valley turned in a St. Bernard dubbed Snowplow who has been at the kennels but may have found a foster home.

With all available kennel space full, the Village desperately needs foster homes for dogs. The Village just passed a measure to reimburse rescue agencies $75 for each dog they take from Corrales Animal Control. But it is unclear where this revenue will come from.

Officer “Frosty” Frostenson notes that Corrales rescue groups have few ways to advertise dogs awaiting adoption: no storefronts, adoption vans, or public relations campaigns. Corrales homeless animals can be seen by contacting Corrales Animal Control. But the animals that need homes are generally not “cute and small,” which is what most callers want, Frosty says. Dogs that are old, disfigured, ill, and black dogs that resemble pit bulls face an uphill battle against negative perceptions, though many are affectionate and bright. One vivacious black pit bull named Bono has been at the kennels since summer, awaiting adoption.

Remarkably, all the dogs that have come through their facility have found homes eventually, according to Dan Meurer, manager of Corrales Kennels—sometimes after many attempts. “It’s always a juggling act,” Frosty says with a shrug. “It’s been like this since I started working here.”