Animal Control Ordinance Under Revision 

During a Work Session Meeting on July 25, Rio Arriba County (RAC) Commission Chairman, Barney Trujillo, listened to RAC Animal Control Director Cipie Maez, as he presented a proposed revision of the Animal Control Ordinance. The modifications in the proposed ordinance include: changes to certain definitions pertaining to what kind of animals the ordinance specifically affects; a request for the RAC Planning and Zoning Department to provide Animal Control with a special use permit; requirement of animal owners to have a permit to keep exotic animals, guard dogs and also a permit to keep animals intact for breeding purposes; alterations to the impounding of animals who are suffering or who are in perceived danger under an individual’s ownership, etc.   

 According to Maez, revisions came about as an effort to improve and regulate the department’s efforts in reducing animal abuse, neglect, overbreeding and other animal related issues.

Sheriff Tommy Rodella, along with the Sheriff’s Executive Secretary Leo Marquez, attended the meeting and offered assistance in helping the revisions to be carried out. Sheriff Rodella said that in order to assist within his department’s capacity, his office would require the following: that the Animal Control Officers (ACO) reside under his supervision, that all proper ACO training documents are up-to-date, and that ACO’s get additional basic law enforcement training. He also added that in order to accommodate the ACO’s, additional funding to his department was necessary.

RAC Management and Chairman Trujillo considered the requests made by Mr. Maez and discussed how the dynamics of the Animal Control Office would be affected if moved under law enforcement. County Manager Tomas Campos asked that both departments arrange a series of meetings to develop an effective plan, which would benefit Animal Control efforts within the County. Mr. Campos requested that plans include logistics of the process, as well as a budgetary forecast for consideration of this initiative.

A follow-up work session will be announced once both departments have met and prepared a solid plan to present to the Commission and Management. Other possibilities are still under consideration.

-Erika Martinez, July 2012